Trials and Tribulations in the Mojave
A friend of mine invited me to check out a trials riding competition near Ridgecrest. The event was put on by Socal Trials Association. I've always been interested in Trials and I've never seen it so I decided to check it out.
I left the house just before sunrise, and hit the slab. It was pretty chilly at o' dark thirty, so I decided to throw on my heated liner and gloves. Glad I did because it got foggy and damned :vardy atop the pass by Soledad Canyon. Up til then just having the liner is was enough, but I decided to turn it on.
Of course I haven't tested the install on the husky yet and my controller was having a fit and not working:becca I'm almost 100% sure it was about approximately no degrees Fahrenheit. I eventually had to plug in the jacket directly.
About 2 miles N. of Mojave, I'd had enough slab and hit the dirt. I tried to get close to the airport for some pics but no dice.
It's amazing what you can find in the desert, anybody lookin for a straight six? No tracks, 50' from the road, it's like it fell from the sky:huh
I ran along train track for a while, and then got dumped into a sandy dry riverbed. I decided that I need to practice my sand skillz before I go back to Baja again this December. Yep I still need Practice alright!
I took the opportunity to take off my liner jacket and to air down the tires. Pretty amazing how quickly the temp changes in the desert. The crash was almost surely caused by too much pressure! Yeah that's the ticket. Right after I let the pressure out of the tires I started thinking about my brand new pump, that I left at home. :becca
My problem with deep sand is that when I get going a reasonable speed where I feel comfortable in the sand, the turns come up quicker than I can think and I don't have the confidence in my turning ability to try the sharp corners at such high speed, and basically I get mentally overloaded. Maybe I'm just dumber than sand :dunno
Conveniently, this time I wiped out on the right side so I noticed the damage done in the first crash.
After a while I got tired of "practicing" and picked up a dirt road. After a bit the Road ended and I was in the Playa for a while. Then the Playa ended and I Followed a couple tracks through a dilapidated old fence, next thing I know I'm in somebody's back yard. I wanted to get the heck out of there because the place looked suspiciously meth lab like...
Keep practicing.. riding in loose sand can be hairy! :lol3
3 rules I ride by!
Nice report Aaron,
These are my 3 golden rules I ride by.
1) You got to slow down to go down.
2) When in doubt gas it out.
3) More B E E R !!!
In the picture of the first nap, it looks like the burm used you instead of you using the burm. Apply rule number 2.
In the second nap, it looks like maybe a flashback from the 60's or just site seeing. Apply rule 1.
For both naps apply liberal amounts of rule3!!
I had decided the place was abandoned when a little old lady came out of a tiny trailer and hollered that I was on private property. I rode over to her and apologized for disturbing her and explained I came for the "other" way. I pointed at it and said "this dang GPS said this was a road to Ridgecrest" (it didn't) :dunno "I'm lost!" :dunno (I wasn't):evil
She ended up being very nice and said "I thought it was a bunch of kids messing around" (nope, just lil ole me :evil) and pointed me in the right direction once again across the mesa towards her driveway.
I hit pavement for a couple blocks and then "discovered" the Honda Test Track.
Holy crap is that place HUGE! They spent some megabucks on that. It's also pretty secluded, easy to hide all the cool new stuff in there! Looking at the satellite photo, I think I need to get a tour of this place:deal
I turned onto Munsen Road, which was heading in the general direction I wanted to go. My GPS kept telling me to make a U-turn but i stuck with it. It turned to dirt and then off to my left I spied a dry lake that went exactly the direction I wanted to go :evil
Google earth says this is Koehn Lake. Just as I was about to head across the sagebrush a road appeared, and after I passed a small junkyard/shooting range :huh I entered the dry lake.
It started off very rough and with deep washes everywhere. Some of them were ramped just right and you could just gas it an launch off of them. But some of them were 2' vertical cliffs. Going in wasn't so bad but coming up the other side was pretty hairy. It was hard to avoid all of the ruts
Eventually I hit the center of the lake and it got flat as a pancake. SO I let'er rip to see what the ole husky'd do.
I was surprised at my relatively low speed and then I realized I was only in 5th. I bumped it into sixth and it picked up a bit.
Now, I know that it's hard to spot things and you can get 'snow blind' in this type of environment, plus, I was solo in the middle of nowhere, so I really was trying to be extra alert and careful. I looked down for a split second to check the speedo (77 MPH, which is about 82 on the gps) and when I looked up
OH SHEEEEE IT!!! there was a wash right in front of me. :eek1
If I hadn't been clenched so tight already I'm sure I would have crapped my pants.
I cracked the throttle when I saw it, but then I decided "OK so this is how I'm gonna die, I might as well go out in a blaze of glory" and I goosed it. (and tightened every muscle in my body, very, very tightly!) I hit this wash at at least 70 MPH. :huh
It sure didn't feel like I got the nose up enough at the time, but looking at the tracks; I think my front wheel musta cleared the top of the other side and the rear landed right on the base of it. The rear sucked up the impact and for some reason I still can't explain :dunno I didn't endo and face plant. As you can see I flew for a good 10-12' there.:pynd
Man, I love the Husky!:thumb :bow :bow :bow
I got a bit lucky because where I hit was a little bit of a ramp. To either side the wall was absolutely vertical and taller than the front tire. :eek1
In this pick from Google Earth you can see the Honda Proving Grounds, the long straight as an arrow Munson rd, my path through the dry lake and where the lake dumped me off into a old farm.
The satellite pick is from 2005 but the farm is long gone. Nothin left but sagebrush and some broke down sprinklers. Oh, and a couple more thrashed meth lab type places:wink:
Once again I found myself fenced in, so I went once again off into the mesa along the fence. Eventually I found a spot where the sand had built up and there was only one little piece of barbed wire between me and freedom. Thinking about driving over the barbed wire I was really starting to freak out about having no way to fill the spare tube I brought. :doh But, I was within walking distance of the 14 so I went for it.:pynd
After a little bit more slab I entered the Spangler hills OHV area. Nothin but wide open space.
The Trials was held near the Spangler Hills OHV / Teagle Wash staging area. The pictures of the trials speak for themselves… wow these guys (and gals) are good!
Even the kids were amazing!:thumb
Most of the 'pro' class were 17 year old kids. It became readily apparent why they were called 'pros':thumb
The second crash I was trying to stop before a hairy turn, so I know I broke a few rules on that one. :deal
Rule 3 might be the "golden rule":freaky
Your Tankbag saved my SLR too:bow Though at one point I forgot to zip it up I hit some whoops and my camera bounced into my lap :huh
Cal City is the only place where I've ever unzipped the base and taken the tank bag into the restaurant with me, great anti-crackhead design on that fandango:bow
:clap wow, alone in the desert...:eek1
great to hear you made it home and write this rr....:thumb
Love those Spangler Hills!! :thumb
What was your top speed on the dry lake?
I hung out for a couple hours just watching these guys (and getting sunburned)
It was also fun to people watch and to see all of the different cool bikes.
The sun was getting long in the day so I had to split. I briefly
entertained the idea of getting a room and heading up to Yosemite, but the weather forecast called for rain and I figured it might be better to have some stuff like a tire pump so reluctantly I headed for home.
I had to put in the spare gallon in for the first time. I decided not to go the 5 miles the wrong way to China lake for gas figuring there was something closer on the way. yeah, uh there isn't :doh When my fuel light came indicating I had 20 miles worth of gas 30 miles from Mojave I got a little worried, so I ended up diverting 10 miles the wrong way to Cal city.
I stopped for a quick bite to eat at Wimpy's but they were closed so I went to the sports bar next door.
The quick bite took like an hour cuz the service was terrible. The food was "ok" but not picture worthy.
I really wanted to get home before dark because my taillight didn't seem to be working.:cry
Even though I was a little stressed about riding on the 5 with no taillight, I made the time to visit the wind farm near Mojave. Every time I've passed by I have wanted to check it out.
As I passed row after row of not-yet installed towers that said "china" I started to wonder how exactly we are going to benefit from the new energy economy:dunno
It's incredible to me that they can Manufacture and ship a steel tube the size of a locomotive halfway around the world cheaper than we can make it in Pittsburgh.:(:
Unfortunately I wasn't really able to get close to the few operational windmills so the pictures are meh. <-that's a technical term
Riding home there was a brutal wind in the passes above Lancaster. I'd be leaning left fighting the wind and then when you'd enter a cut in the mountain the wind shifted to the right. I had a one pretty hairy near miss with a car next to me the first time it happened.
I got home about 7:30PM after about 13 hours on the road.
60 Miles of dirt.
So that was it, just one day but it was a pretty epic day for me.
Nice photos. I'm missing the desert (any desert) rather badly now the rain is falling.
I'm dying to go back out there too.
Indeed a great day of riding!
I've GPS-ed my 610 at 107mph (on pavement) but I don't think I would want to try going over 75 on a lakebed. 75 on gravel roads is good enough for me!
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