|6th Annual Disabled Sports Run on the Rubicon
Story by "Lil" Rich Klein
Photos by Andrea Berger
The Rubicon is widely known as one of the most beautiful trails in North America, if not the world. It is also one of the most historic trails in our amazing 4 wheel drive/off-roading culture. It has caught the eye of many, including manufacturers with branding such as the Jeep Rubicon, Honda Rubicon, etc. For myself, it is the trail I grew up wheeling on, the trail I built my first vehicle for, and the trail I met my fiancée on. It is a get-a-way, a savior, and for many, a struggle.
We are all aware that great trails like the Rubicon can be enjoyed by all with our 4x4s. Every true trail rider in the nation savors the access that we have to this trail and others like it, but there is a part of the national demographic that doesn't get to experience such great things like we do. This is where Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) with Jason and Andrea Berger step in.
With the help of many volunteers like the WeBuilt 4x4 Club and local enthusiasts, the Bergers and Disabled Sports USA are able to take many people with disabilities into the Rubicon to grasp that of which would be otherwise virtually concealed from them. Participating in this year's DSUSA would change my outlook and make the trip a special one for Lacey (my fiancée) and myself. The Washoe Area Retarded Citizens (WARC) were in attendance with a group of around ten people. Some of the WARC people had participated in previous trips, and some had not. The trip also included 8 other DSUSA participants. It was an entirely new experience for me as I have never been exposed to very many people with mental and physical disabilities. For the brave group we toured in, it was something they will cherish forever.
Our trip started off at the Chalet on the Lake Tahoe side of the Rubicon. After a morning briefing at the staging area, we took a slow cruise down to Lookout Point for an afternoon snack. After that it was a ride down Cadillac Hill to the Dirty Dozen campgrounds at Rubicon Springs. Lacey and I rode in with W.E.ROCK Series spotter Chris Pablano and his son and nephew in his Toyota 4Runner. The trip in was simpler than year's prior, where we had experienced minor breakdowns.
Once we made it to camp, all the participants unrolled their sleeping bags and set up for the weekend. As we all set up camp, our chef was gearing up the BBQ for dinner. Due to fire restrictions in the Eldorado National Forest we were not able to have a campfire, but it didn't seem that we really needed one as games with the volunteers and participants were plentiful. Croquet, cards (Go Fish and Poker), conversation filled the night with warmth and laughter.
The next morning we headed to Buck Island for lunch and a swim. It was a hot day so it worked out well for everyone involved. This portion of the trip included a great lunch all planned out by Andrea Berger and Home-Made Ice Cream from Phil Pasciak. We all enjoyed the brisk feel of the water, some more than others, and took advantage of the great outdoors that a trail like the Rubicon has to offer. The sights were of course unbeatable, and even though I had visited the lake many times before, this was the best trip of all because I could sit with a group of people who enjoyed the views as much as I did.
Later that night we got the opportunity to let some of the participants drive the vehicles. Sure, it was over a small rock that almost any regular 4x4 could drive over... But to these guys and gals, it was the greatest thing in the world, and an experience they would hold with them forever.
The next morning entailed a trip out the same way we came in and even though it was a 3-day weekend, you can just never get enough of the Rubicon. For the fortunate few that came with the Bergers and DSUSA, it was the trip of a lifetime and for myself, it could be categorized the same, as it opened my eyes to a great family weekend up on a trail I had maybe taken for granted. It was very apparent; this was an invaluable trip for all attendees.
For those that wish to be involved, I highly recommend it. Contact Jason Berger (aka jbcruiser) for more information.