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Old 12-03-2011, 07:20 PM   #16
flyingwombat OP
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Post-Baja

Now we still had a couple weeks to blow, but we were down one dirtbike and one elbow- down but not out. We were determined to ride, except deathgrip needed to take it easy... no more riding for her for a while.

Before we left San Diego the next day, we stopped at the REI and I scored a deal on another sleeping bag since mine was: a) trashed and b) still in Mexico.

Then we trailered it over to Glamis. Remember what the storage guy said about Glamis? Paddle tires and all... well, forget that, we were going to ride some dunes. The sun was setting as I plopped the stupid required flags onto our bikes, while Cooler King checked his valves. The El Centro bomb range is in the background of this picture, the highway to the danger zone:




It was dark by the time we were ready to roll, but that didn't matter because were were drawn to those dunes like moths to a flame.




We lit out straight towards the big hills, but within the first 30 seconds my bike and I were rolling together through the darkness in a non-romantic way. I had crested the first hill with too much speed and the other side was as steep as you can stack sand. I was quite surprised. This was the first time I had ever dropped that bike, but it wasn't the last time that night.

I want you to take a good look at this next picture and tell me with confidence what lies ahead. Here's a hint: you're wrong.




Riding that heavy bike at night in the dunes without a paddle tire was difficult, fun, and scary. The huge lights that we both had were completely inadequate even with the full moon. We would find ourselves in a bowl and would have to go around it to gain escape velocity, but all I could see was a bright spot in front of me, not off to the side where I was headed. When CK stalled, he lost all lighting, but he had a big advantage: horsepower. At one point, I was on one side of a bowl and I saw his lights just climbing, climbing- it seemed like straight up. Then he came down it, yup, it sure looked like he was in an elevator.

I knew I wouldn't make that hill so I bonsai'ed the smaller one- BRAAAAAAAAP, crested the top like a bat out of hell and went flying off in a very humorous way- CK was laughing and so was I. Damn it was hard though.

I had busted my GPS mount so I had no idea where we were, but at least we were learning quickly. Front brake? Forget that it exists. In fact, don't use the rear brake either if you can help it. How do you tell if there is a hill in front of you? When your headlight projection gets small. How do you tell if that black shadow in front of you is a huge hill or a small one? You can't, just stay in the light. How do you tell how fast you're going? Easy, you're going faster than you think. How do you hit that crest just right so that you don't come up short and get stuck, but also don't go flying off the other side? Never quite figured that out. All you can see is sand and blackness, but the eyes keep searching... searching for the endless ride.

After an hour or so of complete madness, we decided to call it quits because it was just too dangerous. CK led us back to camp with his GPS, and by the time we got back we were pretty good at riding those dunes.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:52 PM   #17
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Holland is about the most expensive country in Europe when it comes to bikes and fuel..Stop whining and go riding It's just money and you only live once...
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:06 PM   #18
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The next day, more duning. Cooler King was ready to rock:




CK had the coordinates of some of the big hills, like Oldsmobile Hill, China Wall, Competition Hill, etc. and it was our mission to get there and ride them. In this picture, you can see our tracks from the night before, when I took a huge tumble on the other side of that dune:




Before we had made it very far, CK had a minor low side and now was having trouble restarting. He has his bike tuned very well but it can be a real pain to start if it's been tipped. Kicking that beast over in the hot sun takes a lot out of a person. It took us over 10 minutes, taking turns kicking it to get the fire re-lit. Pop-starting is not an option.






It was a lot of fun, easier than riding the dunes in the dark, but still not easy.




Eventually we started to run into trouble from below and we strongly suspected that Graboids were responsible. With no warning, the front wheel would just vanish. Somehow we never went over the bars, but it was close a couple of times with the rear wheel way up in the air for what seemed like an eternity.








Graboids I tell you. This was happening so often in one area that it didn't take us long to figure out the technique to getting un-stuck. Here's what you do: grab the top of the front wheel and give many small tugs. This will allow the sand to fill in under the tire and it will slowly come out without much work. Don't try pulling it straight out- just small tugs.

The bikes would float really well on the surface when it was somewhat flat, and anything at an incline was Roost City.








It was really hot out there and the XRR was boiling over from time to time. My bike was also running kind of funny too.




We found Competition Hill, and then found Oldsmobile Hill. At Olds Hill, a guy told us that the best thing about Olds Hill was the bowls just above it. So we rode up there and yes, they were incredible. Imagine riding wide open around the inside of a huge sandy bowl, just circling round and round like a psycho.

On the way back from Oldsmobile Hill, the tip of a desert plant whacked into my goggles, which in turn whacked into my eye pretty hard. Thank you for saving my eye, Scott goggles!




CK likes sand.




The only bummer about all the fun we were having is that deathgrip was having to read books at our ramshackle camp. Glamis was also nutritionally barren, with the Glamis Beach Store being the closest source of food, and they pretty much only sell junk food, tools, and axle shafts. We ate a lot of junk food, especially after pulling the bikes out over and over again.

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Old 12-05-2011, 03:21 PM   #19
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Nice job getting deathgrip out of there.

Glamis on those bikes? You guys are crazy! The 650R I can see, but the XRL? Now, I'm not bashing the XRL. I own one, an '07 and I like it a lot. When I go to the dunes I take "da blue roosta", a 2002 YZ250 2 smoke.

I just passed through Coco's and Gonzaga last week returning from a 3 day 730 mile solo ride. Ya gotta love Baja!
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:42 PM   #20
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Xrl

"flyingwombat (me), weapon of choice: XR650L, la porcina grande roja"

You say 'la porcina grande roja'.

I say 'la gordita roja'.
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:44 PM   #21
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Just in case you can't see the sticker on the airbox cover.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haywood View Post
Nice job getting deathgrip out of there.

Glamis on those bikes? You guys are crazy! The 650R I can see, but the XRL? Now, I'm not bashing the XRL. I own one, an '07 and I like it a lot. When I go to the dunes I take "da blue roosta", a 2002 YZ250 2 smoke.

I just passed through Coco's and Gonzaga last week returning from a 3 day 730 mile solo ride. Ya gotta love Baja!
Haha, nice. It was a change of plans and we made do with what we brought. Aside from being short on horsepower I thought the L was pretty good, but still a lot more work than a Y-zing or something. A KX500, YZ490, or CR500 would be perfect there.

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Old 12-07-2011, 05:40 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by flyingwombat View Post
Haha, nice. It was a change of plans and we made do with what we brought. Aside from being short on horsepower I thought the L was pretty good, but still a lot more work than a Y-zing or something. A KX500, YZ490, or CR500 would be perfect there.

You're right. A friend has a CR500 and it goes everywhere in the dunes without a paddle tire. He uses an IRC M5B rear tire. It has very tall knobs and a directional pattern to it.

Are you guys going to make another run at Baja?
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:43 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Haywood View Post
You're right. A friend has a CR500 and it goes everywhere in the dunes without a paddle tire. He uses an IRC M5B rear tire. It has very tall knobs and a directional pattern to it.

Are you guys going to make another run at Baja?
We would like to, I don't know when though.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:51 PM   #25
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Last day of Glamis

On the next day of riding Glamis, we crossed the dunes to get to China Wall. This was no small feat because eventually the dunes get really big and runways are scarce- there's simply no space to gain speed in some areas. Adding to this, there are small bike traps scattered about so you have to be very careful about picking a route. I remember looking at one of these little pits thinking that if I went into that, we wouldn't be able to get the bike back out. CK was in the lead with the R, doing a little scouting. After about an hour I was so exhausted I couldn't ride well anymore and was screwing up, which of course lead to more exhaustion. When trying to crest one particular dune, I came up short by mere inches, got stuck, and started cursing like a pirate as loudly as I could. I completely blew a gasket.

After CK pulled my front wheel over the crest, I ate a granola bar and regained my composure. I had to remove my goggles because they were too fogged up to see at this point, so it was really great when I bit it shortly afterwards and a load of sand went flinging into my eyes. After re-orienting the bike so that fuel was not leaking out of it, I just slowly cleaned the sand out of my eyes with my diminishing water supply for several minutes. CK wasn't sure what to think. Eventually, I dumped the sand out of my gloves and said "we must be close, these hills are huge."

A short while later we were at the top of the biggest hill I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and we went straight down it (like we had a choice). This hill was unlike any other hill, it was such a long and steep downhill I kept gaining speed and was hauling ass by the time I hit the bottom. It was China Wall and it was quite a thing.

CK made a few successful runs up China Wall, but I was too beat and my bike was running too funny to make an attempt for the top. We found our way out to the highway and went back to camp, where I checked out my bike and found a big problem.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #26
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major bike problem

The air filter had failed. Failed so badly there was a stream of sand into the intake. I'm not talking about dust or fine particles, these were full grains of sand.

So we left Glamis and went to Flagstaff where it was chilly, where we cleaned the intake, changed the oil and filter in the Honda dealer's parking lot. Didn't spill a drop by the way.

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Old 12-07-2011, 07:56 PM   #27
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Cry






Not enough grease on the sealing surface? Dunno, there was plenty of sand on the metal cage, indicating to me that at least some of it came through the foam. Lesson learned: check air filter frequently in sand.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:06 PM   #28
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So... what to do now?
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:07 PM   #29
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The engine was running well after we were done with the parking lot job, no smoke... I thought I might just get off easy on this one. After all, it does have the Honda Runsolong system with patented Honda Runsalot technology.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:10 PM   #30
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Where to now?

I've got two words for you: SLICKROCK, BABY!

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