Monday, January 26, 2009

Better late than never report: 2008 Mojave trail Adventure Day 2

Day 2 started off early. I cannot say bright as we were in the parking lot changing the tire under the parking lot lights. Everyone showed up and it looked typical: 1 guy doing most of the work and 4 standing around talking. No problem with the fix of both the tire and flat so we off to get breakfast.

The restaurant did not open till 7:30 so we just waited awhile. The hostess asked if we were carded members of the casino and said the special price was available if we were. Save some money, YES, so we all went to become free Colorado River Bell members. Back to be seated and what a good buffet it was. Good fresh food and lots of it. And our glasses never seemed to get empty our waitress just treated us well. Just what we all needed before a long days ride.
The inmates for the return trip were BAD LT, Bill and myself from the first day and WR TOM on his XR650L and Scott on his DRZ400. Well we finally left about 8:30AM so we are a little behind schedule but such is life, we’ll make up the time (HA HA). We all need to stop for gas. Bill was real worried about his stock gas tank WRF and was already on reserve before he pulled in the night before. At the station he put 2.1 gallons in the little tank, just made it.
Did the fast asphalt trip back to the M.T. and off we went. Did not realize how sandy it was yesterday, or is it I might just be tired and not warmed up yet? Yes that’s it. Had a great time riding west and stopped at Fort Piute for a little rest. Scott had never ridden the M.T. before so we stop at the sites for him to see.

After a short rest it is off again. Not 10 miles further BAD LT’s foopeg comes loose again. McGivers we are not. After a 40 minute repair we are back on the road again. Stopping at Kelso-Cima Road we read the monument plaque about the Nevada Southern Rail Road take a drink of water, a snack and continue west.

After more dirt 2-track the next stop is the mail box again to sign all our names on the return trip.

Eat a snack, drink some water, take some photos and off again. This day is pleasant and no real adventures yet, just fun riding.
We get to Kelbaker Road and decide we are running late so we just hit the pavement of Kelbaker Road for the northern run into Baker for lunch and gas. Arriving at 2PM we opt for a quick meal at TB. BAD LT is going to jump on Interstate 5 and head straight back. The repair job is getting worse, the peg won’t stay in place, he needs to pick up his son early and we all give him grief that he just doesn’t want to deal with the river crossing again.
We all jump on the freeway for a 10 mile (?) ride to the last jump off point back to the M.T. so we can go through Afton Canyon. This interstate ride is real interesting as Bill’s WRF is geared for the dirt so he is screaming the motor to get 55-60 mph out of it. We all bunch up around him so it will hard to miss our group. He pulls up close and drafts a big rig and gets to ease off the throttle a bit.
We exit the Interstate, bid farewell to BAD LT and the 4 remaining inmates head south to connect with the M.T. again.

Back through Afton Canyon and on to the wet part of the trip. Reaching the river Bill goes first and makes it through again with flying colors. I am next and head straight for the shallow side of the trail following Bills line. I get about a ¼ across and I the dreaded river snake grabs my bike and throws it to the deep side. I yell and into the bike sucking hole I go. The bike gets through the deep part but bogs and dies coming out the other side. OBOY wet feet. It is still pretty deep so I push this big monster until the water is lower than my engine and push the starter button. Vroooom, starts right up. I jump on the bike, put it in gear and start riding it out. WHAT IS THAT RACKET? Oh no and only 700 miles on the new bike. Got to dry land, jumped off and looked at the rear end. It was the stock plastic disc guard, YEP hit something. It broke the front support and was no acting like the playing cards we use to put in our bicycle spokes. Removed it and everything was fine. At least I now had proof something grabbed me in the water.

Tom and Scott also had no problems getting through the water. No real drama this time.
On we went after a quick gulp of water and emptying a large cup of water from each of my boots. The sun is getting lower in the sky and we must keep heading west. Bills wife Allie is preparing a meal for us when we return. Again some more quick dirt roads and we hit the paved service road on the south side Interstate 5. Needing to make up time we stayed on the paved road instead of finding more dirt. Besides we were getting tired.
In Dagget since the sun is setting we jumped on Interstate 40 to get into Barstow and follow Route 66 back to Silver Lakes again ignoring the call of the dirt. Bill takes us on a little side adventure back in to see Exotic World a museum for ladies of the night. Run by LADIES from Vegas it has moved to another location but the gates are still there. Pretty funny.

Well we finally arrive at about 5:30PM, 207 miles from the River and we are all ready to eat. Allie puts on quite a bbq spread and we fill ourselves up. She also has a decadent chocolate desert but I am so full and still have a long drive home in the truck I must pass it up.
Getting home at 9:30PM I pull the truck into the garage, loosen the tie down straps, jump in the shower and fall into bed. I’ll just unload in the morning then start work. Boy this mattress feels good and I am out cold as my head hits the pillow.
Well will the next trip be up to Portland, OR to visit my son; or up the Owens Valley, through the race track into Death Valley N.P then back through Mengal Pass; or up the western side of the Sierras over to the east side then back down through June Lake, Mammoth Lakes, then back through Panament Valley on the west side of Death Valley N.P.; or maybe somewhere else.

Keep watching.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Better late than never report: 2008 Mojave Trail Adventure Day 1

This 2 day trek was completed back in October so that is why it is a better late than never report.
We started this adventure at a friend’s house in Silver Lakes, CA and ride to Laughlin, NV on the Mojave Trail and then ended back in Silver Lakes the next day. The instigator of this ride was WR TOM from Arizona. He wanted us to drive over and meet his group in Laughlin then ride the M.T. back to Barstow. I was in on this one. I had tried several times to ride the M.T. from Barstow but never got to finish due to poor timing. This was the chance to make up for the past mistakes. Bill, from Silver Lakes, was going to do the ride so I suggested if he had time we ride to Laughlin to hook up with WR TOM’s group then ride back with them the next day. He agreed so the 2 of us were going to do a round trip. Later that week he called to say he had a friend from work, BAD LT (Tom), who would like to join us on this adventure. Sure the more the merrier.
OK so the trip is set. The inmates on day 1 would be Bill on his XR650R, BAD LT on his XR600R and me on my brand new XR650L. My bike was brand new and this would be the first time its tires had seen the dirt. Having only 200 miles on the ODO also meant I would still need to baby it a little and the suspension would be a little harsh. The only after-market part I got to install before this ride was a Acerbis 5.8 gallon fuel tank, even still had the stock 50/50 Dunlop tires from the factory. So I checked the bike over to make sure everything was tight and would not rattle off and reset the suspension clickers.
Bill and I started to gather GPS tracks to make it from Silver Lakes to Laughlin with minimal pavement. Between the 2 of us emailing tracks back and forth we came up with a good route there and an alternate route to follow back to mix things up for us. Getting from Bills to the start of the M.T. was the hardest part. We worked with BLM trail maps and Bills knowledge of the area around Silver Lakes to stay on legal routes through the desert.
The ride morning broke clear and crisp and we were ready to leave Silver Lakes at 7:30 AM. As we were warming up the bikes Bill noticed his XR was leaking gas from the overflow hose of the carb. Stuck float was everyone’s guess. Trying to get it unclogged we tried riding it around his block and tapping on the float bowl to dislodge the dirt. All to no avail. Did not have time to tear it apart and Bill was lucky enough to have another licensed bike available, a 250 Yamaha WRF, so he quickly put all his gear on the Blue bike and away we went. Now Bill would be at severe disadvantage at speed with all the larger bore machines in the group.
Following RR tracks and dirt roads we managed to get into Stoddard Valley OHV area. We followed the northern power lines through the OHV area and into the Ord Mountain Route Network. This was not your usual straight flat power line road. It was a fun 2 track that would wind its way up, down and around numerous hills with a combination of sand and rocks thrown in for fun. We exited the Ord Mountain Route Network at Dagget and started our first paved run north for breakfast at Peggy Sues Dinner which is located on old Route 66. Arriving at 9:30 AM meant we were all famished and ate everything before photos could be taken of the good food.
Leaving Peggy Sues, Bill needed to fill up the stock gas tank on the Yami. We then proceed to follow a mixture of paved and dirt roads of the SMTS and BLM trails to the Mojave Trail at Afton Canyon.
Now the adventure for the day starts. We get to the Mojave River crossing in Afton Canyon and notice it is quite wide for a desert river at the end of summer. I go at it first. Too much speed and I was under a wall of water and soaking wet when I exited the other side. BAD LT went next. He tried to go on the opposite side of the water crossing than I. That left hand section ended up being a lot deeper, it swallowed his 21” front tire ¼ of the way through the crossing. The bike instantly coughed and died.

He pushed it back to the starting shore, emptied the float bowl of water from the drain plug and it fired on about the 8th kick. While he was putting back on all his gear Bill went through on his Yami. No Problem, he went slow enough so he did not get soaking wet. BAD LT tried again and got just a little further then the bike coughed and died again. Pushing it all the way through to our side he again drained the float bowl and it started right up.

As we were waiting it was noticed the boot between the carb and filter box had worked its way off on the bottom of the carb, no wonder it was sucking water in and dying. Fixed that and off we went.
Continuing on the M.T. through Afton we headed toward Interstate 5 as we left the canyon. Passing over the Interstate we headed toward and followed the power line road into Baker for gas and lunch. This power line road gave us a chance to make up some time. Just before Baker the road for the power lines takes a dive south back toward the Interstate. Going down the marked sand wash we got a little lost and ended up in a rock field of baseball to basketball sized loose rocks in a dry wash. Bucking broncos look out. Don’t worry no rocks were hurt in our short excursion but it felt like I was back racing a D37 Hare & Hound.
Finally getting into Baker at 1 PM we fill up the bikes and got a few snacks from the Mini Mart. BAD LT makes a few work calls as we eat, this is a week day and work bekones. We then continue back south on dirt roads to catch the M.T. once more.
Past Kelbaker road we stop again to sign in at the mail box. BAD LT being a member of the AMA District 37 Racing club the 100’s MC adds a sticker to the pole also and we continue on.
Now the fun section of the M.T. starts. A fun 7-10 miles of g-outs and whoops. I was leading at this point and got going way too fast on the new bike for the conditions. Coming over one rise and getting the bike light I noticed the trail turn fast right. No time to stop, I end up scaring myself on this new unfamiliar bike. Didn’t fall but was it luck or skill. LUCK FOR SURE. Nothing in the riding pants so continue on. The next miles just pound you on these big bikes. Go fast to float over the whoops or go slow and feel like you are on a bad amusement park ride. Well a little of both got me through in good time. Upon getting to a section of trail I could finally relax on I look behind and notice no one there. I know I am not going that fast. Stop and turn off the bike and hear them still coming, so I sit and wait. Both Bill and BAD LT pull up and BAD LT jumps off his bike to look at his left foot peg. BROKEN PIN. OK we shall now do a McGiver to fix it so he can finish the ride to Laughlin. Good thing it is just the post into the frame and the rear set bolt is still holding it in place.

We get 2 short hose clamps attached together and get the peg to stay in place with the help of a CO2 canister. We call WR TOM, thank you for cell service way out here, to try and get a replacement peg we can install that night. BAD LT will just have to keep his weight off that foot as much as possible till we hopefully can get the replacement in Laughlin.
Luckily we had no further mishaps until we hit the paved road into Laughlin. The rest of the trail is a 2 track that we are able to make up lost time again.

But once we hit pavement BAD LT looks at his from tire and it is flat. All of us are carrying spare tubes, so that is not a problem. BAD LT just guts it out for the last 8 miles of pavement riding on the flat front tire. We arrive at our destination, the Mojave River Bell, 216 miles from the start at 4:30 PM not bad for the down time spent gassing, eating and fixing the bike. But bad news awaits, WR TOM could not find the foot peg mount so several larger hose clamps were purchased to hopefully support the peg a little better.
We are all hungry and decide we will fix the peg and flat after dinner. We lock up the bikes and retire to our rooms to clean up before meeting WR TOM and his group for dinner.

Dinner takes a long time to finish. Much bench racing of the day’s events goes on well past 9 PM before we ask BAD LT if he wants to go out and fix his peg and flat. Tired we all agree the best thing to do is get up early to replace the tube in the morning. Boy are we a bunch of light weights as we pass through the casino to get back to our rooms. Asleep by 10PM.



Travel philosophy ~ But of course, to plan an unbelievably, memorable adventure that can be cherish in your minds and photos.In the infancy of planning a trip, read as much as you can about your intended destination. Make a list of "must-see-and-do", places to visit, sights etc. Then the fun begins . . . the extensive homework to plan routes, lodging, visiting, tours, etc. Always leave wiggle room in your itinerary for unexpected gems found along the way.Try staying in mostly private, home based B&B’s, small family run hotels in cities and campgrounds where a convenient room can not be found. What better way to learn about your host country and their culture than to stay with them and see how they live. Not to mention all the great people we meet along the way.At the end of the day, know that you have used your time wisely, spent money unfoolishly, know that you created unforgettable memories and had some fun adventures along the way.Happy travels!
The Motto is Pack Light!

A little bit about myself. Born and raised in Orange County, CA. I have been blessed with a family that enjoys the outdoors and travel. I have been on camping trips and day picnic trips from the mountains, beaches and deserts since I was in diapers. As a young boy my family traveled every year. We crossed the country in a car along the original Mother Road, Route 66, and later along the Interstate; by plane and also train. As I grew up the family visited National Parks and Forests, National Monuments and places of Historical interest across the USA. My father always stopped at all the Informational Monuments along the roads we traveled. I started riding motorcycles at the age of 10 and still enjoy the thrill riding. Started snow skiing in my late 20’s and as always have enjoyed sleeping in the outdoors. Married life has been good to me. My wife Jodi also shares the same interests that I do. We love to travel and have enjoyed cruises to Alaska, Mexico, through the Panama Cannel, and the Caribbean. Our latest travels have taken us on a 4 week cross country trip by car; a 4 week car trip through England, Scotland and Wales; a 4 week car trip through Germany, Austria, northern Italy, and Switzerland; a 3 week train trip from Paris through Italy; and a 3 week car trip through France, the Netherlands and Belgium. Then all the local shorter trips we are able to do the rest of the time. We both love the Disney Parks and have visited Disneyland, Disneyworld, and Disney Paris. With Disneyland so close we have annual passes so we are able to just go over for an evening and enjoy watching the guests of the park, which doesn’t mean we don’t have fun on the rides. What our next trip will be, only time will tell. Other blogs will follow Jodi and Terry’s travels (see above), this blog is to write about my adventures on the motorcycle that might be 1 day trips to multi-day fun. Well it will get better. Hope you follow along on my journeys.