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Old 06-13-2013, 11:52 AM   #18
High Country Herb
Adventure Connoiseur
 
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Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Western Sierras
Oddometer: 6,319
I am in Ronin's camp on this one. While I have no intention of getting killed out there, knowing it is a possibility gives more meaning to my life. I almost always ride alone, and there is no cell phone reception in the forest. I sometimes carry a backpack with lunch and a couple bottles of water, but that is about it.

Like others, I have found myself at the bottom of a nasty trail with no way out. On my most recent close call, I followed a 60 year old dozer trail down a mountain, hoping to link to another trail. After about 4 miles of downhill so steep I could not stop most of the time, I came upon a 30 foot cliff. The only way out was up, and my XL600 was shod with Kenda K761 street tires (similar to those on the abandoned BMW). The first uphill had about 5 feet of runway, and was steep enough that I needed both hands and feet to climb it; not what those tires were meant for. To my surprise, the old beast climbed like an elevator. I got stuck, and stalled a few times on the climb out. Each time, I had to drag the bike parallel to the slope to kick start it. Getting pointing uphill again was always a challenge, but with no other option I somehow managed. It took me about 1.5 hours to get out. When I reached the main road, I was dripping with sweat. After experiences like that, I always feel strong and alive, knowing my fate was in my own hands.

I think I get my attitude from my Dad and Uncle. My Dad took us kids to black powder shooting rendezvous often, where we learned about mountain men and trappers from centuries past. Those guys were 2-6 months from the nearest help, and lived off the land. Lots of them died, but the survivors had some great stories to tell.

My uncle, who is now about 70 years old, still rides Death Valley and the Mojave alone on his plated XR400 on a regular basis. He is an old Baja racer, and nothing phases him. He has crashed hard enough to have an eye hanging out of its socket, and still made it back. I think he secretly hopes to die that way some day, just as he lived; a risk taker.
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