Can hardly wait for next year!!
I put out a call for anybody who wanted to ride out Wednesday - Ratchadaddy (Paul) volunteered to ride with me and my little xt250 (warned him that top speed would be 65 mph, but he's a great guy and sacrified himself to slow land). Rode to 29 Palms Tuesday night and met Paul for breakfast Wednesday morning.
Onto the road! We rode the scenic route to Amboy, through the Mojave Preserve up to Baker and then Death Valley. Up and over the pass to Panamint Springs. Yay! Geez, my butt hurt.....
Had a few gas issues on the way, that is to say, I
had some gas issues. I usually get about 120 miles before going to reserve. 105 miles came along and noooo!!!! Went to reserve. Really thought I could make it to Baker, could see it down the hill and...... nooooo!!!! Paul gave me some go juice (I had a gallon, but it was buried under ten tons of junk) then I filled the rest of the way up in Baker.
I had a motel room for that night so I told Paul I would see him tomorrow for the Charcoal Kilns ride, had some food, hauled all of my crap off the bike and took a nap. Whoever was in room 102 - you snore...
The next morning I crawled my way down to Mr. G's trailer to let him know I was wimping out - woke up with a headache and just pooped out from the day before. Greg invited me in for some coffee - we were sitting yacking when he realized that there were probably people outside waiting for him. Ooops.
Saw off the group and then a couple of hours later moved my stuff over to a tent cabin (if you saw a little bike with 4 feet of crap bungied on with Sidi boots on top - that was me, and no, I didn't ride in that way!)
Next morning met up with Blaisew (Ken) for the Hunter Mountain - Racetrack - Ubehebe ride. I didn't realize that we were going over Hunter Mountain first so when the group made a right and headed up the hill I kept wondering if I was on the ride! We made it to the top of the hill, almost to the start of the Hunter Mountain road when Ken pulled over....Front brake caliper hanging off - lost the bolts
Staring at the bike. Male bonding time. I took a pic and then looked for the bolts.
Ken, say it ain't so! We walked both side of the road - no bolts. After much pondering and repetitive asking for directions
the group decided to continue on.
Off we went. I've been to the Racetrack, Teakettle Junction and Ubehebe Crater, but I wanted to see new parts of the park. After getting off the crumbling asphalt road part of the road, I made a classic noob mistake. There was a rut going down the middle of the road that I was trying to avoid. So I looked at it.....yep, went right in. After some serious wobbling and thanking Yamaha for making a short bike I got my wheels back under me. Paul was positive I was going over and he should have been right.
We stopped a few times for pics (I had my hand-me-down camera; the views are so vast that I knew I couldn't do them justice). Hit an intersection and out came the maps, GPS units and a lot of confusion. Where we were headed the road looked like a piece of spaghetti, splatted on the wall, that had looped over itself - multiple times. If you decoded the loops the directions came down to just keep going left
Suddenly, there was Ken! Our leader was back!
We headed down hill when those of us in front (pretty much the only time for me all day) realized that we were short a few bikes. Waited down the hill and here comes the rest of the group with a coasting bike and a yelp for wd-40.
Lots of standing around staring at the bike while TekurRides (a very nice guy who turned out to have a pretty bad day, but gets the reward for having the best attitude of the rally) gets it started. Lots more male bonding time. I took another picture....
Rode into a beautiful valley full of Joshua Trees and then headed into the flats for the "Silt Bed of Hell". It was a 100 years of baby powder and bottomless. Part of the group headed through - I had Tek in front of me so I had a perfect view of him low siding. I honked my horn about 10 times - like I thought the people in front could actually hear me - parked my bike and ran to our downed rider. He was pinned and made it very clear that he wanted that bike off his foot - NOW. It was pretty ugly - the foot peg had pinned his foot into the silt, ouch (wearing street boots)...I tried to lift the bike just enough for him to pull his foot out, but couldn't do it. Luckily, Paul, John and unknown to me, a medic (sorry, don't remember the name!) were right there and pulled up the bike. We spent a little time getting Tek settled, checked him over and then he rode through the rest of the silt.
No pics - was too worried about his foot.
Me through the silt - paddle, paddle, paddle......
Met up with the rest of the group and rode through a gap (Burro Canyon?)
down to Tea Kettle Junction (Ken has the group pic - Ken can you post so I can get a copy? - I'll pm). Most of us decided to ride out - a few rode the 6 miles up to the Racetrack. Rode down the washboard to Ubehebe (not too bad).
An aside: I don't stand on my pegs because my knees are crap. The guys tried to get me to stand and couldn't figure out how I was comfortable sitting the whole ride. It was fine, plus, women pay a lot of money for a similar cellulite reducing procedure....
Checked out Ubehebe for a bit - remembered the time I hiked down with some camping friends. Easy going down, coming up - not so much.
Pavement back - Paul gave me my license plate when we got back. Paul also rescued my shoe in Amboy....License plate is now zip tied.
Next day I missed my group going to Calcite Cliffs, Rhyolite and Titus Canyon - still not sure how. Met up with Nubs (York) and took off for Rhyolite and Titus. Great day and great company.
York getting his meditation on....
Apparently, a natural blonde.....
Does anyone NOT
have this pic?
York taking in the view
Down the canyon on the Little Donkey
Stovepipe Wells for lunch and then back to camp, without losing anything off my bike.
I was going to stay until Monday, but when the wind came up Sunday morning I decided to head to Lone Pine (I have this week off - teacher....yay!). Had some lunch with Macadamia (Andy) and let the wind blow me up the hill. Still got sucky gas mileage - xt250s do not
like going higher speeds with a heavy load (my stuff and
me - not sure which was worse....)
Beautiful ride past Keeler along the east side of Owens Lake.
Lowest spot in the US to the highest in the lower 48. The white line to Whitney
Alabama Hills and Mount Whitney
As soon as I hit Keeler I heard my phone coming back to life with the chime for voice messages. When I checked into my motel I listened to 3, increasingly hysterical, messages from my Mom wondering where I was. I know I told her I wouldn't have cell service until Monday at the earliest.....argh. I don't know what came over me, but when I returned her call I told her that some of us had ridden to Mexico after the rally and were in a Tijuana jail on pot smuggling charges. She was not amused....
She called the next morning to tell me that school districts were recalling all teachers for the remainder of spring break. Sorry Mom, not even close, but I am watching my back.....
Goofing around the Alabama Hills
I'm going to bring my good camera next time..........or maybe I should have won Photoshop at the raffle?
Loaded up - don't want to go home!
Did I mention that I am a bungie-ninja?
Iron butted it back to Temecula (I know its only about 250 miles - but I was on a freakin' xt250). If you were on a KTM with an orange helmet, just north of Lake Elsinore on Tuesday afternoon, you passed me. Wondered if you were at the rally..
Back to reality.
Cleaning aquariums, putting stuff away, washing clothes, washing bikes, procrastinating on grading papers. And looking forward to next year!