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Old 07-15-2013, 10:21 AM   #1
jckid OP
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: CA
Oddometer: 310
Over the River & Through the Woods II: 2000 Miles on a 250

Where to begin…I wasn’t sure this trip was going to happen. Two years ago, we were a week from leaving, when the trip was suddenly cancelled. Long story short, DC (my husband) permanently damaged his hearing. For a while there, I wasn’t sure he would ever ride again, because of the extreme sensitivity of his ears after the incident. Wind noise was a real issue. After a year of almost no riding, I finally got him to head out on 3-day trip, followed by a couple of overnighters. After doing a lot of riding by myself during that period, I decided to downsize from my Husqvarna SM610 to a Yamaha WR250X.

With things getting somewhat back to normal, I suggested we ride to Alaska this summer. DC turned 75 this year, so we knew there was no time like the present. He said yes, but unfortunately the boss said NO. A month off wasn’t going to happen. I nearly gave up, but then came up with the idea to do the ride we cancelled two years ago….SoCal to Oregon and back.

DC would ride his 2009 BMW G650X-Country, and I’d ride my 2011 Yamaha WR250X. The plan was to ride about 2,000 miles in 11 days, and do some other activities along the way. Originally we had planned to visit my 95 year old grandmother, but unfortunately she passed away a couple of months before the trip. There was no service, so our plan now was to visit her gravesite and hope that it would bring some closure. Three years back we’d ridden one-way to Oregon to visit her. I called the report “Over the River & Through the Woods” (to grandmother’s house we go), so this time I decided to call it Part II.
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jckid screwed with this post 07-15-2013 at 01:22 PM
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:41 AM   #2
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Day 1

Day 1: The goal was to get to Mammoth Lakes. We got an early start to try and beat the heat in the desert. We stopped in Bishop for some lunch and were surprised to find it was sprinkling when we came out. As we headed north up Hwy. 395 toward Mammoth, the sky looked quite ominous. We rode directly into it, and it started to rain hard going up the pass. We hadn’t expected rain on our first day, but it felt great, since it was hot. We don’t often ride in the rain, and it was actually a highlight of the first day’s ride.



After only about 20 minutes, we pulled out of the rain.


Our campsite in Mammoth.



We spent the afternoon hiking and swimming. I liked this sign we saw as we were leaving Mammoth.



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Old 07-15-2013, 11:05 AM   #3
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Day 2

Day 2: We continued north on Hwy. 395. We stopped along the Walker River for a rest stop and to take off our sweaters and wind jackets.



As we passed through Carson City, we noticed the wind started to pick up. Between there and Reno, it was a strong crosswind. High winds on a small, lightweight bike was one of my biggest fears in downsizing to a smaller bike, but it did better than I expected…not too much worse than my heavier Husky. We stopped for lunch in Reno, then continued north. Unfortunately the strong crosswind stayed with us all the way to Susanville. It definitely kept us alert. Riding for 100 miles in that wind tired us out. We picked up some supplies at Walmart, then headed for Eagle Lake.
We got a great campsite.

We hiked down to the Marina. The lake was beautiful.

They were setting up for a concert, and we considered eating at the concession stand, but decided to head back to camp for freeze-dried beef stroganoff. But first I went for a swim in the lake…my bath for the day. After dinner, we gathered firewood, as it was getting a little chilly.
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jckid screwed with this post 07-15-2013 at 01:23 PM
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:37 AM   #4
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Day 3

Day 3: It was cold when we woke up at Eagle Lake. We decided to have a fire and warm up before leaving, plus we hadn’t decided on our route for the day. DC wanted to take the pavement all the way to Lava Beds, but I was determined to make this a dual-sport ride, so I suggested we go to Medicine Lake, then take the dirt road through to Lava Beds. Now this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for him being a novice rider and 75 years old, he wasn’t real keen on the idea. I get him to ride dirt on his Honda 230 and his Trail 110, but he had really never ridden the BMW on dirt or gravel, except for a short jaunt to Bodie a few years back. He was nervous, but reluctantly gave in to my plan. I hoped it would go well, because I wanted to ride some more dirt once we got to Oregon, and I knew how well this went would probably be the deciding factor.

Somewhere along Hwy. 89 there was this great view of Mt. Shasta directly in front of us.


Not long after that, we turned off towards Medicine Lake. We ended up having lunch at the lake.


During lunch is when I picked up a stalker. Well not really, but he was a bit strange. A guy traveling by bicycle came over and struck up a conversation. I asked him about his trip, and answered his questions about ours, but there was just something a little off about him. When DC tried to talk to him, he wouldn’t talk to him, only me. Now DC is quite a bit older than me, and we both thought maybe the guy had the idea that I was a gal traveling with her dad. Needless to say, I was really glad I wasn’t traveling alone.

It was then time to hit the road, and that meant the dirt sections to Lava Beds. It turned out being mostly gravel. DC was nervous, but quickly got the feel of it, and enjoyed the ride. We found that the key to riding it with our 80/20 tires was to keep at the right speed and avoid the brakes. The only weird thing was that the stalker guy had left just ahead of us. He waved like mad when I went by, but didn’t wave at DC. Later we stopped to walk to a crater, and he passed us. It looked like he was thinking about stopping too. Luckily he continued on.







We then headed for the caves near the visitors center. We chose a few moderate-level caves to go in. The advanced-level caves required crawling, so we passed on that, not having the right gear. But we had a lot of fun exploring, and it felt great underground, since it was in the 90’s above ground.





We headed for Klamath Falls. Oh, I forgot to mention that carrying MSR fuel bottles with gas in them is imperative if you’re traveling on a WR with the stock tank like me. By this point, I had already used them twice, and outside Klamath Falls I used them again. My gas mileage varies quite a bit, especially in the strong winds, and on steep grades. Dinner was Dairy Queen in Klamath Falls, something I always like when we’re in Oregon. We were tired, but decided to head to Collier State Park. We spent the evening reading by the campfire.


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jckid screwed with this post 07-15-2013 at 01:23 PM
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:49 AM   #5
Oldone
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Great photos!

This is a super awesome RR and that 250 seems to be big enough to do the job. I think I might be interested in a bike like that someday......

Thanks much.


Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:54 AM   #6
jckid OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
This is a super awesome RR and that 250 seems to be big enough to do the job. I think I might be interested in a bike like that someday......

Thanks much.


Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride
Sure thing! More to come...going to lunch now. Yes, the 250 worked just fine for this trip. The only time I wished for more power was going up steep mountain passes into a major headwind. But really it works great, and I don't feel that I need anything bigger for my future travels.
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WR250X ride report: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=903806
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:20 PM   #7
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Day 4

Day 4: Today would be an easy day. Just over 100 miles to Bend. Since we didn’t have to rush, we decided to go for a walk along the river.




Then we checked out the Collier outdoor Logging Museum.



Sometime after 10AM, we headed for Bend, stopping for a picnic lunch near the Lava River Tube. Shortly after we arrived in Bend, today opting to spend a night at the Hilton Garden Inn.

This was the view from our room. It overlooked the Mill District.



And they were nice enough to let us park the bikes out front.



We then headed down to the Deschutes River to float the river. It was very refreshing and relaxing after all the miles we'd traveled. No pics of that, since my camera isn't waterproof. As we were floating though, a huge bird flew right over us and it's crap splattered on DC's swim shorts! It was kind of funny, but this older lady floating near us saw what happened and said, "it's a sign". Now I'm not a superstitious person, but that did kind of bug me.

We checked out some gear at REI and then had dinner at Pastini Pastaria, a quaint restaurant near the river with outdoor seating. The food was exceptional, and I don't know why I didn't take a pic. After enjoying the hot tub for a while, we enjoyed a night of luxury in the hotel after camping for three nights.
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WR250X ride report: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=903806

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Old 07-15-2013, 01:51 PM   #8
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Day 5

Day 5: Well we woke up not knowing for sure what we were going to do. We considered staying another night at the hotel, heading over the Cascades to see my family, or something in between. We weren’t sure, so we rented a surry (car-like bicycle for 2) in the Mill District and rode around and saw the sights while we decided. We shopped a little more, and by then it was lunchtime. We had lunch at Izzy’s Pizza. They have a great lunch buffet, and we always try to hit it when we’re in Bend. DC was born in Arkansas, and he loves country cooking, so he went for the fried chicken (and much more!).



I stuck with the pizza and spuds.

By then we decided what we’d do. Well, actually I decided! I thought we should camp somewhere not too far from Bend for the night, and I wanted to see Tumalo Falls, so I came up with a plan. After consulting the internet on my phone, I determined the Falls was on the same road as the one we’d take out of town. Perfect!

So we gassed up and headed up the Cascade Lakes Highway. I couldn’t figure out why we weren’t coming to the turnoff to the falls. I knew we’d come too far. So I pulled over and looked at the directions again. I had totally screwed up! I had confused Century Road with Skyliner’s Road, and the falls was not on our route out of town, which meant we were on the completely wrong road. So we turned around. I did find a shortcut over to Skyliner’s and in short order we were on our way to the falls. DC hates backtracking and unplanned extra mileage, but he didn't say a word.


He just figured getting lost was part of the adventure. My pride was a little wounded, because I'm usually such a great navigator. The waterfall was well worth the detour.



The one thing that DC always worries about though, is running out of gas. And this little detour used some gas, which wasn't a good thing given my tiny tank. Not knowing exactly where we'd be staying, and not knowing where gas would be along the way, we decided it best to head to the outskirts of Bend to top off our tanks. But what we didn't realize, was that there was no gas to be found without going back into town. Next thing I know, after passing though a million of those awful traffic circles, trying not to get separated, I look up and we're right back at the Mill District! We had burned a full gallon of gas each and hadn't made it anywhere!


After filling up yet again, I decided to avoid the traffic circles. I led DC south to Sunriver, and we cut over to the Cascade Lakes Highway from there. Unfortunately that mean we missed the best views of the high mountains. By then it was late afternoon, and we were ready to call it a day. We passed several campgrounds, and a campground/resort that even said "gas" (argh!), but we pressed on a little farther. Finally we saw a sign and turned down the gravel road toward the campground. But we just kept going and going, and there was not campground. After 4 miles we gave up and turned back.


Farther down the highway there was a sign staying "Davis Lake Campground". We went down that dirt road, and it looked like it was going to be like the last one...miles to the campground. But I noticed some paper plate signs pointing down a narrow, silty path. We turned that way. It was almost like riding in sand, but within a mile we were in a dispersed camping area on a lake...actually the tail of Wickiup Lake I think. It looked perfect, so we set up camp right on the beach.

We walked along the shoreline, read our books, and generally kicked back and enjoyed the remoteness.
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WR250X ride report: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=903806

jckid screwed with this post 07-17-2013 at 09:18 AM
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:42 PM   #9
jckid OP
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Day 6

Day 6: We woke up to this.



The mist was even more stunning in person.

Prior to today, I had about 4 different ideas on which route to take over to the Roseburg area to see my family. There was one route in particular that DC wasn’t too keen on. I didn’t have good maps, so I had taken pics from an Oregon Atlas at REI just in case I needed them. And of course that was the route I was determined to ride…the one with about 30 miles of dirt! He was less than thrilled.

Back when I left Oregon in 1986, my dad and I spent the last summer there riding all over the mountains before moving to SoCal. One of my greatest memories was riding up the North Umpqua Highway, up Steamboat Creek, over the mountain to Summit Lake, and Crescent Lake. I wanted to do it again only in reverse. I had been there once since 1986, probably around 1991. But that was a long time ago, and I wasn’t sure how the roads might have changed. I knew the section from Crescent Lake to Summit Lake was the most difficult, but I didn’t remember it being anything other than a smooth pumice road.

The ride on the highway to Crescent Lake was frigid. We hadn’t bothered to hook up our heated grip covers and bibs, because it wasn’t very far, but it was cold…upper 30’s I believe. We gassed up at Crescent Lake, then headed for the lodge for breakfast. They opened at 8AM. It was 7:40AM, but the waitress said we looked cold and let us in early. DC had the biscuits and gravy, while I had banana bread French toast. Now I hate to think of how many calories, fat, and sugar was in that breakfast, but it was sure good.





The cook asked where we were headed. I told him, and I asked him how the road was over to Summit Lake. He said we were the first people he’d heard of going that way this year. Hmm…not really very reassuring! But then outside another guy said he knew a guy that had went over in a truck and said it was in standard condition. Not totally sure what he meant by that, I didn’t ask for more details. DC was already trying to get out of it!


So instead I got on my bike and led the way. We arrived at the turnoff, which required almost a u-turn. I made the turn onto the pumice road and saw that the very beginning was slightly uphill, a tiny bit off-camber, with mild ruts. It’s something DC would go right up on his 230 without hesitation…really an easy road, but much more than he’d wanted to ride on the bigger bike loaded with gear and more street oriented tires. I was expecting to hear him honking at me to stop as soon as he saw it. I could see this was going to be a little challenge for him, but I figured we’d just take it slow and steady. Dirt riding is really not his thing, but I love it. So rather than stop and ask what he thought, I just kept moving. I went slow, so he could follow my path. And he did. He never honked.
As we continued on, there were some areas with imbedded rocks, some silty areas, and some more mild ruts, but we were having no trouble. We meandered our way through, choosing the easiest path. Finally I started up a hill with some embedded rocks, carefully avoiding them as best as I could. But there was one that was sticking up that I just did not see. It was maybe 18 inches wide and stuck up about 5 or 6 inches above the dirt. Luckily I had picked the right line and avoided it, but I thought if DC doesn’t see it and doesn’t pick the right line, he’s going to go down when he hits it. And that’s exactly what happened. I looked in my mirror and saw him go down.

Now I should have grabbed my camera right away, but because this was on a hill behind me, I could not see if the bike had fallen on him. I couldn’t see him at all. So my first instinct was to make sure he was ok. I ran back and saw he was clear of the bike and not hurt. Neither of us are very strong, so we weren’t sure if we could even pick it up with all the bags on and with it being on a hill. But to our surprise we picked it right up, and we were back on our way. It was really just a slow speed tipover. He said that he saw the rock at the last minute, but figured he could ride right over it. But he was going so slow, and the bike is a little high-geared, that he didn't have enough momentum and killed the engine. I was kicking myself the whole rest of the day that I didn’t get a picture, and of course we only stopped for breaks on the flat smooth sections, so this is all I got for pics.






And here’s a couple of Summit Lake.




The road improved the father we went, and we made it through without further incident. We then took a gavel road, single-lane paved road, double-lane paved road, and another gravel road over to Steamboat.



We passed this logging operation on the way.




Back on the pavement, my dad was waiting for us along the road. We had lunch with him, then headed to my mom an dad's place for the night. Shortly before sunset we headed to the cemetery to visit my grandma, something I really need to do.



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WR250X ride report: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=903806

jckid screwed with this post 07-17-2013 at 09:24 AM
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:04 PM   #10
jckid OP
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Day 7

Day 7: Originally we had planned to head south this day, but we were more tired than we’d expected and decided to modify our route home in order to stay an extra night at my mom and dads and have a day off the bikes.

In the morning I went kayaking on the lake with my family and then for a short hike. DC opted to stay behind and clean up the bikes, but ended up having to come to the lake anyway when my dad locked his keys in the car.

After dinner my parents drove us around town to show us how it had changed. We walked up to some old buildings near where my grandma used to live.



And then my mom suggested we drive to grandma's old place. It's not the last place she lived...actually she moved from there in 1985, but it's where she lived for over 30 years and where my dad lived for the second half of his childhood. It's where the best of my childhood memories took place. Dad was reluctant to drive up to it, not wanting to bother the current residents, but headed down the gravel drive anyway. To our surprise it was a foreclosure and vacant. Of course it looked nothing like it did in it's heyday, but oh the memories. We walked around the property for probably an hour reliving old times, pointing out where things once were, peering in the windows at the fireplace where all the family photos were taken at Christmastime. It was really something and an absolute highlight of the trip.

Grandma's house.



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Old 07-15-2013, 03:18 PM   #11
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Day 8

Day 8: Since we’d taken a rest day, we headed straight down I-5 to get some miles in. Dad rode with us for an hour, and we had breakfast before saying our goodbyes. We turned off just past Shasta City and headed for the falls at McCloud. We arrived there at lunch time. We had our crackers, jerkey, and other snacks while watching the kids jump in.



Next we went to the middle falls.



Then the upper falls.



Then it was off to Burney Falls to camp.


I fixed some freeze dried chili mac for dinner. We decided to get some hot dogs at the campground store to go with it. But when I took one look at the hot dogs, all I could think was food poisoning waiting to happen! Those dogs looked like they’d been there since the day before! No way was I eating one. So I got some cheese nachos instead, but DC took one of those awful hot dogs. Part of it actually fell off when he grabbed one. It was horrible, and I didn’t have the camera with me or I would have taken a pic! I was sure he’d be unable to ride the next day.

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Old 07-15-2013, 03:27 PM   #12
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Day 9

Day 9: Well unbelievably DC survived the night and didn’t seem to have any trouble with the foul hot dog! So we hiked down to the falls to get some exercise before hitting the road.


Our destination was the Hampton Inn in Carson City, so not too far of a ride. But we had a strong crosswind again from Burney to Carson City, so it was a tiring day. Actually we were getting pretty tired by this point. We're leisurely riders, and usually stop every 60 miles or so, but by this point our stops were getting down to every 30-40 miles. This would continue for the remainder of the trip.

But since we had a short ride today, DC didn't mind me stopping in Reno for some shopping at REI and Sierra Trading Post. He enjoyed testing out the camping chairs while waiting for me. The wind was relentless, but we made it to Carson City. We made use of the hot tub, and good thing, because we were still considering take Ebbetts Pass over the mountains, but a cyclist let us know that the Tour of the California Alps (aka. "Death Ride") was happening and it would be closed. So we decided to take Hwy. 395 on south.
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:52 PM   #13
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Day 10

Day 10: Well by today, we were feeling like the trip was winding down, and we were sad to know it would be ending soon. So far it had been an absolutely perfect trip. We both found total contentment on the road from day one. We were in the groove. We had our daily routine down. We slept in our tent as well as our bed at home. And this was sort of amazing given that DC never considered himself a motorcycle rider, but just a guy that owned a few motorcycles. He really only bought his first bike (in his 60’s!) because of me, but now he was feeling comfortable on his bike and enjoying the whole experience. We wished we could just rest up for a few days, resupply at home, then head out again. But unfortunately work was calling.

We decided to stop in Mammoth for lunch. We had always wanted to ride up the scenic gondola, so that was the plan, but we couldn’t find a good place to leave the bikes with all our stuff on them. Luckily the parking attendant saw our plight, and let us park right in front of the main office building where it said no parking. Without having to worry about the bikes, we headed up the gondola.



DC had a great BBQ pork sandwich, and I had a turkey melt at the café on the summit. The views were stunning. We walked around to the various viewpoints.



After the ride down, I decided to try the small zipline they have there. It was my first time, and I figured it would give me the opportunity to see if I wanted to do bigger ziplines.

Climbing the ladder to the platform.



It was pretty fun!

We’d spent about 3 hours in Mammoth, so it was time to get back on the road. We stopped for gas in Bishop. I had pushed my bike to the side and sat on a bench looking at pics on my phone while DC finished up. All the sudden I heard him yell “hey!”. I looked up and saw his bike on the ground. My first thought was that a car had pulled in and knocked it down. There were three men standing there staring, and not offering to help him lift it. I couldn’t believe it. I ran over to help him lift it up. I couldn’t believe that those guys just stood there and watched while I helped him. I don’t know what’s wrong with people these days. But anyway... DC had simply got on the bike, then decided to get back off for something and forgot that he’d already retracted the kickstand. So the bike had just fallen over. He was tired, and so was I, so we decided just to head to Lone Pine and call it a day.

We had pizza in Lone Pine, then camped at Diaz Lake.













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Old 07-15-2013, 03:56 PM   #14
woofer2609
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Great rr, just got back from a ride back in time on my wrx as well! Looks like a food and scenery bonanza. I wish I could say that rain was the highlight of riding in the northwest, but thst would be a lie! The wind sure can take it outta you though. I hope to be riding when I am 75!
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Old 07-15-2013, 04:04 PM   #15
jckid OP
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Day 11

Day 11: Well it was the final push for home. We left at 6:15AM hoping to once again beat the heat. Not much to say about this day really. We had an uneventful ride home. Going home is always bittersweet. It’s good to be home, yet the road is still calling. We were sad for the trip to be over, yet thankful for the safe journey. We’d ridden just over 2,000 miles…our best ride yet. We still have the dream to ride to Alaska, and we sort of think of this trip as halfway there. So perhaps next summer we’ll pick up the trip where we left off, in Oregon, and ride to Alaska from there.
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