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Old 07-25-2011, 06:08 PM   #1
nukemm OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
Expedition: Bear Food

Day 1: Lemon Grove, CA to Ojai, CA
Date: July 22, 2011
Mileage: 233.5
Time: 8+ hours

Today didn't quite go as planned. Work lasted longer than expected so I was on the road about 2 hours late. To top it off, there was non-stop gridlock between San Diego and Los Angeles. After dealing with the traffic for nearly 3 hours to get to Oceanside, CA (55 miles away), I took a break to ease the pain on my rear.

My gear on the bench at the Oceanside rest area:

nukemm... pissed off and tired from riding 25MPH splitting lanes for 3 hours of solid gridlock:

The bike... a 2000 Suzuki DRZ400S with fresh Dunlop D606 front and rear:
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:21 PM   #2
nukemm OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
After a few minutes of contemplating life in Oceanside, I head back on to the superslab, aka the I-5 parking lot, and take the first exit I see that will go in my general direction... CA-1/US-101 just north of Camp Pendelton. This was a good choice at first, as traffic was moving a long nicely, although going 40 vs. 25 while riding does little to no good when there are traffic lights every block that seemed to be destined to keep you waiting! After another hour or so riding up CA-1 I stopped for gas near Santa Monica and watched the sunset:

Still pushing on CA-1 I start feeling a little light headed and look down at my clock - almost 9:00PM! I decided I should stop and eat, having not had anything since 7:00AM - and only a cheese danish at that.

Dinner along the road side:

After a couple more hours in the dark, I finally start getting into the "wilderness." I pass a couple of pay-use campsites on CA-33 before seeing a (seemingly) deserted group campsite just off the road. Doing the figuring in my head... after 10:30 at night, unfamiliar road, been up for 17+ hours, 8+ hours in the saddle... screw it, I'm stopping. I checked it out and it was locked up tight, but fortunately my little DRZ with no bags fit right through the anti-car posts! My first ADV inspired trip, and my first poached campsite. This will work out wonderfully. :)
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:40 PM   #3
nukemm OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
Day 2: CA-33 and dirt!
Date: July 23, 2011
Mileage: 140.6
Time: 4 hours

CA-33 (Maricopa Highway... YouTube has several videos of it) appears to be quite popular for motorcyclists. If you look at a map (or YouTube) it is easy to see why. I was awakened around 0630 by either 1 or 100 Harley Davidson's... it was hard to tell because they were so loud. For the last couple of hours there have been several groups of bikes riding by, and they all sound like they are having fun.

I wish I was less tired when I pulled in last night. If I were, I would have picked up the trash left by the last group. What is it with SoCal residents and littering? I have been all over the country and to numerous other countries on 4 continents and I have never seen so much trash! Someone could really make a killing teaching "Leave No Trace" methods down here.

I was disappointed that the water at the camp didn't work. This morning I had just enough water (15oz) to make some Mountain House scrambled eggs & bacon and some Starbucks Via. Now I am back to civilization for a little bit, charging my phone and enjoying an iced chai tea latte. Say what you want about my choice of beverage - I'm from the Pacific North Wet (Oak Harbor, WA) so all coffee-house drinks are fair game. After my phone is charged up I'll be headed next door to the general store for a couple of gallons of water to get me through until tomorrow morning.


My campsite:

Boiling water on my hex stove:

Breakfast company... though he doesn't say much!:

Meiners Oak General Store/Coffee Connection:
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:47 PM   #4
nukemm OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
After getting water and coffee I rode Ca-33 up to Maricopa, CA. On the way I ran into several bikers, some in groups, some all by themselves, and all types of bikes. I think most of them were there for this:

Tons of corners, some even with progressive banking!

On my way up the road opposite of the Pine Mountain Summit I had to stop for some... "essential business":

I saw a sweet KTM 950 Adventure with CO plates at the start of a hiking trail up the road across from the Pine Mountain Summit, and to my surprise, the rider was a girl:

Overlooking the edge of the world:
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:27 AM   #5
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Joined: Sep 2010
Location: San Clemente, CA
Oddometer: 266
More please.
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:26 PM   #6
nukemm OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
After coming down Pine Mountain I headed up towards Maricopa, CA for lunch and a tank of fuel. Had I done any research about Maricopa, I wouldn't have wasted my time. Once I got down off the mountain it was miserably hot, dry and dusty - and the road was flat as a pancake and straight as an arrow. At least some of the scenery was nice:

Once in Maricopa I realized that it was a 1 horse town... maybe! It had a gas station with a Subway, a motel and a "Jolly Kone" restaurant. I ate at the Jolly Kone, a Terryaki burger, fries and a drink for about $6, and it was pretty good.

Jolly Kone:

Once lunch was finished I went next door to get raped at the gas pump:

I suppose the expensive gas was to pay for the covered motorcycle parking:
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:57 PM   #7
nukemm OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
After consulting my maps during lunch at the Jolly Kone, I decided to get out of the desert (and according to the thermometer at the gas station, its 109F heat!) and up into the mountains again at my nearest opportunity. After heading south for about 15 minutes on CA-33/CA-166 I headed up Forest Highway 95/Cerro Noroeste Road and was almost instantly rewarded with this:

The view from a pull out:

The view of the road I came in on:

Another 15 minutes or so up the road I took a left up a near vertical hill with 3" deep sand, and after keeping at it for 2.3 miles of washed out roads, even deeper sand, rock slide debris and downed trees, I arrived at my camp for the night:

I pulled into camp and started looking around. This is the first thing I noticed, about 50 yards behind where I chose to stay for the night:

At this point I was having quite the dilemma. Prior to my trip I had told nukemmwife (based on my past experiences in the dirt not going too well) that I would stay off of any trails and only ride the USFS roads. That said, I had already logged most of 300 miles on this trip and finally got somewhere that was looking to be real fun - and what my bike is for. I decided that if I could get camp all set up and have enough time before dark, I'd go for it, so I set about making camp:

Bear bag:


The rest of camp:

With a little bit of motivation I was able to get everything set up in under 20 minutes. Not bad for being 10 years out of practice on rigging a bear bag.

While walking around camp trying to choose a site, I discovered that this was a much cleaner camp area than where I stayed the night before, but there were still flies everywhere, so I donned the "Scent of Man":

I must have grabbed the wrong bottle, though, because this stuff should have been called ON! Insect Attractant. I went from having 3-5 flies buzzing around constantly to having a whole swarm buzzing and landing on me. I have mad respect for native Africans/Indians/Arabs that deal with flies on a daily basis. While better than mosquitoes, they were still incredibly agitating!

I had to take a leak at this point, so I wandered around looking for an outhouse, but this is all there was:

After making use of the primitive facilities, I decided to see if the site back down the road had anything better, in case I had to take care of some "pressing business" at some point during my stay. Riding down without an extra 40lbs of gear and a bit of confidence (30+ miles of broken pavement/gravel/sand so far today without so much as an errant foot down) I "flew" down the "road" to the next campsite, but got gasoline sprayed all over my face from my fuel cap:

Note to self: When riding this bike off-road (until I get a new fuel cap) remember to have the face shield down, even with sunglasses on! 91 octane in the face is not pleasant...
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:06 PM   #8
nukemm OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
After my gas in the face episode I burned up some more fuel heading back up to my camp area and explored the trail to the south east of my campsite, but it was headed towards a desert patch so I turned around and went towards the trees. Once on the trail and in the woods I discovered that the trail (with a few exceptions) was actually in better shape than the "road" up to the camp site. I put down about 30 miles in the woods before it was time to turn around, so I found a wide spot that turned out to be a regularly used camp.

The view from the camp site I turned around at:

It was pretty sweet to be able to see over 2 groups of mountains and the farm land beyond that, kind of like being in an airplane.

This area, sadly, was covered in trash as well as shell casings of all varieties:

Gratuitous bike on the edge of the world picture:

Unfortunately I only had about an hour and a half until sunset, and after going up some gnarly hills to get to where I was, I wasn't so sure of my ability to make it back down without walking the bike, so it was time to head back to camp. I didn't have as much difficulty as I thought I would getting back, and actually managed to hit 4th gear at several points, though that almost bit me once as I had a heck of a time getting slowed up before heading down a near vertical hill.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:34 PM   #9
nukemm OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
Back at camp I got to craving a more traditional camp setting - specifically a camp fire, so I got out my ancient "Boy Scout Axe":

My grandpa gave this to me about 17 years ago, and I'm not sure when or where he got it, but I've never seen another one like it.

After a few minutes of chopping off some downed tree limbs I built me a 1-match "log cabin" fire and set about making some dinner:

Mountain House Chicken Terryaki and Starbucks Via:

A scene John Wayne would be proud of:

Tending my camp fire:

Say what you want about my attire, it all has a function. My shirt is a Navy-issue PT uniform shirt - 100% synthetic, wads up smaller than a baseball and doesn't retain odors at all. My pants are also 100% synthetic, water proof, convertible (zip-off legs) and also very compressable. My riding boots (Thor 50/50) are comfortable enough to wear all day and just light enough to double as hiking boots. Much better than packing extra stuff just for in camp use.

Drying out my gear... after a ride through the desert and almost 2 hours on the trails it was pretty sweaty:

My redneck back woods sink:

Just unscrew the cap a little bit and press on the container and you get just enough water. I was able to use that 2 quart container for all of my cooking/hand washing/dish washing for a full day, and still had some left to top off my water bottle.

I'm a little bit disappointed that I didn't bring my DSLR with me. I tried to get some pictures of the bats that were flying around just after dusk, but all I managed were pictures of darkness. Next time I will make room for a good camera.

After staying up until my campfire burned itself out, it was off to bed to rest up for the long ride home.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:55 PM   #10
nukemm OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
Day 3: Superslab... :(
Date: July 24, 2011
Mileage: 223.8
Time: 5.5 hours

I woke up this morning nice and refreshed about 0530, so I decided to get dressed and head on out of the tent, but I made it as far as getting my pants on before I fell back asleep and woke up again about 0715. This time I got up for real and started my day with an ill-advised (from what I've read about hex stoves) meal of SPAM and Starbucks Via.

And they say you can't "cook" on a hexamine stove:

I can say that I'm pleasantly surprised by my hex stove... $7.00 and I only used 6 tablets on my entire trip. And to the naysayers of the hex stoves - I managed to cook my SPAM without burning it, although I did have to use a crazy contraption to control the heat - my hand on the handle of the pan.

Once I finished up breakfast I set to packing up for the long ride home.

You mean everything has to fit in that little back pack?!

It all fit just fine, and off I went, but I didn't make it too far before I had my first (and only) bike-related problem. Somewhere down the "road" that my campsite was on I lost the screw that held on my cup holder (wind screen) - and once I got on the slab it didn't take long before my water bottle found a new home. Fortunately (since I'm a dummy and didn't bring essential tool #1 - zipties) I ran into a bike shop in the middle of nowhere:

The lady that was working there (Lyn, according to the business card) was a great help. I originally stopped for some visor cleaner (I took a couple of big bugs to the face the day prior), but she didn't have any. She did, however, have a camelback for less than Wal-Mart/Big 5/Target, so I picked that up, then she hooked me up with a free screw to secure my wind screen. I can't say enough about the great service and personality. Her personality actually delayed my trip for a bit, but that was fine... she was easy to talk to and I wasn't on too strict of a schedule, anyway.

Unfortunately after about 15 miles of twisties, I was headed to the Superslab for the rest of the day, so not much to see. I had to stop for gas and lunch near LA (Norwalk) and found a good Mexican place:

The pretty girl with a gun caught my eye. The food was great, and inexpensive. $7 and change for a "wet burrito" that was about twice as big as I could eat, even after a couple of solid days of riding and eating camp food.

After lunch it was back on the 5, only stopping in Oceanside, CA to stretch the legs a bit before getting home:

After Oceanside it was a straight shot home, just 45 minutes. I can tell you, anyone who does long distances on a DRZ without any seat mods is tough in my book. I had some serious monkey-butt, for sure!
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:37 PM   #11
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Magalia, CA./ Butte & Siskiyou C.
Oddometer: 1,803
Thank you for sharing...

Nice little weekend campout is good for the soul.
No, I don't know where that road goes, let's find out!
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Old 07-28-2011, 04:36 PM   #12
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Location Location!
Oddometer: 865
I woke up this morning nice and refreshed about 0530, so I decided to get dressed and head on out of the tent, but I made it as far as getting my pants on before I fell back asleep and woke up again about 0715.

Ha! happens to me every time! Nice RR man!
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:21 PM   #13
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Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Red stickered, in the wild, wild, west
Oddometer: 2,138
Cerro-Noroeste is heaven on earth for 2 wheels...
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:51 PM   #14
Craig McCurdy
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Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Hood River, Oregon
Oddometer: 1,459
Nice ride and report! I grew up in Ojai and go back once every ten years it seems. Nice water bottle by the way, I need to see if I can find the couple I have from long ago. They are also almost indestructible and work as a pillow if need be.
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Old 07-30-2011, 12:36 PM   #15
nukemm OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 114
Thanks for taking the time to read & respond. My first real ride, and as such, my first real ride report. I'm sure I'll get better with experience.

The area up around Ojai is amazing. I can't wait to go back, although next time I'll probably put the bike in my truck and head up to Seal Beach (got a friend that lives there) and depart from there, minimizing freeway time on the DRZ. That area had a bunch of roads that weren't on my map, so next time I'll get a better map (including the OHV trails) so I'll really be able to have a good time!
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