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Old 09-24-2009, 10:10 AM   #1
HiggyB OP
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The Shasta, The Shame, The Pain - my overdue ride report

I'm finally getting around to writing this ride report two weeks after the actual ride as it's time to actually share the story. No, this isn't about some trek into the boonies with lions and tigers and bears oh my, it's a story about what was supposed to be a nice easy ride to McCloud (north of Lake Shasta) for a weekend of easy dirty fun before scootin' back home, all on Labor Day weekend. Things all started off quite well but by the time I started my ride home on Monday things started to go downhill, quickly, and the last of the nagging issues left over is still hangin' on like a monkey on my back. That's a pun you'll hopefully get after reading this thread, maybe it sucks but I'm tryin'!


As I sit here plowing through my work day, let me tell the story of The Shasta, The Shame, The Pain...


Wait for it y'all, posts are coming...
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:10 AM   #2
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I'd managed to get Friday off of work to make Labor Day weekend a four day affair and relatively early in the day (no dawn patrol) I was packed up and ready to go. The day ahead had something like 300 miles between me and McCloud and I was itchin' to go. I loaded up the KTM after chompin' down some cereal, banana and coffee and hit the road. The day's route being 101N out of SF, scoot by Lake Berryessa up to Highway 20 where I'd cut out to I-5 for some slab work up to Shasta. Vroom vroom, let's go...



The KTM loaded up* and ready to go...

*Note the sweet new Giant Loop gear bag, I was out for a first ride with what I now think is an awesome piece of gear! Waterproof, carries enough but keeps me rollin' light compared to my side cases. Definitely give it a thumbs up!



After clearing the bay area and enjoying Berryessa with almost no traffic, I took a break along Knoxville-Berryessa Road



Time for lunch and so I stopped at a long-time trackday favorite, Granzella's in Williams.



After a drama free easy cruise of 350 miles I pulled in to "the property" outside of McCloud, it's a nice piece of land nestled up against national forest land, off the grid and a great base of riding operations (thanks to Terry & Sandy! - you'll meet them in a bit).



I unloaded my gear and set-up camp before kickin' back and waiting for my friends to arrive (they were coming separately from Davis).


Day 1 ended with Terry, Sandy and their son Jack arriving an hour or two after me (I of course used the time to go for a quick ride around), we dipped into McCloud for an awesome prime rib dinner before returning to camp, sippin' whiskey and talkin' shit before crashing out for the night. So far so good...
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:11 AM   #3
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We woke up on Saturday, milled around a bit and decided a ride into McCloud was in order to enjoy a proper breakfast. As we all started gearing up Jack, Terry & Sandy's young son, asked made it clear he was going to ride into town on his own bike (XR70), "only jerks don't ride on their own"... :laughing



After some easy fire roads we came to a closed and locked gate, there was a path around it with some soft dirt and the like, no problem, right?



Wrong! One moment she was fine, the next Sandy found her F650 takin' a nap... Pick it up, dust it off and on we go.



The breakfast spot in McCloud, complete with Jack doing his best Elvis routine.


After breakfast we rode back to camp where Sandy and Jack hung back while Terry and I took off on a ride by ourselves. The plan was to ride to a local fire lookout we'd seen and tried to find in a previous trip with no luck. After some map consultation off we went...



First the mandatory pre-departure pose



After winding our way over the hills and through the woods we found the lookout and a locked gate*.

*Or so I thought. Like an idiot I assured Terry it was locked so we parked and walked the rest of the way up. Ahem, I was wrong and a moron, but we needed the exercise anyway. :laughing



And there's the lookout itself...



With an incredible view!


While up there we received an odd call (yes, we had cell reception!) from Terry's wife. Apparently she was out trying to gather some wood and got a flat in the Suburban, so off we went trying to get back to camp to go help sort things out.



The roads themselves were easy, but in a lot of areas they were covered in ultra-soft fine dirt that made for some fun riding at times.



After getting back to camp we rode out to the truck, sure enough there's something that aint right with that right rear tire!


We helped fix the flat and all got back to camp and decided that it was time to kick back for the day. We got redneck and broke out the shotgun for some shootin' fun, roasted hot dogs for dinner, cracked open some adult beverages (except Jack who stuck with juice ;) ) and had a chill night at base camp. Again, another easy and fun day of riding had come to an end, sweet!
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:12 AM   #4
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We decided that Sunday we'd go out for a long road-ride together, each of us on our own bikes with Jack hoppin' on back of Terry's GS for the day. We started the day with breakfast in McCloud then we went west to cross over I-5 as we wanted to ride up to Gumboot Lake, then do a nice loop in the hills that would bring us back out to I-5 a while later through Castle Crags State Park. All told it was a flat out gorgeous day to ride and we spent most of the day alone in the hills havin' fun.



We pulled up to Gumboot Lake and while walking the shore we spotted this fallen tree and its roots, chock full of rocks, weird...



Panoramic view of the lake, it was gorgeous (click image for a high-rez pano shot)



Jack was diggin' it...



Father & son getting ready to mount up after a road-side break



We spent the day alone, cruisin' roads like this...



...and enjoying views like this...



...and rest stops like this with no end, pure bliss


After a nice long day out riding together we found the afternoon closing in on us and so back to base-camp we went.



Sandy pullin' in...



...followed by Terry & Jack


But Jack wasn't done for the day, he wanted to go for a ride with me, and he decided that we weren't going to invite his parents along! :laughing



Jack and I ready to go, so off we went!


Jack and I took off on our own. Unfortunately I didn't take any pics but we saw more than a few deer as the afternoon fell. We had a great ride together and it was the first time he and I have gone on a ride together without his folks. It was a good time for Jack and "uncle" Tom (no blood relation but I'm as close as you can be without that).


After our ride it was back to camp and another night of loungin' and chillin'. Tomorrow was "pack it up and go home" day so we clung to our last night in the woods and had a great time before heading off to bed. Another great day was in the books!
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:14 AM   #5
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Day 4, the day everything went downhill... Yesterday (Day 3) Terry and I had noticed that my bike seemed to have a bit of an oil leak. It was hard to sort out exactly where it was coming from but it didn't look bad and with a careful eye on things we thought I'd be ok to make it back home where I could give it all a proper investigation. While packing up on Sunday we still felt that way and so with confidence I loaded up and got ready to go.

Note that at the same time I noticed what I thought was just a big ass zit on my back. While putting on my jacket and gear I could feel it there but didn't pay it much mind. This "zit" would turn out to be something much worse once I got home, something had bit me and things would turn out quite ugly in a few days, more on that later... :|

I helped get their gear all packed up and when things were sorted I left first, bidding my friends goodbye and off I went to get on I-5 for another dose of slab work back to Williams where I'd again cut west for something more enjoyable. Off I went with a smile, feelin' the good vibes after a fun weekend... that didn't last long.

I hadn't even reached Dunsmuir and my oil pressure light suddenly came on in full, the bright red dash light kick starting my "awww fuck" mood that would hang with me for a while. I quickly pulled off I-5 into a gas station to give things the once over. For starters, the oil leak seemed noticeably worse, quickly, yet when checking my oil level it seemed plenty fine although a bit lower due to the leak. I topped off on oil and the pressure light went off, I decided to ride on and see how things progressed. I shot Terry a text to let him know my situation, they were only a few miles behind me now, complete with a truck and trailer, although it was already chock full of bikes. I pulled back onto I-5 and we rolled together (thank god for the radios we have too!).

Once again things didn't last long as only a mile or three down the road the oil pressure light started to flicker now and then, and eventually it was on again, bright and staring at me, saying "get the fuck off this bike now". I again pulled off the road, this time with Terry and Sandy and Jack with me. We pulled into a Shell gas station to see what the hell we would do. This is is where Terry shows just how awesome a friend he is...

One thing was clear, my bike should not be ridden home. Terry steps up and offers to tow my bike back to his house in Davis, and he'd then tow it to a KTM shop near his work in Sacto the next day. On top of that he offered me his BMW as my ride home. Dude, hero points to the max, not only would he tow my bike home and to the shop, he'd do without his bike so I could get my sorry ass back to San Francisco.

With shame, anger, frustration and a growing desire to just get the hell home, we did the deed so we could all get on our way...



Sandy asked how I felt after having to pull over yet again, my answer should be clear



Let the unloading begin...



...so the re-loading could get done :(



Sandy wouldn't stop asking how I felt, my answer, even with their gracious help, was the same, I was bummed out



Let my 300+ mile test ride of a BMW GSA begin!



After a long slog back, with an increasingly painful "zit" (not!) on my back, I made it home and celebrated a safe arrival


It had been a great weekend, except for that breakdown. But if you're gonna break down 300+ miles from home I suppose it's best to do it when your friends are behind you with a trailer and a bike they're willing to lend you. I have many reasons to love and thank Terry, Sandy and Jack (we've been friends since childhood), this is just another one on the list. Thanks y'all!


I was at home, the KTM was off to a shop in Sacto (turns out it was just a bad oil pressure switch, an easy fix) and all was good, I thought. That "zit" on my back was not a zit at all, but an infected bug bite... read on and watch out for some gross pictures. :)
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:15 AM   #6
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As noted above it wasn't a zit on my back but a bug bit that had become infected. I arrived home Monday afternoon, and by Wednesday morning it had grown so large that you could easily see it through my shirt. It was giving me constant pain, I couldn't put any pressure at all on my back (no sleeping on it, no sitting back in a chair, nothing). So by lunch on Wednesday I decided I ought to seek medical attention...

I went to the doctor and at first they gave me a mocking look, "you're here for a bug bite? m'kay, we'll get right to you...". Then they saw it, and snapped to!



The bite had swollen quite a bit, was red and very painful (sensitive to touch is an understatement)


The doctor decide that it needed to be drained, and that it would require regular draining. So the following day (Thursday) they gave it a slice open and unfortunately that opening is still there today (two weeks later!). I've had to go to the doctor every other day for them to remove the dressing, squeeze the pus out of it (blech!) and then repack it with gauze, none of that being fun. I'll not post the following pictures directly but rather link to them with a warning that while not the worst you'll ever see on ADV, they're not the prettiest either...


With one slice the wound oozed pus...

On Saturday the swelling area was 5cm x 10cm

On Monday, a week after I was back, it had grown even larger (despite regular draining and being on antibiotics!)

And now this last Monday night, two weeks on the hole is still there


The swelling and pus are all but gone as is the pain. Now I have this hole in my back that is finally being allowed to heal closed. This was not the way I envisioned the trip ending. What the fuck yo?


The Shasta, The Shame, The Pain - that's how it went down. My back is on the mend and I'm ready to ride again, bugs be damned!
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiggyB



The breakfast spot in McCloud, complete with Jack doing his best Elvis routine.

Alright! I was just there last weekend.
I love riding up to Gumboot lake (aka Castle lake)



Bug bite....
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:35 AM   #8
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So many questions...

when you said stuff went downhill quick you ain't lying. But looks like some great riding in NoCal glad you enjoyed while you could before whatever it was took you out! (Those pix are F'd dude, nasty stuff ) Did the doctor know what it was? and how is the bike?
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:57 PM   #9
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@Chuck289: the ride up to Gumboot was awesome, such an incredibly fun road! Luckily traffic was light and I was able to hustle the KTM on up the hill at a nice pace.


Quote:
Originally Posted by b00t
when you said stuff went downhill quick you ain't lying. But looks like some great riding in NoCal glad you enjoyed while you could before whatever it was took you out! (Those pix are F'd dude, nasty stuff ) Did the doctor know what it was? and how is the bike?
The bike? Just fine, lousy f'ing KTM oil pressure switch... What bit me? Don't know and can't really tell, doc thinks a spider but ultimately it wasn't venom that did that so much as an infection. Either way I can finally sleep at night (two weeks of not lying on my back has been a bitch) and the damn thing can finally start to close.

Oh well, at least I got home safely (bike and body), had a fantastic time with great friends and came home with yet another story to share over beers. Isn't that why we all ride?
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:05 PM   #10
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Here's the same lake, just months ago. Mid April



Ice fishing!
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:48 AM   #11
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Awesome shots right there, thanks for posting!
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Old 09-25-2009, 01:53 PM   #12
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Sounds like a fun time, till the last day, anyway.

Talking about holes in backs, I had a cyst removed by my general practitioner in the HMO office six years ago. I guess his surgery skills left something to be desired as I have a hole in my back that looks very similar to yours. It was packed and re-packed with gauze for two weeks to drain, than cleaned and left to close. It never closed up, there's still a hole there. Make sure you let the docs know you want it to heal closed.
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