A Frenchman whose name was pronounced "U-bear" asked to join our invasion force. He was riding around the world and didn't know his way around DV and wisely didn't want to ride this area alone. We welcomed him into our camp and rode the next five days with him until the Beemer started to spite oil out of the left head gasket after more then one altercation with rocks.
Our merry band on the way to Mengel Pass via Warm Spring Canyon Road.
On the way to Mengel Pass we passed by this familiar land mark, Stripped Butte, I am sure that fellow ADV-Rider "R-dubb" remembers this spot well.
After passing Stripped Butte, we came to some very deep and side-sloping ruts and washouts, the Urals with the two wheel drive took these in stride, the Beemer however had some problems, it made it but not without some thrilling moments.
It wasn't long before we came to the foot of Mengel Pass, I should note that we were climbing up the east side of the pass going west, this is much harder then climbing the west side. I was busy taking video of the climb, I don't have any still photos of the ascent and for the life of me can't figure out how to post still frames from the video. There are many ADV-Riders who watched the video at the camp ground, I will rely on them to substantiate what I am about to tell you is true.
Don, was the first to tackle the pass. Remember there are "three" wheels on a side-hack rig, Don climbed the first bad clump of large rocks on "ONE"
The Hack wheel was at least four feet off the ground and the front wheel of the bike was three feet in the air, I thought for sure he was going to flop over back wards. The Ural came crashing down to the ground and slid back about ten feet from where it was air-born. Don revved the mighty 35 horse power engine slipped the clutch and again attacked the pass, remember these rigs weigh over 750 pounds dry, add the weight of the rider, extra gas cans, tools etc and the weight going up the pass is in excess of 1,000 pounds.
This time Don crawled up the first set of rocks with two wheels on the ground most of the time, he literally "launched" off of the second set of large rocks and flew the rig over the last obstacle and then rode up the rest of the pass. Believe me when I tell you, you have to see the video to truly comprehend what had just happened.
I, U-bear, and the others who had just watched this shook our heads in disbelife that the Ural was capable of such a thing. Now the pressure was on. U-bear and his Beemer were up next, the hill, rocks, sand and steepness of the grade all conspiered against the Beeemer, it was only with the help of two other Dual Sport riders myself and Don pushing, pulling on a rope and cussing that the Beemer made it over the rocks and ledges, once past the rocks the Beemer made to the top of the pass under its own power.
OK, now it was my turn. I am NOT the rider that Don is, however he had set the bench mark and I was determined to not let this pimple of a hill beat me with out a putting up a good fight. I took a different line then the one Don took, I climbed the first set of rocks and got half way up the second set only getting the wheels off the ground a few inches. This was hard on the clutch, I stopped in the middle of the second set of rocks to let the clutch cool a bit before continuing the climb. After a bit I again wound up the Ural engine making sure that big heavy flywheel was really spinning before slipping the clutch to get moving on the steep slope and slippery rocks. The tires spun, they grabbed, I was off the front tire skipping from rock to rock as the rear tire and the hack wheel propelled me up the hill. Ah yes, hot clutch and spinning tires, the smell of VICTORY in the morning.
Here are a few photos taken at the top of the pass. I am on the left, U-bear is in the middle, Don is on the right.
The rest of day three was uneventfully, Golar Canyon, was a cake-walk as it had been recently graded, the road to Ballarat, was fast and fun. The long climb up the paved pass was slow and boring, the ride down the other side fast and sometimes scary, going into a right hand switch-back at high speed while driving a hack can become butt puckering in a heartbeat. DAWIKT.
OK, I am working on more photos, I'll be back latter.