Friends of the Rubicon

Hi Guys,
I’m wondering if anyone might be interested in in going to the Friends of the Rubicon annual meeting. It is on April 8. I have family things I need to take care of and won’t be able to make it. The RTF feeds everyone after the meeting. The Madhatters are very important to the Rubicon and it would be nice if someone could represent us at the meeting. Let me know if you have any questions.

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MET Snow Run Trail Report

On March 25, the Madhatters met up for a 1 day snow run to the Mormon Emigrant Trail led by trail bosses Phill and Darrel.  We had a total of 9 rigs, 12 people, and 1 dog.

Meeting at Manteca Wendys:  George D, Darrel L, Phill and LeeAnn P, Cort Z, and Gary D.
Late arrival who caught up to us:  Ben H
Meeting in Pollack Pines:  Tyler L and guests Marty and Linda M, Jim O’L, and Chris M.

George was the first one to Manteca and waiting for us to arrive.  He was very glad to see us show up.  A few years ago George had shown up for a run not realizing it had been cancelled.  This time he called both Darrel and Phill 3 times in the week prior to ensure the trip was still on.  Yes, George, we’re really doing the snow run!

Ben was a surprise addition.  He called us during the drive using the ham radio to let us know he was about 20 minutes behind us.  He caught up at the gas stop.  Tyler and the guests were all waiting in Pollack Pines.  No snow on the MET until we passed the North-South road, about 5 miles or so up.  Then we found snow, lots of it, and aired down about 10:00 a.m.

We headed up the trail.  Lots of slipping and sliding.  Nice snow, good grip, not icy, slushy in the sunlight.  Around noon, we left the posers behind and started making the first tracks in the new snow.  Stopped for lunch at 12:45.

It took awhile to get going again after lunch.  Gary needed pulling out of the drift he parked in for lunch.  Marty got stuck trying to pull Gary out.  George aired down to 8 PSI and did much better after lunch.  We switched around the order with Phill now in the lead.  The new, deeper snow made progress harder.  Gary and Chris kept getting hung up and needing tugs; they turned around and headed back down.  By 3:00 everyone was ready to turn around except Tyler.  Tyler, in his 4Runner and being “encouraged” by his passenger Jim, went up the road a bit to the Toyota (not of our group) that had passed us earlier, did a couple of donuts around it, went further on up the road, turned around, then came back and joined us.  The others got turned around and all headed back down.  After airing up we met up with Gary and Chris again.

5 people shared dinner together at the Jack Russell Brewery in Placerville with the others going on their way.  George went to visit Craig and Carol.

All in all, a nice trip.  No winches got used, but lots of strapping.  Tyler in his 4Runner never got stuck and did a lot of the pulling of others.

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February Mudslinger posted

February Mudslinger has been posted to the member section. You can access it here:

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Snow Run — Mar 25

March 25 is the club’s one day snow run.  We are going to the Mormon Emigrant Trail out of Pollack Pines.  The original plan for Cherry Lake won’t work due to road closures there from the very wet Winter rains.  The club will meet at the Manteca Wendy’s parking lot (Hwy 99 and Hwy 120) on Saturday morning.  We will leave Wendy’s at 7:00 a.m.  Please let me (Darrel) or Phill know if you are coming and if you will be caravan’ing up with the group from Manteca or meeting us somewhere along the way.

We will stop in Placerville for refueling.  We’ll use the Safeway Fuel pumps on the north side of US 50 at the Missouri Flats Rd. offramp.  There is also a Starbucks there for those in need.

As usual, we’ll be on CB channel 4 and ham radio 147.555 Simplex.  I (Darrel, K6DRL) will be monitoring the 805 High Sierra Repeater [146.805, -.600, PL123.0] on the way up to the trail.  You can contact me on the 805 to find our progress or arrange to meet us.

We should have a terrific time.  See you there!

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March 2017 club roster posted

The latest Madhatters club roster has been updated with our new members and latest changes.  The roster is available in both PDF and XLS formats.  Please let me know if you have changes for your entry (address, email, phones, rig picture, ham info, rig mods, etc).

Find the updated roster in the Madhatters web site’s Members section.  Sign in using your Madhatter web site credentials.  If you don’t remember your credentials then send Art or Darrel an email and one of us will get you setup.

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February 2017 meeting audio online


  • Long KOH trip report
  • Board’s Crossing trip report
  • Many Boner nominations, but Josh nails it 🙂
  • Black Tie and Boots upcoming
  • Cherry Lake run – maybe Emigrant Gap snow run – plenty of snow
  • Adopt-a-Trail upcoming work for Rubicon and Fordyce in 2017
  • late spring trips might be problematic due to snow (Ladies run in May, Rubicon in early June)

Audio here:

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January 2017 Mudslinger newsletter and audio posted

We have resumed publishing the Mudslinger now that we have an official  club Secretary (Josh Ebel).  Mudslingers are available on the Members section of the website here:


Audio of the meeting is available here:

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January 2017 Bylaws Updates Have Been Posted

The new Madhatters bylaws approved at the January club meeting have been posted to the Madhatters web site’s About page.

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Graphics skills needed

I am looking for someone with skills manipulating graphic images.  Please let me (Darrel) know (by commenting here or via email) if you have the time, tools, and skills to do this.  I suspect PhotoShop is the best tool for the job.

The logo for the Madhatters 4×4 Club has changed over the years.  It is time to change it again.  I would like someone to take logo #1 (top=MADHATTERS 4×4 CLUB, bottom=CALIFORNIA) and change the bottom writing to NORTHERN CALIFORNIA as is seen in logo #2 (top=4×4 MADHATTERS, bottom=NORTHERN CALIFORNIA).  The jaggies-free result needs to be produced in various resolutions such as large, medium, and small.


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Offroad & Overland Amateur Radio Net

Aaron Vogel, W6TDR, has started a ham radio net specifically for 4×4 folks of all interests.  It is a low stress and fun way to get familiar with your ham radio, learn to program a repeater into your radio, practice using a repeater, and converse with like-minded off-roaders.  Full details are posted on Expedition Portal.  Aaron’s introduction of the newly created net follows below.

The net happens every Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. on the W6SRR repeater: 147.045+ 94.8 NFM.  The W6SRR repeater sits on the summit of Sunol Ridge and is easily reachable using a handheld radio from many East Bay locations including my home in Pleasanton.

If you need help programming your radio for this repeater then post a comment here or email me (Darrel) and include your radio brand and model.  I’ll help you get the repeater setup in your radio so you can join the net.  If you have my ham radio programming then you already have this repeater in your radio; it is the entry named SUNOL2.


————————————  Aaron’s Introduction  ————————————

I wanted to share our newly created ham radio net information with you in the hopes that some of your members might care to join us. The net is specifically for 4×4 folks of all interests.

I saw on the clubs page that you’re advocates of ham radio use in rigs. I’m of the same mind and have been advocating with my own little group that ham radio is a better way to communicate for 4-wheelers. What I saw, though, was a lack of anywhere to practice off the trail. There’s plenty of repeaters around the bay area, but without a reason to get on them I couldn’t convince anyone to actually use their radios, or even get their license in the first place.

So, that’s why I’ve started this net. I’m trying to promote with various clubs in the area/region to grown attendance – after all, what’s a net worth without people to talk to?

I’d love it if some of your members would join us, and I’d love to have them promote your club specifically if they’d like to make calendar, advocacy or trail info announcements during the net. Hopefully it could be a win-win for everyone.

All the details are here on Expedition Portal.  Basically every Weds. at 7:30pm on W6SRR 147.045+ 94.8 PL NFM.

The repeater I’ve chosen should cover the better part of the Bay Area as well as over to Livermore and even out to Stockton and the valley. It’s also an IRLP node, so if anyone outside the coverage area has access to an IRLP station they can dial in.

Hope to hear you on!
Aaron Vogel
aaron.vogel <at>

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