How does a native Englishman make a difference in America? He falls in love with the natural habitat. Tim Green shares his love for all things Rubicon in this latest episode. Tim is the owner of the Rubicon Gazette page on Facebook, he collects and shares history of the Rubicon Trail over there and shares some of that with us. Give it a listen.
3:50 –You heard it here first, “America is the best country on the planet!”
6:48 – Hooked on a feeling…
9:04 – Stainless Steel Dave to the rescue
13:58 – Why YOU matter to the trail
17:17 – Spider Lake was an awakening
21:59 – Steaks and Stories
26:41 – the purpose of the Rubicon Gazette
30:39 – protecting a piece of the Trail
35:43 – there’s no substitute for true friendships
37:40 – what we’re missing on the trail (p.s. we see this a lot)
41:21 – Snow wheeling on the Con
52:07 – HAM radios save lives
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
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[00:00:01.080] - Big Rich Klein
Welcome to the Big Rich show, this podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four-wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiasts. So now's the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
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[00:00:56.220] - 4Low Advertisement
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[00:01:20.190] - Big Rich Klein
All right. Today on Conversations with Big Rich, we have Tim Green from Northern California. He runs the Rubicon Gazette Facebook page and he's been collecting the history of the Rubicon.
He's also a property owner in the area. And we'll talk about all the things that have to do with the Rubicon. So, Tim, before getting into the trail, let's get in a little bit about Tim. Who is Tim? Where did you grow up and how did you get involved in four wheel drive off road?
[00:01:50.490] - Tim Green
All right, I'll keep I'll keep this as short as possible, All right. So long story short, I was actually born here in Sacramento, California, in 1969. My parents, my mother was from England. My father was from the States. My parents divorced when I was two years old. And I ended up back in England with my mother and pretty much grew up there until I was 21 years old.
And then that's when I came back. That's when I came back to the States. I'd been back a few times summers here and there. I would come back and visit my father. And if we're going to get to that, I can tell you 10 years old was the first time I saw South Lake Tahoe and coming from Essex, England, which is just outside of London. And I guess you could joke and say, I grew up a poor boy and just outside of London, coming to see a South Lake Tahoe for the same time.
I'll never forget it as long as I live coming over the coming of the Hill of 50 and looking down. I've never seen anything like that in my life. And I honestly think that is probably where my love for the Sierra started. Oh, yeah, no, it was amazing, it was it was just amazing thing to see coming from where I grew up. You know, I imagine it's London, Essex it’s kind of, it's big city stuff and everybody's on top of everybody and come to California.
I mean, I remember the drive over from San Francisco from the airport to Sacramento. I'd never seen such a thing. I mean, it was just it was almost overwhelming. So that honesty was where I think my first love of the Sierras really came into play. And then after that, I came back to the States a few times here and there. I think I was 15. And then I came back again when I was 18. And things in England really, you know, the economy there.
I don't want to get off into a political thing here. But let's just say I truly believe America is the best country on the planet. And I know that from experience. And when I turned twenty one, I decided to make the decision to come back and I actually came back and started working for my dad for a while and then kind of got into my own things. So that's how I ended up back back in the States.
[00:04:12.390] - Big Rich Klein
So how did you get involved with Off Road?
[00:04:12.390] - Tim Green
When I first came back to the States, the first thing when I first came back to live here, I was living with my grandmother at the time. And first thing I did was get in a pickup truck and I just took off. I just had to go see all of this stuff that was around me. I'd never seen such big spaces. I met a couple of friends, had some fast friends. A couple of them were ex Marines.
And we went out and they took me hiking. And the first place I one of the first places I ever went hiking was Horsetail Falls on Highway 50. And I got up in there and again, just absolutely fell absolutely in love with the Sierra Nevadas. So, it didn't all start with off road. I saw a lot of the western United States hiking around and seeing things. And then we were out there hiking around up in Desolation. And ironically enough, I heard some motors and was talking to some friends of mine and, you know, what's this all about?
And I saw the jeeps out there. And that's that was my first taste of the Rubicon. I didn't even know what I was looking at. So, that's kind of, so fast forward and a little bit. I met my wife. We got married in ninety six, but we got together in ninety three and Heidi had always wanted, and Kurt Schneider will like this, Heidi had always wanted a Jeep Wagoneer. And when I say Wagoneer I mean the old school woody Wagoneer type thing and a friend of mine had a CJ7 for sale and I thought, well hell, a Jeep’s a Jeep. Right? So I bought the CJ7 for twelve hundred bucks and that vehicle is still currently sitting on my driveway. That's been my only wheeler. It's been modified. Just it's that's all I've ever owned and that's, that's morphed into what it is now. But so we had the Jeep and Heidi and I spent a lot of time up in the Bowman area, Bowman Lake, just off from Highway 20 and Blue Lake in there. And then I'd heard about this Rubicon thing and we went out there was just going to be around 95-96 somewhere that we went out there had no idea what the Rubicon was and no idea what to expect.
And I remember going through Georgetown and driving out. We got to the spillway and I started up Hot Rock there and my clutch linkage fell apart.
And it was it was just an overwhelming feeling of, oh, wow, this is embarrassing. I mean, there's Jeeps everywhere. I don't know anybody. And so that was my first time. 1995, putting my tires on the Rubicon. And from then it just it just kind of morphed from there. I, I met some friends, met some people from the Rough and Ready Jeep Club and they, they offered to take me out.
And this is fast forward a little bit now to kind of late 90s, maybe ninety eight. And they offered to take me out and give me a safe journey out on the Rubicon and and they did. And we got out to Spider got stuck a few ways and back then I can remember thirty one inch tires, no lockers and it took us all day, I mean it took us literally all day to get to Spider and I just from that moment.
Absolutely just fell in love with the hobby. That was that was it, I was hooked.
[00:07:22.440] - Big Rich Klein
That's all it typically takes, my first trip was into Barrett with my future father in law at that point, and it was a quick trip in just in eat lunch, come back out. And that was in eighty two, end of eighty one, fall of eighty one, beginning of eighty two and we. It was like I said, we went in, had lunch, came back out as we were starting in through the gate, the there was a bunch of Toyoda's behind us that were all airing down.
And we drove in, came out for lunch, and we met them on the I don't know what it's called, the rock fall or something like that. It's just a big bunch of boulders. Right. And there were there were Toyotas everywhere. And I mean, parts everywhere, there was like four or five of them broken down and they were changing axles and transfer cases and God knows what else. And I was I was probably, I probably had a little too much to drink because I wasn't driving.
Right. And so I had quite a few beers. And I had remembered my father in law saying the name of their club Toys on the Rocks. So I looked at the one guy I was standing there and I said, What's the name of your club again? And he goes, Toys on the rocks. And I go, You mean toys all over the rocks? And they all stared at me, you know, like, who the hell are you, dude?
My father in law the whole way was going, don't don't get into it, don't get into it. But yeah, it's I fell in love with it after Barrett, we went into the Rubicon, then I shortly thereafter I got something to wheel. Yeah.
[00:09:04.370] - Tim Green
And then and and then it just morphs from there. I mean that was I think that was ninety eight somewhere in there, you know, my first real taste of actually going really deep into the trail and then we just went, we kept going back after that. We all know how it goes, you know, different tires and we get some lockers going on, a little bit of a lift kit. You know, those things were amazing. I mean going going to I'll never forget when we put the four to one transfer case in.
I mean, that was, oh, my God, that was a new thing. It was night and day different. But I'll tell you, one of the biggest things that changed things for me and the love of it all and I tell everybody this, I'll never forget this. We were at Spider Lake and it was during a steak feed. if you remember the Capitol Jeepers steak feeds that used to be there at Spider Lake, I ended up I used to cooking for those things.
So it was kind of fun. But before that, we were there, didn't really know anybody and I broke an axle. And I had a Dana 30 at the time. And I remember my friend that was with me, you know, we're kind of young and, you know, we knew a little bit we're kind of mechanically inclined. We took it apart, but we don't have any axle, I mean, we got no way to take care of this.
I didn't even have the knowledge at the time to know I could pull that out and just wheel with three and so I found myself walking around Spider Lake with this broken axle in my hand and seeing if I could find anybody with a spare or something like this. And I run into this guy and he's got a stainless steel flat fender. You probably know who I’m talking about, Stainless Steel Dave. And yeah. And to this day, I mean, great story.
I got a picture from back then. I walked up and Dave. He said, young man, what do you got there? And I said, I got one of these. I got a Dana thirty broken axle. And he said, you're not going to find anybody with one of those around here. And I said, yeah, I'm starting to see that. And so Dave actually took the time to unpack his whole rig because they were getting ready to go down to Buck Island, he unpacked his whole rig, pulled his Welder out.
And he sat there for probably two or three hours, took a U-joint cap, put it in there, reshaped the ear and then stainless steel welded. You know how he does his stuff, welded it all back together. And then he said to me, OK, young man, are you going to be able to put this back together? And I said, Oh, yeah, absolutely. I'll go back and I'll get this put back together. And he said, OK.
And I don't know if he didn't trust me or what the deal was, but he ended up come with us and so he walks back over to camp, we’re putting it back together. And he says to me and my friend, he says, we haven't talked about payment yet. And my heart just sank and I think I reached back and I had like 40 bucks in my pocket and I think my buddy had a 20 or something like that. And I said, well, I don't have a lot of money.
And he said, no. He said, your payments are going to be, you got any beer? And I said, beer. I got a lot of beer. And he said, well your payment, is going to sit with me and drink one beer with me. And that's that's going to be your thank you for all of this. And I was I was like, oh, my God, this is amazing to this. To this day, Dave and I are still friends.
We talk probably at least once a month on the phone. Dave’s been down to the property, we’ve wheeled together over the years. And I think, honestly, Rich, it was at that moment when I saw what I love about the trail, all trails actually, four wheeling in general was the absolute camaraderie of the group. I mean, you couldn't wish this can't be overstated. You cannot wish to meet a better group of people to help each other out.
I mean, they generally. Ninety percent of the time that that's the truth and that really, really kind of hit with me and every time we're out there, then I want it to be like that guy wanted to be Dave. I wanted to help people and do things. And I started getting the getting the tools on the rig and getting the power inverter on the rig so I could be the guy to help out because it just feels so good.
Right, to help everybody. So that's that's another aspect of the hobby sport, whatever you want to call it. I fell in love with.
[00:12:53.290] – Big Rich Klein
So, you started wheeling the Con in late 90s and then were you involved with anything or clubs or anything like that when Spider and Little Sluice got all,.all messed up and the county got involved in the water resource boards and all them where, you know,
I wasn't involved at the time. I mean, I was around I was there for the cleanup. I think that was 2004 when we did the Spider clean up in there. I was in and out, but my activity in that side of it hadn't really started yet. I was starting to become aware of some of the clubs and the agencies out there and different things. And I think where I really started to get involved was good old Pirate 4x4 in the Rubicon Forum on there.
And I became really active because the like I said, it wasn't just at that point. It wasn't just about the wheeling or any of that. It became about the trail. It became about looking after the place. And even though, you know, this is a point I've always tried to make with people, even though you might not be involved with a club or Cal4Wheel or any of those things. And those are all great things to be involved with.
I think the most important thing is YOU, if you want to do your part, you can do your part. It sounds cliche, but it really is the truth. What I saw I mean, being active on Pirate, I kind of saw, you know, how important it was. And I started to see some of the main players out there at the time, you know, I could throw a lot of names out there, but I won't, I won't throw anybody out there.
But I mean, come on, we all know, the Randy's in the world and Scott Johnston and Jacquelyne and some other folks and everything else. And, you know, then once you're out there, then those people kind of reach out to you. You know, they contact you. You know, you seem really interested in this. You want to go out and help. And that's how that kind of thing all started. A lot of FTOR projects.
And, you know, like we were talking about earlier, Jacquelyne was a great rallier for the troops getting everybody together, you know, and that's kind of where that all started. And then the family, my family started getting involved. My kids were younger at the time. So they were they were out there on the trail. And that was always good to see was a lot of kids were out there doing things. So that's where my involvement with that kind of started.
[00:15:31.930] – Big Rich Klein
So then you mentioned FOTR, Friends of the Rubicon, Yes, I always get everything mixed up. I was involved with that early with the trail patrol, but it was before Friends of the Rubicon got involved with trail patrol and, you know, just doing education, trying to teach people trail etiquette and make sure they packed up after themselves. And, you know, the just the basics. You know, the don't mean it was amazing how you'd go into somebody's camp from the weekend before, because I like to wheel Monday through Friday.
And, you know, when the was nobody on the trail and I would be picking up trash. Right. And everything from lawn chairs to barbecues to it. Amazing what was left up there. So I you know, I spent the time and just rallied some guys and we started trying to get everybody in mind to clean the place up. We started I worked with. With some of the rebuilding projects, the restoration areas, we did. Cleanup's would like the pirate cleanup's and stuff from way back in the day, and it was it was really good, met a lot of people, did a lot of hard work, but it was very satisfying.
I'm sure that you were involved in a lot of those projects as well with Friends of the Rubicon.
[00:16:59.330] – Tim Green
Yeah, we were. I mean, there's a lot I mean, a lot of them come to mind and there's so many that it's kind of hard to track them all down. But we did a lot of work on the Wentworth side, on Postpile, you know, big water bars that were built over there, did a lot of work on Big Sluice, those kind of things, you know, and then the educational efforts, too, that were out there.
If you if you remember back, I mean, one of the things I like to talk about, you know, the whole Spider Lake thing, I mean, there's no getting away from that. And I think we were all we were all I mean, whether you'd like to whether people want to admit it or not, if you were around Wheelin at the time, we were all complicit in that whole thing.
Big Rich Klein
Oh, absolutely, I’ll be the first to admit I was the problem
And I think it was I think it was an awakening moment for everybody.I really do. I think however you want to look at it, I think it was OK. I mean, I remember sitting at Spider and going, you know, this is after a weekend of partying like we all did. And I remember looking around and thinking to myself, we're we're doomed here. I mean, we're kind of we're kind of doomed. This is a matter of time. And it was just a matter of time. And we were we were all part of that.
And I think, you know, looking back, always trying to find a positive in things. If you look at our situation, we didn't lose the trail. We lost part of it. You know, we lost a nice section of trail that we all love, an area we can hang out. But ultimately, the awakening there, we still have the trail. And I think the education that came out of that, I think it was crucial.
I think it was there's just my opinion. I think it was a pivotal time. And if you remember back and I think anyone will agree, you know, the peer pressure that came about right after that, I mean, it was kind of funny to watch on the trail because, I mean, the pirates were involved. Zombies were everybody was involved in all of that. It was like, no, you can't do that. No, you can't do that.
Pick this up, pick that up. And that's you know, sometimes that's I think maybe we need to get back to that because I know and I'm not going to there's no group in particular. We talked about this earlier. You know, there's folks out on the trail now. They could be in their 40s or 50s, but they're just starting out on the trail. They weren't around when all this happened. And then, you know, you think about some of the younger crowd.
Well, hell, they weren't even born yet when when this was going on. That's that's that's how long it's been. So they you know, they don't understand what it took and how long. This has been a work in process. And it's a continual work and process. It has to be. And none of us I mean, none of us are perfect. It's just about doing your part and getting out there
[00:19:38.600] - Big Rich Klein
I agree completely. Not being in that area, living there anymore and not being on Pirate.
I haven't followed anything really with the trail that is Friends of the Rubicon still doing work projects, or is it all through the Rubicon Trail Foundation or their clubs? What kind of events are things going on up there to help with the trail?
[00:19:54.980] – Tim Green
Well, the county the county came in and the county has taken a much bigger role in the trail. The county came in and, you know, and I'll say they've done a fantastic job. They really have with the they put in am adopt-a-trail program together. So, you know, each their sections of trail out there that are adopted by certain groups or clubs, they'll take a section in the beginning. In the early days, our little group had the Gatekeeper section.
And so each group will go out there and the county gives them a list of things you have got. They've got the energy dissapators out there that they have to clean out and do things like that. And what what folks need to understand is some of this stuff and I'll admit myself, you know, taking dirt out of a hole, the sediment that's rolled downhill and then putting it in the forest where it's going to end up anyway may seem a little insane, but those are things that were put in place because of the clean up an abatement order that we went under and those were agreements that were put in place.
So those things have to be done to satisfy that order. Right. It's just it's a reality of the situation. So the adopt-a-trail clubs get out there and they they do great work on on different sections of the trail. Friends of the Rubicon. I know they still get out there. I don't think they're quite as active as they used to be. But things morph, things change. You know, if you don't keep up with change, it's it's never going to work.
Rubicon Trail Foundation, they're still doing their stuff. I know they they're primarily the fundraising side of things so they can have their money for potential lawsuits and things like that. So everybody kind of doing their part. But it's great to see the community out there. And I think sometimes, you know, different. Groups or clubs even or different things, we start to forget, we get so focused in, I don't know, the small details, the raising the money that the doing this, the doing that, that we forget or we lose sight of why we're doing it to begin with, know it's for the trail.
But the trail is the sum of all of its parts. It's also it's the community, it's the families, it's all of that. And we got to remember to get back to that the community without the community you’ve got nothing.
[00:21:59.760] – Big Rich Klein
So you're involved with an event up there every year, Steaks and Stories.
[00:22:30.140] – Tim Green
Yeah, yeah, we're going on. I think this would be this would be the third. No, this would be the fourth year, depending on what happens with covid-19 and everything else that's going on.
I want to get into that. But yeah, this would be the fourth year. Now, where that came about we talked about a little bit earlier was. The Capital Jeepers steak feed that used to go on years ago, and that was Gary Borgeson owned Capital Jeepers, just given back to his customers, if you will, and he would buy one hundred fifty steaks. And it was basically first come first serve in that group of guys out there cooking.
It was given back to those folks. And I just remember back then, I mean it was 2000 – 1999, maybe. So I just remember that feeling. You know, you you were talking about like that feel good feeling and it was watching those folks want to be there. For Gary wanted to be there for the trail, you know, just all of it, that community spirit and seeing it bring everybody together was amazing. It wasn't about any particular thing.
It wasn't a fundraiser. It wasn't to raise money for this wasn't raised money for that. It was a time to celebrate and everybody to get together and all the friends you've made through the years and all of that. So, you know, we kind of wife and I talked about it, I talked to some few closer friends about it. And it was like, you know, I think this would be a really good time for this. I think it's a time to let's get everybody together and let's just have a big think it be like a big picnic, you know, where we're going to just we talk about things, you know, we educate things.
The name itself, Steaks and Stories. People, you know, people thought the beginning we were going to get up on the microphone and everyone would tell stories. It was more about your stand in line of the barbecue and talk to someone you never met before. And you're going to hear some stories. I mean, you know, the beer starts going and good times start happening. So it was kind of that and we didn't know how it was going to turn out.
But, you know, it was amazing. I mean, I think the first year we had probably four hundred fifty people there and then. Yeah. And then it just kind of went from there and we ended up what we did the first two first two years. The response to it from the clubs was absolutely amazing because we reached out, we reached out to some different organizations when we were spitballing in this and trying to think about how we want to do this.
And, you know, it had that feeling. They wanted to be turned into something that it shouldn't be a promotional thing or this, that and the any other. So we kept it kept inside. So we reached out to some clubs that we we were familiar with, we're friends with and everything else. And honestly, Rich, it was absolutely amazing within within two days of reaching out to these folks. And there's some guys have been around for a long time. You know, Rob Cookes of the world, Jeff Fretwell, Pirates, you know, all of this within two days, we had the money for the steaks.
I mean, it was absolutely amazing. And then the community really came together. We put in our part and everything else our immediate family, and we ended up with more money than we needed. And so we talked to everybody. We're honest with everybody. What do you want to do with this? So at the time, Wheelers for the Wounded. I'm sure you heard those guys. They were they were really active at the time. And so I reached out to Eric Snow and Kevin Carey.
You know, this is what we want to do, guys. We've got this money over for this and everyone's in agreement. And while this isn't a fundraiser, you know what? Let's make use of this. We want to give it back to you. And so that's that's what we did in the first year was pretty awesome. We were able to hand them a check. I forget how much was, but it was a couple of three thousand dollars.
So it was it was a nice, nice chunk of stuff. So that's that's primarily what that was about. You know, you talk to people about, you know, cleaning up and doing things. And, you know, there had been talk. It was ironic. There's been talk about. Getting porta potties out there and trash cans and all this stuff and making it all very official and my stance on that was, you know, there's a couple of things here.
You put a trash can out there with no education. Someone's going to fill it up and it's going to be your job to take care of it. You know, what better venue to say. You know what? There's no trash cans here. You're going Wheelin. There's no bathrooms here. Take do what you've been doing. Take care of your trash. Take care of your business, and let's leave. This place is spotless as we found it.
And every year that's what's happened. That's awesome. Yeah, it's been awesome.
[00:26:41.550] – Big Rich Klein
Let's talk about the the idea behind the Rubicon Gazette, the page on Facebook.
[00:26:52.950] – Tim Green
All right. One of my one of my favorite things to do and I've got a couple of friends that are into this is you know, a lot of people don't realize the history of the trail. I mean, it is absolutely full and amazing and not just not just the four wheel drive part of it. I mean, there I mean, you can go back, you know, the Indian foot trail and all of these things and for the Fairborn people to get in too much details.
But, you know, Pirate used to do a real good job. The Rubicon forum did a real good job of picture sharing that went on. There was a lot of older stuff that went on. And we started realizing that, you know, again, some of the younger folks, you know, pirate it kind of things change. So it's just, you know, it kind of slowed down a little bit. And we started to realize that a lot of the younger folks and newer folks hadn't seen any of this stuff.
I mean, and it was just, you know, what do we do to share that information? So we wanted to put something out that was in for current information about the trail. I mean, you can kind of see the current conditions. You can see weather, you saw those things, but at the same time collect all that history. And what because we got to keep that stuff. You know, I always think of it this way. Some poster hanging in some guy's office doesn't do anyone any good if it just sits in his office and then he dies and he didn't give it to anybody.
And what better medium we have nowadays, the technology to put that stuff together and get it out on the social media so people can see it. And from what we can tell, people love it. I mean, you put the maps up there from the eighteen hundreds and just old pictures of the green bridge getting built and things. I mean, I'm looking at my desktop right now. I've got the Rubicon Bridge project right here, you know, and stuff that gets shared the people they wouldn't see otherwise.
And it's amazing once you open that floodgate, how people then start sharing with you. You know, there's people that are coming in their old names from the past that are taking pictures of their Polaroids that they've got sitting on their desk. And that's really cool stuff. And I think once you understand the history of it all and I think, you know, for newer folks to the trail, you start to get a sense of how rich it is and then you get the investment in it to, you know, I hope that makes sense.
[00:29:08.200] – Big Rich Klein
Oh, absolutely. It does to me. But, you know, that's what I've always tried to do. And that's the reason behind this podcast is to collect the history of our lifestyle, sport, you know, what we're enthusiastic about and passionate about. So you said you have kids that are wheeling?
[00:29:29.640] – Tim Green
Now, my my kids are out here. My kids pretty much grew up in the back of that CJ7 that’s sitting out there. We went everywhere together, you know, even like B.B., like some of the places that got closed down. You know, we were back there with my wife and but my boys, they're grown, Chris is twenty five. Ryans twenty four. He's off in the army. Christian's working in Sacramento. They come up to the property with us when they can.
So the kids grew up in that. And, you know, seeing seeing the kids, I can't recommend it enough for folks. I mean, it's such a wholesome thing for the kids to grow up in that environment. They learn so much, you know, and people know this. People have been doing this. They know this. But it's it's it's good for the kids to get them outside, getting away from the technology and all of those things.
[00:30:19.650] – Big Rich Klein
So absolutely. So what you said, you have your property owner up there and we talked about this earlier, but talk about the that piece of property. And I don't know, do you have plans for it or are you just making sure that it's that it stays protected or what's that?
[00:30:39.360] – Tim Green
So, yeah, you touched on actually, you just hit the primary reason that we did this to begin with. So the history of the property, a lot of people know I have the property up there, but the property is located in the Gurley Creek area, just down just down from Loon Lake. A lot of folks have been there, but I found out about that piece of property in 2006 and I'd known about it before then because it used to be one of the trails in there.
But as far as it being up for sale, I found out about it in 2006 and a friend of mine since passed away another wheeler. We had talked about it and we've given some serious thought to to purchase in that piece of land. And at the time, it was it was too much. It was just too much money. There's no way to get around it. I mean, it was expensive. And at the time, you know, we didn't have the funds to make that happen.
So I kind of kept an eye on it over the years. And, you know, it came and go in my thoughts, but it was it was always there. And then in 2010, it came up. It just can't remember exactly how it came out. But it came to my attention again. And my life had changed a little bit, career wise and different things. And so I made some phone calls, made some contacts. And it was something that was that was really important to me.
It was it was one of my dreams is what I wanted to do. That's how much I fell in love with Rubicon. And so I obviously I talked to talk to the wife and that was important. And we kind of came to an agreement on what we were willing to do with it. And Heidi and I spent we spent many weeks out there hiking the whole property and really, really checking it out. I'll never forget, you know, we're out there hiking around.
And, you know, a lot of it's very Rubicon landscape. It's a lot of granite, some trees here and there. But we finally got down. We walked down towards the creek. And I never forget, Heidi said, is this water on the property? And I said, oh, yeah, the creek runs right through the property. And that changed that changed everything for her. It was OK that there's got to be water.
So that's how it came about for us. The reason for it. This other person that probably wasn't and this this is wholeheartedly the truth, it was to perpetuate not only for us and our family, but also the future of the Rubicon. We we all know there's private property dotted all through the trail and it can only help the situation as far as having invested people in that trail. Well, they call it they call it a stakeholder's people that have had a voice and are of like minded hobbies and lifestyles and everything else.
So that's and we've done we've opened the property up many, many times. You have a lot of friends that come stay with us. It was never intent to just be for us and close down. And it's a beautiful piece of property for people to check out. Come out, hang out with us.
[00:33:29.160] – Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. Glad to hear that. I, I remember when I first heard it for sale, Mark Smith owned it. Right. And it was somebody said, yeah, Mark Smith owns this and he's willing to sell it. And I was a contractor based out of El Dorado County at the time. And I was like, OK, I'm all about this. And then economic situations changed with the with the invasion of Iraq and doing all that kind of stuff the back way back.
And that was the early nineties, late eighties. And it wiped out my business. So it was like, oh, there went that dream. But, you know, it was one of the things that I'd looked at it at one time when Mark still owned it.
[00:34:11.430] – Tim Green
Yeah. You know, there was quite a few people, quite a few people that did. I know I've got personal friends that had looked at it also. And it's just one of those things, you know, I guess it's it's. I try to tell you, not tell my own children this, too, but, you know, never I see too many people if honestly again sounds cliche. If you have a dream and you want it enough, go after it.
Put yourself in that position. I ask a lot. A lot. Oh, how did you get that? Well, I was the simple answer, I looked at it. I wanted it and I did what I could to make it happen. And that's what I've always believed about this country. I mean, not to get into politics again, but that's what America is founded on. I mean, that's if you got a dream, you can get after it. So that's that's what I would tell anyone, you know, make it happen
[00:34:58.440] – Big Rich Klein
Yeah. And in two thousand, I did that, I walked away from a very, very well-paying job, in 2001, after I moved back to California from Utah and decided to put on a rock crawl and Put up or Shut up at Lake Amador was born, how CalRocs was born. And we jumped in with both feet and threw my keys on the counter and walked away from from a really good paying job to, you know, making nothing but memories.
And, you know, I wouldn't trade any of the memories that I have over the last 20 years. Absolutely. for all of the money in the world. Right. I mean, it's it's just it's it's being able to live the lifestyle and the life that you want to live
[00:35:43.710] – Tim Green
Yeah. And, you know, there's no there's no substitute for true for true friendships. I mean, and the friendships that I've made through the Rubicon, through the property and through our hobby and our lifestyle, if you want to call it that. I mean, I have lifelong friends. I mean, I have people that I consider brothers and sisters that that I've met that I would do anything for.
And I think the feeling I'd like to think anyway, the feeling is kind of mutual. And I don't know. I mean, I'm sure you get that and other things, but it just it's always seemed to me that this is just so very special. I think sometimes we take it for granted. And it really is. I mean, it just is.
[00:36:14.340] – Big Rich Klein
And the whole thing now is to portray that to the new people coming into the industry as enthusiasts, you know, being able to buy a vehicle and and throwing, you know, fifty thousand dollars into it to make it super capable and then going out on the rocks the first time and never really, you know, not going out there with open differentials and no power steering and on thirty ones.
And the first time I first time I went wheeling with the pirates, we did a trip into Spider and I was in a fifty three, M38A-1 on thirty one open manual steering. And I remember coming out and I get to the top of the hill and Kevin Carey looks back over his shoulder and looks at me because you're still behind me and I'm like, yeah, I was having the greatest time in the world, you know, everybody else is on, you know, forty inch, forty four tires.
Everything else, you know, on their vehicles are beat to shit. And here I am just driving this pristine, you know. Right. Military CJ5 That was just the the funnest thing in the world..
[00:37:40.290] – Tim Green
And I think that's something that, that we're missing out on a little bit. And, you know, for the fear of sounding like the old guy, you know, much like you started out three thirty one gears open, open on thirty inch tires and kind of figured it out. And I think what's happened, you know, technology, social media, it's all great and it really is. And it makes things so convenient and easy for us. But at the same time, I think we we lose something.
You know, we we like to talk about the younger kids, but we also have new folks out there that might be in the 40 to 50 range that they're going out and bought a really capable vehicle. I mean, I had a 4 door JKt Rubicon and they work great right out of the box, especially if you can drive. And I think what we see out there now is it's it's very convenient to be able to get into a vehicle.
You can get on the Internet, you can research things, and you're straight out there. And I've seen some scenes, some things out there, seeing some situations out there where it's OK, all the money in the world, for the fear of quoting Bob Roggy, I don't want that for the record.
I won't go there, but I'd throw some more money at it. I mean, for the fear of that, it really doesn't it doesn't take the place of experience. And I think sometimes if we allow ourselves we're in that situation, you know, maybe maybe start out, maybe go maybe leave those lockers off, maybe go out with a group of smaller rigs so you get an understanding of what's going on. I mean, we have the kids and I rebuild a seventy one, C.J. five, and it's on thirty inch tires.
It's bone stock of the odd fire V six in it and we take it out and we wheel it. It's fun, I mean, I got out there with Scott Johnston and my girl friends of mine, and every once in a while we'll jump in that little C.J. and take it out, wheel it? Just because it's fun, you feel accomplished. You know a lot of those things. So I think that. You know, it's great to be able to jump in these vehicles.
It is. It's awesome. I've driven them. I own one. But, you know, there's there's though I think we missed some of the fun. Honestly, I do some of this. I mean, we think back in the day, I know for me some of the fun was throwing a rock here or doing this and having to figure out how to hit that break a little bit to get the other tire to turn around and just I don't know.
So that's that's kind of how I feel about that. But people are getting out there and they're doing it and they're learning. They're learning over time. Because you know as well as I do, once you get stuck, you're going to kind of figure it out.
[00:40:31.450] - Big Rich Klein
So, yeah, I used one when I first started going up and in that little CJ5, it had a 8274 Warn on the front and it had the odd fire and it had a SM465 or whatever it was and five fifteen gears on thirty ones.
And I'd got sprung under the big steering wheel and I'd get stuck and the tires would just keep churning, I'd get out, pull the winch cable winch myself out, be able to get out as vehicle's still going down the trail. I could undo the winch cable and I never took people with me. I mean, I was up there in the middle of the week by myself, and it was there were great times. You know, luckily I didn't run myself over, you know, hurt myself.
[00:41:01.270] – Tim Green
But, you know, you bring up a really good point, too. That's that's one of the other things. You know, you never want to advise bad decisions. But at the same time, you know, if you can get yourself out there in the middle of the week on your own, you know, challenging yourself, I mean, not necessarily on your own go with a group. So we never want you know, it's something we're not supposed to recommend.
But you get the point, you know, challenging yourself and, you know, doing it for yourself. Don't rely on everybody else. And that's how you learn. That's how you figure things out. You know, if you if you wanted to get into one of the big things we do and we're kind of known for out there a little bit is the snow wheeling.. You know, we do it. We're out there a lot in the wintertime. And that's that's a whole nother whole nother kettle of fish right there.
I mean, and that's you know, that's something that's not to be taken lightly. You know, I learned and I'll never forget it. I was I was camped at Wentworth in the snow. I had another friend of mine there. We'd gone as far as we thought we could go and we thought we were doing great and we'd struggle to get where we were. And then here came this big old Toyota Cruizilla thing, and it was Scott Johnston doing his thing out there and just blew past us like it was nothing.
And I said, you know, that's I think I think I need to hang out with that guy and do a little snow wheeling with him. And so we've already kind of known each other. And so, you know, that's that's where it's like if you're going to do that, you need to go with a group that kind of knows experience. There's no you know, it's no substitute for the experience out there because wintertime, there's no joke
I mean, it can kill you. I mean, we had we had it we had a trip just recently where we had to stay an extra night. And, you know, you got to be prepared for that. But I will say it's one of the most beautiful times of the year. I mean, some of the wildlife and things I've seen out there in the wintertime, including on the snowmobile, I mean, it's it's amazing stuff. Again, it gives you a whole nother perspective of the trail..
[00:43:00.970] – Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Those that late nineties, early two thousand when I came back to to Placerville. From Utah, I had a Cherokee, Roggy had a Cherokee, and Vince Houdyshell had a Cherokee, so it was the three of us and it would be, you know, instantly we'd call each other and say, OK, you know, let's go, guys, guys at Tom's I get off at nine. I've already packed. I'm going to hit the liquor store.
I'll meet you guys at Tom's. And by eleven o'clock, eleven thirty, I'm pulling into Tom's in a blizzard and they jump in their rigs and the three of us would head up over the top of heartless right. As far as we could go in our cherokee's with thirty five you know. And that was it that you know, good little snow machines those Cherokee's can be especially if you know how to work the snow, you know, it's going to roof a door and a heater. Right. So it makes it really nice when you get stuck and have to wait till morning to dig out
[00:43:56.790] – Tim Green
Yes. As a side note,. Bob Roggy is still doing that Heartless from wanted to be the first one over the top. So that's good. I just I Snow wheeled with him last year a little bit, we went into the property just just good fun. I mean, all of those guys, I mean that's what I'm talking about. These relationships Tim Webster, Disco.
Everybody knows disco. You know, it's just they’re lifelong friendships. They really are. I mean, I think that's that's if I had any one thing I had to really stress about our hobby and our sport is, is that, you know, that that part of it, it's just it's truly amazing. It really is.
[00:44:53.580] – Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it would when I was when I first got into the Wheeling and then in the eighties, I would go up and I started hanging out with guys like Archie Lawyer and Doug, you know that and.
Mike Monroe and some of the guys from the that were wheeling up there that were always on the rocks and we had just an amazing times back in the 80s when, you know, there was I mean, there weren't built rigs. I mean, a built rig had thirty three or thirty five on it. If you could find a set of 35’s and, you know, it was we did some some really what I would consider now probably stupid stuff to do, the wheeling we did by ourselves or very not, not with all the things that we wheel with nowadays, but we always made it in and we always made it out somehow. Ingenuity, a little bit of a little bit of MacGyver, you know, if you just have to figure shit out. So but it's those lifelong friendships are. Are just absolutely amazing
[00:45:35.550] – Tim Green
You know, the things, the things that you can learn, you know, if you pay attention, when in my early years I had a friend that his dad, Darryl Vonrows and Roger Rogers, and he's kind of a common name out there. They're old school Jeepers from back in the day.
And they used to tell me stories and I could sit and listen to their stories for hours. I never actually I went wheeling with Roger once because they were starting to get older, but I could just sit around for hours and listen to their stories. And I remember Darryl telling me one time his bearing went on the center of the transfer case and he ended up having to pull the pin and he took his son's belt and cut it up and made, you know, these these I mean, they're not it's not made up stuff.
These are true stories. And it's awesome. I mean, it's just awesome to watch that stuff.
[00:46:39.610] – Big Rich Klein
My father in law at the time, Dan Hartwig, and his group, they used to go in and hunt up. Oh, by Guides peak and. Which is now that area that's closed off comes in the back side up there, I guess they take the poop truck up through there or whatever. Now, 410 and 05. Yeah. And so before those were even roads in there, they would they were going up with those like that stuff they used for runways the Seabees would use for runways.
They'd come up with plates of that and put them in front of the vehicle and drive across because they were going through like the Meadows around McKinstry and stuff. And that was the way to get there. They weren't up on the ridges. They were down in the meadows. And the stories that he has from hunting back there with horses first in the 50s and then late 50s, wheeling up there, going in that way, not going up through Wentworth because they hunted over there by McKinstry.
[00:47:40.180] – Tim Green
And that's just it.
Getting back to the history of it all, you know, and I highly recommend people that, you know, not just Rubicon, if you get out in the in the outer area of Rubicon, if you will, there is still places you can go out there. You can still drive around. You can go to McKinstry Lake, you can go up the back side of McKinstry over the top, and then you can hike down to Bugle lake, which is right there.
There's some I mean, you got to make a peak because there's some beautiful areas around there. You know, back to the history there. I know from hiking that area, oftentimes we'd find barbwire and just random fences in the middle of nowhere. And I would go on to there's a gentleman out there highly recommended. He's on the Rubicon Gazette, Michael Rowland. He's the guy that runs Gurley Creek Dotcom. There's a ton of history on there. A lot of information I get from there and everything else.
But I'm pretty good friends with Michael now. So I told him when I have questions and, you know, I found barbwire, the fences. And he was explaining to me that that whole area, they used to have cattle up there and they used to they used to run cattle out there. The fences I was finding, I think they call them dry fences where they just have a fence in the middle of nowhere. And the cattle, it kind of steers them in directions.
And there's so much history out there. We found railroad spikes out there. What is the railroads by doing out here?
And it's from when the logging camps used to come up with they used to use the narrow gauge tracks to get the good little houses up there and things like that. So it is getting out there and especially in the Wentworth Postpile area in there. I mean, in Post Pile out in the granite. I haven't seen it myself, but I've seen pictures of them and I want to go find them. I think Jim Ingraham knows where they are. And there is actually tracks, grooves cut in the granite where they were taking the wagons up there.
Yeah. And that would be something to see. So I've seen those. But it was way back when it I it was it was in the nineties when I, when I had it, when I saw them. Right. So it just there's just so much history out there to see. I mean, and that's really, you know, sometimes you got to stop. People often ask I'm sure you've been asked this question, how long does it take to run the Rubicon traily?
Oh, I, I know. My answer is how much time he got. I mean, you know, with all the rigs we've got nowadays and everything else, I could barely run the thing in three hours.
But that's not the point. Get out there and you can spend days out there. You spent a week out there. That's the way to do it. Yeah, yeah.
[00:50:09.990] – Big Rich Klein
My my biggest thing was always going out and and camping there at Loon Lake in one of the campgrounds and then just heading out every day and coming back at night and just going over. And that's when when it was more dispersed. You didn't know there were trails all over, not just here's the trail and you know, we we explore. And it was it was really fun to do that. Get out, park somewhere and then just get out. You didn't have to worry about anybody coming along and stealing your ice chest or your rims or tires or whatever, but. Yeah, I want to say, is there anything that that we haven't covered that you want to talk about on the Rubicon or about the Rubicon or people should know about the Rubicon?
[00:50:46.620] – Tim Green
I think, you know, just. Look after the place, I mean, that's that's the biggest thing I can say. I mean, it's education. Like I said, I think we went through a spurt of education in in the early 2000s. And I think we got kind of got complacent on it.
I think we all need to keep that in mind. No one's perfect. We all have fun. We all do our thing with simple things, picking up trash and everything like that. If people want to reach out and there's so much information on the Internet now, you can see the stuff to do. Go to the county's website. You can get updates there. You know, just look after the place. That's that's that's all. And this isn't complicated.
It's not rocket science. All right. And one of the things I'd like to talk about is communications on the trail. So many of us like myself, who's a race promoter we have and been to Baja and everything. We're using the business class radios for communication. And the next step above that is going to ham. And I've not done it yet for the magazine. We're going to be doing an article. But I'd like to ask you about what you guys have done up there and and how it all works.
Absolutely. And I'm not going to I won't go to full blown nerd on this stuff. But I, you know, start out basically by saying I can't stress enough how important a ham radio is to have out there or let's just say communications, because on Rubicon, as most people know, there is no cell phone communication. No, at this point, there may be some day, but there isn't right now. There is satellite reach. You know, you can buy those devices that have the GPS on them.
I can tell you from experience, they're spotty. Ironically enough, some of them are called spot and they're spotty at best. I don't know if it's the satellite location or what it is, but they're not fantastic.
Ham radio in that area is the infrastructure that's been put in ham radio is only as good as somebody listening on the other end, but also it has to have repeater systems for it to work. You know, ham radio, think of it, simplex is only going to go so far. Think of an old CB. So in ham radio, we have repeaters to bounce the signal around and get it out and everything else. And on the Rubicon, it's got a very extensive repeater system that's been put in the volunteers, property owners up at Spider Lake, did a fantastic job years ago.
I think a lot of it stemmed from Merlin needing communications back then when he was still with the sheriff's department. And so that infrastructure of Spider Lake is crucial. We put in recently some stuff on our property because we've gone into not going to go into great detail, but packet radio, which is basically data over the ham radio, which allows for I can text message, I can send an email briefly, short messages through the ham radio, which is it is so convenient to be able to do that.
And it can be it can be crucial. The reason I got in to ham radio to begin with was because of a snake situation down at Buck Island. I talked to a friend of mine at the time in a serious conversation and asked that question, is a snake bite at Buck Island a legitimate call for a helicopter? And the answer is yes. One hundred percent with snakes. You never know. You never know. You could be like a beesting or you could lose your arm or you could die.
You just never can tell. So if you have the ability, it does warrant a call for a helicopter. So having the ability to make that make that call on the radio, it's crucial and it's so easy we can go into more detail. There's another time. But, you know, both my sons got it when they were like eleven years old. You can go on the Internet, you can take a practice test. And I think now, even because of the covid-19, they're doing online testing.
So you don't even have to go somewhere to do the test. So that's something folks can look into. But it's not difficult. It's ten dollars. I mean, this is ten dollars for ten years. You know, I just renewed mine is something is no excuse not to have it, and it literally can save your life. And it has up there there's been many lives saved up.
[00:55:07.360] – Big Rich Klein
But now knowing that I can do it online, that's what I'm going to do this next week is find that and get my my ham operators license. I don't have a radio yet. Like I said, I only have business class stuff. But but supposedly I'm supposed to have a license or permission to use those. But I figure if the FCC still driving around in their vans with twenty five antennas and they catch me power to now
[00:55:38.150] – Tim Green
honestly with the Ham stuff, they were a little funny side caveat to that up on the Rubicon one time.
And I was listening to the radio and there were some guys and they were they were talking on a private frequency that they shouldn't be talking on and they actually are bad for them. They were talking about fishing games, frequency. Oh, and so Fish and Game got a hold. The guys there, a race crew out of somewhere that had race radios and they happen to be on that frequency. I don't. You think they knew what they were doing as far as they didn't know they're breaking any laws or anything and they did Fish and Game got up there with the sheriff's department and they triangulated them.
They found them. You know, maybe people should have better things to do with their time, but, yes, that can happen. Yeah, I mean, honestly, with the with the ham radio, it's so easy to have it. And you go to qrz.com is a real good site,. Real good site to look out for the practice tests. You can go there. People can reach out to me, too. I'm all over Facebook on the Rubicon Gazette and there's a lot of information about radio on the Rubicon Gazette that has a couple of files in there in the files section.A great place to get started.
[00:56:34.520] – Big Rich Klein
Excellent. And I may reach out to you here in the next week or so. And we put together the article for 4Low magazine on communication and ham radio especially. So I appreciate it. OK, well, Tim, thank you very much for coming on and talking about your history with the Rubicon and what you know of the Rubicon and and what you guys do. And I really appreciate you spending the time with us and sharing sharing your views.
[00:57:05.890] – Tim Green
You bet. It's been fun. All right. We'll have to stay in touch. We haven't I don't know if we've ever really met in person.
Well, I think we I think we've crossed paths, but I think you'll have to come out and have a beer with us.
[00:57:16.480] – Big Rich Klein
That sounds like a perfect plan. All right. And thank you very much. If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating, share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. Well, that brings this episode to an end. OK, you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much.