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.
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.