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Old 02-27-2010, 09:02 PM   #1
wswartzwel OP
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The Making of Future Adventure Riders

Today was an interesting day. I am trying to get my son prepped for Colorado this summer. He just turned 17 and wants to experience the Top of the Rockies Rally that he has heard so much about from me over the years.

Also, friend, Vladimir has a new bike, F800GS and he is chomping at the bit to ride. And our other friend who has ridden street bikes for years just got a F650 Dakar and is riding off road for the first time in his life. Planning a route that will be fun for everyone, and yet challenge my kid, was my main objective.
Lots of rocks and hills to mimick the jeep trails in CO. would be the event for the day. For some reason all the gates in the Quachita National Forest were open this weekend, so we got to ride places that are normally off limits. A short jaunt on the pavement from our house, soon had us motoring merrily along on wooded gravel roads. Rahn being a first time off roader and riding sweep, quickly learned that dust is not his favorite flavor.

We rode for several miles, and ended up in a familiar spot. The Flatside Wilderness area. It is close to home, and has lots to offer.

A few miles down the road and we found an open gate. This would take us down a trail that Vlad and I rode the first time we rode together, back when he had a KLR and I was riding my 450EXC years ago.. We both knew it had some muddy sections, and best of all a deep water crossing with big rocks. I wanted to test my son's abilties, and help Rahn to overcome some off road fears, since he had never ridden off road before. This trail would be perfect.

After we rode down into the valley a bit the road got quite muddy... Vladimir learned that the stock street tires his F800GS came equipped with, were not up to the task...

Vlad was able to give Rahn some tips on mud hole crossing.

My kid did pretty good, and I was proud of him. He and I got to enjoy some time on the trail waiting for vlad to tip-toe his slick tire shod GS through the muddy roads.

eventually we made it to the deep crossing. The road drops down at a steep angle and the water is usually a couple feet deep. Which really is not a problem, however the bottom is paved with jagged rocks the size of bowling balls. you have to look through the water to pick your line carefully... Carry momentum, and hope for the best to get across. If you stop mid way you will be stuck. i rode through to show everyone the best line... Then Vlad barrelled in on the slick tired 800... He lost momentum, and came to a halt knee deep in voided warranty...

Next up was my son. I was hoping he wouldn't fill his intake with water when he crashed and fell over in the water... I wanted to walk his bike across, but knew he had to learn to be a man... I told him to go for it...
He has been riding since he was 5, but quit riding to pursue his band a few years ago.. He started a hardcore metal band and plays in local clubs and for youth groups around the state. I felt like our father-son relationship was unraveling a bit. I bought him this KLX250 last month in hopes of him spending some more time with me. He is still getting used to a taller more powerful bike than the TTR125 he rode 3 years ago.

Woohoo... He made it... i was excited for him. but more relieved that I wasn't going to spend the afternoon draing water from his engine. :)

last in line was Rahn... Who had never ridden off road before. I told him earlier that if he felt uncomfortable with any obstacle to let me know and I would ride the bike over it for him. But Rahn was a real trooper. He blazed into the stream like a man on a mission and almost made it, but his front wheel came into a big rock the size of a cement block that stopped him hard. Vladimir was standing in the creek to help and pushed him over the rock. I think Rahn will be back out with us more often now that he see's how much fun overcoming trail obstacles can be. Here is rahn crossing.

Vlad was pretty wet when it was all over with. Thankfully his SIDI boots had directions written on the heel, so he was able to empty the water from them. :)

We went farther up the trail...

We stopped at a cafe on the way back for some good burgers.

Wonderful weather, and good friends. It was a great ride.

My kid thanked me more than once for bringing him along. Looking forward to future rides with him. :)
2002 BMW R1100S/ 2006 BMW R1200GS

wswartzwel screwed with this post 02-27-2010 at 09:13 PM
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:36 PM   #2
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Very cool RR !!

Wish my internet was fast enough to check out some of your video on your personal site.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:14 AM   #3
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You're a cruel leader for the poor sap that's never been offroad before and is riding with stock tires. I'd be cursing you during the trip, but possibly praising you afterwards. But boy, I personally would have loved to be on that ride!
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:23 AM   #4
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I want those trails come close to my house. Nice RR.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:34 AM   #5
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That's the kind of father & son rides we like to see on here! thanks for the report and pics
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:11 AM   #6
wswartzwel OP
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Originally Posted by duhgee
You're a cruel leader for the poor sap that's never been offroad before and is riding with stock tires. I'd be cursing you during the trip, but possibly praising you afterwards. But boy, I personally would have loved to be on that ride!
LOL! Yes I like to challenge people.. When my kid was 8 years old I put him on a clapped out RM80 with very weak brakes, and took him riding at a place called Stony Point. The trail was strewn with rocks as big as the 12" wheels on his little bike. It was hard for me to watch him struggle. I felt like I was somehow being mean. When he was 13 I used to take him to Brock Creek, which has single track trails like something from last man standing... I got exhausted picking his bike up on steep hills. The key is keeping a positive and relaxed attitude. And helping, you have to know what to say to keep them from giving up. Kind of like a coach, or a physical therapist.
Life can be hard sometimes for all of us. Being a dad means training, and preparing your kids to be successful adults, after you are no longer around to help them.
I do not know what obstacles my kid may face later in his life. My hope is to use the motorcycle, as a means to teach him how to solve everyday challenges. Sometimes you can think through and solve issues. Othertimes you just have to have the mental fortitude, and faith to just tough it out. And sometimes you may need to stop and ask for help. Hope my analagy makes sense.

The guy on the new F800GS was loving it.... Even quite casual about dropping his shiny new ride.

2002 BMW R1100S/ 2006 BMW R1200GS

wswartzwel screwed with this post 02-28-2010 at 06:18 AM
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:38 AM   #7
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Great report bill, looks like fun!
Rob Swartzwelder, Southern AZ
I'm not real fast, but I do have a dog named Dakar!
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wswartzwel

My kid thanked me more than once for bringing him along. Looking forward to future rides with him. :)
Bill... My guess is he will remember this and other rides in 2010 for a long time!
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:20 PM   #9
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Thanks for the sharing...
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:28 PM   #10
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Very cool - nice ride report..
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:27 PM   #11
wswartzwel OP
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Bump... New day, new ride report.. :)

As I mentioned earlier, I am trying to make sure my kid is ready for Colorado before we get there this July. Every year my riding friend jerry and I go to the Top of the Rockies Rally. This year my son will be joining us. Not only do I want to make sure the kid is safe, and has the necessary riding moxie... but I also wanted to see how he and Jerry get along. So this weekend we planned a little trial run. just a little overnite ride to see how things worked out. Jerry who normally ride street bikes and is north of 60 years old... also has an XR650. He sold it a few years ago, and recently bought it back. However he has not ridden it in a long while. First order of business is to get him on some off pavement routes, that are a bit more challenging than he is used to. We decided to take a path through the Ozark National Forest that I rode a few months ago with another friend. I made a wrong turn somewhere and got us on some really nice back roads.
In other words challenging... :) But lets not get ahead of ourselves in the report.

We left home Saturday morning early 9:00am.. For those of you that appreciate late nights like I do you know that 9:00am is EARLY! We arrived at Jerry's place to find him in the first stages of packing... I started riding with hm about 10 years ago... I was 40 years old.. all my riding was sport riding, I was always in a hurry, and I was concerned that i needed to slow down a bit and smell the roses in life. Riding with Jerry is a much more relaxed pace than I am likely to ride on my own... So... slowing down and waiting on him to pack was part of the reason I ride with the guy. :)
It is a bit colder than forecasted today. I give my kid a rain parka to put over his riding jacket, and turn up the heated grips on my Dakar.

After we departed we rode a few miles of pavement to Cleveland AR. and jumped on some National Forest roads. Anyone that has visited our state knows we have an almost unlimited supply of scenic back-roads.
You can have your choice of how technical you want. Today Jerry wanted just some mild gravel... I prefer logging roads, with some singletrack mixed in... but I am easy going when it comes to traveling with luggage.

Soon the scenery began to get better.

Route so far.

It was not long after this shot that I made a wrong turn... I have 2 gazetteer maps and a GPS with topo map... So I am not sure how it happened... But I told Jerry that I wanted to take this nice scenic road that ran north of, but parallel to the road he wanted to take... and this road had a nice concrete bridge over the Illinois bayou... Here is a pic of the bridge over the river I took last fall.. As you can see it is up above the river, all safe and dry. :)

So we are motoring along, and I see a turn off that looks good... Pretty sure this is the way. After a few hundred feet the road get s rough and there is a back bumper, with a trailer hitch attached, laying in the middle of the road, where it was ripped off from a ditch eroded in the road. We stop for a bit and let Jerry catch up. He seems a little hesitant to cary on. I reassure him that this road shows to be a heavy dark line on my GPS which means it is one of the better roads, and sure enough a half mile further and it gets smoother... after about 8 miles or so though it gets rough again... Then there is a steep drop with erosion ditches everywhere. I tell Jerry and my son to wait a bit, while I go exploring to see what the road is like ahead. I come to a nice flat rocky spot overlooking a river. But the road is becoming more of a jeep trail than a road. Not sure Jerry is going to be able to make it... Farther along a Creek crossing that seems easy enough... then a big mud hole about 50 feet long... Oh well.. MY gps shows hwy 27 is just a bit beyond the mud hole. I return back to the guys with my scouting report... with a positive spin on the delivery... :) Jerry agrees to continue... So we drop down the hill, and stop for a few pics of the river.

Then we make the small creek crossing, which has no slippery moss on it, I didn't want Jerry to fall and break a hip or anything.

And continue along... i ride through the Mud hole and it seems to have a solid bottom, my son and Jerry make it through OK... Cool... Now according to my GPS hwy 27 is about 1/4 mile ahead of us... Then we come to this.

"Well.. I see the road on the other side Jerry" "But the Bridge is gone? Hmm Must be on the wrong road"

I get off my bike and look around. It appears that the water is only about a foot deep on the far left side of the pool, where the gravel has piled up from recent rains. I make the trip across to show Jerry it is doable...

Once on the other side... Jerry yells for me to go and verify highway 27 is really just up the trail. "What, you don't trust me?" I said...
I motor a few hundred feet and arrive at the pavement.... I return and get out my camera for some action shots of them crossing.

First my kid.

He got a little happy with the throttle and stepped out the back end a bit.. He was already cold.... a dip in the drink would have ruined his day. He managed to use a little body english and keep it upright. Lots of big rocks on the bottom.

And then he attempted to spray me on his way out.

Jerry made it across OK, but kinda leered at me a bit after crossing. ;)

We rode the highway down to 27 and got some gas, and let my son warm up
a bit. Then we continued North from Hector and turned west on old 27. it is paved for a couple miles, then turns to gravel.. It is well graded and is a good to make time on... However it now started raining.. This was not what the weathermen predicted. What happened to 60 degrees and sunshine???

We rode up through Solo, and Victor, over to Hwy 7

Then we played a bit on hwy 123.. It is a favorite for sport bikes.

We jumped on another forest road and made our way to the now famous Oark general store. Before the internet.... Before there was a Trans-America Trail. We always took these places for granted. But now tourism is changing things... Only time will tell if these places can remain the sleepy little towns they have been for generations..

A few pics of Oark..

MMM Good

"I will have some Buttermilk Pie please"

We had planned to camp at White Rock... but were running out of time, and daylight so we opted for Redding Campground instead.

Hwy 215 is still quite scenic, but they keep widening/ruining it...

We got to the camp ground early and set up camp and I went exploring for images, while the others set out to find firewood.

Jerry Quickly had a fire going, and I made a point to enjoy it.

Camping went very well except for a phonecall I got from my CPA to let me know that I need to cough up a large amount of money for Uncle Sam on April 15th. I managed to push it out of my head and enjoyed the evening around the fire with my friends. Sleep was good, and after packing i noticed jerry hobbling around. he stated that his back was bothering him... I remembered last year on the way back from CO. his back was bothering him some too. I guess camping is not going to be in his future for too many more years. We started tracing back the way we came... Stopping one more time at Oark for gas.. and then a stop at Haw Creek Falls for some more images.

Played a little bit on hwy 123...

We gassed up again at Hector, and jerry was in pain... We decidied to beeline it back on the highway and get him home for some pain meds...

I think everyone had a good time, and my son is really looking forward to riding more. Especially Colorado.

I kid Jerry but the reality is he is in great shape for his age. He is a geography professor at a local university... He hikes, bikes and camps regularly... And he and I have ridden much tougher trails than this in years past... It has just been a few years since he has been riding off road... Hopefully this will help get him ready for some of the rocky jeep pass roads in Colorado. :)
2002 BMW R1100S/ 2006 BMW R1200GS

wswartzwel screwed with this post 03-14-2010 at 05:45 PM
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:40 PM   #12
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Great RR, thanks for sharing! I can't wait to teach and take my son on rides someday.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:41 PM   #13
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awesome pictures
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:01 PM   #14
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Thoroughly enjoyable.
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:43 AM   #15
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Nice to see the the XR650L out in the woods. :-)

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