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PresidentialRovings

New and Improved

Hello fellow Roverphiles! I know it has been a while since you’ve heard from your Rover Club, but that’s because a lot has been going on over the winter putting the new Solihull Society together. I wanted to wait on the Winter newsletter until things had started to gel with the merger so that you could get a solid overview of where things stand with the new club and what’s been going on. So here it is….. Your new Executive Committee has met several times during Jan/Feb to address our leadership, membership, financial, and communications (website, marketing, etc) issues. The Executive Committee is made up of the existing members of both the Solihull Society’s and Rover Rider’s elected leadership. These people will serve on the Executive Committee through the end of 2004 until new elections are held. The committee held internal elections to assign the general club leadership positions. The Executive Committee members and roles are: Pat Bickford, President; Mark Stolte, VP; Pam Haigh, Treasurer; John Alden, Secretary; Carl Padgett, Membership; Ali Vali, Events coordinator; Jim Hall, Land Issues coordinator; Norman Hall, Marketing; Josh White, Webmaster; Nathan Hindman, Newsletter editor; and Hans Schulze, Larry Grubbs, Charlie Haigh, Ralph Brandt, Tim Clair, Jim Molter, and Marc Richardson, are all active general Executive Committee members. We’ve gotten a lot done so far. We are consolidating our banking accounts, creating a 2004 budget, creating new club Bylaws, establishing an annual (vs. quarterly) membership renewal policy, creating a new website accessible via both solihullsociety.org and roverriders.org URL’s, contracting with a new web hosting company, and creating a new 2004 events calendar. There is still much to do, but we have made some really good progress toward combining the club memberships and administration. So here are some of the more exciting things we have accomplished over the last couple of months: • Keep an eye out for the new Solihull Society website! Josh White is trying to get the new site online by the end of March, but please be patient, it’s a lot of work. • We are hosting a club sponsored trailleader training course taught by Bill Burke’s 4Wheelin America in Moab during March 2022. Contact Mark Stolte at 303-888-8277 for information and availability. • We have donated $500 to our club philanthropy, The Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center.

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Check them out at: http://www.wolfeducation.org • We are processing the paperwork to adopt a second adopt-a-trail via the Colorado Association of 4WD Clubs. We are adopting Mosquito Pass and will assume responsibility for maintaining this trail. • We have already confirmed four corporate financial sponsors for the 2004 National Rally. Way to go Norman! • And lastly, we have created a club owned “loaner” parts and tool bin for commonly broken parts on the trail (diffs and axles, etc) and the hard to find tools needed for some common repairs – check out the new website later this year for more info. In other news related to the club, we are proud to report that our friends at Land Rover Flatirons will continue to offer 15% discounts on Genuine Rover parts purchased from their store for all card carrying Solihull Society members. Please contact Carl Padgett if you are current on your membership and do not have a member card. Please note; Denver East and South LR stores are unable to continue offering club members a discount on parts. However, they do have a “Vintage Club” membership available for purchase directly from the dealership. Please contact those stores directly for more information on the program. 2004 is shaping up to be a great year for the new club! We have a strong and enthusiastic Executive Committee, planning for the 2004 National Rally in Moab is well under way, and our 2004 Events Calendar (check inside back cover of this issue) is packed with great trail runs of all levels. As always, we need your help to make sure there are trail leaders for all the scheduled trips, so please check the schedule and let Ali Vali know if you can lead a trip this year. Remember, this is your club and we can’t do it without you. Thanks again for your vote of confidence in support of the merger, and for your continued support via membership and your participation. I hope to see you on the trails soon! Cheers,

Marc 303-733-7169 marcrrr@msn.com

A Newsletter for Land Rover Aficionados

RoverXchange The Rover Xchange is a quarterly publication of the Solihull Society 4-Wheel Drive Club, Inc. All material in Rover Xchange, unless otherwise noted, is the property of Solihull Society and may not be reproduced without permission. SOLIHULL SOCIETY CONTACTS President – Pat Bickford (303) 526-0780 VP – Mark Stolte marks@alliancecp.com Membership – Carl Padgett (303) 932-7090 Treasurer – Pam Haigh chaigh@boulder.net Event Coordinator – Ali Vali avali@mho.com Newsletter – Nathan Hindman nathan@pangaea-expeditions.com Website – Joshua White webmaster@roverriders.org Website – www.solihullsociety.org Newsletter Articles and Photos – The preferred format for articles to be submitted is in either Word (.doc) or text (.txt) format. The preferred format for photos is for a digital picture to be emailed or maild on CD in either a JPEG, TIFF or EPS files. The articles can be submitted either via email (webmaster@roverriders.org) or mailed on a CD to Nathan Hindman at the following address: Nathan Hindman, 3800 Pike Rd, #3-203, Longmont, CO 80503. Materials will be returned upon request Advertising – $25/issue or $100/year (4 issues– get 1 add’l issue free) for 1/4 page ads. Payment must accompany all camera-ready ads. Make check payable to Solihull Society; mail it to the address at the bottom of this column. Free classified ads to members. $5/issue to non-members. Club Membership – $60/year includes membership in the Colorado Association of 4-Wheel Drive Club, their newsletter, the Rover Xchange newsletter, and all the trail rides you can take! Make check payable to Solihull Society and mail it to the following address: Solihull Society PO Box 480864 Denver, CO 80248-0864


RoverXchange

In this Issue

Volume 9, Issue 1

Presidential Rovings

Winter 2003/2004

2

Marc discusses all of the new developments with the merger of the two clubs.

Trip Report: Twin Cone

4

A mid-winter romp up in the mountains.

Trip Report: 7 Mile Rim

6

Scenic Four-wheeling in the remote trails by Moab.

Land Use Issues: Adopt-a-Trail

4

7

The future of the club with regards to trail stewardship.

Trip Report: Importing Two Land Rovers

8

Todd Vess’ year long saga of importing a pair of Series Rovers.

Trip Report: Glacier Ridge

12

A fall trip into the mountains.

Event Report: Holiday Party

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12

Rover Riders + Solihull Society = a great holiday party celebration

Classifieds

13

Parts and accessories for sale by club members

Trip Report: Escape from the Rubicon

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On the Rubicon, things don’t always go as planned, as Jeff Solomon discovered.

2004 Event Schedule

18

Front cover: Solihull Society member Graham Jackson tackles the sands of the Kalahari with a Defender 110. Photo by Tyler Wirken Back cover: Bob Lohman’s D90 gets some big air on Behind the Rocks Trail, Moab. Photo by Bob Lohman Below: A scenic stopping point, 7-mile Rim, Moab Photo by Jim Molter

RoverXchange

Winter 2004

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TripReport

by Jim Hall

Twin Cone

It was mid January and we had not had too much snow this winter. Earlier in the week I had to drive over Kenosha pass for work, which lies to the southwest of Denver, Colorado. To the east of the top of the pass lies Twin Cone Peak, which has a moderate 4wd road going to the top. The snow looked very sparse, even at the +12,000 foot peaks top. I decided the trail had to be attempted, and started trying to rally the troops to get a trip going. We decided to attempt it on January 18th with 4 vehicles. The participants were Ralph Bradt, driving his late IIA series Rover, Craig Davis driving his Discovery, Dave Whitney driving a Pinzgauer, and me driving my newly acquired ‘87 Range Rover. We got to the start of the trail at 10:30 A.M. It was a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, and even fairly warm for the altitude we were at. We aired down our tires and started down the trail. We hit snow as soon as we got into the trees, but this part of the trail is also on the north slope of a small hill.

Above: Ralph Brandt climbs a snowy incline. Below: Dave Whitney’s Pinzgauer breaks through the deep snow. Photos by Jim Hall

The road was packed down with only 3” of snow on the ground, but it gave no trouble as it is fairly flat and smooth until maybe 10,000 feet. We soon were past the hill and slowly climbing on the south side of the mountain. We made our way up several switchbacks encompassed in a large aspen grove. One section past the second switchback had me a bit worried as I know it usually has an ice flow covering it which can be very slick. It wasn’t too bad this time and no one spun a tire. Now with the switchbacks behind us, we started getting into pine trees, which shaded the road, hence it had deeper snow. There were some ATV tracks, and another set of vehicle tracks. The snow was deep enough that when I got out of a track and entered the deeper snow, it started pulling me in, so I had to drive slower and more carefully. Still no one had problems with traction as we all made our way towards timberline. We finally came out of the trees, and into a meadow, where the trail starts to get challenging. The first hard section has a fork with a steeper but smoother climb to the left, and an uphill gully with medium sized rocks to the right. I was the leader, and decided to see how the right path treated me. As soon as I started getting into the rocks, forward motion ceased. I tried a few more times, then backed up to put on the chains. I slowly clawed my way up and over the smaller rocks, around the corner and over the bigger rock at the top,reaching level ground. Craig decided to try the left fork. I thought he wasn’t

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A Newsletter for Land Rover Aficionados


going to make it as he didn’t have chains, but through good driving and perseverance, he finally got to the top. Dave was next. He took the same route I did, and had no problems as he went up, axles locked. Ralph, knowing that sooner or later he would need his chains, put them on, and made his way up the left side. Craig had gone on ahead, and I was thinking to myself that this was the part of the trail that would stop him. It consisted of an uphill v section with a large tree root that had to be climbed up and over, a sharp uphill corner, and then some decent sized rocks. He proved me wrong. We all made it up this section with no problems, especially since the rocks were starting to melt off a bit. We all drove up the optional ledge without many problems. Craig didn’t quite get lined up right the first time, and was scraping his cat and crossmember, but made it up fine after a slight re-alignment on the rocks. The next obstacle was the one that I was wondering about. It is a steep hill that is difficult when dry. To the left it is smooth, but had 5” of snow covering it most of the way up. To the right it is loose and rocky soil, mostly dry except for some snow at the bottom. Dave volunteered to try it first. He took several attempts to get started up the snow covered rocks, then slowly spun his way up the looser clear section. At the top there was a little snow, and his locked front started sliding a little sideways across the hill, making me worry a bit. He made it up ok though. I went up next. I made the rocks ok, with the chains on my rear tires, but about halfway up, in the loose section, I started sliding to the left across the slope and into the snow. as I backed up, I started sliding more but then straightened out. Keeping far to the right this time, I made it up. Craig couldn’t even get started on the snow and ice covered rocks. I brought my chains down that came with the Rover when I bought it, but soon decided that they must have been for the stock sized tires as they came nowhere close to fitting Craigs larger tires. In the meantime, Ralph made it up with no problems, and came walking down with his extra set of chains for his 235-85-16’s. These were very close to fitting, and somehowI got one on the left rear, but no matter how we tried, we couldn’t get the right one on. Dave then went and got his extra chains that came with the Pinz. Now these were chains to beat all chains! They had 3 adjusting plates on the back, a chain went back and forth along the tread, with large round links that the outside chain could pull through. They then had a large tightening handle that locked closed. They fit due to their construction, but were so large, they gave the appearance of a net made of chain wrapped completely around the tire. Craig now drove up without a problem. We made it to timberline, around 11,000 feet in

RoverXchange

Jim Hall’s Rangie makes light work of the trail thanks to some snow chains. Photo by Jim Hall

elevation, and decided to stop by a rock outcropping for some lunch and rest. Walking back up such a steep hill at that altitude is quite tiring! Unfortunately we didn’t make much further. The mountain was now fairly devoid of snow, only patches here and there, except for the two drifts in the middle of the trail right in front of me. I got some speed up, expecting to break through, but got stopped dead in my tracks halfway. It seems the drifts were deeper than they appeared, and also had a very hard thick crust on top,

 

strong enough to jump up and down on, and get high centered on. I made several attempts to get through, and so did Dave, but each time we would get stuck and have to be pulled out. We probably could have made it eventually with some shovelling, but it was starting to get late in the afternoon, so we decided to head back down. The trip down was uneventful, and made the perfect ending to a perfect January day in the Rockies.

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Winter 2004

www.SolihullSociety.org

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TripReport

by Jim Molter

7 Mile Rim 2003 National Rally

On the first day of the Rally I chose to lead the 7 Mile Rim and Wipe Out Hill trail. The trail starts north of Moab off highway 191. Shortly passing highway 313 you take the first dirt road to the left that heads up the hill then hangs a left and follows the rim. Halfway through the trail an optional trail to the right takes you to Uranium Arch. Returning to the main road we continued along the rim, which provided everyone with great views. Soon we were heading off to the Monitor and Merrimac Buttes where we had lunch. After lunch the fun begins, We were heading for Wipe Out Hill. To get there we had to skirt the Merrimac Butte on a off camber tract that took you up and around it’s back side and down to the top of Wipe Out Hill. This is a challenging experience for anyone especially for the people that had never driven it before. After everyone was down safely some drove back up and down again. Jurgan asked “Can I do it in the stock Rangy?” I told him give it a try, and away he went. He was spinning some tires when he crested the top but he made it. Good for him. From the bottom we followed the bluffs on the right that lead out to highway 313 and Moab.

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Above: Jim Molter leads a convoy of Rovers across the slickrock of 7 Rim. Photo by Jim Molter

A Newsletter for Land Rover Aficionados


LandUseIssues

by Hans Schultz

Adopt-a-road update

At the combined executive meeting held in January 2004, the committee confirmed the club’s intention to retain Radical Hill as an adopted trail, and committed for the up-keep of Mosquito Pass as an additional Adopt-A-Road. It is located northwest of Fairplay, between Alma and Leadville and is considered a moderate trail, suitable for stock vehicles. Radical Hill is accessible from either Webster Pass or Red Cone, which are accessible from US 285, then heading north on County Road 60. Please see this year’s trail schedule for inspection rides and work days. LAND ISSUES UPDATE The executive committee also decided to renew the membership in the Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs Inc which supports the United Four Wheel Drive Association in their endeavor to protect accessibility to trails through lobbying and legal means on a national level. Considerations to maintain membership in CoA4WDCI included:

Responsible land use ensures that trails will stay open for everyone, and will be protected for future generations. Photo by Jim Hall

• Conduit for the Adopt-A-Road program • Members of Tread Lightly • Organizers of Four Wheel Emergency Assistance Team which provides 4wd transportation to emergency service workers during a declared emergency. • Disseminator of land issue information through publication and emails. • UFWDA’ preference of membership through state organizations which receive two votes at the annual convention, while stand alone clubs do not have voting privileges. • CoA4WDCI’s excellent working relationship with UFWDA on legal matters. CoA4WDCI is monitoring many federal and state proposals which pertain to our ability to off-road and modify our vehicles. • noise standards • tire efficiency requirements • prohibition of after market exhaust system • restrictions on altered-height vehicles • graveyard laws pertaining to old vehicles. They are also tracking an interesting issue being considered by the US Supreme Court. Can an agency such as the Forest Service and the BLM be sued for inaction, such as a failure to close trails? The executive committee decided to commit for one year only and will assess the benefits of the affiliation again next year.

RoverXchange

Winter 2004

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TripReport

by Todd Vess

Importing Two Land Rovers

This article is part 3 of a 3 part series. The first two parts, which were printed in the previous Solihull Society newsletter, documented the process of going over to the UK to select the vehicles , getting them prepped for shipment and loaded onto the container. – editor Each passing day got more and more painful. Thankfully, we had the worst snowstorm in Colorado history, which helped keep my mind off the Rovers, though I wished I had them home so I could drive them in the snow. Frustrated and really wanting my trucks, I emailed the agent in New Jersey who’d arranged shipping. Around 10 a.m. that morning, Lisa called me at work. “Don’t pee your pants or anything, but your Rovers are in Denver,” she said. “The lady just called and will be calling you in a little while to arrange delivery.” YES! Though they weren’t home yet, they were close. The phone at the fire station rang and it was the lady from the towing company. She explained that they wanted to bring both up at once, but didn’t have a truck or trailer large enough to accompany the weight. So, they’d have to bring one up the next day (Thursday) and another on Saturday. We made arrangements for Effie to be delivered first, as I figured it would take more time to clean her up than Annie, who had gotten a $400 bath just a couple of weeks prior.

Above: A year in the making, the big day finally arrives– unloading Annie at the house. Annie gets a bit of TLC at the firehouse. Photo by Todd Vess

When I got off work the next morning, I cleaned out the garage and sat at the front window waiting patiently for Effie to arrive. Finally, I heard a truck coming down the street. I went to the window and saw the flatbed with Effie on it I had my digital camera with me and snapped a photo through the window before running outside to greet the tow truck. Effie looked no worse for wear. She was filthy, had shipping stickers on her and all four tires were flat, but other than that was just like I’d left her in England. Even all the I’d put inside her were accounted for. After checking the fluids, I turned the key and she fired up, the sweet sound of 6 British cylinders firing away. Two days later, Annie arrived in the same fashion. She, however, did not survive the trip as well. There was a large scrape down the entire passenger side and the rear end had been hit, but the license plate took most of the impact. Unlike Effie, Annie would not start. The ignition had been left on and the fuel pump had fried itself and the battery was flat. My first Series Landie project. . . and certainly not the last. I hopped into Effie and the tow truck driver handed me the keys. “The key is really hard

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to turn,” he said. Looking at the key ring, I explained that he had the keys to the pickup, so no wonder they wouldn’t work. I went downstairs, grabbed my extra set and set to work

A Newsletter for Land Rover Aficionados

getting Effie started. First I put a couple of gallons of fuel in her. Then, I made sure the carb vacuum line was plugged, a lesson we’d learned in London. I turned the key and she didn’t sound


like she’d start. One more turn and she fired up, filling the garage with the sound of six Land Rover cylinders firing. It was beautiful. Effie had seatbelts in all three front seats, but no others. I quickly unpacked all the parts I’d stuffed into nooks, crannies and crevices. I found the threepoint seatbelts that were among the parts Glenn had thrown in with Annie and began to install at least one more seatbelt so the three boys and I could go get fuel and wash her up. The seatbelt took all of 10 minutes to install. I packed the boys in and we headed out. We stopped at the gas station and filled her up We then went to McDonald’s and got lunch. The kids were used to going to McD’s in the RHD Mini, so we have drive-thrus in British cars down to a science. It was then off to the fire station to begin the washing process. Needless to say, Effie caused quite a stir among those in the station. Though we live in a Ford vs. Chevy world here in Windsor, everyone can agree on one thing: old Land Rovers are cool. After nearly two hours of scrubbing in the wash bay, Lisa arrived home from work. One of our assistant chiefs looked at her and said, “You’re really going to drive this, huh?” Lisa replied, “I love it. It’s even better than I’d thought.” The AC replied, “You are far more adventurous than my wife. She’d kill me if I went to England and brought something like this back.” Lisa poked around Effie for a while and then loaded up the kids and headed home. I followed a couple of

Above: The impressive family Rover stable- The two 109s are joined by their “little brother” a Rover Mini. Photo by Todd Vess

hours later. The kids and I took Effie in to Fort Collins Friday to run errands and for the insurance agent to see. He wanted pics of the trucks for his underwriters. Though we passed numerous police officers, and all stared at Effie, none pulled us over, despite the fact we only had British plates on her.

I guess they figured it was more paperwork than it was worth. The next morning I arose early, as Annie was scheduled to arrive at 8 a.m. At 8:10, I heard the familiar sound of a flat-bed tow truck coming up the street. I flew out to the garage and began to snap photos of Annie’s arrival. The driver

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RoverXchange

(303) 772-7207

Winter 2004

www.SolihullSociety.org

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TripReport

Importing Two Land Rovers (continued)

put her in the driveway. He hung around for a good half-hour, talking about the various Jeeps he’d owned during his lifetime. Then, he headed out and I began to look over Annie. She didn’t survive the trip as well as Effie. Something had obviously crashed into the back of her pristine body. However, the license plate took the brunt of the impact. A signal light was broken out and there was a large “rub” down the side. I could buff out the rub, a new tail light was $6 and the license plate could be mended. The next morning, (Sunday) I woke up late, but was at Napa at the crack of 10 when the doors opened. I got all the parts I needed, and a few extras such as an antenna for Effie’s new CD player, some lead substitute, wire clips, etc. An hour and only one trip back to Napa for smaller brass fittings for the fuel lines, Annie fired up and ran like a champ. The next few weeks were spent sorting out various little things, such as Annie not starting again and Effie’s lack of power and a water pump that sounded like it was sucking ball bearings through it instead of water. Thankfully, Rovers are easy to work on and very forgiving vehicles, and things have been sorted out. Effie got her bonnet painted white and new rims put on her to help dress her up a bit. Annie’s canvas hood came off for summer and she has been used

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The quintessential British work truck earns it keep on this side of the pond. Todd makes use of the 109 pickup by hauling sod. Photo by Todd Vess

quite a bit to help haul sod and other landscaping materials around. Finally, both vehicles were in the states and running under their own power. A journey that had

A Newsletter for Land Rover Aficionados

started nearly a year before was now over, and a whole new journey was about to begin.


RoverXchange

Winter 2004

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TripReport

by Jim Molter

Glacier Ridge

At 9:30 we left the City Market in Breckenridge and headed up French Creek to Humbug Hill. It was a crisp morning and the sun shining through the aspens was spectacular. This was the first trip in many outings that we did not have a D90 in the group. Today’s trip would take us up the Middle Fork of the Swan River and up on to Glacier Ridge where the views down the valley with the aspens and willows in full color are the best we have seen in years. We spotted six mountain goats off the ridge near Radical Hill but they were too far down on the ledges to get any photos. Some of the group had never been on the club’s adopt a road Radical Hill so we explained our mission and pointed out the repairs and work the club had done to protect the trail. After splashing through the Snake River we stopped for lunch, where we were joined by Mark Stolte and his father who had come over Red Cone Pass and Ali Vali and his family who had come over Webster Pass. After lunch our group parted company with them and returned to Glacier Ridge by way of St. John and the Wild Irishman mine. Our return trip took us to Wise Mountain where we took a group photo then returned down the North Fork of the Swan to Highway 9 where we parted company. It was a great day of wheeling in the high country.

Above: The group stops to admire the aspen trees on Humbug Hill. Bottom: A Disco takles a steep climb on Middle Fork. Photos by Jim Molter

Gregory Chernushin Attorney at Law Above: Mike Arnold splashes through the Snake River in Summit County. Photos by Jim Molter

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Parkridge Center 10475 Park Meadows Drive, 6th Floor Littleton, CO 80124 (303) 689-0766

A Newsletter for Land Rover Aficionados


EventReport This years Christmas party was held at the Mount Vernon Country club on Sunday 7th December. The committee chose a Sunday lunch arrangement this year to allow more people to attend, especially those with children. Our group was located in the downstairs function room which offered us a spectacular view to the North East out over the rolling hills or the area. Given the recently approved merger between the Solihull Society and the Rover Riders 4WD Club, the function was opened up to members from both clubs as a means of getting the two memberships together. It was great to see people from both clubs attending. As a result we had 78 people at the function including almost all committee members from the two clubs. It was interesting to note that Carl Padgett was not in attendance. It turns out that he had read the instructions incorrectly and had thought that the party started at

by Norman Hall 2003 Christmas Party

3.00 pm and not 12.00 noon. Apparently at 2.45 pm his entire family was dressed and ready to set out when he thought he would just check the directions one last time. It was at that point that he found out that they had missed the party. It was very pleasing to see David and Heidi Nowakowski bring their new baby out for everyone to see and enjoy. James and Naomi Shackelford also bought their new baby, along to enjoy the day. OF great interest to most people was Marc Richardson’s new love, Cynthia. According to Jim & Mary Molter she may be the “One”. I suppose that we all have to wait and see if this eternal bachelor can be tamed by Cynthia. We also had Tim the new Colorado representative for Land Rover North America join us to show LRNA’s support for our club and it’s activities. Organizers, in particular Charlie & Pam Haigh

and Pat Bickford, put in a lot of work to ensure that everyone had a good time. A number of “Secret items” boxes were arranged. People had to put their hands into the boxes and guess what Land Rover items were in each box. The more mechanically inclined members had a definite advantage here as they could guess what the parts actually were. All had a lot of fun with this activity, in particular the children who were at the party. To ensure that the two group go to know each other better, each person at the party had to stand and give a 30 second run down of who they were. This was a good start to bring members of Rover Riders and Solihull Society together as one new club. Overall a great time was had by all and we can only wait for what next years Christmas party brings.

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RoverXchange

Winter 2004

www.SolihullSociety.org

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TripReport

by Jeff Solomon

Escape from the Rubicon

Ru·bi·con: a bound-ing or limiting line; especially one that when crossed commits a person irrevocably. That pretty much sums up the Rubicon! Ever since I moved from Denver to Reno in 2001, the Rover Riders have talked about running the Rubicon Trail, east of Lake Tahoe. And after two false starts a small group finally came together this past July for an epic journey through the high Sierra. Norman Hall drove his big ’88 Rangie all the way in from Colorado to meet us in Reno. John Brown, accompanied by Pat Dougherty (who had never been out wheeling before), drove up from L.A. in his rockin’ red D90. The new rear locker and satellite radio were going to get a workout. The Mystery-Man, Roy Mills, who Norman found on the w.w.w. came in from Vacaville, California. in his well equipped and well used ’95 Disco. Roy had experienced the Rubicon several times before and as a result knew to carry an impressive tool box bolted in the back next to--- the porta-potty. I was joined by Jim “The Chief” Molter in my near-stock ’96 Disco (a.k.a. the Girlfriend).

Above: A Disco finds out that rock sliders are a wise investment on the Rubicon Trail. Below: Norman tests out the ground clearance on his Range Rover. Photos by Jeff Solomon

I was quite excited about finally getting out on this famous route, after all, how bad could it be? I’d been on Holy Cross and several of the scary routes in Moab, and I would have the Chief as my co-pilot. But in retrospect… WHAT WAS I THINKING! Was I blind to all the web photos of rolled trucks and 4-wheeled junk piles? Didn’t I see that those trucks that were intact and moving were on tractor-sized tires? Why didn’t someone tell me that, as the rafters say, “…there’s no flat water” for 17 miles! All kidding aside it was a great trip and if my rear-diff hadn’t turned into scrap metal half-way in, this article would be quite different. The weather and scenery were spectacular, the trail is very challenging and secluded, and the good company of fellow Roverphiles is something I lack in Nevada. The west end of the trail where we started is about two wonderful hours of driving south from Reno over Mt. Rose Highway (~8900 ft), around Lake Tahoe, then northwest along the American River. I say wonderful hours of driving because it was followed by about 8 miles of rock crawling in as many hours. Crossing over rocks and maneuvering around boulders up to 5 feet tall all day may seem wonderful to some I suppose. But these monster boulders, such as Walker’s Rock, seemed to

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always be sitting in the wrong place on the trail and often appeared impassable. Apparently the abundant Sierra snowfall (~500” annually) pushes these giants down the hillside, rearranging the deck so to speak, each year. Several narrow and off-camber choke-points were also encountered along the way, putting side-mirrors and body panels at constant risk. At the first named obstacle, the “Post Pile,” I

A Newsletter for Land Rover Aficionados

learned that on the Rubicon a bypass is not the easy way, but only less difficult than the direct (i.e., bad!) route. We moved along pretty slowly and required lots of delicate guiding. Jim thought he was going to be riding in-style most of the trip but he spent most of his time keeping the rest of us off the rocks. After passing “Little Sluice”, we headed downhill for a few hundred feet towards Spyder


Lake to camp--or so we thought. We never did find the lake (When are both map and GPS useless—when you don’t use them!), but did find a super scenic spot to camp. We ended the day with trucks and crews intact and proceeded to eat dinner, talk trash, and feed the mosquitoes. On Thursday morning we hadn’t even finished our coffee before encountering the first challenge only 25 feet from the campsite; two 5 ft. boulders to squeeze through—here we go again! The group continued to crawl down the very steep and curvy slope which we had started down the night before, and after a few hundred feet a very tricky S-curve around a huge tree (5 feet across) was encountered. As I looked in the rear view mirror I hoped never to see that tree again or the hill that lead down to it, but then Roy said something that was the second worst thing I’d hear all trip. “I think this is the wrong way… we should not have come down here.” “Today?” someone asked Roy, “no last night, we went the wrong way after Little Sluice.” It was at this point, the second thing I didn’t need to hear appeared, a noise from the back-end of my Disco too loud to ignore.

Above: There’s no shortage of well built rigs on the Rubicon Trail. This monster Jeep dwarfs Jim Molter. Below: Jeff Solomon approaches a steep incline. Photos by Jeff Solomon

“Sounds like a spring—nope, perhaps a broken axle-- oh please be an axle, we have spare axles,” But no, the rear diff had turned into itself into a metal masher, grinding up the gears into metal filings! So… briefly, we pulled off the axles and drive shafts, stuffed foil into the open hubs to seal them, swore a lot, got really greasy and filthy, and then winched (burned mine up!) the now front wheel drive Disco around the tree and dragged it (and me) up the hill, finally reaching the previous night’s campsite some 5 hours after we left it. Total distance traveled, about a quarter mile! During our lunch break (right where we ate breakfast) we decided it best to back-track to the trailhead rather than continue east to Lake Tahoe, in order to avoid having to winch the Disco up Big Sluice and Cadillac Hill. I then spent most of the rest of the day alternating between driving a few feet being winched by John, and being dragged by Norman. It seemed like every time Norman needed to speed-up, I needed to slow down, and vice versa. I thought for sure we were going to wreck the Disco! Jim and Pat alternated walking ahead of me holding the strap and looking as if they were the ones doing the towing. We finally reached the last hill climb in the late afternoon that would put us back on top of the ridge where we should have stayed the night before. We could have gone up the way we had come down that was less steep and very rocky, or the much steeper and still rocky alternate route-- Norman chose the former for both of us.

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Winter 2004

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TripReport

Escape from the Rubicon (continued)

I didn’t get very far before I blew out a front tire which we were of course obligated to repair twice (Lesson- bad luck comes in threes, blown diff, winch, and tire). At first it appeared like a popped bead, so Roy, using a nylon strap and cylinder of compressed air (way cool) magically remounted the tire. It was only after the jack was removed that the tire deflated due to an unnoticed tear. While all this was happening, a number of highly modified vehicles cruised down the steep slope, which prompted John to head up it. Driving the D90 like it was stolen got him within feet of the top, but he ended up winching himself, then Roy and Jeff. Night was approaching quickly and like the night before we found ourselves tired, hungry, and filthy. However, unlike the night before, on this day we had traveled only 2.5 miles in some 8 hours! We moved into the first campsite we saw which was a wide spot in the road. Needless to say the day had been trying for everyone and the knowledge of yet another day of it lay heavy on our minds. Fortunately, John and Pat found a small, but very refreshing alpine lake for us to relax in. Oddly, we didn’t clean up all that much,--just too dirty I suppose. We vowed to get off the trail the next day and to prove it we ate all our food and drank all of our drink (which was certainly appreciated by the mosquitoes). During the night (until 4 AM) quite a few vehicles passed through our site with several drivers voicing disappointment at the location of John’s tent, inadvertently set up in front of the “Soup Can,” a popular off-trail obstacle. John though it was just a big rock pile.

Above: Jeff Descends a steep drop off, Rubicon Trail. Photo by Jeff Solomon

Of course the fun and games started again right out of camp on Friday, with an off-camber ramp that leaned you to within inches of a rock wall. We made good progress that day and actually got to the “bail out” point (a forest road) by midday despite Norman’s bent steering arm. Being Friday we passed a lot of very impressive rigs heading up the trail with giant tires, four-wheel steering, major engines, and lifted so high you could change the oil standing up. One guy said his J**p cost as much as two Humvees. And then there was the junk, some rolling, some dead, or under repair roadside. To most we passed the sight of four Rovers, one in 2WD, was oddly impressive. We of course were pleased that prior to our own mechanical problem, we had gone several miles further than a lot of the broken down Rubicon-ready rigs we passed. Once we hit the black-top it was a race with the

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A Newsletter for Land Rover Aficionados


clock to get cell service; we had to call Great Basin Rovers and get a replacement diff shipped to Reno on Saturday. You see I was scheduled to have shoulder surgery on that Monday and there was no way I would be replacing a diff for quite some time after that and I would need the Disco for the automatic transmission. (Thanks to Great Basin for the fast service on short notice!). Saturday was spent in my garage reassembling the Disco and fabricating replacement attachment points for Norman’s new steering damper out of Home Depot parts. Now this little trip may sound like a nightmare to you, and it kind of was at the time, but we are all looking forward to next year’s trip and expect you to join us! We learned a few things about the Rubicon this trip that will make next time more pleasant. A group of 4 Rovers is ideal, 6 max, and a few extra passengers to guide and help out (guiding, winching etc.) are necessary. At a minimum trucks need at least 35” beefy-tires, modified suspension, lockers (ideally front and rear), and protection for everything you can cover. While we all believe that had my Disco not crapped-out mechanically we would likely have completed the trail, but very slowly. Progress was slow even for the most capable vehicle so you really need a bigger rig, so to speak. This would allow for a more relaxed but still very challenging ride and allow time to enjoy camping at one of the many lakes and the entire experience. I highly recommend that when Norman announces the 2004 Rubicon Run, you make a commitment cause this time spaces will fill quickly. As for me, my Disco is running, I have three screws in my shoulder, and can’t wait to be a passenger next year! Top: Steep climbs abound on the Rubicon trail. Above: ‘s Disco finds itself in a precarious position. Photos by Jeff Solomon

For the latest events and trip reports, check out the website

www.SolihullSociety.org RoverXchange

Winter 2004

www.SolihullSociety.org

17


2004EventSchedule www.solihullsociety.org • Always call the trip leader to confirm trip details. Natural and un-natural events can interfere with our plans. All difficulty ratings are based on stock vehicle with some driver experience DATE

EVENT

DIFFICULTY

TRIP LEADER

04/10/04

TBD Pending weather and snow

TBD

Check Web Site.

04/13/04

Club Meeting 7pm Zangs Brewery, Denver I-25 and 23rd Ave

N/A

04/16-19/04

Spring Trip- Moab Utah (Meet in City Market, 8:30 daily

Easy to difficult

4/30–5/02/04

TBD

Check Web Site

05/16/04

Chinaman’s Gulch near Buena Vista.

Moderate to difficult

05/23/04

TBD

Check Web Site

05/29/04

Jenny Creek

Moderate

06/06/04

Twin Cone Peaks near Bailey.

Moderate to difficult

Ali Vali (avali@mho.com)

06/06/04

Kenosha Pass to Jefferson trail.

Easy and scenic

Ralph Bradt (rnbradt@earthlink.net)

06/8/04

Club Meeting 7pm Zangs Brewery, Denver I-25 and 23rd Ave

N/A

06/12/04

Bill Moore Lake near Empire.

Easy to moderate

Jim Hall (Jimfoo@purplemountain.net)

06/20/04

Spring Creek near Dumont.

Difficult

Marc Richardson (Marc.Richardson@spirentcom.co

06/26/04

Lefthand Canyon/Carnage near Boulder.

Difficult

Hans Schulze (zxblade@comcast.net)

07/03/04

Mcallister Gulch near Vail

Easy to moderate

TBD

07/04/04

TBD

N/A

Check Web Site.

7/10-11/04

Holy Cross near Camp Hale (overnight camping)

Difficult

Carl Padgett (cepadgettfamily@worldnet.att.net)

07/11/04

Jones Pass, near Empire

Easy

TBD

07/17/04

Lamartine/Saxton Road near Idaho Springs

Easy to moderate

TBD

07/25/04

Explore Summit County- Georgia Pass, Middle Fork, North Fork Easy to moderate

Ali Vali (avali@mho.com)

7/24-25/04

Blanca Peak near Sand Dunes NP, overnight camping

Difficult-extreme

Hans Schulze (zxblade@comcast.net)

08/09/04

Club BBQ/Meeting (hosted by Matt and Kathy Schulze)

N/A

Directions to follow.

08/15/04

Wheeler Lake near Alma

Moderate to Difficult

Ralph Bradt (rnbradt@earthlink.net)

08/22/04

Work day on Radical Hill for adopt a trail

Moderate

To be announced.

08/28/04

Mosquito Pass near Alma.

Easy and scenic

Jim Hall (jimfoo@purplemountain.net)

09/14-18/04

National Rally Moab, UT More information will be posted.

Easy to extreme

Pat Bickford (pbickford@ai-colorado.com)

10/2/04

Crystal Mountain near Fort Collins

Moderate

Marc Richardson (Marc.Richardson@spirentcom.com)

10/12/04

Club Meeting 7pm Zangs Brewery, Denver I-25 and 23rd Ave

N/A

TBD

Holiday Party Location TBD.

N/A

Please contact event leader by the Wednesday before the event if you plan to attend. If the event leader does not receive any interest the event will be canceled.

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TBD each morning.

Ralph Bradt (rnbradt@earthlink.net)

For more info, check web site


Russ Rackley tests out Marc Richardson’s Range Rover tests out its suspension on 7 Mile Rim, Moab, Utah. Photo by Marc Richardson



membershipapplication

Name _____________________________________________________________________________________ Spouse/Partner/Significant Other ____________________________________________________________ Street Address _____________________________________________________________________________ City _________________________ State ___________________ Zip _______________________________ Phone Number _______________ E-mail___________ Website URL _______________________________ Land Rover(s) Model &Year __________________________________________________________________ Detach and mail with $60 to: Solihull Society PO Box 480864 Denver, CO 80248-0864


Solihull Society PO Box 480864 Denver, CO 80248-0864


2004Winter  
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