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Old 01-06-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
Little Bike OP
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Location: Temecula CA
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Noob in the Dirt - Third Day Riding

I'm down in Anza Borrego for a few days riding my xt250 and generally goofing around. Today was my third day riding dirt. Decided to go up Rockhouse Canyon, it's near where I'm staying, got a late start today and I've driven and back packed the road and remembered it as being pretty easy.

Started out really nice, gravel past open camping, across Clark Dry Lakebed and then up the canyon. Took a little bit to get used to the shallow sand again (where there is 2 - 5 inches on a hard road), but figured it out again pretty fast. Then I hit the part of the canyon I didnt remember........at all.........

SAND, the kind that has no bottom.......

Argh, how far up the canyon does this go?!

Pretty far.....

Went into leg paddling mode - geez that is an ab workout and a half when you're going uphill! Finally took a food and water break and perused the geology. Looks like if I get around this corner I'll be off the deep stuff, much higher than the wash. OK , keep going. More sand, mixed with grapefruit rocks......come up to a short rock covered staircase and think " this won't be bad, I'll just keep my feet down". Worked fine until the back tire got stuck between a couple of rocks.....

I get off, jiggle the front end in another direction and walk the bike up with the throttle. By this time I am completely pooped out. But, damnit, I'm going to get to the top of the canyon!

I hit another, shorter rocky uphill bit, get a little ways up and splat. My head is downhill and I decide that it's kind of nice laying there watching the pretty clouds......

Takes a bit of doing, I made a big mistake and let myself get over tired - which I know better to not do, got the bike upright and stand there for a bit marveling at just how aerobic a sport this is...

I'm pooped so my balance is shot, time to head back down. Lots easier ride back, downhill through deep sand, much nicer with gravity on your side! I did my duck paddling thing with my feet in the really deep stuff and kept repeating my mantra of keep your weight back moron and steer with your body.

Damage: bent brake lever. Was able to straighten a tiny bit so useable. Tried hitting it with a rock, but didn't help. Slightly bent in rear brake peg, was able to pull out a little back at the motel. Small scrape on plastics. We fell on a granite boulder...
No witnesses

Had a great time . I'm going to be frickin sore tomorrow, but nice ride.

Got to try out my new Sidi Crossfire tas and Klim Dakar pants, very happy with both. If you have wide feet don't get the Crossfires, my feet are a normal width and they're just barely fine.

Need goggles! I had to take off my sunglasses because they were doing something weird where I couldn't see the road surface very well. I had my visor down, but my eyes were still watering. For a little while I thought that if anybody saw me they would think I was hurt or my dog just died.

So, the stats: Three riding days and 2 dumps. only did about 20 dirt miles today, seemed like a lot farther! I'm really looking forward to the Jimmy Lewis class, in the meantime I'll just keep doing my thing, for better or worse! Still lots of fun either way!

BTW, if you want a good place to stay in Borrego Springs check The Borrego Springs Motel. It's a restored motel from 1947, the new owners just opened about 7 months ago. It's basic, but super clean, comfortable and a good price. They also allow dogs.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:44 PM   #2
Rutabaga
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Nice report. I admire your spunk and tenacity. Hang in there.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:10 PM   #3
vintageveloce
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You going to be there this coming week? I'm heading to ocotillo tomorrow...
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:48 PM   #4
RandyM
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No pics? Well I got some videos of Rockhouse Cyn from about 3 years ago. Keep it up and in a few years you will think rockhouse is easy.



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Old 01-06-2013, 07:49 PM   #5
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I'm here tomorrow and then leaving Tuesday, but I might stay a day or 2 longer. Going home means facing the reality of going back to work the next week!
Let me know what you're up to....

Just broke out the aspirin, owwwwww...
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:02 PM   #6
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I'll pm you.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:11 PM   #7
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Nice Randy!
Somewhere around 4:35 on the first clip is where I met the road. . That first rocky up just before is where I got my rear tire stuck. I was going to bring my camera, but the battery was low. You made it there in 4.5 minutes, I sure didn't!

For those who haven't been up Rockhouse there are the remains of a native American village above the road, a little spring further up the canyon and a beautiful hike up. About where the village site is you park and then walk. The road used to be open to Anza years ago, but I've never figured out how people got over the huge dry waterfall up canyon. I think they used to winch jeeps up a very very steep hill to the left. If you keep going there are houses built of rock where some folks lived during the great depression ( thus, Rockhouse Canyon) . Unless you have a gps coordinate you'll never find them, they're well camouflaged. Makes a great 2 or 3 night backpack trip, but you have to carry your water. The spring is the last water you'll see.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:26 PM   #8
sealsam
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Congratulations on the progress.

Great tip on the BSM. Sounds like the owners have got a good thing going and I hope to give them some business soon. I have spent a good amount of time in the Borrego area, but never off road. Now that I have the KLX, I'd like to do a bit of exploring also. What are you using to gain your info on the riding area's?

The Mrs. & I usually go to Pala Casino on an overnighter and I bring the KLX in the truck with us. I get to Pala early enough so I can ride Mt. Palomar, Henshaw, and down to Borrego. I always fuel up in BS, buy a snack & drink and kick it in the Christmas Circle park in "downtown". This is what we did last Thursday, but the weather was pretty iffy, so I never unloaded the bike and wasted my money in the casino.

Enjoying your post. Have you got the pic thing figured out yet? Smugmug works for me, and I is prudy stooopid.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:29 PM   #9
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Thanks!

I just didn't take the camera today and I didn't bring the right cord to hook up to my iPad anyways. Took me awhile to figure out smugmug this summer.

I've been coming to Borrego for years. I used to head down here for the day and take my 4 wd on any roads that sounded interesting. I also have a pretty cool geology guide to the park and hiking guide.

When you're in the visitors center there is a board by the door that gives road conditions for various routes (should have checked today for Rockhouse ).

My favorite is Split Mountain up to Harpers Flat. There are a lot of side canyons to explore, fossil oyster beds, the wind caves, some pictographs and lots of solitude. Canyon Sin Nombre is another favorite. Go to the visitors center and peruse guide books for hiking, 4wd driving and dirt roads and explore.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:27 PM   #10
vintageveloce
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Great to see you tonight at Carlees!
Carl
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageveloce View Post
Great to see you tonight at Carlees!
Carl
Heya!

It was great company and conversation at dinner! We'll keep in touch!
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