Christmas party

Hi all – the Evite has gone out to all members & guests. Please make sure you RSVP as soon as you can so we can get an accurate head count. Any questions, please let us know. Sparky & “F” Bomber

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October meeting audio

Audio recording from October 2014 meeting is downloadable here:

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Rubicon Adopt-a-Trail work, Aug 2014

Craig sent out a call for help to finish off the work on the Madhatters section of the Rubicon for Labor Day weekend to finish up the work that he & Stephanie, Scott Caster and Bill McDaid started back at the end of June.

George and I took Craig & Carol up on their kind offer to come up to their place the nite before and get an early start. George arrived mid-afternoon and I rolled in towing my trailer early evening. Taking a wrong turn up their driveway, I managed to scrub a few thousand miles of useable life off my new truck tires getting up the steep side :-(. I’m pretty sure Carol got pictures to document it.

After leaving a hundred plus feet of skid marks, I parked and we headed out for dinner, meeting up with Dale at a local joint. After a good dinner, we crashed for the nite and planned for an early start. We were supposed to meet up with Dale in the morning on the way to the trailhead, but Dale discovered early in the morning that his cabin in Pollock Pines got busted into and trashed, so he had to deal with that and wasn’t able to join us for the day on the trail.

We made our way up to the trailhead, meeting up with Tom, guest Josh Ebel, Mike Cline and Cort at Airport Flats around 10am and proceeded down to the Wentworth Springs campground to air down. We got to the start of our adopt-a-trail section is short order and Craig walked us thru the work to be done on the ‘rock energy dissipaters’ (RED) which involved clearing out accumulated silt and debris and carrying it off the trail. With the group of eight of us, we managed to finish the task in about an hour and a half or so.

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From there, it was time to enjoy the Rubicon and loop around to Loon Lake and the Cantina for the Con, which was going on that weekend. We got up to Devil’s Postpile and it was a decent challenge. After I went up thru it, I realized George was getting hung up behind me, so we all got out and worked to get him unstuck, but not wanting to push it further, we got him backed out and up and around the bypass. Tom and Craig went up thru the Postpile, with George, Cort and Josh heading up around the bypass. From there we wandered down to the intersection near Ellis Creek and took the trail back towards Loon.

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Somewhere in the next ¼ mile or so, Tom was chirping on the radio to Craig about Jeeps being recovery vehicles for Bronco’s. Shortly after tempting fate, Tom broke down – having broken his rear track bar mount. Craig got the last laugh on this one and graciously passed along the Boner to Tom. Karma is a cruel mistress :-)

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We jacked up Tom’s Jeep, and were able to re-connect the track bar without the now mangled bracket so he could make it out to Loon with breaking out the welder. The last mile from there was uneventful and we pulled into Loon just in time for the raffle to start. I don’t think any of us won much of note, but that’s not really the point – it’s a great event to contribute and give back to support the Rubicon trail for generations to come. Many thanks to everyone who was able to help out and keep the AAT effort going.

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Slick Rock Run Report

Hi All. My apologies for the late Run Report.

We had a great weekend. The weather was perfect. We had group of 10 rigs out on the trail. Guest’s Derek and Mari, George, and My self left the Wendy’s parking lot a little after 7:00 AM on Friday, Oct. 10. After stopping at the USFS station in Hathaway Pines and again for fuel in Arnold, we arrived at Utica Reservoir around 10:00 AM. We found guest Mark and his two daughters already in camp waiting for us from the night before. After arriving and picking out our camp sites for the weekend, guest’s Jaymes and Matt arrived. Later that afternoon guest’s Tom and Josh as well as new member’s James and Mary arrived. Mark’s wife, Danielle arrived late Friday evening. Larry rolled into camp around 8:30 AM Saturday morning with several bundles of fire wood. I called a drivers meeting around 9:00 AM and we were all aired down and on the trail by 10:00 AM. After crossing the bridge shortly after starting in on the trail I noticed there were only a couple of rigs behind me. I called over the CB to see how the club was doing and I got a reply with “Matt’s Cherokee blew a heater hose”. They also stated that Larry had some spare heater hose and they were able to get it repaired. We continued on towards the “Stair’s” where we had to wait for a Blazer and a CJ7 to climb up. We got every one down the stairs with out any issues. The group continued on through the trail and we all made the climb up the “Slick Rock” obstacle. From there we were moving along until I got to a squeeze point in the trail. With a rock wall on the passenger side and a huge boulder on the driver’s side that forced you to climb the wall with the front passenger tire in order to keep the left rear corner of the vehicle from hitting the big boulder. At this point I decided to park further up the trail and spot the rest of the group through. We had one minor issue with Derek’s front sway bar link becoming inverted and interfering with the left front tire”s abbility to turn right. After a few minutes and disconnecting his “quick disconnect” we were able to continue on to the creek area for lunch. After lunch we headed out the trail to the Lake Alpine side and aired up in the day use parking lot. From there the group split up and a couple of the guest decided to go back to camp and several of us took a short run up to the Bear Valley Look Out for photo’s and then we headed back to camp. Larry and a couple of the guest’s headed home saturday after the run. The rest of the group packed up Sunday morning and headed home from camp. Over all it was a great run. I had fun leading the group through the trail. I hope every one had a good time.

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More pictures added to web site

Pictures from recent club events were added to the Madhatters web site.  See the photo album for the list of all events.

A couple of members regularly provided pictures of club events.  I know there are other photographers on the trail.  If you have pictures you’d like to share we would love to see them!  Shoot me an email at and I’ll get you FTP directions.  Or bring a disc to a club meeting.

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CalStar membership

From Ken Hower of the RTF:

I know a lot of you are members of CalStar.  For those that aren’t, I am attaching the enrollment form.

When I first started making users aware of CalStar and the benefits for your family, we had 53 members.    We now have over 150 members, which now qualifies us for $30 family rate for a one year CalStar membership.

Don’t get stuck with $40,000 helicopter bill for you or a family member in case of an injury on the Rubicon.  Spend $30 a year and know your whole family is covered from a potentially devastating medical bill.

You can also go online to and select GROUP MEMBERSHIP (not FAMILY!).    Choose the $30 option and fill in all the members of your household.  Make sure you use FOTR as your Group.  Either use myself or Jerry as the representative.

Ken Hower

Rubicon Trail Foundation



 Group App Fill In $30 rate 2013

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Rubicon Express lower control arm recall

See below safety recall from Rubicon Express. They explained that the recall covers any lower control arms for both short and long arm kits (non-JK)  made/installed between 9/12 and 11/13 – its the welds on the arms themselves, not the mounts. If you have a kit that was made/installed inside or near that window, get ahold of them and they will replace them free of charge. If 4wheel Parts installed them, you can probably get them to install them for free. Otherwise, you have to deal with yourself or your mechanic to replace them. They hadn’t yet gotten any failed parts reported to them, but I’d say you probably don’t want to be the poster child for them by not replacing them. Its not related to the bolts or welds of the centerpiece or brackets.



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Slick Rock Oct. 10-12

I will be leaving the club meeting spot or “Wendy’s on Hwy. 120 in Manteca” at 7:00 AM Friday for any members or guests planning on caravanning up Friday morning. I will be camping in the second campground (Rocky Point) at Utica Reservoir. The USFS is now charging an over night camping fee of $16 a night at Utica. As of Friday Oct. 3rd Stanislaus National Forrest lifted all fire restrictions. They only require a burn permit for camp fires, BBQ’s, and stoves.

Saturday Oct. 11 – Slick Rock Rd. trail run.
Meet time in camp is 9:00 AM. I will take a vote on how we want to run the trail and then I’ll hold a short drivers meeting.

If you are coming on this run please let me know when to expect you that way we don’t leave you behind. Thanks!

T/B Chris

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Panamint Valley

George and I are signed up to head down to Panamint Valley Days (Cal4 event) from Nov 7-9. I’ll be leading Defense Mine/Cummins and Isham Canyon trails again.

For the Thanksgiving week run to Panamint on the calendar (Nov 22-29), I can’t lead it this year. My wife’s sister died in a car accident earlier this year and she wants to do something else for Thanksgiving week as a result. If anyone else wants to go down there/lead, I can get you all the info you’ll need, maps, trails to run, etc if you haven’t explored there before.


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Sept 2014 meeting audio

Audio from the meeting can be downloaded/streamed from here:

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