The Coxey Trail (3N14) is a trail of easy difficulty north of Big Bear Lake that any truck with some ground clearance would easily drive through. This trail starts high near Big Bear Lake and gently descends down the San Bernardino Mountains into the vast expanse of the Mojave Desert. The southern end of the trail starts in Fawnskin along CA-38 at the Rim of the World Drive. The northern end of the trail is at the junction of Bowen Ranch Road and Coxey Road. This is a fun, relaxing trail run that will be well worth your time. The rest of the photos and videos may be found here on the dedicated page. Enjoy!
I’m putting both of these trails on the same page due to how they intertwine with each other. I suppose you could just drive along Skyline Drive on its own but only completing Clark’s Grade would require a U-turn as soon as you reached the top. A 4×4 truck with decent ground clearance and tires will easily pass through this road under dry conditions. The path to Clark’s Summit is a narrow shelf road in which encountering opposing traffic is rather miserable. I’ve generally completed this route from the southern end starting at Seven Oaks Road just north of CA-38.
Upon reaching Clark’s Summit Skyline Drive goes off both east and west and snakes its way north towards a few different spots in Big Bear Lake. The views the entire way are amazing and well worth your time! There are many hiking and biking trails that pass through Skyline Drive so be sure to watch out for pedestrians. There are multiple methods of reaching both of these trails and I will have to pass through more of them in the future. Be sure to look on the dedicated page to find all of the photos and videos and enjoy!
Oh boy, are we in for a good post today folks. Tonight’s post is about the laborious task of removing the rubberized undercoating that the previous owner of my truck applied to the frame and lower portions of the body and bed. I am not a fan of rubberized undercoating as it can make a lot of electrical plugs or bolts difficult to remove, lowers the ability to easily inspect some parts, and cracks over time which allows water to get under it but not easily evaporate. I long ago began the project of removing all of this gunk from my truck and it has been slow going and I still have much left to do. Attempting to use any type of wire wheel, grinding disc, flap disc is ineffective at removing these types of coating as the removal media is rapidly clogged. The use of a chemical means of dissolving the rubberized coating (I just recently noticed that the methylene chloride formula is no longer available in California) is necessitated by this problem and is very miserable and time-consuming.
Here’s a quick video for anyone who is thinking about using rubberized undercoating on their on vehicle:
Here are some of the photos of the work I’ve been doing on the truck most recently:
I had a little mishap as I was removing some rust from the rear axle…
While I really do need to finish this project I probably should have thought a little harder about the variable-gauge wire wheel I was using next to the wheel speed sensor cabling. It would have been so easy to unplug but I decided to test fate instead. I am fairly certain that no harm was done to the sensor but I bought that as well; hopefully I can just return it.
This photo is unrelated to the post, but do you like my custom exhaust mod?
In early March I went to the Mojave Desert for a weekend camping trip with a small group of friends. The majority of the group started the trip in the Johnson Valley area and headed north towards camp where I met up with them at night (Friday). One member of our group flopped onto his side in the afternoon prior to my arrival and another truck showed up on the morning on the second day. We drove through the Soda “Dry” Lake, fooled around the Cinder Cones, spent some time beating up our suspensions on whoops, and camped out in the New York Mountains on Saturday night. A good time was had by all. Enjoy the photos and find the rest of them on the dedicated page and Tundras.com!
During February a large cold front passed through California and brought an unusual amount of snow to the mountains east of San Diego with snow level down to about 2000 feet. I decided to head east on I-8 and up towards Sunrise Highway/Mount Laguna to see what kind of chaos the roads would be in due to a few inches of snow. The freeway was full of people: stuck on the side of the road, in the middle of the road, motorist driving with their hazard lights on continuously, heavy trucks that hit each other, and seemingly confirmed all of the bad driving tropes about Southern California. Sunrise Highway (S-1) offered a far different experience and was almost empty. I passed very few other motorists and only a single stuck vehicle. The snow was coming down harder, the temperature was lower, and I had an amazing time up on Mount Laguna.
I stopped around the peak at Mount Laguna to throw some snowballs and take a few photos. All was quite, all was calm, and all was cold that night on Mount Laguna. There were CHP Officers at the southern end of Sunrise Highway who stopped anyone who either: drove a car without chains installed or had a 4×4 truck without chains with them. Usually when there’s a few inches of snow it’s too crowded to head up to the Laguna Range but the heavy storm kept most away. It was a wonderful time and I hope that you enjoy the videos!
Fox 5 San Diego-Storm brings Mount Laguna heaviest snowfall in years
Briggs Cabin is a wonderful dwelling maintained by the Friends of Briggs (employees from the nearby Briggs Camp) that is well stocked, has DC power, heated and running water, showers, toilets, multiple beds, and other amenities that are quite nice to experience so far from civilization. Please be sure to follow all instructions given for any equipment you use and take your trash out with you.
Be sure not to overload the bridge to the east of the cabin. You’ll find the rest of the photos here on the full page!
The Pilot Rock Truck Trail (Forest Route 2N33) is a trail of little difficulty with some optional spurs of varying difficulty. Any vehicle with some ground clearance should make it through this scenic and stunning trail. If you own a Subaru/modern station wagon it would make it through, albeit with some likely damage to the bumpers. I rode this trail from west-to-east and avoided the majority of the more difficult offshoots that the trail offered. If you want to have a nice, relaxing ride then this is a great place to head out to if you’re passing through the Big Bear Lake or Silverwood Lake areas. Enjoy the videos!
Pilot Rock Truck Trail Staging Area
Here’s the western edge of the trail:
Here’s the eastern edge of the trail:
The Escape Trail (aka Fish Canyon) is a trail of moderate difficulty that a truck with good ground clearance and a decent tire should be able to navigate. This trail traverses Fish Canyon and connect Panamint Valley to Searles Valley across the Slate Range. There are no difficult obstacles on this trail, just a lot of hard rocks and a few spots that will test your articulation and approach/departure angles. This trail earned its name from a few families that escaped from Death Valley in the 19th century. The Panamint and Death Valleys are at a fine temperature during the winter time and a wonderful place to visit if you ever have a few days to spare. Enjoy the photos and find all of them here!
Sometimes I am surprised and amazed by the vehicles I see leave pavement for the desert and am pleasantly surprised. Other times I chuckle a little and can yank someone out of a bad situation or drag their disabled vehicle to a better place. Then there are times where I am simply dumbfounded by what I encounter. I thought that I was going to end a nice day of driving through some easy trails and hiking with one last jaunt off-road and found a class A motorhome attempting to make its way back to civilization. It ended up being a long night for me and an even longer next day for the wayward travelers…
I posted a page about the trail through Oriflamme Canyon a while ago and recently went through again to take some high-quality video footage of it. I’ll post up some pictures later of a hike through a small portion of the Pacific Crest Trail along with a nightmare recovery involving a class A motorhome. Enjoy the video