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Old 10-04-2009, 08:39 AM   #2086
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We passed through this unlocked gate

which will henceforth be known as La Porte de l'Enfer





You don't see the similarity??? I do.
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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:52 AM   #2087
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We start the section

by missing a crucial cut-off. I could see that we were leaving our intended route, but the trail seemed to be going straight, and it wasn't unusual that a line on the map corresponded to nothing on the ground.

In retrospect, we should have doubled back immediately and looked harder for the turn, 'cause we started down a path of no return:



This was the kind of trail you see alongside railroad tracks from the train and you think... "cool, that looks like fun"



The reality is that it's probably a section of road that was last used when the rail line was built, it doesn't connect to anything anymore, it's become totally washed out, and it hasn't been used for anything other than a deer path for the last 80 years. It isn't cool. It peters out into nothing. Stops. And you do NOT want to retrace your steps back up that nastiness... and besides, a road that connects to the road we want (or at least another line on the map) is just. right. up. there.

So you look at the barbed-wire fence line, and what do you see? a set of two double posts... hey, maybe that's a gate. Sure enough... by the looks of it it hasn't been opened in decades. But it's not locked, so...


BTW, in the vid I'm walking alongside the bike up and through the gate -- it simply wasn't rideable safely.

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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space

DR. Rock screwed with this post 10-04-2009 at 09:09 AM
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:04 AM   #2088
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Half-way there

So now what?

We follow the fenceline back, and I start to curve up and around to where the line on the GPS says there's a road...

To get there, we embark on what was probably the nastiest hill climb of any Mobius trip. Period. LDF is behind me, and we're fading in and out with the Scalas as we lose and regain sight-lines.

I tell her to wait and I'll scope it out, but I'm not sure she hears me, and it's now too steep, too rocky, too loose, and too rutted, with too many trees in the way to stop and talk, or photograph, or video.

It seems like hours before I can get to terrain where I can stop without dropping my bike, and have a prayer of restarting again.

I drop the kickstand and start walking back. I'm thinking to myself, "As impressive as it's been that she rode all the tough trail up to the last gate by herself, there's no way she took on that hill... and if she did, I hope to god she didn't stop or fall... momentum was your best buddy on that one for sure."

I get this far from my bike:



and what sight greets me?? LDF & Blueberry, climbing out of the abyss!

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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:27 AM   #2089
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The hill

levels out, and now we've got to find a road. We're still about 80 miles from Alturas, and I was a little stressed.

If we couldn't make this go through, it was going to be another major reroute, and time set-back, not to mention we were going to have to retrace some of the most technical riding we'd ever done on a Mobius trip.

The coolest part in retrospect was that we were both in a "we can do this" adventure-mode. The one thing I really wasn't worrying about was LDF's ability to ride this terrain, and it struck me soon after we emerged from this quagmire that at the top of that hill she had somehow graduated as an adventure rider.

There was a day, when she couldn't ride the terrain, was afraid of breaking down, of getting lost, being too remote, of having to retrace, not willing to forge ahead, and now here we were, on nasty terrain, risking breakdowns, almost lost, remote as all get-out, and we were slogging through it shoulder to shoulder, not me pushing... we were still in her comfort zone (and barely in mine).

At this point in our travels, we've been tested. We've gotten lost, we've crashed, we've broken down, we've been remote, we've ridden over our heads, we've had to retrace, and reroute, and... and at the end of the day we get through it. Somehow it works out.

Here as well, once we got back to where the line on the GPS was, we struggled for several minutes, and rode around in circles into the woods at the edge of an open area to match that line with something on the ground that looked like a trail.

But we did.

Here's the area and our path on Topo2008:



Here's the same area on GoogleEarth with the "roads" marked:



and unmarked... if you squint, you can see the trail.



Less than 3 miles in about an hour... now THAT's adventure riding!
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:00 AM   #2090
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Once we found

the bigger "road" (labeled as 4X4 in the Benchmark atlas), through a really cool pine forest, I relaxed enough to remember to photo and video record.



It was one of a number of wooded areas that we referred to as "Hansel & Gretel" forests, and we would start talking to each other on the Scalas in corny German accents. I guess you had to be there.

Here's the vid, you can probably hear the relief in my voice.

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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space

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Old 10-04-2009, 10:08 AM   #2091
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We passed through

another open gate,



and slowly, the road got bigger,



and wider,



and more traveled.




Disclaimer: nothing special, just riding, can't hear much. skip at will:

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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space

DR. Rock screwed with this post 10-04-2009 at 10:18 AM
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:06 AM   #2092
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>"I get this far from my bike:... and what sight greets me?? LDF & Blueberry, climbing out of the abyss! "

You've got an amazing wife... great rider, tough, fearless (well, except maybe for bears) and gorgeous to boot.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:16 AM   #2093
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As usually the case,

we come across something, and then I get curious and look stuff up to learn more about it.

We were descending from Antelope Flats, on Hayden Hill Rd,



and our path was blocked by the Hayden Hill open pit gold mine. It seemed closed down (and it is), and I figured it was a historic mine, from back in the day.



the road detoured along three 1 mile legs transcribing three sides of a square around the pit. It was pretty ugly, and the hill was denuded and scarred as well.



(not my photo). turns out the mine operation began in 1992, and ceased in 1997. They promised to reclaim the land and build a new fire tower, which was reputed to be so shoddy that it was unsafe. There have been issues with mud slides on the slag hill, and it appears that the area is now a neglected mess.

As we wound our way around the mine, a rancher in a pick-up waved us over and asked if we had seen any steer. Just bears and deers and other smaller critters, we said. He laughed.
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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:21 AM   #2094
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It's about 3pm

and we cross Hwy 139. I see this sign and smile...



nearly 3 days of hard riding... and we are 140 miles from where we started.

We dive back into the woods at Willow creek, and head up Foster Draw.
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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:25 AM   #2095
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Climbing out of that valley

we get a nice panorama



Ya gotta love when the government mandates that you ride with a hard-on.



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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:32 AM   #2096
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Ash Creek

looked like a nice campground,



but it was only 3:30, and we thought we could push to Alturas and if the riding was difficult, pull up and stay there, and if it was easy, get fuel, food, and wine, then continue on into the Warner range in the Modoc NF, and stop at the first campsite we came across.



The riding turned out to be easy, except for one short little connector (literally, about 250 ft), which snuck us the back way into an area called "California Pines". It was something I was curious to see, 'cause I couldn't figure out what the deal was based on what I saw from the maps and satellite images.
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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:54 AM   #2097
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California Pines

Here's what I had seen on GoogleEarth


View Larger Map

From the sky, it was laid out like a suburban community, but there wasn't a visible structure anywhere. I was able to trace a route through the maze, but it wasn't clear to me at home what we'd be getting into.

Well, after being there, it wasn't clear to us what it was either.



Graded dirt roads were laid out in a grid, with utility poles and lines. The lots were numbered. The streets were named. With street signs.



There wasn't a soul around.

Eventually, the main road became paved,



and we ran across some inhabitants:



Eventually, we passed a sign for the airport (grassy field with wind-sock), and drifted into Alturas.

So here's the scoop, I did a quick search on Google, and Cal Pines is a planned community that has apparently failed to take root and flourish. Conceived in the late 70's (?), it is famous for having one of the worst infomercials ever, and later having Erik Estrada as a spokesperson. Some disgruntled landowners have a web site where they are planning a mutiny against the "property owners association", but it seems the lodge is still hosting all-expenses paid trips for prospective buyers to check the place out.

wow.

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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space

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Old 10-04-2009, 12:12 PM   #2098
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We stopped in Alturas

for gas and groceries. It was hot. It was late. We were tired. And grumpy.

Nearest campground in the direction we were heading was 18 miles as the crow flew. 11 miles of which were pavement. That was the bird in the bush. The bird in hand was a campground 13 miles away, all on pavement, but which would require some backtracking in the morning and we'd lose probably 20-30 miles all said and done.

LDF voted for the bird in hand.



I over-ruled. We headed up into the Warners.

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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:26 PM   #2099
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The ace up my sleeve

was that I could pretty accurately locate the NF campgrounds nearest our intended route, and estimate the distance (along our route) from where we were.

What enabled me to do this was having our route entered not as a track, but as a point-to-point route, and also having loaded every NF campground in the country as a searchable custom POI.

So in Alturas, I asked LDF how much longer she thought we could ride. An hour. OK... if we get 11 miles on the highway, we can probably do 20 or so more miles. Let me scroll along our route about 15 miles, allow for a few miles if the campground isn't directly on our route, and search there for the nearest campground. Got it. Plum Valley 18 miles away. It was 5:20pm.

At 6:20pm we were here,



within a half mile of the campground ahead in that valley, but we still had another 4-5 miles to go.

I'm getting the from LDF.

We press on. Thankfully the riding isn't too technical.



The shadows are definitely getting long, though.



and it's 6:40pm when we pull into a completely empty Plum Valley campground, 34 miles, and 1h20min from Alturas.



We've got less than an hour of daylight, so we hustle to get de-geared, water filtered from Davis Creek, get the chairs assembled and tent up,



firewood collected,



and dinner started.

Tired, dirty, hungry, thirsty. That's when you see what your relationship is made of. Teamwork at its finest.
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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space

DR. Rock screwed with this post 10-04-2009 at 02:58 PM
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:34 PM   #2100
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We enjoyed

a fine dinner, a toasty campfire, and a crystal clear sky.



Reflecting on the day, we agreed it would go down in the books as one of the good ones.

The stats:



and the elevations:

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