SCX10 II Rubicon Trail Adventure With Photo Pro Brad Perry

 

SCX10 II Rubicon Trail Adventure

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.

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About:
Name: Brad Perry
Age: 32
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

Prep:
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.

Gear:
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.

Nutrition:
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.

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The Rig:
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.

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Challenges:
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.

Damage:
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.

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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.

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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.

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Trip Stats
Trip 1
Start-The Rubicon sign at the Loon Lake Staging
Finish-The sign at “Tahoma Staging” – McKinney-Rubicon Springs Staging
Miles: 15.77
Time: 8 hours 31 minutes 46 seconds
Vert: 2744ft
Rest: 3-10 minute breaks
Weight: Backpack was 21lbs

Trip 2
Start: The sign at “Tahoma Staging” – McKinney-Rubicon Springs Staging
Finish: The Rubicon sign at the Loon Lake Staging
Miles 15.77
Time: 6 hours 42 minutes 47 seconds
Vert: 2502ft
Rest 3-10 minute breaks
Weight: backpack 21lbs

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Adventure Inspiration
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.

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Scale on the Con – Day trip

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Words: Anthony Rivas
Photography: Brad Perry

I believe everyone has that one trail they would love to go scale crawl on, maybe even a bucket list of places. The opportunity recently presented itself to return to the Historic Rubicon Trail in northern California with the annual event called Cantina for the Con going on for 1:1 vehicles. CKRC Hobbies of Reno, Nevada was doing Scale on the Con In conjunction with the event and I knew I just had to go!  I was able to go out and trail with a few guys on this over the top scaled out course.

But first, lets back up and talk about Cantina on the Con.
This is an annual Fundraiser for the 501(c)3 Non-Profit Mission: To Enhance the Future Health and Use of the Rubicon Trail while Ensuring Responsible Motorized Year-round Trail Access. The Rubicon Trail Foundation is an advocate for your Continued Motorized Access to the Trail and Surrounding Public Lands. Please go read more about the Rubicon Trail Foundation and what they do for the Rubicon Trail!
http://www.rubicontrail.org/rtf-about.htm

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Brandon Caton of Snowmod RC brought his son up for the event, but he made some time to wheel his Axial Scx10 based LC70. This was definitely no shelf queen.

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Last Chance Gas Station #2 was open for service at Loon Lake Dam! Note those power lines in the background! Yes, no… that is not scale photo-trickery! Those are the real deal! The BLPP&C; Brant Lowe Power Pole Company had to be quickly custom built and shipped over to the Loon Lake Dam.

With power poles on site, Adam & Elio of Two Chainz Scalerz set the poles, then ran power all the way out to the Loon Lake Dam in order for the gas station to power to deliver service for customers. We need to go all 1999-style and seriously start looking at this solar energy stuff! But I got my Two Chainz Scalerz edition custom banana cream filled Twinkiez so I was happy! They excepted my cash while they were still wiring up the cash register.

This is Station #2 as in a new version of the original. Some of you may have pictures with the original version from AXIALFEST that was mysteriously claimed in a “HOGnato” incidence. Yes, H.O.G. + Tornado = HOGnato meaning the hands of real 1:1 humans aka (Hand Of God) swept (Tornado) the original gas station from its location on site at AXIALFEST. The original Last Chance Gas Station has yet to be found…
Swiper No Swiping.

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Quick “pic-stop” and off to the trail! Hey, that might have to become an thing… #PicStop

The Rubicon trail is a destination for lots of off road enthusiasts. For me personally, (Rivas Concepts) being back to drive a scale R/C on the rock was a great unique feeling as my trips across the Rubicon have been 1:1 trips!

I’ve built this Axial Scx10-2 Dingo for such adventures.

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Before we start this scale adventure, the Axial Scx10-2 Dingo was loaded up and looking for Adventure but first we have to have a couple of complementary flex shots!

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Two Chainz Scalerz Adam Dean and Elio Dianda were present, physically and spiritually!
Poor E.W. Lowe…

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Brandon wasted no time jumping into the water! We all looked on in disbelief that he would be willing to throw his 70-Series in harms way as he did! You know it’s not like these 70-Series are offered here in the USA, hence the FaceBook page: Toyota: Bring the 70 Series Land Cruiser and Diesels to the USA. But too, it is a Land Cruiser…
Seeing how Snowmod set the tone, I fell in right behind him and we all followed suit!

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It was truly an epic day of wheeling. Lots of water, cool temperatures, and good people.

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Alec Van Den Brink and his Jeep KJ Liberty, with roof top tent, and Ben Thomas in his Axial Scx10-2  custom Toyota 4-door bringing up the back. ScaleOnTheCon-08475 (Medium) ScaleOnTheCon-08469 (Medium)

Some parts were a little sketchy with water flowing as it was running pretty fast and we were playing pretty scale!

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As you can see, we had an eclectic collection of rigs as well with Brandon’s 70-Series Land Cruiser, my RC-ADV-Dingo, Alec Van Den Brink‘s KJ-Liberty and Ben Thomas wheeling the 1st Gen Toyota. Regardless of personal choice’s we are all enjoying the same thing, wheeling the Rubicon!

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The Rubicon trail provided plenty of picture opportunities, we took them and took our time. It’s easy when we are sitting our our heated cabs while Brad Perry (photo-extraordinaire) is wading out into the river with his hip looking Patagonia Waders with the addition of the rubber ducky embellished 24″ Classic Round Green Inflatable Swimming Pool Inner Tube Ring Float for safety. We simply zipped out winch line to him when the current swept him out a bit.

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You could easily get line-drunk here. Everywhere you looked was a new line. The CKRC Hobbies Scale-On-The-Con trail was a nice long loop, averaging about 3 and half hours to complete the trail. Our little day trip was roughly the same amount of time, but we didn’t cover near the terrain due to our numerous #PicStop’s.
ScaleOnTheCon-08555 (Medium)Lil’ “LibBroTee” getting its creek crossing flex on!
ScaleOnTheCon-08914 (Medium)This event had people driving well into the night!

Where is a place you want to go crawl?
Mark your calendars for next year to go run Scale on the Con!  With the Cantina for the Con being an annual event, I can only expect the Scale on the Con to continue with and carry on!

More cool scale stuff to be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1468545179899127/?active_tab=discussion

The Cantina for the Con event should be around the first weekend of September 2018, Labor Day Weekend. Check http://www.rubicontrail.org/rtf-annualevents.htm for more details. Once details get posted there, I’m sure details for Scale on the Con will be posted on CKRC’s FB Event page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/ckrchobbies/events/

 

Axial SCX10 Rubicon Trek PhotoBlog: The Transit

Photos & words by: Rodney Wills

Hopefully you’ve read the pre-Rubicon Trail story “License to Adventure!” as it gives the lead-up to how this whole trip came about. If you missed it, I encourage you to read that post before reading this post: License To Adventure!


The weekend before we started our trip towards the Rubicon Trail, we first had to have the Jeep SCX10JK all nice and shiny for the Off-Road EXPO in Pomona, CA as it would be in the Maxxis Tires booth courtesy of Rebel Off-Road.

The following Monday we showed up at the Axial office to load all of our gear and slap knobbies on pavement for 10-hours to the Sierra Nevada’s. It took us longer than we expected to pack, and I got a little nervous as I wanted to be packed and gone inside of 30-minutes and that was not the case. It was a tedious game of Jumanji stacking all of the gear inside of the JeepSCX10JK. Yes, it has four doors and a spacious cargo area perfect for a family weekend getaway. But for four guys, gear, food, water jugs and the addition of R/C equipment AND camera gear, we were packed tight by the time we got everything sorted.


I finally took my first photo of the trip once we passed Los Angeles and over the Grapevine Peak on the 5FWY headed north.


This sign can mess you up if you are not paying attention to the arrows. It’s located at the 5/99 split about an hour and 45-minutes heading North from Los Angeles; practically in the middle of nowhere. So it’s kind of easy to just glance up and see the name of the area you want to go but miss the little arrow as to which side you need to be in to reach the destination of choice.

The right sign has the arrow pointing to the left and the left sign is pointing to the right. Either way will take you to Sacramento, but if you were to headed to Oakland/SF and took the 99, you would be doing some extra driving. Plus, you will find 99-ways to not drive on the 99FWY going bumpidy,bumpidy, bump… all the way! We are headed towards Sacto and we’ll turn off to head toward Lake Tahoe.


As we approach Sacramento, it’s getting close to afternoon rush hour traffic. To avoid the traffic, I start looking at the maps for small bypass roads to avoid the city altogether.

From the 5FWY we exited at County Road E13 to Twins City Road 104 into Lone, Ca. From there we took East Plymouth Highway 49 into the tiny town of Plymouth, California.


Heading north of Plymouth on HWY49, the name changes to the Golden Chain Highway and we run this up to HWY50 and on into Placerville, Ca. It’s scenic all the way and we’re busy making forward progression, but we have to stop for 10-100′s!


Did you know that South Lake Tahoe has a hobby shop? We didn’t, but we found it as we drove into town before sun down and before the store closed.

We spent some time with the hobby shop owner and made arrangements with him to leave Brian Parker’s “Red Rocket” in the parking lot as this would be where we would meet up with him and stuff his gear into our SCX10JK.


We would make a stop in town to fill up our 20-gallons of water for the trip. I hope you read my previous post that included how I determined we needed 20-gallons. If not, just jump back to the blog post and read our water, food & waste itel: axialracing.com/blog_posts/1073901855


And then the final stuffing of the SCX10JK!!!


The final gas stop before we head up Ice House Road to Loon Lake off HWY50. The station was closed but the pumps were open for late night fuel consumption.


Testing out the Rigid Industries bonus lights just before we get to our camping spot for the night.

Next post: Day-1 of the Axial SCX10 Rubicon Trail blog!

Axial SCX10 Rubicon Trek PhotoBlog: DAY-1 On The Trail


Photos & words by: Rodney Wills

First photo of Day-1 on the Rubicon Trail. We camp literally on the rocks at Loon Lake Staging area.


I shoot a photo of Brian Parker from my sleeping bag, sorry for the tilting earth. Parker and I camp under the stars in our sleeping bags donned with Bivy sacks.


ScottG is “glamping” with his cot. Yes, glamor camping…


Brad Dumont pitched the Eureka Timberline 4 tent. Maybe he was the most “glamporous” of all on this first night.


I detect a bit of frost on my sleeping pad as it was a wee bit chilly in the low 30′s. We are pushing the envelope of this trip in the first week of October.



We are tourist, first-timers except for Mr. Parker, so we take a survey of all the signs at the trail entrance.


We were gifted these bandana’s by a small group that was coming in to do some maintenance on the trail this morning.


Time to pack up and start our Rubicon trail journey!


We mount up our Trasharoo trash bag as we want to set an example of not leaving any trash behind on the trail. We also do not like to carry the trash inside the rig and plastic bags hanging off the back of the rig looks a little… well, trashy. Yes, we are victims of style and anything resembling a backpack I have the fever for. At least this backpack’s intention is for a GREAT cause!


Gatekeeper is the first obstacle we encounter, and it barely resembles the spectacular obstacle it once was. Parker told us stories about guys driving days just to get to the Rubicon Trail, only to be turned away by this very first obstacle due to breaking parts or not being able to physically pass through.


Once we get through Gatekeeper and on through a wooded area the trail opens up into this massive view that overlooks rock in every direction! When they named this area Granite Bowl, they were not kidding as it is granite in every direction. Its solid rock from top to bottom.


While we trust Parker’s navigation, we know we are headed in the right direction when we see a sign posted on a tree as we climb up the other side of the massive valley of rock and off into another section of wooded area.


Even with massive 37” tires the rocks seem to find their way to cramp the space below the SCX10JK. Good thing we are equipped with the ICON Vehicle Dynamics suspension and Currie Rock Jock 60 axles. Not that we have to have them to cross the Rubicon, but they do make obstacles less challenging; especially when we have the rig loaded down and self supported, these items help us remain focused on the task at hand: filming the tenth scale Axial SCX10 making its way over the same rocks and obstacles.


There is a trail down there and while it is an awesome view, there are also hidden challenges to navigate. For myself, and I am sure for my counterparts who are also Rubicon first timers, emotions are all over the place when the environmental conditions and terrain provide sensory overload.

And with the sensory overload it is time to interject yet another sensory overload – LUNCH!

Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Teriyaki, Scrambled Eggs with Bacon and Beef Stew are served up for lunch from Mountain House.

Add hot water provided by my little JetBoil PCS stove.


This would be the ultimate test, the moment of truth to see if these guys would like this Mountain House freeze dried food in a bag concept. This is what we’ll be eating for the next three days – three meals a day! With my history with ScottG, I already have a reputation of supplying “cardboard” for food as I like a wide range of “meal bars,” so I know he was going to be a tough critic. Then there is Brad, Mr. Meat & Potatoes and I am not even sure if he likes potatoes. Parker on the other hand, I think he will eat almost anything. Luckily, everyone was very pleased and rather impressed at how good the taste was. Our taste buds were lit and stomachs filled!


Lunch is served and it is time to hit the trail!


This is one of the rare shots of both rigs traversing the Rubicon Trail.

I will tell you now that you are not going to see many images of the SCX10 as my main mission was to document the whole trip in video, so all of these images came from the pocket camera on the fly. Whenever the Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon was in view, I would be peeking through a tiny hole of the video camera trying to keep it in fame.

I know you have seen the four minute and 44-second long The Axial Rubicon Trek (teaser) video, if not here is that video:

But, there is a scratch longer video in the works!


With well feed stomachs, we make way to Walker Hill.


It’s a nice hill from my perspective as I just see a bunch of boulders, nothing major. But my confidence has risen in both Parker’s trail knowledge and spotting ability as he safely put the full-size SCX10JK through the trail all morning.


We have quickly learned to trust Parker and our Maxxis Trepador tires.


Easy by-way? Yea, NO! I look back and see Parker is starting to have fun putting the full-size SCX10JK through the fun-line with a perfectly smooth by-way sitting on the outside… Parker! That’s our ride home dude!


The Maxxis Trepador’s seem to be right at home walking all over the obstacles.


We are almost to the newly rearranged Little Sluice as we flex the SCX10JK across this rock garden.


Upon arrival to Little Sluice the sun is on the descent and we look up at what we thought would be the end of forward progression for the tenth scale SCX10. I think I murmured this is going to take a long time in a short section. The Rubicon Trail mandate is that all vehicle travel must be within a within 50-ft of the trail. That is 25-ft to the left and 25-ft to the right. My mind is starting to race and ponder if we can actually drive the rig through this section. Brad and I do a quick reconnaissance of the trail before we begin the ascent – it’s just littered with bowling ball size gnar-gnar rocks from the recent reconstructive surgery to the Little Sluice. Brad does what Brad does best… he wheels through the cracks and crevasses and wiggles the Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon RTR through, over and around a mine-field of obstacles. It was not the prettiest. Saying we scraped is an understatement. To see what I mean, you’ll just have to wait for the video. We ate a lot of time, but Brad wheeled it from the bottom to the top! That will forever be burned into the memory hard drive! At that point, I knew we had earned that badge!


It’s always interesting to see how machinery adapts and reacts to nature as the full-size SCX10JK traverses through a small v-notch. You push the rig up the wall to clear the rock, trying not to inflict body damage on one side and gently slide down the wall to cut around the drop off that is just in the foreground. These are the same types of scenarios we try to put our R/C rigs into for the same visual effect. This was one of those fun moments to watch as this giant full size R/C rig [in Parker's mind] slithers through the v-notch as he spots the driver through the obstacle.


Making use of rock rings on the Walker Evans Racing wheels makes for a real “gritty” noise as it passes over the rock face and especially when we are out in the the quiet of woods. Brings up that whole thing about if a tree falls, does it make a sound? Of course it does!


As we approach our camp point we spot our first memorial of Mr. Richard Carl “Ritch” Theis. That is a very nice quote!

I personally think the main thing is, even if you never make it to the Rubicon Trail, you should get out there and find your own “Rubicon,” in your own backyard. Put yourself in motion on your very own adventure. Ritch and Nike collectively say it best…


I like these lucky shots. The lighting is just so-so and I am lined up on the tail light in a way that the red just burns through like the sun and casts a cool glow.


We make camp out on the end of this ledge as darkness sets in fast. From the ledge in the viewable distance would be Buck Island Lake.


END OF DAY-1! We quickly make camp and Parker asks for the big food bag. You know what that means!


Parker dumps all the Mountain House out and makes the dinner menu call, but more importantly, he is going on about spying the dessert earlier in the day… We hear a loud, “FOUND IT!”


The highlight of tonight’s dinner is Mountain House Blueberry Cheesecake for dessert!



Chef Parker was quite comical but he is down to business!



What a way to end a great day! Food and friends on top of the mountain! It’s a good time to reflect on the day’s accomplishments and the SCX10 did an awesome job getting through the whole day, without issue! Making it through the Little Sluice was no little accomplishment and for that we know the rig has earned its stripes! But, the mission is not over as we have more full size miles and full size obstacles to cover.

Axial SCX10 Rubicon Trek PhotoBlog: DAY-3 On The Trail


Photos & words by: Rodney Wills

Day-3: The sun is up and I crack open my tent to check on my camp mates.

We set out for a morning hike as the terrain and views are epic. No one says it, but we know our trek is nearing the end so we want to take in as much as possible and cherish every moment! I’m thinking about my team back at the office who could not come on this trip and take as many images as I can so they too can share the moment. I’m also thinking about our work duties and who knows, you might see these images on future Axial boxes or advertisements. It’s all about the lifestyle that we live! We live to dream, we dream to live.

Lightning hit this tree, burned the center out and peeled the lower portion of the tree down like melted plastic. Just crazy how and what lightning can and will do. Nature inflicting nature.

Wutang Rock! At least that is what I am going to call it!!!

It’s a pretty big rock too as we contemplated a bug-out hut.

Peace Sign Rock. We came in peace and left it in its natural pieces… I’m sure the next heavy rain it will be gone.

That is not our paint. All our paint belongs to us!

So we get camp packed up and start making our way out and I notice how tight the trail is. This is not the Axial 1/10scale rig, this is the full size rig and that is full size paint left by others. I had to climb in from the other side of the vehicle to shoot this so you can get a perspective of just how tight the trail can be even on this relatively flat ground. When the rocks aren’t barking at your vehicle the trees will try to bite!

Time to pay respects when you get to Oakland Ave.

As we approach Cadillac Hill, located at “Oakland Avenue” we pass this memorial site. We pay our respects first and pass through.

Funny, as I sit to write this blog while looking at these images, this one in particular, a song pops into my head… Tyrone Brunson’s Sticky Situation. Yea, it’s on YouTube. Not that the situation for the Jeep is anywhere near sticky, but you get the point… Just play along with me please.

Then we arrive…


Cadillac Hill is #13 on the FunTreks EveryTrail map and a 10.6+ on the richter scale.

http://www.everytrail.com/guide/rubicon-4×4-trail-california/map#poi-9

I would say this was the second most challenging section of the Rubicon Trail, but who am I, I’m just a hiker hauling camera gear! In the first photo, that is Parker walking ahead to do a little obstacle reconnaissance. We also hear a group making their way down Caddy Hill. They made it look so easy as they traversed down, but their rigs where very well suited for the environment, but not big budget built or flashy, very home built and I liked them. I have to make sure the long-cut video includes them as they were the first folks we saw on trail over the three days.

As we crest Cadillac Hill it starts to drizzle on us.

Not minutes later and the drizzle has produced a wet trail ahead.

Is it 1:10th or 1:1?

While you know its the full size Jeep coming up the trail and it looks cool while doing so, my mind is wondering what is ahead? How steep is it going to be? How slick are the rocks going to be? Will it turn to snow?

Nothing to do but carry on!


We find ourselves under dense foliage and on dry ground, but the precipitation must have been isolated to the area behind us. Parker perks up, but for another reason…

We pop out of the woods onto a large slab of rock called Observation Point that overlooks the valley. You can see evidence of the rain that just passed through. But something is missing! You can’t have a glory moment without both vehicles in the picture!

Now that is the real glory in all its rain speckled and dusted-dawg honor! The Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon did us right and did us good!

And then…

It’s just not a handshake among friends in a posed photo without Parker having his signature “cradle shot!” Here ScottG gets the first lift. ScottG was our driver of the full-size Axial SCX10JK Jeep.

And then…

It’s Brad “Bender” Dumont’s turn for the cradle shot! He prepped and drove the Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon the whole way – every day! One for the record books.

And then…

With Parker being the master of the “cradle shot” we thought Parker should receive the treatment as well! While this is a small “victory dance” for the Axial SCX10′s accomplishments, this is not the end of the trail.

The good thing is…

We see blue sky ahead!

And it must be lunch time!

Parker said, “I got your blue sky right here in this blue bag holding all these blue sacks of Mountain House FOOD!”


Well, the blue sky has gone to grey, but the stomachs are full and its time to visually inspect the vehicles, mount up and head on down the trail!

The next section…



The trial from Observation Point to the Rubicon Staging Area transitions from the rocky granite to a more dense forest with a dusty trail with very minor obstacles. It became a rather boring transit even for the 1:10th Axial SCX10 with the only “excitement” would be running up on a couple of rigs who were coming into forest for the weekend.

As we arrive at the Rubicon Staging Area we see this very large map and Parker told us about how this whole area would be littered with trailers and tow rigs stacked into the large parking lots, but you would still be staging two miles down the road due to the amount of rigs attending the larger events. It was hard to imagine as we were the only people there with only two tow vehicles in the lot from a couple of guys who where coming in for the weekend. The threat of rain is high tonight so We all load into the Axial SCX10JK Jeep with camera gear and the Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon sitting in our laps and make our way towards town as we will crash in a hotel tonight.

Its not civilization…

But it is Lake Tahoe and we know our hotel is just around the corner.

I knew we had come to the right spot when I walked in the door and read this quote from Claude Monet! We stayed the night at the Lake Of The Sky Inn in Tahoe City as this is close to the trail head and most of all – affordable!

Now comes the celebration!

What do we do? We crack open the Mountain House food and add hot water boiled right from the JetBoil PCS stove! I know what you were thinking that we should be doing… But we drag the camera gear out, dig for cables to plug into the TV and start watching the video clips eating our Mountain House food right in the room!

Four 32-gigabyte cards filled to the brim! This little adventure is not over until we are home as we have the awesome HWY395 to transit back down from Lake Tahoe to Southern California.

If you haven’t read the previous entries, check them out here!

License to Adventure!

Axial SCX10 Rubicon Trek PhotoBlog: The Transit

Axial SCX10 Rubicon Trek PhotoBlog: DAY-1 On The Trail

Axial SCX10 Rubicon Trek PhotoBlog: DAY-2 On The Trail

License to Adventure!


LICENSE TO ADVENTURE! Story & Photos: Rodney Wills

Acquiring the Jeep licensing for the SCX10 chassis is landmark. This is Axial’s first automotive manufacturer license, but with it came a bit of a challenge. When working with Jeep on the licensing deal they were a bit hesitant to include use the Trail Rated™ badge. I found this quite interesting as they were willing to let us use the Jeep® logo and the signature 7-bar grill, but the Trail Rated™ badge they were protecting with a lot of pride, and rightfully so! I saw it on another level beyond the paperwork as a personal challenge or maybe I used it as the excuse to push me along to a personal challenge.

Warily they granted us the rights to use the Trail Rated™ badge, but I felt indebted, not in the monetary sense, but on the honor of what the badge stands for. So I wanted to unequivocally uphold the honor of what that badge represents and I was willing to take on the self-imposed challenge. And more importantly my team was willing to take on the challenge; most importantly Axial’s top brass were stoked on the idea of what we wanted to accomplish and willing to back us as well! This is not hard to believe when we have a vice president who is also active within the 1:1 off-roading community! All the while, our partners at the Jeep brand were completely unaware of what we were planning.

Jeff Johns [Axial Vice President] and Brad Dumont [Axial Public Relations / Media Specialist] got close to doing the Rubicon Trail during the Wheelers For The Wounded event only a few weeks prior to our SCX10 Rubicon trip plans. Their mission fell short with severe steering issues due to some very brand new aftermarket steering parts and modifications on the full size Axial SCX10 Jeep JK. No, it was not the new liquid filled 2-ton electric steering servo, but the mishap happened 10-hours from the office and a mere 40-miles away from the trailhead, only to unleash a sequence of long faces and lots of steering fluid loss. But it was better that they did not break down on the trail, yet as a result they did not make it out for the annual Wheelers For the Wounded event.

After the event I placed a phone call to Kevin Carey of Method Motorsports as he is one of the event organizers of the Wheelers For The Wounded Rubicon Trail Event. I was explaining the details about the steering issues as the reason our guys were not in attendance and very bummed to not participate this year as we have in years past. I told him we would attempt the Rubicon Trail again if he would be our tour guide. This time we would have a whole different purpose for the trip as I explained to him the idea of driving the 1/10th Axial SCX10 remote controlled 4X4 over the Rubicon Trail. The Axial SCX10 is a trail rig after all! We set the plans as we wanted to squeak in this last-chance trip over the Rubicon as the window of opportunity was closing due to weather. Yet, we were also planning the Off-Road Nation game release for that weekend during the Off-Road EXPO so we had to be there in attendance prior to making our Rubicon attempt. This stacked our schedules as we would have to make our Rubicon trip attempt the week after Off-Road EXPO. We have all the plans on deck and our last minute time juggle put Kevin out as he could not get the whole week off that we needed immediately after the EXPO.
I did have a backup tour guide in mind and a long laundry list in front of my eyes to check off! I was getting nervous! Time to tick off check boxes and fast!

Don’t think for a moment I didn’t want to be the man on the wheel of the SCX10 for this adventure, but I know my role on the Axial team is to dream up, capture and document, so I called Brad “Bender” Dumont into the office and asked if he had ever been on the Rubicon Trail and he replied that this was in fact on his bucket list to do, especially after coming so close just a few weeks prior! I asked for his first actual trip if he would be willing to hike it while driving a pre-production SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon RTR. He was in with a grin! Next call was to Scott G of Axial to ask if he was willing to drive the full-size rig to transport all our gear we would need for this trip. For some reason I chose this last call to be last as it was the most important, and the call went out to Brian Parker AKA: Mr. Axial Man and Recon Crawlers G6 mastermind as this would be my ultimate tour guide backup plan. I knew he had been very busy with previous events just the week prior and he has a full time job in the full size world, so I knew I would be pushing my luck. Also lurking in the back of my mind is THE FACT that I’ve never wheeled with Parker before! I know he has put in his time, but I still had to ask the questions especially the one, “do you know your way around the Rubicon?” He replied, “do you want to go in at the pitch of black at 2:00am, I will take us there!” Hmmm, I pondered and my brain flashed visuals of Parker doing some sort of spirit-dance.. and asked, “Do you know all the key spots?” Parker spouts off all the locations we want to check off the list. We are locked in! I’m good with my decision to have Parker as tour guide and vehicle spotter, but I’m not going to be in the full size rig while on the Rubicon, that will be Scott G’s job! Maybe Scott G will write a first hand experience of this adventure.

My biggest concern was food and water for four guys for three days and extra in case the inevitable happened. I wanted to be prepared. Scott G and I have been on this overland tip for a minute and had previously secured the mil-spec plastic five gallon water cans of which we would use for this trip. You are suppose to have one gallon of water per day, so four persons plus an extra gallon equals five gallons per day. Our trip is projected for three days, so we took four cans equivalent to 20 gallons of water. One gallon = 8.34lbs X 20 = 166.8lbs. You would think weight would be an issue but three of us would actually not be riding in the vehicle during most of the trek. Parker would be outside the full size rig navigating and myself and Brad would be out of the rig driving the R/C and filming. But all this stuff along with us included has to be packed into the rig for the transit from town into the Rubicon trail head and back out to town after the trail. We would be minus a cooler for ice to save space that we did not have. The nights would get down to the low 30’s so we would simply put out what we wanted cold the next day.

Food is next on the list and I did not want to make the preparation of food on the trail such a chore. Plus the transportation and preserving takes considerable precious space. With my backpacking and dirt biking adventures I have learned all about Mountain House food in a bag! Mountain House produces freeze dried food and meals that are lightweight, have a long shelf life [for all you preppers out there!] and are perfect for all types of outdoor recreation such as our Rubicon trip where space is going to be minimal! The Mountain House product is easy to prepare by simply adding hot water, stir, stand and EAT! All I had to do was sort our three meals a day from Mountain House assortment of various flavors, add a couple of snacks and a little desert for three days for four guys. This equals 36 meals to be served!!! It was time to visit our local REI store in Tustin, Ca.

To cook all the food, we employed the use of my JetBoil PCS stove to boil the water. It is small yet powerful as two cups of water boils in about two minutes. The Mountain House bags of food are designed to cook and eat right out of the bag! This makes food preparation simple by just boiling water, adding the appropriate amount to each Mountain House bag, stir and let sit for appropriate time, then EAT! This means no stove cup clean up! No plates or bowls to clean up! The clean up process would be as simple as flattening the Mountain House bag, reseal and tossed the remains into our Trasharoo spare tire garbage bag.

Next in line is the one topic most do not want to talk about, much less discuss at length, but that is simply why things become major issues on the scale that someone or some agency has to take action… What goes in, must come out and what comes out has become an issue in national forest due to the amount of visitors and the lack of self consciousness. SO, with the Rubicon Trail being located in the national forest, it has a “PACK IN – PACK OUT” rule – including all human waste! Yes, we are talking poop here! The Rubicon Trail has seen enough infestation of the “white flowers” as these “white flowers” have been imported from human bathrooms to singular deposits that seemed to have not been buried in a proper manner. Yes, we are talking about toilet paper piles on the ground – aka: white flowers. Due to this issue not only on just the Rubicon Trail, but in all of our major national forest with high traffic tourist destinations, the forest service have placed the “pack in – pack out” rule. No matter where you personally stand on the issue, it is an issue and you will be very upset when you find you are standing in it – in the middle of the night while setting up your tent. And now it has became policy or rule as no one seems to have read the book, “The Complete Walker” by Colin Fletcher & Chip Rawlings as proper human waste field service is discussed thoroughly in the this book.

To take things a bit to the next level and to deal with the imposed “pack in – pack out” rule I personally wanted to make sure my crew set an example and same time be comfortable while in the wild, so I obtained The PETT / Cleanwaste GO anywhere portable toilet® as they manufacture a rugged foldable commode and degradable waste bag system that packs flat therefore smaller that the “5-gallon bucket system.” Again, space and weight are the premiums and this PETT system is the best I have found. And for my personal off-road adventures, my family members consist of girls… comfort and ease of use is important stuff!

This is the moment you cue the Beverly Hillbillies or Sanford and Sons theme music. I personally like the Sanford & Sons music, “The Streetbeater” produced by Quincy Jones. The plans are set and the word to the guys is PACK LIGHT as we have one full size Jeep JK to fill with four guys, camping equipment, two SCX10’s, radio’s, batteries, R/C tools, 1:1-tools, recovery gear, supplies, camera gear, personal bags, sleeping bags, pillows, sleeping pads [and someone had to bring a cot], and tents (Parker opted for his Hammond Hammock tent). Our luxury items would consist of four camp chairs.

While the Axial SCX10JK is outfitted with a Rebel Roof Rack, I didn’t want to have big boxes on the roof rack as that would cut down on the gas mileage to/from the Rubicon Trail as that is a 10-hour tarmac transit each way plus I was not sure about the tree limb exposure on the trail. Truth be told, I simply do not have the proper travel boxes yet, so that made it easy that everything had to fit inside.

All this to traverse over the Rubicon Trail to film a 1/10th scale Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.

OK, travel plans and supplies are set. Lets do the Rubicon! It’s time to get our #AxialAdventures™ ON! This is going to be AWESOME!!!