Alright, a bit long overdue since I ended up working almost 100 hours in the 7 days that followed LAB2V, but here is my ride report.
I originally was going to take my F800GS on this ride, but since I was not sure how sandy the course would be I opted to take my WR250R as it would be easier to manage. Luckily, I paired up with Jon (jkstehn) who also has a WR250R).
I rode up from near downtown LA on Friday morning to the start in Palmdale. We collected our stuff and hit the trail.
One of many short lived dust free windows.
Kicking up a lot of dust...the whole valley seemed dusted out.
A quick self portrait.
On the LA Aqueduct.
We were cruising along a whooped out section when I came across a familiar rider looking in dispair. BigTodd had hit a deep dip at speed and bent his Paralever link arm.
The whoop, though of course it looks like nothing in the photo.
Later on we hit a sandy stretch next to the railroad and came across an unknown rider who had crashed and was looking in pain. The story is that an oncoming rider who was retracing the trail kicked up a dust cloud and the guy caught a rut at low speed. Turns out he broke a few ribs. A Hummer who was serving as support for another rider was able to ferry his bike out.
Since Jon is a PA, he jumped to action and checked the guy out to ensure he would be OK while help came. Eventually many forms of help came, as the off road ambulance, Kern Co Fire Dept, and SAR.
Due to the unknown nature of his injury, they opted to chopper him out.
In order to make up time, we had to slab it up 395 to make it to Ridgecrest for lunch, gas, and a checkpoint. It was 1pm by the time we left, and needed to try and keep a good pace.
Jon coming out of the tunnel.
A familiar road heading towards Husky.
Jon and his headlight in the dust.
The sun was dropping fast as we neared Black Canyon...
We came across another injured rider, this one had hit a rock and received a minor concussion. While Jon was checking him out, we saw many riders passing by, all hitting the same rock. After a while, I recognized the injured rider as Tom from the Moore & Sons KTM shop in Santa Cruz. It turns out I met Tom and rode with him in Death Valley almost 3 years ago. He did remember me, which was a good sign that his injury was not too bad. We later heard he did not get back to the hotel until 4am, via truck rescue.
Switching to clear goggles for the darkness to come.
The night riding was very interesting to say the least. Jon was all set with his ADV Monster lights. I had improved my lighting with the PIAA bulb in my stock headlight housing, but did not have enough light to go fast enough to stay on top of the sand. It was then a downward spiral as I kept struggling and wasting energy to stay upright (and even a few small falls).
Quick photo of the F104 crash memorial.
And finally we found the dirt super highway that would bring us down into Barstow, at 7pm. A long day, but very fun riding.