JULY 4th, 1998 Pirates of the Rubicon Run

July 2nd, 1998-

Kelly, my girlfriend abandons me and heads for the trail with some of the neighbors. She is too excited to wait till Friday night since I had to work all day Friday. So she packed up her Jeep, and headed out Thursday night with Jim and DC.

July 2nd, 11:00PM

The phone rings. It's Jim on his cell phone. They are up on the trail en-route to Spider Lake. He says that Kelly is broke hard, and they don't have the parts and/or tools to fix it. I tell him to let her camp where she is, if she is comfortable with that, and I will send up help the following day. Kelly's spirits are dampened, but she isn't going to let this ruin her weekend.

July 3rd, Noon

I am at work, and wondering what the hell I am going to do. I discover that I don't have my Visa/ATM card, Kelly has it. How in the heck am I going to buy a new CV without money? I stress out all day, until I get off at 3:33PM.

July 3rd, 1:00PM

The rest of the Pirate clan heads up to Loon... They come across Kelly's broken rig, and they assist her in surgery. Dean has a new CV, so they operate and get it all together in no time. They were amazed that Kelly was right down under there wrenching and getting greasy. That's my girl!!!

July 3rd, 4:30PM

I am so excited, yet stressed about what I am going to do when I get to where Kelly is, since I don't know if she is fixed, or still broke. I finally get to Loon Lake, and air down the tires. I look across the other side of the slabs way in the distance, and I see all the Pirates. I contact them on the C.B., and they say they helped get Kelly all patched up, and ready to rock! COOL!!! All of my stress immediately dissapates, and it is now time for a kick butt 4th of July weekend. I tell the guys (and gal) to go ahead and haul ass, I will catch up to them down the trail.

July 3rd, 6:00PM

I catch up with the rest of the gang, and we all take a break. I thank all the boys for assisting Kelly in patching up the Jeep, and saving me the headache! Kelly wants to drive the Land Cruiser, so I hop in the Jeep, and we continue on our way. Man, it is amazing the difference between driving the Land Cruiser, and the Heep! Night and day!!! It takes me a few minutes to adjust to the decreased ground clearance, higher gears, and less suspension travel the Jeep has. Of course Kelly is a happy camper now that she is driving my baby!

We head up walker hill with no problem, until the tie rod on the Jeep decides to taco. We pulled over and yanked it off, and straightened it out in no time, and were back in business. A short while later, we made it to Little Sluice. I elected to drive the Jeep up Toyota Rock, since I was limping in 3 wheel drive. I couldn't get up, so I decided to winch up, and save the poor little Jeep some pain.

After we got the Jeep out of the way, it was time to have a little bit of fun. I ran down and hopped in my Land Cruiser (Kelly just wanted to go relax for a while!) and run the 'Box. The sun had gone down by this time, and it was totally dark. I walked the box so easily that it was boring for all of the bystanders, so I figured I had better please them all.... (* one side note, I was getting tired of smaking my head on my bent roll bar from a previous roll onto my driver's side. I needed to fix that.) .... I cranked her hard to the left, right into the wall right past the difficult part of the 'Box. I began climbing the wall, and just kept the wheels cranked left. Everyone began to cheer.... I felt my adrenaline begin to increase.... The rig kept climbing the verticle wall, going farther and farther, till she was at the point of no return - she started tippiing in slow motion, and onto her side! The crowd went wild! The stupid part was, was that I had to flop it before emptied out all of my damn gear! So much for all of my ice! What a clown!

Everyone came down off of Heckle Rock, and helped put the Cruiser back onto her wheels. We tossed all my junk back into the rig, and headed for camp. What a day!

July 4th, Morning

We wake up to a brilliant sun, and the trickle of the stream beside our tent. This is what it is all about... This is God's country. I hope that we can keep this trail open for many years to come, so that my grandkids can enjoy this place as I have for many years.

July 4th, 11:00AM

My Dad shows up at our camp. He drove up to Loon Lake and hiked in with his dog. He said it was a long, but great hike. It is actually only about 4 miles, but the rocks make it a long 4 miles! My Dad had some bad news with him - it seems that Jeff, our President, was broken down on the trail, right out of Loon Lake. He said Jeff wasn't sure what was wrong, the motor just quit running and wouldn't start. We later learned that he had broken a timing chain. Talk about a bummer, huh?

July 4th 12:00PM - High Noon

We all gathered at the Sluice Box and watched all the Yahoos run the 'Box. The Hecklers were out in full force, egging everyone on. It was perfect. As you all may or may not know, today was the day to initiate our new members. Jimmy, Dean, Scott, Vince, and Troy were all lined up to run the 'Box, blindfolded. After the 'Box was clear, we began our initiations.. The lineup was like this: Vince first, Dean second, Scott third, Troy fourth, and Jimmy last. My personal thoughts were that Vince would have the toughest time, because his Cherokee was the least setup of the group. Or so I thought.....

Bobby hopped in the passenger seat with Vince, and he put on the specially prepared goggles. The lense was a #Krylon Black, zero visibility. Vince began heading toward the box, the crowd was bigger than I had ever seen it. Everyone has hooting, and hollering. The energy from the crowd actually gave me goose bumps! Vince approached the first major obstacle, and walked right over it, like it wasn't even there! I couldn't believe my eyes! The crowd roared with delight. Vince navigated on, using Bob as his eyes. He continued to motor on through the rest of the box, like he was driving through a K-Mart parking lot. I couldn't believe what I just saw! He went through easier than every other guy who was in front of him, with no blindfold! He did not have to back up once! Hell, he never even stopped! Amazing....

Next up, was Dean. Dean chose The Technician as his co-pilot. Dean approched the first large set of boulders, and had a little difficulty. He kept hanging up on the rock, just spinning his tires. You could see the frustration begin to mount on his face, but right about the time the frustration began to show, he popped right over the first set of rocks, and then was able to motor right on through the rest of the obstacles, no problem!

So far we had two really impressive runs, who was going to really blow it, I wondered to myself? Scott was next, and he motored up to the first boulders. He ended up having the same problems as Dean did, trying to claw his way into the proper line. By this time, the crowd was yelling and screaming, and doing their fair share of heckling. It was great. Scott was trying over and over, trying to scrape his way over the first set of boulders without much luck. I took a swig of beer, and then the next thing I know, Scott had popped up and halfway over the rock! As his front tires came over, his rear tires fell into the crack. This caused his Jeep to pretty much roll over onto it's side! The crowd went nuts once again, naturally. This 80% roll was not about to stop Scott though, he just attempted to continue forward, to the approval of the crowd. His driver's side Boggers dug and clawed for traction, pulling the Jeep forward slowly, as the body grinded against the granite. Slowly, the Jeep crawled out of it's perdicamint, and righted itself onto all fours! Spectacular!!! Scott continued on his way, motoring on through the rest of the 'Box like it was nothing.

The next two clowns, Troy and Jimmy, with their outrageous rigs, made short work of the 'Box compared to Scott's wild show. They both walked through without hardly a scratch! They made it look too easy. I think we are going to have to do a more difficult initiation next year, since these guys made it look too easy!

After the boys were all done with their runs, it was time to congratulate them, and hand out club stickers. I congratulated them all and welcomed them all to the club. Everyone was pretty fired up, life was good.

We hung out for a while, and watched everyone bash around in the 'Box. I decided to give my "crack line" a try, and give everyone a show. I eased up the "the rock" and tried to go up it. Unfortunately, the ground was wet, so my back tires weren't doing their part of the bargain. I backed up to get a better line at it, and low and behold - Bobby was right behind me. He decided not to move, so I gave him a "Pirate Bump." The crowed jeered and cheered - I broke one of his headlights!

"Uh Oh" I thought.

I got myself a better line, and made another attempt. About halfway up, the crowd began to go wild. The next thing I know, my rig lurches forward! Bobby had just rammed my helpless self! That dirty DOG!!! The crowd went nuts, and that just ecouraged him to back up, and give it another hit. He backed up, and came at me again! All I could do is sit there and take it. I sure wasn't going anywhere! SMACK! He hit me again! But he didn't stop, he kept coming forward, and the next thing I know, there is a 36" Swamper in the back on my rig! Too cool! The crowd applauded, and roared with approval... This was good, really good. Bob backed off of me, and pulled out the strap. He had stuffed me into the crack pretty good. He yanked me backwards, we gave eachother hi-fives, and I gave it another run... After a few unsucessful tries, I finally got fed up. I wasn't in the line I wanted to be in, I was too far over to the left. I didn't think I had a snow's chance in hell to make it, but I decided to give it a go anyhow. The L.C. clawed up a little further, and then came to a halt as I was pretty well high centered. My driver's side Boggers were pretty much in the air, and the transfer case crossmember and rear driveshaft were kissing granite. It didn't look good. I figured I was done. I was about to call for the strap, but I decided to give it one more shot forward. I let out the clutch, and cranked the wheels into the wall, to try and get the passenger Bogger to get some bite. All of a suddden, the rig eased forward a few inches! I couldn't believe it! It did it! The crowd began to cheer, as I eased it down off "The Rock." Chills ran up and down my spine! What a rush!

After the long day of events, we all decided to hit camp, and relax for a while, and throw down a few cold ones! The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet (in comparison to "Wild Saturday"). The one thing that was pretty exciting was the fact that Sunday morning my Dad ended up catching a 1 pound Rainbow Trout in the creek with his bare hands! It was too cool! Kelly gutted the sucker and cooked it up for breakfast. About an hour later, Dan came over with his proud trophy - he caught an identicle fish with his bare hands! That catch would be dinner! After all the fun and relaxation we had on Sunday, we decided to stay another night, and hang out at Spider Lake till Monday.

July 6th, Monday Morning

We headed out Monday morning. We did a final inspection/cleanup of Little Sluice (there was more trash than usual) and gathered up all the garbage, and our cans. A few guys offered to help haul out some of the trash, so I would like to thank them now. Unfortunately, I don't know their names. After we hit the trail homeward bound, we already had thoughts of our next adventure brewing - the 46th annual Jeeper's Jamboree!


This story written by your friendly webmaster, Lance Clifford.


Click here to see an animated clip of Lance doing the crack line!