Mention the name Rubicon Trail and just about anyone you speak to will say they’ve heard of it whether they are into 4×4 off-roading or not. If by some reason, like you’ve been abducted by aliens for most of your life and you’ve never heard of the Rubicon Trail, here is the short of it. The trail’s origination actually began as an Indian trading route and in the 1800’s became a service road, but over time lessened in use and the terrain degraded. The scenic trail with unique terrain then became a favorite for explorers and adventurers. In the early 1950’s, the trail sprung back to life as the Jeepers Jamboree event picked the trail as its home. The trail that spans from from Georgetown, CA to Tahoma, CA at Lake Tahoe and has basically become internationally known as an ultimate destination for hiking, 4X4′s, motorcycle or quad, or mountain bike adventures.
That leads us to the story of Brad Perry, a hiker, adventurist, professional photographer and more importantly, an Axial RC fanatic. Brad joined the media at Axialfest 2017 and captured some amazing moments from the event, so our eyes were on his work. Then he posted a photo (above) from his recent trek on the Rubicon Trail, that he organized himself, to his social media. Brad had our attention once again and we got a hold of him to tell his story of the trip.
Name: Brad Perry
Hometown: Born and raised in Livermore, CA but I have lived in South Lake Tahoe, CA for the past 11 years
Profession: Owner of Von Perry Photography and Freelance photographer
Hobbies: Bouldering, Hiking, Riding all types of bikes
Prior hikes – I hike almost every day for work. If I’m not out shooting some kind of action sports, I’m in my local area hiking around with my wife, dog and RC. When it comes to the Rubicon I had hiked the trail multiple times for other photo assignments so I had a lot of prior knowledge of the trail.
Physical prep – I knew I could hike the mileage with no issue but I had to do a lot of overall prep. I did 3 prior hikes that were around 12-14 miles each. I had to figure out what mileage the truck was getting so I didn’t run out of battery power and I had to figure out my overall pace so I could plan on being picked up at the finish.
Clothing – Shorts and my Axial t-shirt
Shoes – Altra Timps
Backpack –North Face Mega Mouth
Headlamp- Petzl Tikka
Supplies – Sony A7s Camera, Canon 16-35mm and a 50mm lens, folding tripod, iPhone6s, tools if anything breaks on trail.
Extra parts – Front and rear drivelines, C-hubs and knuckles, steering servo, a servo horn and a few misc screws.
Food and hydration – Two PB&J sandwiches, one Cliff Bar and some beef jerky. Two Lemonade Rockstar Recovery energy drinks. 50oz of Skratch Labs exercise hydration mix and 50oz of water.
Axial SCX10 II RTR
Upgrades – Axial 1.9 BFGoodrich Krawler T/A’s, Vanquish shock hoops, Vanquish Method 105’s, CI single stage foams, HR hardened trans gears, Proline 4runner body
Special mods – None
Electronics – Castle Mamba-X with a 1410 3800kv brushless system. Spektrum DX4C radio system. Stock steering servo.
Lighting – No lighting on the rig.
Batteries – I took 6 Venom 2s 5000mha 50c batteries. I used about 28,500mha in total.
The radios batteries held up just fine.
The trail itself is very challenging just to hike. It’s not your normal well groomed hiking trail. Lots of loose rock and silt covered slabs. Traction and footing is a constant issue. I knew I wanted to go fast but I needed to be safe at the same time. Twisting an ankle out that far with no support is something you have in the back of your mind the whole time. I was also on the trail during very low traffic times so the hopes of a ride out were low.
Tough obstacles- I had it in my mind that areas like Big Sluice and Little Sluice were going to be my biggest issues. The water crossing at Buck Island was also a worry. Funny thing was the hardest obstacle ended up being the Buck Island Dam. It’s a little taller than a curb and is only passible in one direction with the truck. When you go the other way you have to go way up by the bathrooms and down into one of the trailside camps. The other thing that had me worried was the amount of silt on the trail. In some places it was 3 inches deep. Other than that the SCX10 II handled it all like a champ.
I only had one issue on both passes and it was a total mistake. In the first few hours of my first trip I bent over to tie my shoe and hit the trigger. I sent my truck into a huge rock at full speed and stripped the plastic servo horn. I quickly pulled out the tools and had it fixed in minutes. The overall performance of the SCX10 II RTR was amazing.
HOG- On my first trip I rolled 6 times in total but only ended up on my roof turtled twice to where I had to pick it up. On the second trip I had a few more because I was going a lot faster. There were no points where the truck couldn’t make it up something and I had to pick it up over the obstacle. That’s one of the best parts of this trail.
Memorable Moment- It’s hard to narrow down just one part of the trail as being the most memorable. One of my favorite areas on the trail is the top of the slabs overlooking Buck Island Lake and the whole surrounding valley. My most memorable moment was an older gentlemen asking me if I was hiking or driving the trail? I chuckled and said both. I have to place the tires in the right places don’t I? He laughed and agreed.
Overall Experience- I started both of my hikes around 4AM completely solo. Hiking on the Loon Lake side on the open granite slabs under the stars was great. On my second trip leaving Tahoma you have about 6 miles of heavily wooded trail. I found my mind racing a little at times thinking I was hearing animals in the bushes. Wondering if a bear was going to come out and start chasing the truck like a playful dog. I did both of my trips mid-week so I ran into very little traffic on the trail. I only saw 2 people my first time and 6 or so on the second. The trail is really amazing because it’s consistently challenging end to end. Even if you try to make it easy on yourself you still end up doing a great deal of difficult crawling. I stopped at the same places along the trail on both trips. I took breaks at Buck Island and Observation Point and then ate food at the middle point at Rubicon Springs. When I first did the trail I parked my car at Loon Lake and left it there with the plan of picking it up the next day. I had so much fun the first time I took two days to recover and hiked it back the other direction to pick my car up. The Rubicon is a blast and I would do it again any time.
I definitely have a few people to thank for the helping get this done. Everyone at CKRC, Castle Creations, Venom Power, SF Threads, Scale Ultra, SBG, Altra Running and Axial Racing! I also couldn’t have done this without the support of my wife. She sat in a parking lot waiting to pick me up with no cell service for hours, then 2 days later woke up at 3am to drop me off so I could do it all again.
Start-The Rubicon sign at the Loon Lake Staging
Finish-The sign at “Tahoma Staging” – McKinney-Rubicon Springs Staging
Time: 8 hours 31 minutes 46 seconds
Rest: 3-10 minute breaks
Weight: Backpack was 21lbs
Start: The sign at “Tahoma Staging” – McKinney-Rubicon Springs Staging
Finish: The Rubicon sign at the Loon Lake Staging
Time: 6 hours 42 minutes 47 seconds
Rest 3-10 minute breaks
Weight: backpack 21lbs
Brad’s trip was certainly an exciting trip from the details given and through some amazing photos. His trip was not the first time an RC rig hit the Rubicon Trail. Among many others, the Axial team hit the trails too with the release of the SCX10™ 2012 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon; you can see that adventure HERE. We’re sure there will be many more adventures too that will hit the terrain with an Axial RC trail machine in hand. But Brad’s story is inspirational. Brad hit the trail alone, with the right amount of supplies and a nearly stock SCX10 II rig that made the length of the trail without major issue. Also in record time for an RC machine with Brad pushing hard both driving and hiking. We hope this inspires you to take your Axial Adventure to the next level too. Find and design your own RC experience and be sure to tag it with #AxialAdventure as it is becoming a way of life that many want to see and share.