ow, my balls!
Joined: Mar 2007
Fat Chicks and Mopeds
Fat chicks and mopeds. We know all a bit about that even if we dont want to admit it. My buddies are hardcore dirt bike guys. I'm a dirt bike guy, but not hardcore by any means. I dont give a shit what I ride or how fast I am, as long as I'm having fun doing it. FWIW some of the best rides of my life have been on fat chicks. I've never ridden a moped, but there was this one time at 2 am, happily buzzed, on a tricked out Kymco scooter in Taipei trying to tell a cop that spoke only Mandarin why I split the lane between two city buses and made a right turn on a red light and smelled like Taiwan beer. But I digress, thats a whole nother Oprah.........
In January, I picked up my new girl, a KTM 990 Adventure. Shes a big girl. I wouldnt call her fat, theres just alot of her to love. OK, honestly, she really is a pig, and I encouraged her problem by feeding her a luggage rack, panniers, crashbars, gigantic tanks (we all love big tanks though right?) and lots of little bon bon's until she weighed so much I could hardly pick her up, much less let her lay on top of me without dire consequences. But with all the weight she carries, she sure can move, and thats not necessarily a good thing with all of that force behind her. My Baja riding buddies just shake their heads in disbelief on what I have gone and done. To listen to them, you would think I have lost my mind. Well, maybe I have....... You should hear them, "dude, what the hell are you going to do with that thing?" My usual reply is, "Well, I dont really know but I'm gonna have a shitload of fun doing it." I'm not a Harley fan, but the Harley guys saying is definately appropriate here, "dude, if you have to ask, you should just shut the fuck up." or something like that.
I must add that all of you FF's encouraged this behavior, so I absolve myself from all responsibility for what I have done. FYYFF's. And thats all I have to say about that.
I decided that the time was right for me to take my new love out into public view. I didnt care what people said, fuck em. The plan was simple. Do a local ride to get familiar with the tempermant and quirks of my new love on a real trip. You really dont get to know someone until you travel with them, and this girl was no exception. Best to do this close to home in case things go bad. Well, we are far from help if we happen to have a serious disagreement and part ways, but close to home nonetheless, no passport or border crossing will be required for this jaunt.
The plan was that there was no plan. I would simply take off from my home in San Diego and go ride. The first leg took me up though Anza on the slab, though Idyllwild, Banning, Yucca Valley, headed toward Barstow where I would hit the dirt. There are lots of great twisty two lane roads on the way up and I would avoid interstate at all costs..
Looks like a whole different animal from the first picture eh? Thats because it is. Akra cans, Aqualine tanks, crash bars, luggage rack, Roc Stompa pegs, gobi bags, Scotts damper, GPS, touring windscreen, knobbies, etc, etc.
Ah yes, you gotta love the road side diners for a burger and beer. Accept no susbstitutes when youre on the road.
Finally after a few hours of fun twisty two lane, a big burger and a couple of beers in my belly, I'm on the dirt, and happier than a pig in shit. This is approaching the Rainbow Canyon just north of Barstow. It feels good to be off the slab. It feels like the trip is just starting. There's something about riding solo once you get off the well traveled routes. It feels like youre committing to something. Craziness, self reliance, shit that makes other people wonder about your sanity, I dont know. To me it feels like freedom, its all good and a hell of alot of fun.
The first thing that crosses my mind after getting on the sandy two track is, "shit man, this is a squirrely bitch with full aqualine tanks and loaded with camping gear!" It seemed everytime I made a slight move with my body, my girl wanted to go ass over tea kettle, and she did, just as I came out of this little wash out. F'ing fuck. Ripped one of the Gobis off in the crash and it broke the little latch mechanism. WTF? Why did Hepco-Becker design something so damned stupid? Did they not know these things would be involved in crashes? I guess not. In addition, I busted off the right hand mirror. Ah thats just fluff anyway, no worries. So I'm 30 minutes into the dirt, already had a crash, and already have shit to fix. Now how the hell am I going to get that f'ing gobi back on the bike. Not to mention, the fork spings and/or valving is totally inadequete for this bike, especially with the big tanks. Before eating shit, I was bottoming the forks quite regularly and this little tiny "obstackle" (insert best Pete Hogwaller voice) did me in.
Fortunately, I had a wratcheting tie down and was able to secure the gobi onto the rack. I would have been screwed without it. I remember throwing it in the bag last minute, just in case kinda thing. Good call it seems.
I must admit, I'm more than a little skeerd of this bike offroad. Loaded, its well over 500 lbs and seems like it has a mind of its own. When things go bad, they go bad very quickly. On top of that, you have close to 100 hp at your disposal with a simple flick of the wrist. And if thats not enough, she's not a dirt bike. She has the ability to make her way in some technical offroad conditions, but carrying a much better rider than me. So yes, I'm intimidated by this machine. Although I may not know her limitations, I know my own, and thats what has me apprehensive about this solo trip.
For you guys that are not familiar with this area north of Barstow, its pretty remote, especially during the week, you dont see a soul and youre out in the MOFN. This is not Baja. In Baja, at least in the north, no matter where you are, most likely someone will be coming down that road in a couple of hours that can and will help you out. The whole of Baja is only 60 miles wide and at many points you are only a few miles walk from a paved or heavily travelled dirt road. I feel very safe riding solo in Baja, much safer than here in the desert southwest of the US. I think anyone who does alot of both types of riding would agree with me. This is a different deal, more remote, further from help. After that first crash, my brain was in overdrive and I started to feel a little anxious. Time to slow the fuck down, chill out, enjoy the scenery and be mellow. There's no one here to help, no one to call since the phone doesnt have service, and no one here for me to direct my bitches and complaints to. I'm on my own and it feels good.........
As the evening wears on, I'm finally getting into the groove and having fun. The narrow sand two track was a blast. The shadows were getting long and I was still 40 miles from Ridgecrest, CA. averaging 30 mph in the sand, yeah, I'm slow, but fuck it. I have camping gear, plenty of water and a couple of cliff bars so I dont care where I wind up for the night.
Night is falling, and there's nothing I can do about it. At this point, I shut off the bike, and sit down in the sand and quietly watch the sunset. The desert at this time is so quiet, so surreal, so pure, but at the same time it feels as if things are just starting to awaken and come alive. Desert creatures move and hunt at night, from the mammals to the reptiles, all of the them wait out the heat of the day the best they know how, and come alive at night. Its that transition that has always mesmerized and fascinated me. Sure, it would be nice to "get somewhere" for the night, and I still might, but I have to take a little time out, sit down in the dust, simply observe,and soak up the world around me. After all, despite all the preparations and plans, despite the 12 thousand dollar machine I ride, despite the schedule, and all the other bullshit, this is why I am here. I take off my helmet, quietly sit down in the sand and enjoy the show.
After the sunset I high tailed it onto Ridgecrest for the night, gotta love the HID mod for offroad riding. The stock lighting on this bike is worthless. It was an uneventful night run, and I was happy to get into town and secure a hotel room and a couple of oil cans (Fosters) for the night. I only rode two hours into the night and it was well worth the effort after such a long day of riding.
Mas manana mis amigos.........
Riding the Americas: No Fumar Espaņol
crashmaster screwed with this post 05-10-2008 at 08:32 PM