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Old 07-15-2011, 08:43 AM   #16
brunstei
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Outstanding writing - thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:27 PM   #17
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Cool2 Great write up!

I'm also new, not only to the 990 (2008 purchased from a fellow inmate) but to riding in general, and you've done a wonderful job of putting my feelings into words when it comes to this machine.
Thanks for sharing your experience and providing me comfort when my friends tell me I'm insane for picking this beast as my first bike.
Now I just need to ramp up my skills so as not to run out of talent before the bike runs out of 'umph'.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:41 PM   #18
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Outstanding

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Old 08-04-2011, 02:52 PM   #19
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Awesome!

Very nice writeup, love the prose! BTW, sounds to me like you got plenty kool aid...
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:05 AM   #20
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Literature...

I have been trying to figure out which bike I like better between a KTM 990 Dakar or a BMW F-800GS... As far as I'm concerned, this is a point for the Cheddar team... I have been trying to make my mind up about this for months so I'm ready to make my final decision down the road when the Wee gives up the ghost... Which might take a bit ... However, I must admit I'm slightly biased....

I also own a KTM 640 Enduro ... I know how you feel about your 990 cause every time I get on my big orange beast I get this grin before I ever turn the key on ...

Ride on my friend ...

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Old 03-29-2012, 11:25 AM   #21
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Gonna consolidate a coupla other daytrippin threads here....Work pals want to only go to one bookmark this year instead of finding each report, so since it's snowing, I'm gonna take a moment and include last years' rides.

=====

8-4-11; Riding Wretched

All the talk about commuting on a 990 over in Orange Crush has me wanting to adjust my current ride
into work. In fact, work is slow, and I am jonesing for any ride at all, RIGHT NOW.

Now, you gotta understand something right up front. I don't have a commute in the sense that most
of you do. In fact, even if I did live in one of those big concrete jungles that inspire so many to
commute at all, the fact that I live a whole .6 miles from my work would probably mean that I'd
walk rather than deal with even that whole half-mile of cage-borne madness.

But I don't live in one of those places, and most mornings I see somewhere between two and five cars
on my way to work, so I ride. Since I go to work most days between 5:30 and 6:00am, extending the
commute is not attractive to me, as these are the DARK hours. Not dark as in no light, but DARK as
in the Forest Rats are out and I don't need one in my lap. Besides, my wife prefers me to take a
little time on the way home to get work out of my system, so I get a pass in the evenings...

But, I digress.
===
While Wretched waits patiently in the parking lot (Who?!? - see: Wretched Excess), my day is
DRAGGING. Don't know what's up, maybe folks didn't get their reminder calls, but they're sure
not showing up for their appointments. The ultrasound closet is quiet, but I'm stuck sitting here
in case the next one actually shows up.

Cue the crickets...



It's a beautiful day outside, or so I'm told:



About as warm as I like it, but not yet too hot.

My boots taunt me from the corner:



As my screen saver silently reminds me what else I could be doing...







As the second-hand of my el cheapo wall clock clacks its way through the day, reminding
me of just how slowly time is passing, I realize that it's gonna be the perfect evening to test
the second fan I installed last night, if I can just get out of here and go find some slower-going dirt.



Wretched has some new, awfully clean belly-bling as well that needs a scuff or two:



...so all I have to do is make it to 5:15.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:27 AM   #22
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Because I'm on call, I've gotta stay in a reasonable radius, time-wise, and I've gotta stay in
cell-phone range as well. This is a challenge, since I live on the western slopes of this:



and everything from here is either up, over, or both. There's OK cell coverage along I-5, but it
peters out pretty quickly as you begin to go anywhere interesting. Spots like this are pretty much
off-limits while on call.



The work day FINALLY ends, and, miracle of miracles, there's no late add-ons to extend the day.
In no time, my view goes from my dark little cubbyhole to this:



It's a traffic jam on Old McCloud Boulevard, quickly giving way, five minutes (I caught a red) from
work, to this:



NOW, the commute's starting to look up! If you're worried about missing cars with your panniers
during your drive home, best you just stop reading now.



Dropping over the shoulder of the mountain toward Signal Butte, I still have some cell signal; I'm
trying to be clever and stay on the fringes of the McCloud/Hwy 89 cell towers.



It looks like I'll be able to close the loop and still get reception, but the road has turned to
varying depths of dust.



I hate this stuff, particularly on the 990. Bull dust, fesh-fesh, baja silt, volcanic ash; call it
what you will, it's no fun to ride in, especially alone. I know that the best way to deal with it
is to ride it hard, but today I just can't quite get into the required mindset. It's hot and I just
don't want to crash, or pick the bike up, if I can help it. This is complicated by the fact that
the road got rutted while it was wet, so there's concrete-like ruts buried under 3-10 inches of this
stuff. Just need to wick it up and it'll be fine...



There's little wind and this stuff is so light it just hangs in the air forever. There are
advantages to riding alone.



...yes, that's my dust back there...

Finally, this:



Turns to this:



and I find my Mojo, picking the speed up and running home, back over the shoulder of the mountain.









Coming back around to the West and into the lowering sun.



Back to the big city...



...traffic light and all...



Oh yeah, commuting in traffic sucks.

Got some dirt on the new bling:



and, despite my best efforts to the contrary in the silt, completely failed to overheat the bike.
'Course, now it blows hot air on BOTH legs, but no overheating!

Left some silt on the side panels for the morning.



If you look at the left side of this, you'll see "Home" and "Work". Gotta love the commute loop,
eh?



Steve
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:29 AM   #23
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Note: STill 8/11...
====



I wasn't kidding about Bambi in the morning. Wanna lap dance?

This AM:


and the road to the top's finally open!





Finally, a pic of Wretched herself:



Love the morning light!

Steve
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:48 AM   #24
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Flyin' Low in the Sierra Nevada; 10-4-11

===

This is gonna be pic heavy and word-light, since it's been a week and I'm getting pestered...

===

Anyway, back in the dark ages, while we were in college in SLO, a good friend talked a group of us into camping at Calaveras Big Trees and spending a few days bagging passes in the Sierra. What a hoot!

...this isn't that trip.

Given the short riding season we've had this year, I decided to try to go get me some of them passes before the snow flies; however, kids soccer and this thing called work are conspiring to make the next oportunity sometime in mid-November, and that ain't gonna work.

Got lucky last weekend with three days off work and an early soccer game; the trip is ON.

===

Right up until the soccer game got rescheduled to noon. Bummer. Had a talk with the girl



and got a pass for the day. Trip's back on!

===

Threw the big topcase on Wretched and loaded 'er up; don't need much, this isn't gonna be a camping trip; no time to deal with all the setting up/taking down...plus, some weather's predicted for Sunday.



Charging into the rising sun, it's hard to use restraint, but restraint is required. The deer are out and about, and it's THEIR time of the day!



It's still dark in between the hills...



But soon the sun's up for real and I'm enjoying some quality company.



Steve


===
I detour offa Hwy 89 into Burney, get some gas and caffeine, and check to make sure everything's tight. Turned back south on this:



Which rapidly turned into this:



ABS off, we're headed for the only dirt of the trip!



Smooth road:



rapidly improved!



But, too soon, dumped us back out onto the highway. Theres' some great riding around here, but we've got no time to dawdle. Our sights are set farther South today!

It's my least favorite type of riding, but at least it's a pretty morning.




I haven't been through Lassen park in many years, but it's on the menu today!



I get to the entry gate and it's deserted. Dare I just blow on through the park?

Not today. I park and walk over to the kiosk, grab a pay envelope and begin to fill it out. A ranger pulls in beside me and mumbles something about a fee; I got earplugs in, I'm on a mission, and I'M ALREADY PAYING! WTF DO YOU WANT?


...what?


Oh, you want to tell me it's a fee-free day?

Like it says on the sign I moved out of the way to get a pay envelope?


Why, yes, ma'am, I do have a learning disability.....

I. am. a. dumbass.

So, fee-free, I saddle up.



and head into the park.

Now, like many National Parks, there's upsides and downsides to Lassen. It's a really pretty place, but with a park-wide speed limit of 35/45 or so, it's no place for a man on a mission. Fortunately, I planned for this, and it is a beautiful morning!











Lassen (highway) Summit--the first of many...



Steve
===

Where were we?

Ah yes, Lassen....



There's still a lot of water up high; it looks like spring!



Rolling out of Lassen we blow by Lake Almanor



A quick stop in Quincy for lunch; It's Street Vibrations in Reno and every bar on the way there is packed with bikers, judging from the parking lots. This leads to an interesting lunch converstaion with a Harley guy who doesn't think much of the 'stich...more on that later

I've got an appointment with a fella in Reno to look at sumpthin, so it looks like I'm gonna be following the big bikes. Hwy 70-



We jump on to 395 and they sky's looking...um....promising?

Somebody's gonna get wet.



It DUMPS from Stateline through Stead; big dime sized drops bouncing on the road, standing water, just STORMING. Traffic slows, but not as much as the guy who made fun of the aerostich suit; he's doing 10 mph on the shoulder in his T-shirt, flashers going, and not liking that very much judging from his posture. I, of course, beep and wave! No pix in the rain, the camera's not waterproof...

Once in Reno, theres a HUGE dust devil, a full 6 lanes wide, in the distance. I try to grab an image as I'm busy missing my turn...



The pic does not do this justice.

Anyway, the guy I'm meeting is running an hour late and I'm running about an hour and a half early. The skies are blowing up fast; strong gusts and sticky heat are not what I want to wait around in. I text him that we'll have to hook up another time and head for the mountains under threatening skies.




Steve

===
__________________
When in doubt, PIN IT! It may not help, but it'll sure end the suspense...
Wretched Exce$$ See ADVr's around the world-ADV spotwalla page
Riding Wretched Wretched Passes
Bad decisions make good stories.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:52 AM   #25
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More...

===

Leaving Reno, it's looking kinda grim for the trip to the lake.



At least it's warm. And windy. So windy that it's becoming hard for the cars to keep it in their lanes.

Mt. Rose was busy; lots of traffic, with a significant amount of the oncomers in my lane. Really hate that.

Cresting over into the Tahoe basic there were about three drops of rain; once at the lake, it cleared off quite a bit.



Since it was still early in the day, we moseyed our way towards South Lake Tahoe and our room for the night.

Had an early dinner (fatburger), and sat at a slot machine. 8 spins later, I was up $100-time to go!

Wandered around and squandered a few of my winnings on a high-end chocolate bar and a soda for later; can't remember the brand, but if you find a dark-chocolate bar with "carmelized honey", get it. Oh yeah...

Walked back to the hotel in the gathering thunderstorm; drops were beginning to fall as I got to my room. Got a cheapo - and I mean CHEAPO- room and it turns out that there's no cooling in it. It's about 90 degrees, so I get some ice, prop up a chair on the balcony outside the door and enjoy a novel and that good chocolate as I spectate over the street. It's an interesting setting; raining off and on, kids, dogs, tourists, drunks in the street, everyone seems to be having a good time. Finally it gets dark and cools enough to try to sleep.

"Try" being the operative word. The guy upstairs from me started killing spiders or roaches or something on his floor about 10:30 and continued all night---with a hammer from the sounds of it. Either that or he was an insominiac pirate. The plumbing was loud and the showers started about 3:00; not sure what THAT was all about...

Anyway, it made it pretty easy to get up early, pack and blast off at dawn.

Steve

===

So, up early, quick breakfast, and on the road!

This kinda sums up the plan for the day:



I was surprised how much new pavement we saw on the trip. The roads were pretty much either brand new pavement--so new in places to be a little slick--or crumbling. Glad the stimulus is working for somebody!

The skies still held some clouds from the night before and some of the roads were still damp in the morning. I just love the clouds in this shot!



The rough plan for the day:

South Lake Tahoe
Pioneer Trail to Hwy 50
Hwy 50-Hwy89
Hwy 89-Luther Pass (7737 ft)-Hwy88/89 Woodfords
Hwy88/89-Hwy89-Markleeville-Monitor Pass (8303 ft)-Hwy 395
Hwy395-Hwy108-Sonora Pass (9612 ft)-Sonora
Sonora-Columbia-Parrotts Ferry-Hwy 4-Calaveras Big Trees
Hwy4-Pacific Grade Summit (8078 ft)-Ebbett's Pass (8760 ft)-Hwy 89 North
Hwy 89 N - Markleeville (again) - Hwy 88 West- Carson Pass (7960 ft)
Carson Pass-88W-Hwy 104 South-West Point-Hwy 26 S-Railroad Flat Road-Mountain Ranch-Hwy 49 (San Andreas)- 49N- Jackson

Gotta Roll!

This is the kind of road that makes me just love the big KTM. Look through the corner, roll it on! Ignore the potholes, cracks, tar snakes, cocker spaniels, whatever, just....look through the corner, roll it on.



Back in a bit...

S

===

I was thinkin'....I can do this all day!



...so I did!





Hell-llooo!



I guess they had to go!

Monitor was damp to wet from rain last night, but beautiful and fun as always!



395 was...challenging. Packs of Harleys doing 20 mph in the slightest corner, then 80-90 on every straight. Passing lanes? Forget it. They'd spread out into both lanes and nail it. So, bunches of Harleys followed by groups of pissed off and frustrated cages; not a friendly environment for Wretched.

It'd be easy enough to blow em all off with a few risky moves, but then what? Do I really want to run fast enough to stay in front of this batch at significant legal risk only to catch the next group? No. Avg speed, hwy 395 to hwy 108: 42mph. I had pics of this mess but they made me grind my teeth every time I saw 'em so they are deleted now.

Hwy 108 Westbound was little better. It's later in the morning now and the hunters are out, driving slowly and not paying a ton of attention, and I'm still dealing with groups of Harleys who can somehow corner without leaning the bike! WTF? They know how to twist it on every straight though...

The only sane solution to this is to run hard and enjoy it until we catch a group, then stop and enjoy the day, get a drink, pee, whatever, until we hear the next group catching up. Then throw on the helmet and do it again!

Good thing this is a gorgeous road!





















Sonora was the usual crazy weekend tourist mess.



Steve
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When in doubt, PIN IT! It may not help, but it'll sure end the suspense...
Wretched Exce$$ See ADVr's around the world-ADV spotwalla page
Riding Wretched Wretched Passes
Bad decisions make good stories.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:06 PM   #26
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Where was I? Oh yeah, day 2, Sonora.

Parrotts Ferry Road is nice, but it's the only place I really came close to dying on the trip. 20 mph corner, asshat in a black suburban clear over the fog line on my side....

Man, that pisses me off!







Finally, Highway 4! There still plenty of traffic coming West, and some of em are in my lane, so care is called for, but there is no significant traffic going my way. Sweet!



Hell's Kitchen overlook; I rescued an owl here once....the single lane stretch is comin'...



Steve

===

For those who don't know, there's an extended stretch of Hwy 4 that's one lane wide; no center line. This year it's all new pavement and there was a time when I would just blast this. Not today. I have a clear recollection of a friend's face after he split a group of Harleys who were all over the road right at Ebbett's pass; it took a full day for his color to come back!

There's still plenty of traffic moving West; tourists, hunters, and Harleys are heading home since it's Sunday...





I'm taking it easy, but some of THEM are cookin'!





For the first time since I turned back East, when I hit the junction with highway 89 I'm behind traffic. They all head towards Markleeville, but earlier in the day I spotted a sign saying that Carson pass would have 2-hour construction delays until 4:30 today. If I run Monitor again, that's gonna put me back at Carson, oh, right about 4:45 or 5:00.

Perfect!





The Monitor summit passing zone; twice I've found CHP officers in that grove of trees...



but not today!





I take a short break for a drink, granola bar, and rest stop at Hwy 395. The skies are starting their hot afternoon blow up and it's getting pretty. The winds are gustin' up...



as I head back over Monitor for the third time today.



Back through Markleeville, I have only a short wait at the Carson Pass summit...





...but it puts me behind some traffic again. Getting pretty cloudy, but it's still a beautiful ride in a beautiful place!







It's a pretty day.



S

===

Geeze, day two goes on forever!

Anyway, offa hwy 88 heading south...



I love these smaller roads through the foothills but you've gotta watch the driveways!



Shadowrider's gettin longer....



Starting to ride into the sun, we go from shadows...



To blinding low-sun conditions



When you're not riding straight into it, the sun's pretty on the oaken hills.



Now it's a race to get to the hotel before it gets completely dark; too lazy to stop and change to a clear shield.





...didn't make it.

Rode into Jackson in the dark, barely made it through dinner, and crashed with the TV on. Something on the order of 425 miles today.

Steve


====

Day 3, The Plan:

Hwy 49 N to 89 North of Sierraville
HWy 89 to Hwy 70 West (feather river canyon) to Chico
Chico to Hwy 32 back up to Lake Almanor and out to 44 North
Hwy 44 to Hwy 89 to Home (Mt. Shasta City)

The day begins in Monday morning traffic, running northeast.



There's some fog in the gulllies and it's a beautiful morning.



I should've left earlier, the roads are very busy, but I was worried about deer.



The traffic-induced pace lets me enjoy the scenery



...except when the road turns directly into the morning sun!



This is a very typical road surface for this trip (except for the new parts); I'm really, really glad I brought Wretched rather than the Red Menace.



Steve
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:08 PM   #27
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So, Day 3 continued; fewer pix today, for various reasons...

Hit hwy 70 downt he feather river, headed for Chico.



That didn't work out too well. About halfway through, I hit construction; it's Monday and all that new pavement has to come from somewhere....

This one has the look of a long wait; a quarter-mile or so of cars and trucks. I zip up to the front of the line, pissing everyone off in the process, and ask. I'm told another hour of wait, then another similar stop a few miles up the road.

Unacceptable. I reverse course and head for Lassen...

The big lodge at Lassen Park.


About this point I realize that if I hoof it, I stand a chance of making the Evil Empress's soccer game....now it's a TSD problem...I've got Speed and Distance, short on time. Rolling it on...









Hwy 89; I hated it when they straightened it out a few years ago, still hate it now...



I can see the mountain; almost home!



...I made the game in the first 5 minutes; she lost.

Thanks for watching!

Steve
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