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Old 05-08-2014, 10:38 PM   #1
Mr Head OP
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Ride Away

For a day or two, a short ride over an almost long weekend.

"... and the light of LA County are a mighty pretty sight, when you're driving through the hours with an old friend by your side."

Or something like that. The last couple of months have been turbulent to peel up the tape and paste a label on it. Run out of work, run out of time, what's that clicking why does that hurt like that. Walking is hard... Rest?
Lay off? Nope you're safe for now.
Whew!
Back on the bicycle for some exercise, keep moving. When you stop moving things stop working. As long as things are working I can keep moving. It doesn't have to look or feel that good after the moving as long as I'm moving. So I walk, cycle and sleep very little. Even that lack of movement ends in pain.
I can still ride a motorcycle. I can still climb up on top of that big orange beast and knock it off the stand and ride.
So, that's the deal. A ride.
My buddy Ted and I cooked this up sort of while he was down for a visit and some playing in the desert a few weeks ago. We wanted to take a weekend ride and camp.
That basically is the extent of the plan. Most of my effort at planning went into figuring out where to meet and some general directions to head and a few to stay away from.
Here I am the night before lift off, the tanks are mostly empty, I've just about finished packing the bike. Not sure if I have everything I need or more. Probably doesn't matter too much though you can't get too far off in only a day or two from where I'm starting.
Both of us spend too much time in little cloth covered cubes.
So we got this ride "planned".
I'll buy gas in the morning somewhere, and figure out how to get to where we decided to meet at noon.
I should probably see about lubing the chain. One more thing to do while the coffee oozes out of that machine into my cup tomorrow morning.

So to get this started some introductions,

The bikes, My 990 and Ted's DRZ,



Ted,


Me,


And my bike just about packed. I was going to use my 20L drybag in place of the top case, but decided for this trip I liked the easy of use of the top box. Plus I have a lot of crap to carry.

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Mr Head screwed with this post 05-12-2014 at 08:24 PM Reason: cat peed on the carpet
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:25 AM   #2
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Sweet bike.... I love those KTMs. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:49 PM   #3
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An adventure lunch stop.


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Old 05-09-2014, 07:46 PM   #4
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Lone Pine. Beer


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Old 05-09-2014, 09:56 PM   #5
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Coffee and beer are adventure staples. How's the lake bed track? Or are you doing mountains this time?



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Old 05-10-2014, 07:41 PM   #6
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No lakebed this time Jim.


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Old 05-10-2014, 07:42 PM   #7
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A couple of short dirt rides. A closed road that got ignored. And camp.


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Old 05-13-2014, 06:29 PM   #8
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Anyway I got to Starbucks about 15 minutes before Ted. Ted had further to ride by about that much time, but it worked out fine. We were fueled and on the road, lost in about an hour.
We found the 155 between the map on my iPhone and guessing where we were. (Post Office parking lot), and off we went. Clear and just a little gusty wind.
Fueled up in Lake Isabella after the many, many curves and blind corners of the 155. No animals on the roads even where the cows are allowed they were playing nice on a Friday keeping up the hill in the shade where the sweet grass was I guess.
We headed up the Kern River on the M-99 to Sherman Pass Road, or Forest Route 22S05. There was no traffic in our direction. We made pretty good time as I was slowly slipping into vacation mode.
My version of vacation mode is where I slowly ease out of commuter slicing and dicing mode and relax to the point that I tend to pull over to let RV’s towing too large of boats and toys to pass, and I never catch up. We were not bothered by this with no traffic. We began climbing up Sherman pass, the road was pretty dirty, so speeds were well down. Again nobody around.
We soon found out why.



Pass closed at this gate at the intersection of Forest Route 22S12.
We turned around and headed back to Lake Isabella, re-fueled and headed to Lone Pine Via 178 and 14/395.



One “Old Man Stop” referred to in the future as “OMS” at the rest area at Coso Junction. Then on to Lone Pine.



We stopped at the Mt Whitney Restaurant for a long awaited dinner. This is about 7 PM I think. One beer apiece and a couple of huge burgers and we’re stuffed. We walked down to Joseph’s Bi-Rite Market for water and found Stone’s “Arrogant Bastard Ale” in the cooler.

You already saw the picture of the beer at the Whitney, we made it to camp but the "Rock" was occupied.

So we set up across the way,
This is a half minute time exposure so kinda darkish out.


After we got the camp set we relaxed from about 500 miles of almost all pavement and a mile of dirt/sand to get here.
Life ain't too bad.


We're in Alabama Hills off Old Movie Road. If you've never been or stopped in Lone Pine you owe it to yourself to do so. Some fun history and even a film festival. The filmed lots of movies here; old westerns kids of my generation grew up on. Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, John Wayne, the whole crew. Very cool to see. Even "Gunga Din" was filmed here.
Heck "Tremors" was filmed here. Nick was eating in the Pizza place on the highway and in walks Kevin Bacon!
So that whole six degrees of separation thing is working.

So ends a very long Day 1.

More in a bit.


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Old 05-13-2014, 09:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mr Head View Post
Nick was eating in the Pizza place on the highway and


[/FONT]
Pizza Factory, "We toss 'em, they're awesome"

The wife & I ate there last Wed, good pie!!

The Alabama Hills are still undiscovered to many, and are well worth the time to explore.

Enjoying the thread, looking forward to how this turns out.

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Old 05-13-2014, 10:34 PM   #10
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Day 2

We wake early before the sun peaks over the Inyo Mountains and begin breaking camp. I grab a few quick photos of our site in better light than we had when we arrived.



And a parting shot of camp,



Then we head out of the area to the north taking Old Movie road to the Moffat Ranch Road then back to 395 and back into Lone Pine for breakfast at the Miguel Totem Café. Not great coffee, but more food than I could eat.

We stopped part way for a little picture of the view. Very nice little ride back here.


[FONT=&quot]From breakfast we headed out to 136 down to 190 and into Death Valley.
This is a long straight road. Plenty of time to play with the camera,


There's Ted back there following along, thinking I know where I'm going.
I've picked a general direction and sort of remember the map. The iPhone in the case on the bars is just charging. I have yet to figure out my GPS app.


We stopped at Father Crowley Point and we rode the bit of dirt out to the lower point for the overlook of the valley. This would not be the last time we noticed how scary a road looked going in and how tame it seemed coming back out. Going down onto the little pad the way looked steep and holed and just a bad idea. The small pad, once down on it seemed pretty good sized and the way back up seemed pretty flat and smooth. Very weird. Nice view.
Great view, out here.


So, off in the general direction of the Charcoal Kilns. Now, the only time I've been to these was back in 2005 with Raw Hyde Adventures and the California Rally, I'm navigating by knowing where the waypoint is, but not being able to route to it. And trying to dredge up what the rode there looked like. We make a guess with the help of the map and take a road south-ish towards Ballarat. This road T's into the road I am pretty sure runs down to Trona, or so and off that is the road to Ballarat. To the north this road has a partial barricade. I say partial because it is spread open and the "Road Closed" sign is off to the side. There are clearly tracks through here.
So, we follow the tracks. It looks like the right way but a little different than the last time I was here.
We do find the Kilns.


And a bunch of flowers. Given there has been one car as traffic we stop and I wander around shooting flowers,






Then off to Aguereberry Point. I'm again navigating by guess and memory and the map book. A couple of mid-way stops to make sure I'm not wandering off into the weeds in the wrong direction and we find the turn. Nice signs too. The road up is way easier than I recall from riding the big BMW 1150 Adventure up here. And it wasn't loaded down with all my gear.
This time we have full gear on, so I'm again amazed at how good this bike makes me look.
Again there is a narrow looking ridge to follow near the top this saddle that looks for all the world to be a couple feet wide with shear drops off either side to death and destruction.
The reality is that it is nothing of the sort. I've ridden worse driveways in town than this.
When we come back down we both comment how amazing it is that the road up scared us to death and coming down looked like it was flat and wide as a baseball field atop a rolling hill somewhere in the mid-west farmland.


So with nothing to do we mess with the camera and wander around,


More flowers, The desert is in bloom!





And this is my new desktop background at work. When the cloth covered world starts getting to me I minimize all the windows and stare into this,


The view of Death Valley and Badwater is pretty amazing from up here,


More flowers with Ted photobombing,



The selfie and the sign,


And of course Ted and the sign,


Now, it was time to head down the hill and go off in search of fuel. And something to eat. We were getting hungry and the day was long by now.

As I was loading up I remembered the GoPRo, so we bolted that up and spent a few frustrating minutes trying to get the phone app to work. I remembered later I'd never done that with this new phone so again, another app and toy I have to sync and figure out how to use. So we fired it up blind and took off. Ted in the lead,
Here is some video that is way too long and boring, but I've watched it a dozen times.

So far,



More tomorrow,
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"You don't go to Mongolia for the food." - Sebastian & Kim
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:55 PM   #11
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My favorite bike so far.
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Originally Posted by Prime Mover View Post
Sweet bike.... I love those KTMs. Thanks for sharing.
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"You don't go to Mongolia for the food." - Sebastian & Kim
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:56 PM   #12
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That's the corner for sure.
Next trip up that way I need to check the pizza place out for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samthg View Post
Pizza Factory, "We toss 'em, they're awesome"

The wife & I ate there last Wed, good pie!!

The Alabama Hills are still undiscovered to many, and are well worth the time to explore.

Enjoying the thread, looking forward to how this turns out.

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"You don't go to Mongolia for the food." - Sebastian & Kim
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:17 PM   #13
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Day 2 Con't

Once on the pavement we head north on Emigrant pass road to 190 and into the park. We need or rather I need gas to make it to Furnace Creek and real gas. They have 89 or something here at Stovepipe Wells. The wind is really kicking up, and both restrooms are full. I'm old. I need the restroom, but I can make it to Furnace Creek.
Off like a shot we get to the gas station there yes the fuel is high priced, but I am only buying one tank so I ignore it.
First things first though.
Then fuel, then park passes the machine at stovepipe Wells didn't work. Then we get a camp site and set up my tent and ditch our gear, change into hot weather clothes and walk over to the hotel/resort place where there is a cafe with ice cold beer, ice cold air and expensive sandwiches.


We have two and they are yummy. The place isn't too busy so we sit until we're too cold to sit anymore and head for the store for some water.
Then back to camp where Ted sets up his kit.
His stuff is light and the sleeping bag/pad combination is just way cool. The pad blows up using three or four pumps from the stuff sack. Very nice. The pad is partially filed with down so you wouldn't want to blow into it and add moisture to that. Here's a little movie of that process.


Camp is all set for a warm night under the stars. Ah it's wonderful.



We hang out sipping water and talking over the days ride. Sort of mess with a plan for tomorrow, but not much. Then as I'm shooting some photos of the great lighting and our view,



I notice something strange looking about the sky through the trees...



And in front of us!
Time to batten down the hatches and prepare for a blow!



We get the rain fly on my tent then attack Ted's. we've got to rotate it first after getting the fly on it because the wind to the broadside is threatening to blow it inside out or fold it flat while upright.
We ended up just taking the fly off after a lot of sand blasting. Ted just slept inside his uber bag with no problems with all that exposed screen to the winds. The trees above us that had promised so much welcome shade come sunset now creaked and quaked. Sounding like they were coming down at any moment.



Only one pin pulled on my tent after I got it all re-done the first few times it took a bit of doing to find the right set up. And from that last pin to waking up it was solid and didn't move.
It was warm, no it was hot enough I slept in a desert bag, which is a basically a silk sleeping bag liner that is a bit oversize. That was all I needed to be comfy and cozy all night long.

And that ended our second day out.

More in a bit.
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:41 PM   #14
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Day 3

Sunday morning we woke to clear sky and light feeling wind, but of course that isn't really real. Once we got out on the road that would change a bit.

But, here, looking out across the picnic table we have a beautiful day.


Breakfast down at the cafe after breaking camp and we headed for the crater.
We had this initial plan to ride to the crater, then out to the racetrack, then out the north end of the valley to Big Pine for gas. And that would have worked if we had not been bucking that 70 mph wind going north.
When we got to the turn for the raectrack we stopped to do some figuring. Ted's Clark tank he marked for levels showed all too well that the DRz was swilling fuel to push that wind out of the way and move the little bike into the void. Our figuring left us with the uncomfortable feeling that if we went to the racetrack and back, we might not be able to get to where there was fuel. Given the nature of the wind, the direction the thermometer was taking and our aversion to pushing bikes for miles, we opted to just go see the crater and ride out of the valley.

The crater,


And north on Death Valley road, Looking south after about a half hour or so,



We saw two cars, a jeep and a truck. Then a big guy on a mountain bike. Loaded down for travel.
I'd been noticing these big snaky looking tracks with never a straight bit to them. Then it dawned on me that it was a bicycle track and the person pedaling that was being tossed about even worse than we were.
So much for my Gnarly Adventure status. I'm back to full fledged Starbucks warrior status.

Looking north,



We had stopped at this point do to my lack of attention I'd gotten into some soft stuff and gone all wiggly and scared myself. And I was tired.
he washboard was such that at about 30 mph it would beat the stock pegs through the bottoms of these Sidi Discovery's. I'd never had this experience with my Discovery boots on the BMW, but I had fancy pegs.
Plus this washboard would beat me if I ran above 40, so about 38 mph was good. That's where I kept it most of the time or I could go less than 29 mph and it was OK too.

By the time we got to Crankshaft Crossing I was so beat my feet were sore from being asleep from the vibration. I was slipping them off the pegs because I couldn't tell when they were there or not.
So, we stopped and I got off that bike.

I kept an eye out for snakes, I'd passed around the tail of a big black and white banded snake that was easily more than four feet, and a small rattler I rode past his head, but that was only about two feet long. I did not hit either one, and saw them far enough ahead so I could ride around them. I'm not a big snake guy but I'm not about to take them out unless it is them or me. Otherwise I'm more than happy to take the long way round.


And that was about the last of the pictures, we got past the mine and the road goes paved for a while then back to looser sand/gravel near that cut off to the sand dunes. The wind was big out there and gusting and turning so it tried to blow me over from both sides and nearly got it done.
This was while I was trying to figure out if the dunes road was the cut off I was looking for. It wasn't.

A bit up the road from there we came past the big guy on the mountain bike. he waved as we did when we passed. IF there had been shade and less wind, I'd have stopped and offered him some of the cool bottled water we had in exchange for his story. But, I'd had all I could do to keep from being blown to the ground and even been blown off my track once or twice. So stopping was not in the cards there.
A bit further up in elevation and we came to a shady spot for an old man break and gear change. It was cold by now the temps had dropped to about 40 from the mid 80's down in the valley.
When we got to the 168 we decided to run to Bishop for gas then food. About 4 miles up the road my bikes fuel light came on at 124 miles.
Normally this happens at about 180. We'd been pushing a lot of wind and definitely made the right decision to not try for the race track this day.
Food,


Then it was simply a run down the slab to our respective homes. A bit over five hours later I was home. Ted had a good deal further to go. But, he rung the FCR to stun and got it done.

Home sweet home,



Fun time. need to do it again. next time I'll take a rotopax two gallon cell with me.

Thanks for following along.
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:01 PM   #15
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Really enjoyed reading your story. Almost felt like I was riding with you. Heck, we're neighbors. I'm at the 91/Weir, probably across the street from you.

I've got a few bikes, but ride my XR650L on these kind of adventures like your buddy's bike. When I rode with my brother and his GS bunch, I suffered similar fuel issues. I finally went for the Acerbis 5.8, but man in the sand, she's a handful. I just rode Barstow to Primm in the dirt (2nd half at night) and had a few close calls. I found a bit higher speed helped me get on top of it (I've currently got crappy tires).

I test rode a new 1190 Adventure over on Katella. It's definitely the right stuff. Got to sell a couple Aprilia's to make room for it and be able to afford it. I've been following that thread somewhat. I hope to get next year's model. I'm tinkering with a plated CRF450X now.

I've ridden in the vicinity of where you guys were, but probably not the same trails.

Maybe we can do a ride some time.

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