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Old 06-03-2008, 10:14 PM   #1
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Dick's Desert Dash-3 States, 4 Days, 1054 Miles

The original idea for this ride was to take our 950's out to see what they could do, a nice big ride for big bikes. Well, no other 950 riders could make the ride but me, so the ride turned into me trying to keep up with two better riders on XR650's. The plan was to start in Santa Margarita CA, visit Rdgecrest, Goldfield, NV, Ely NV, Panguitch UT, Mesquite NV, and back to Ridgecrest, and end at home in Santa Margarita all on as much dirt as possible. In the end we rode 4 days, for a total of 1054 miles, less then 200 miles were on pavement.



The two XR riders were planning to get picked up in Mesquite rather than ride a lot of pavement or re-ride the same stuff that we rode on the way out. I figured that I could always hit the pavement to get home the fast way, if I needed to. We had been watching the weather for the places we were planning on riding through, so that we could pack appropriately. The forecasts were saying HOT, so we didn't pack all the cold weather/rain gear, we all had riding jackets though. We all had a backpack and one other pack on the bike.



We left Santa Margarita bright and early on May 18th. We headed east on Hwy 58 to Pozo Rd, through the Los Padres NF, and back on to 58, hung a right on Elk Horn Road though the Carissa Planes to Maricopa CA for gas.



This was the beginning of the longest pavement section, through the Valley to Rancheria Road. Rancheria is a great dirt road that goes up along the ridge, when we dropped off the ridge the trail became a bit more technical. I went up and down a few rocky hills that were a bit more challenging that I had taken my 950 on before. Then we took a left and went from "a bit more challenging" to "HOLY @#$%", but my 2 "buddies" were in front and I had to keep going. I made it up 4 or 5 hills that I never thought I'd take my 950 up, and it did fine, it's just a big dirt bike.... The last hill had a "S" type direction with ruts, well I got a little cross rutted, lost some momentum on the bottom half and top half was deep silt with a rock ledge at the top.

"The photos never do justice to the steepness of the hills!"





I hit the ledge and stalled it, restarted a few times but it was just digging in. This is about the time my two "Buddies" showed up and said that it just got worse further up. We got the behemoth turned around, got back on track, dropped on to the highway and to get lunch and gas at Lake Isabella.

After lunch we rode over the ridge on a great forest road and dropped in to Jawbone Canyon. We had our first of 2 flats on this road and we got separated for a little bit because I didn't see the 2 XR's off the trail with the flat. When we got down into the desert the temperature really went up, and we were happy to see that the hotel in Ridgecrest had a pool. Day 1 was 287 miles. Unfortunately there aren't a whole lot of photos, I was busy trying to keep up. All in all I was pretty impressed with the 950.



More to come! Maybe I can get my 2 "Buddies" to sign in and make some comments....
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Old 06-03-2008, 11:43 PM   #2
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More... more!!
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:01 PM   #3
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Day 2 Ridgecrest CA - Goldfield NV


Day 2 started at 0600 and it was 70 in Ridgecrest, we hit the Continental Breakfast and discussed whether or not some crazy Brit contractors were having Budwieser for breakfast if they hadn't actually gone to bed....



We were on the dirt in less than 3 miles and headed east to get around China Lake. We were moving along at a pretty good clip on 2 track when a bush took out my left mirror. At about 5 miles we hit pavement for a short trip to the next turn onto the dirt. I made sure we all turned the correct direction and took off. 2 or 3 minutes later I look in my one good mirror and see nothing, I stop and wait, 5 minutes goes by and nothing. I turn around and go back, maybe there's a flat. Nope, no ones there. Where'd my "buddies" go? Rule #1, when you get lost stay put, I sat there for 15-20 min's, it was getting hot and no shade. I figured it would be better to go to the next town, Trona and wait at a gas station. I get to the first gas station and who's there? That's right Bud 1 and Bud 2, apparently there was a bitchen trail to the left that I missed and they figured they'd catch me on the other side, they didn't count on my going back to look for them.

After Trona the plan was to parallel the highway north to lunch and gas at Panamint Springs. When we found the correct trail it was rock strewn and cutting across the desert grain so there were g-outs one after another. It was in this section that I bottomed out really hard and the bike died. I pulled in the clutch hit the button, the engine started. I let out the clutch and the engine died. I tried this a couple times before I came to a stop. Turned out that when I bottomed out I smashed the side stand switch. I tried just unpluging it but that didn't work, and we ended up tearing it apart to figure out which wire to short to allow the engine to run. It work just fine for the rest of the ride and will probably stay that way for ever.



We finally got away from the rocky g-outs and promptly went right into a nice rocky sand-wash. I figured the other guys were loving it but when we finally got to Panamint Springs for lunch and gas they didn't have anything good to say about the morning ride.



It was 11:00 and it must have been 100 degrees already, we had lunch, got gas and headed up the pavement to Saline Valley Road.




After a few miles on Saline we made a right on to Udehebe Road, which quickly turned into a rock strewn switchback infested trail. About ¾ of the way to the top the 950's thermostat was pegged high and the red light was blinking, and I had a flat front tire.



It was so hot that I contemplated riding it to the top but figured if I ruined the tire I'd really be screwed. I pulled over at the next wide spot and had it changed in about 15 min's, just in time for my "budies" to show up ask, "what's the hold up". We went over the top into Race Track Valley to see Race Track Playa and the moving rocks, well it was 115 and none of us were going to walk the ¼ mile to go see it, so we kept going.




We were on Race Track Valley Road, went past Tea Kettle Junction.



We stopped to look at the Ubehebe Crater, this is where "Buddy" Mike and Buddy Lee decided they needed to reapply Monkey Butt powder to their riding shorts, unfortunately I didn't have my camera out to get photo of the people in the SUV as drove by wondering why 2 guys were standing in the middle of the parking lot with their pants around their ankles. They didn't even stop to look at the crater!



We continued to Death Valley road and were headed north to Lida, NV where we were hoping to find gas then to Goldfield NV, where we were spending the night. Well at the turn I told "buddy" Mike (no gps) that the next turn was like 50 miles, and we take off. At about 10 mile I realize my mistake and hope that Buddy Lee (gps enabled) sees it and stops Mike. At the 15 mile point Lee says he tried to catch mike but couldn't. Way off in the distance I can see Mike the speck and the dust cloud approaching a big left hand sweeper, I tell Lee, "he'll look over his shoulder when he get's to the turn", no dice. The speck and the dust cloud disappear. Lee and I sat there in the 100+++ heat for what seemed like 45 min's before "Buddy" Mike finally came back. All he could say was how it was cooling off the farther he went, he made it all the way to Crankshaft Junction.



So we finally got back on track and out of Death Valley but now we're concerned about fuel do to Mike's side trip to CJ. Sure enough Mike goes on reserve but luckily we hit the ghost town of Gold Point within ¼ mile. As we enter GP we see a rundown building with a couple trucks parked outside.




We stop and Lee raps on the door, "Anyone in there". Some Guy comes out, I can see in the door that it's dark inside and it must be even hotter in there than out.


Guy: What'd ya need?
Lee: Do have any gas you can sell us?
Guy: Well, ya, but I'm not going down there unless you come in and have a drink with us.

Me: Do I hear banjos?

We need the gas so we all got off and went in, sure enough it dark and hot. We go through the next door, HOLY$#%&, it's a full on saloon.





We parked on the wrong side.


The guy's took donations for beers, said they we're getting ready for the annual Gold Point Chili Cook Off and that there'd be 1000 people in town Memorial Day Weekend. They gave us the town history, a little history on some of the characters in the saloon and sold us some gas. What a find!!!



We ended our day with a 80-90 mph blast up a perfect 30 mile dirt road to Goldfield NV. We got to the Santa Fe Saloon/Hotel at about 6:30, the bartender told us that the Café in town closed at 7 pm and she closed the saloon at 8 pm. We dropped our bags in the rooms, went and ate and got back in time to have a couple beers. The day's ride was 287 miles, Mike went 307.
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Dick's Desert Dash
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PozoRider screwed with this post 06-06-2008 at 08:17 AM
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:22 PM   #4
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Keep it coming.....good RR so far.
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:34 PM   #5
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Great report. That would have been a fun ride. Post the rest soon.
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:42 PM   #6
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Fantatsic ride

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Old 06-05-2008, 10:20 PM   #7
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This is great stuff!

115 degrees! Damn, fixing a flat in those temps cold be deadly.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:26 PM   #8
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I purposely stopped in a spot that I thought would have a little breeze, then I promptly went to the wrong side of the bike to fix the flat. It's also pretty easy to get the tire off and back on when it's as soft as it was.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:26 AM   #9
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I live in Grover Beach and that is exactly

the type of ride I want to do my newly aquired Husky 610 with maybe a detour up toward Kennedy Meadows
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:33 AM   #10
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That looks extremely fun....

I can't wait to see more!
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:58 AM   #11
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Great report and neat areas.

I spent a month in SoCal in '04 on my KLR, camping and riding in many of those areas you frequented and thoroughly enjoyed it...but I did it in February. I love the desert.
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Old 06-09-2008, 01:00 PM   #12
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Day 3 Goldfield NV - Ely NV

DAY 3:

Well really back to day 2, I forgot to mention that when we got to Goldfield gassed up before we went and ate. Well this was my first experience with the dreaded canister. After we ate the 950 wouldn't start, then I remembered the canister. I pulled the drain plug on the canister and sure enough, gas. After a few more minutes it finally started.



Ok, Day 3: We were on the bike at 6:00 am on the way to Tonopah. We hit the dirt on the west side of town, went past the cemetery onto some 2 track, across a dry lake and into Paymaster Canyon. The dirt road up the canyon and out the other side was wide and fast. As I was descending into the next valley I could see Mike and Lee almost all the way across, that's when I noticed I was going a little to fast for the next left hand corner. I a bit a panic I got on the brakes, started sliding, stalled the engine, and high sided. I hit the ground pretty hard but luckily I didn't get hurt. The bike was ok also, the tank bag didn't do as well, all the plastic buckles broke in one way or the other. After getting the bike up, and the bag all tied back on I had canister experience #2. I had to drain the canister again and many minutes of cranking to get the bike started. On the trail again into Tonopah through what must have been the old dump, due to the amount of old metal and glass strewn all over. It was about a 40 mile ride from Goldfield to Tonopah so it was still early, time for gas and breakfast. We were in town about 2 minutes before Mike got pulled over. Lee pulled into a gas station and I followed, we decided that we better just go by well Mike had the Man occupied that we he couldn't give Lee a ticket also. We waved as we went by and waited at the restaurant for the full report. Mike got pulled over because the office couldn't see his plate, it was mounted on top of the fender. When it was all over he got a ticket for not having a motorcycle endorsement.

With breakfast over we gassed up the bikes and carried about a gallon and half each. We new it would be a long way to the next gas, we figured we would try to by some from any ranches that we passed by and we would ride conservatively until we found gas.








We headed east out of Tonopah then north along 376 and 82, then into Hunts Canyon. While we were paralleling 82 we ran across a heard of wild horses, it was pretty spectacular seeing them.







They ran along side of us and crossed our path before we got out ahead of them. A few miles farther we ran into some old cowboys herding some cattle back into the fence.



Hunt Canyon was awesome, trees, grass, water, cattle. We ran across 4 ranches, there was no one home at 2 of them and the other 2 didn't have enough fuel to spare, but the lady at the second to last ranch told us that there was gas in Locke.







So the plan switch from conserving fuel to dropping into Locke for gas. We continued through a couple more valleys and canyons, dropped into Locke and got gas and drinks, it was hot again.



We decided to take the pavement up to Currant to get back on route, hung a right and headed for Lund. More great canyons and valleys, dirt roads, 2 track and single track. We got to Lund at about 5:00 pm, gassed up and headed straight north to Ely. The closer we got to Ely the interesting the trails got, the the temperature started to drop. If it hadn't have been so late we probably could have found a bunch of interesting trails.





We got to Ely at about 6:30 pm, the ride was about 284 miles. Some time after dinner while drinking in Dago Reds, or mayde it was in Champ's Sports Bar we decided to lay over a day in Ely.

Another great day of riding topped off by a good night of drinking, on Mike's tab.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:20 AM   #13
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Ride Day 4

Ride Day 4

As I said early we decided to layover an extra night (Tuesday) in Ely, that decision changed the outcome of the ride. The layover was definitely welcome, three days of 100+ weather had taken it's toll and it gave us time to work on the bikes a little and recover from the night before. We were also hearing that it was supposed to cool off and rain was in the forecast.



We were up bright and early Wednesday morning hit the Continental Breakfast at the Jailhouse Casino Hotel and got on our way. The plan was to ride south to Pioche, NV for gas and lunch then east to Ruby's just outside of Bryce Canyon in Utah. It was looking like the forecasts were going to be correct, it was much cooler, probably in the low 50's and there were clouds on the horizon in the direction we were headed.

We headed south out of town on the other side of the mountains that traveled along on our way into Ely. It was cold and we had our riding jackets on. Just 11 miles out of town we came to the Ward Charcoal Ovens.







These ovens were used to make charcoal for the silver smelters, back in the 1800's. We made good time down the valley, the dirt roads and trails were in great shape for the most part, there was one section that was pretty deep 2 track, it looked like a truck had gone through while it was muddy.



The riding was fast for the most part but we did get some bush whacking in when one of the trails disappeared and when a few new fences had been put up across the trails.



We made it to Pioche in time for lunch, and luckily we hadn't been rained on yet, although it didn't look like we were going to be so lucky in the afternoon. It was looking very dark and ominous to the east, right where we were headed. We had lunch at the Historic Silver Cafe, it was very good, maybe the best fried chicken I've ever had. After lunch we headed east out of town, straight towards the dark sky.

A short way out of town, maybe 10 mile, we stop and discuss riding farther south to try to skirt the weather. Sure why not, we have the gps's and at worst we hit the pavement thats down there to the south. Se we take off a little to the SE of the planned route. Lee found a nice canyon to ride up, deep sand and rock. In between wrestling the 950 around in the sand I started thinking that maybe being in a canyon when it's raining somewhere up ahead may not be such a bright idea. It all work out ok, Lee found a nice trail out of the sand wash and through some trees and up another canyon on a nice dirt road. The dirt road turned into a two track then a cow trail, I made to a point that I new I could turn around and watched Mike and Lee try to go farther. We back tracked to the last turn and tried going a little north up the next trail, with the similar results. The trail just disappeared in a bunch of pine trees. We back tracked again, went farther north and ended back on my original route.

We hit Highway 56 just south of Modena UT. When I was planning this part of the trip I really wasn't worried about gas, on the map there were a lot of little "towns" that we would go through. Well, these "towns" turned out to be a house at a crossroads, and the house didn't look like it had been lived in for 20 years. We went through Modena and Beryl UT, it had been raining, we could smell it and see it in the distance. On the other side of Beryl there was a 2 track maybe 100 yards long with water in it. Mike and Lee went through with out problem, I was on the pegs one second and on my head the next. I got the bike back up, drained the canister again. Mike showed back up and asked what the #$%% I was doing. I got going again, the rear wheel immediately started to come around front. I was on the pegs again determined to make it. I went about 30 feet and hit the ground again, pointing the wrong direction. I jumped up, tried to get the bike up before it died again but failed. When Mike finally put the camera away we got the bike up, the mud was so snotty you could barely stand. When I got going again I decided it would be better to go through the bushes then try the mud again.





The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, fast and cold. The temperature was dropping, but we still hadn't been rained on. We hit Lund, there were 2 houses on the corner, no gas, and kept going east. Went through the Parawon Gap on the way to Parawon.



As we're entering Parawon its raining just north of us the road is wet and its freezing. Our luck ran out, we finally got rained on in town and it's snowing in the mountains just to the east. It was after 5 pm, we had over 50 miles to go over the mountains to Ruby's, we decided to call it a day. During the phone call home that night Mike found out that it was 29 at Ruby's, I think we made the right decision.

Over pizza and beer we decided that we would rent a U-Hual in the morning and head home, due to the weather and the monkey-butt.

The next morning it was decided that since I had the most road worthy bike I'd go 20 miles down the 15 to Cedar City to get the U-Hual. It was snowing in Parawon when I left, it was @#$%ing cold!



Well that's it, we rode over 1000 miles in 4 days, and learned a lot. On the drive home we decided that next time we'll drive out of CA probably to Mesquite and ride a loop from there, the riding was measurably better once we got out of CA.

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Old 06-14-2008, 01:07 PM   #14
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I enjoyed it....thanks for sharing
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:12 PM   #15
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Nice pics and thanks for the route maps. Really enjoyed...
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