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Old 02-21-2008, 11:28 AM   #1
Cpt. Ron OP
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Mojave Road in early April....?

...on a loaded 950S, solo, midweek and with street tires? Am I crazy or just plain stupid or something? (cue Forrest, "Stupid is as stupid does, ma'am")

Just looking for input on this. I've read the ride reports about sand and not-so-dry lakebeds. I figure the spring time frame might help alleviate the dry sand issue, but not the lakebeds. I'll be returning from a business trip in Phoenix, thus the amount of stuff I'm hauling.

Any ideas for camping on the east side of the preserve?
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Old 02-21-2008, 11:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt. Ron
...on a loaded 950S, solo, midweek and with street tires? Am I stupid or something? (cue Forrest, "Stupid is as stupid does, ma'am")

Just looking for input on this. I've read the ride reports about sand and not-so-dry lakebeds. I figure the spring time frame might help alleviate the dry sand issue, but not the lakebeds. I'll be returning from a business trip in Phoenix, thus the amount of stuff I'm hauling.

Any ideas for camping on the east side of the preserve?
Camp in Laughlin.

Apart from the lakebed, it's an easy ride.

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Old 02-21-2008, 02:44 PM   #3
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1. You will need fuel range of a minimum of 140 miles which shouldn't be a problem on our 950. There is gas in Barstow, Baker, highway 40 to the south and Laughlin at the east end but nothing in the Mojave National Preserve.

2. Riding solo in this area is always a bad idea because if you get hurt, someone may not come along for a week or more. Carry a satelite phone with you as there is no cell phone reception on this route.

3. The lake bed will be impassable if it is wet but you can ride around it to the south. If you enter the lake bed and it is wet, you will find out very quickly that entering it was a very bad idea. Get on the gas quickly and turn around as quickly as you can before your bike is burried up past the axles.

4. If you go around the lake bed to the south, you will come across some sand dunes that look like fun and can be. They are razor back dunes with sharp peaks so don't fly over the top of them as one rider I know did and wind up with a broken jaw and leg. That will ruin you trip in a hurry.

5. There is a section about mid way with deep sand that will be a handful on your 950 with street tires. I would run TKC80's as it will make the ride much more fun and easier. If you have the riding skills of Jimmy Lewis, none of this applies.

6. Toward the east side of the ride there are some very fun rocky whoops but you have to watch out because once you get into a rythum and are feeling good, a deep Gout will put you on the ground because you will not see it until it is too late. Keep you speed down on this section and you should be fine.

7. If it is warm enough when you go, and the Mojave Green Rattle Snake is out and about, make sure not to get bitten because you will only have about 45 minutes to find antivenum. A mountain biker got bitten by one of these in the mountains north of Lake Isabella in the summer of '06 and died before he could get help. He was riding solo.

8. There are several paved roads that go north and south that you can jump on if you need to but you will have to ride all the way south to highway 40 or all the way north to highway 15 to find any services.

I don't know of anyone who has ridden the Mojave Road solo especially for the first time. I know many have ridden this road and think it is easy and it can be with a light bike, the right tires and a skilled rider with nothing going wrong or any accidents.

There are no road signs on the Mojave Trail and it is only marked with rock cairns every so often. You will need a reliable GPS with waypoints loaded of the route (every time I have gone, more than half the GPS's in the group quit for one reason or another), BLM paper maps and other riders to help you in case you need it.

If you do go solo and have a problem and have to walk out, be sure to leave a note as to which direction you headed. I would walk east or west, depending on where you are, to the nearest paved road and then head either north or south to find help. You will be most likely to find help on one of the paved roads that criss cross the Mojave Trail.

I would highly recommend going with a group your first time on the Mojave Trail. There are many groups that go every year. Dale, the owner of Trick Dual Sport, rides this every year and would be a great resource. He know much more about the Mojave Trail than I do.
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:21 PM   #4
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All excellent and accurate points, but all of those cautions and warnings X10 if you do it from MAY to SEP.
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:37 PM   #5
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Buy this book.

A second rider would be a good idea.

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CA Stu screwed with this post 02-21-2008 at 03:46 PM
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:11 PM   #6
Dudsamoto
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GPS track...

http://www.smts.info/Route%204.htm

It is very wet out there, so beware of the lakebed.
I buried my GS with TKC's in the soft sand just out of afton canyon. Yes I was by myself. Very lonley out there with a 550 pound bike buried to the cylinders! I did manage to get out ,but it wasn't easy! I will be doing the ride with friends this spring.( we will all be on single cylinder dualsports!) We are going to wait for the snow to melt at our starting point in Big Bear and hopefully the river crossings will be down as well.
(you cross the Mojave river several times) Have fun,be prepared.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA Stu


Buy this book.

A second rider would be a good idea.

Thanks
CA Stu
Oh, and +1 on this. Available here..http://www.desertusa.com/web_cart/db/pages/5092gm.html
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:56 AM   #8
Cpt. Ron OP
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I already ordered the book and have downloaded one GPS track. I'll be traveling west from Laughlin , pulling out at Baker. A lot of this is going to depend on the weather and time allotted. I'll be leaving Phoenix around noon on Wednesday, which leaves me only 6 hours of daylight to see how far I get into the desert to bivy it for a night (and a new moon to boot). I'm also hoping to continue north from Baker into Death Valley and into Saline Valley, but if the temps will be really high, I don't think I want to do that bit of it.

As for the solo aspect....when I do these rides, it's about seeing the terrain and exploring. I'm a closet history buff, so this trail is something I've wanted to explore and actually see, not just blast through. I save the hero antics for the group rides when I can show off and really impress people. It's no fun if there isn't anyone there to witness the carnage... This might be the perfect opportunity to sell my XO on the Spot.

Thanks for the advice and information.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt. Ron
I already ordered the book and have downloaded one GPS track. I'll be traveling west from Laughlin , pulling out at Baker. A lot of this is going to depend on the weather and time allotted. I'll be leaving Phoenix around noon on Wednesday, which leaves me only 6 hours of daylight to see how far I get into the desert to bivy it for a night (and a new moon to boot). I'm also hoping to continue north from Baker into Death Valley and into Saline Valley, but if the temps will be really high, I don't think I want to do that bit of it.

As for the solo aspect....when I do these rides, it's about seeing the terrain and exploring. I'm a closet history buff, so this trail is something I've wanted to explore and actually see, not just blast through. I save the hero antics for the group rides when I can show off and really impress people. It's no fun if there isn't anyone there to witness the carnage... This might be the perfect opportunity to sell my XO on the Spot.

Thanks for the advice and information.
I forgot to mention the water crossings but they are at the west end and you won't ride through them if you head north on the pavement to Baker.

Death Valley could be great depending on the weather. Saline Valley is not to be missed and the temps should be managable unless it is unusually hot. I was there last Sept. and the temps were in the high 70's but are usually much hotter than that.

Carry a laptop if you can to check on the weather and check the Death Valley daily report to get conditions and you should have a very good idea of what to expect before you head there.

Going into DV from Mojave National Preserve, you will have gas at Baker, Shoshone, Furnace Creek, Beatty, Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs but sometimes they only have regular.

Riding into Saline Valley your last chance for gas is Panamint Springs. If you are riding straight through and the north and south passes are not closed for some reason, that time of year they should both be open, you next gas will be Big Pine on highway 395.

Sounds like you will have an epic trip.

If you are still planning on going solo, I would rent or buy a satellite phone as there is no cell phone reception in Death Valley either.
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Old 02-22-2008, 02:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt. Ron
I already ordered the book and have downloaded one GPS track. I'll be traveling west from Laughlin , pulling out at Baker.
Easy ride.

Did that section on a KLR in February a few years back in about 4 or 5 hours, including stopping and farting about in the ruins of Fort Piute.

Go for it, it is some neat terrain. A part of it reminded me of Southern Utah with its colorful rocks and remote feel. Very fun stuff.

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Old 02-22-2008, 03:29 PM   #11
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Thumb Mojave Rd

Their are some great Petroglyphs at the east end of the trail and Goverment Springs is a great area . Both of these I blieve are mentioned in the book. Their was an old Hermit Artist living in a cabin not far off the trail I met once, probably not there anymore that was about 20 years ago. There is a couple of nice camp grounds, Hole in the wall being one of them and another up higher in the Junipers. I think they aren't to far off the Mojave trail on I think Goffs or Cima Rd (check a map ) It's been along time since I was there, But am planning to do that this spring.

Enjoy
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Old 02-23-2008, 02:53 PM   #12
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I will be going out there next month (4x4) i'll give you a conditions report.
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