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Old 03-23-2011, 09:33 AM   #1
Shibby! OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Currently - Canada
Oddometer: 1,656
Dirt Donkey's Do Baja - 2011 (Feb 14-March 2nd)

A few months ago the idea was brought up by some local guys I've rode with a few times dual sporting. At first, being the way I am, I figured it's another dream that'll never happen. I'm usually very reserved and think of reasons why I can't go, rather then why I should. Reasons like time off work, money, and dog came to mind. I went home that night and started researching Baja a bit. Reading ride reports and checking out what pictures I could find. I instantly found myself overwhelmed with excitement about such a trip. I've always wanted to do big adventure trips, but lacked the bike, time off, and money. My goal was to always ride to South America.. more on that later...

I have experience doing motorcycle trips. Since I started riding, I've done at least one trip west and south for the last 11 years on a sport bike. Not ideal, but you make do with what you have. I'll never forget the adventures and riding I've done on those trips and will not regret them one bit. This past summer was the first year I wasn't given the chance to get away... and so it started.
It just so happened I bought The Baja Bike a few months earlier. A lightly used 2003 XR650R. Hoping to make it into a local adventure/dual sport bike I found myself making lots of modifications and adjustments to it. The bike is a stellar plateform, but needs a few items addressed. One thing leads into another, but overall, a great bike.

Here it is pictured. I could try listing all the things I've done to it, but maybe I'll leave that to later. It doesn't appear to be much, but it adds up. This was all pre-baja discussions:



Jumping ahead, here I am, at work, waiting. Bike is ready to go and sets off this Sunday morning for a trip to California for the King of Hammers race, then to meet me at the airport as I fly into Yuma, Arizona on the 13th. 1/2 day for a test ride, troubleshoot, and fix any issues I find. We leave the morning of the 14th.



I appologize for the paragraphs. I'll try to fix afterwards. Copy and pasting from another forum and the posting keeps compressing the spaces.
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Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095


Shibby! screwed with this post 03-23-2011 at 09:43 AM
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:35 AM   #2
Shibby! OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Currently - Canada
Oddometer: 1,656
Little bit about "The Plan".

We've rented a house in Cabo San Lucas for three days. Duration of trip is 14 days. That means we have six days riding to get down there, and six days riding to get back.

Total distance? Estimated at approx 4000 km's. That makes for some long, long days in the saddle and some very tender hind meat. ~330km of off-road riding per day.

For luggage we are almost all running Giant Loop Coyote Bags. I had talked to the Giant Loop Distributor in Canada and convinced Blackfoot to carry the line. We were the first to buy three bags off them (~$1,100) Estimated volume is around 30+liters. Let me tell you, there is only so much you can stuff inside these things. Normally I'm pretty good at packing efficiency. I have all my gear in my bag, with a fender tube on the front, and additional dry bag for shoes and MSR tent. MSR fuel bottles strap to the outside in case they leak. I will also be carrying 5 liters of water in my Osprey hydration pack. I think it's the Raven 14?

For bike prep I did the following:

- Changed oil
- Checked valves
- Added wide pegs (DRC = shat)
- 35 w HID headlight in the Trailtech 8" race light,
- 12v plug to charge helmet cam,
- Garmin Oregon GPS,
- Extra clutch cable. 2 throttle cables already.
- Extra kicker, and gear shift lever (thanks Rider Eh!)
- Spare levers.
- Complete suspension overhaul. New springs and valving front and rear with fresh oil,
- Maxxis Desert IT's. Guys I'm going with have decent tread left riding locally after 4800 kms (thanks Motokuhl!)
- The other typical bike maintenance. Bearings, greasing, loctite, carb adjustments, etc, etc.

I have already added a Clarke 4.3 Gallon tank to the beast for dual sporting. I will also be carrying an additional 2 liters of fuel in MSR bottles. This should give me a 230-250+ km range. Some say, still too short for Baja. I guess we'll find out. Thankfully some of the other bikes coming are better on fuel, and have decently large tanks to share fuel.
__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095


Shibby! screwed with this post 03-23-2011 at 09:44 AM
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:36 AM   #3
Shibby! OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
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I'll try to list everything done to the bike up until now:

- Trailtech 8" race light
- 35 HID bulb,
- Protaper bars
- Rox risers (1.5" up and 1.5" forward)
- Revalved and re-sprung suspension front and rear,
- Maxxis IT tires,
- 12v outlet,
- Heated grips,
- Moose hand guards (thanks Motokuhl!)
- Skid plate,
- Skid plate aluminum tool box,
- My own dual sport kit with Trailtech capacitor, Trailtech regulator/rectifier, and LED signals,
- Rewound my stator myself to get around 175-200w,
- DRC LED tailight with brake feature
- DRC wide foot pegs (shatty),
- wear protection on coil plug wire,
- Clarke 4.3 gallon natural tank,
- Inline fuel filter,
- Ram mounted Garmin GPS,
- Unabiker rad guards,
- etc

I will be riding with two DRZ's, a WR450, and a WR250R. Similarly equipped for long distance desert riding.
__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095


Shibby! screwed with this post 03-23-2011 at 09:44 AM
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:36 AM   #4
Shibby! OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
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I get asked a lot about a few things. Mostly the following:

1) Are you having support in a chase truck?
What fun would that be?
2) Aren't you worried about what's going on in Mexico?
No. Not the least bit. In general Mexicans are extremely friendly people.
3) Do you speak Spanish?
No. This worries me a bit, but I'm sure we can work out the basics. Food, gasolina, aqua? Some other stuff is doctora, etc. Who knows if those are spelt correctly.
4) What happens if something breaks down?

That's the adventure part. It will happen. Tires can be patched and tubes installed. We're packing enough tools to mostly disassemble anything minor on our bikes. At the end of the day, we're probably going to one of the best places for if something happens, the local people are most likely able to fix it. That's what Mexican's do. They don't go out and quickly buy the expensive anodized orange parts.. That being said, we aren't going through very populated areas, often not even seeing villages for 100's of km's, let alone towns. Adventure.

So here's the trusty steed. All packed and ready to roll. I load up tomorrow and wish it farewell until I'll see it one weeks time.





View from the cockpit:

__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095


Shibby! screwed with this post 03-23-2011 at 09:44 AM
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:37 AM   #5
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I sit here reminiscing about the trip trying to think of a witty title for the trip. My mind scrolls through ideas, but I can’t settle on one. This isn’t because the trip wasn’t good. In fact it was fantastic; however not one title could contain the experience I had while riding through Baja. For this reason, we’ll leave it at Baja – 2011.

So by now you know what was required pre-trip. Reading it over it doesn’t sound like nearly the work it was, but you get the idea. Lets move on to the good stuff. How the trip started.

Woke up at the ripe hour of 3AM. Sleepiness wasn’t a factor because I was on holidays and stoked to ride in the dead of winter. I grabbed my gear and started the truck. Once at the airport I ran into Dwayne who purchased the same flight tickets to keep things simple.

Flight was uneventful and drastically boring. Milling over a dirt bike and snowboard magazine I vowed to never buy another magazine again. I’m way too cheap to pay 5-8$ to leaf through crappy ads and poor reading material. What a let down.
Time crawled by and we eventually landed in Yuma, AZ. Walking off the plan onto the tarmac was like a breath of fresh air, mind less the diesel and jet fuel exhaust. The warm air and beaming sun made the boring flight soon forgotten.

It was here when we met the rest of the gang who was so kind to pick us up from the airport. That being said our stay in Yuma was limited. Here is about all you need to know:

- Frozen yogurt shops are a good idea,
- Yuma is filled with old people. Like lots of old people.
- Americans are rude.
- Yuma’s unemployment rate is 27%. It didn’t show.

Ok. So now you know Yuma. Onto the more important stuff. We soon loaded our gear onto the bikes and suited up for a test ride. I’ve never ridden sand before so I was stoked, yet worried.

Dion lead us on a test ride to start. There are riding areas just on the outskirts of town. We blasted down the road aways passing quads and cruisors dawning helmetless pilots. I can’t help but wonder what their thinking, other then them wondering who are these retards wearing full gear on a warm day..

We pull off the highway and I get my first taste of sand. Everybody said it’s similar to snow. Lean back, keep on the gas, and skip the brakes. Easy. We bailed off the highway at speed and soon I was in a sink or swim scenario. We’re doing around 60-75 entering a modestly whooped out sand road. What a hoot! Luckly I remember how to swim and made out ok. The last thing I wanted to do was bail before the trip, and with a highway traffic as an audience.

We rip over to the local riding area and find more KWADS and the like riding carelessly through sand hills and desert type terrain. Dwyane was nearly missed by a kwad rider right off the start. I wonder to myself how the kwad rider would make out in that accident without a skid lid…

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting around the sand hills and up some mountain trail which was a good test of skill and bike set-up. All was well and we decided to head back to BS with the rest of the gang.
__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095


Shibby! screwed with this post 03-23-2011 at 09:45 AM
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:38 AM   #6
Shibby! OP
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Location: Currently - Canada
Oddometer: 1,656
The next morning we awoke from our hotels, grabbed some grub, and went to suit up. In traditional fashion, this took way longer then it should. We were soon in a rush to get ready and make some miles. The Mexican border was waiting..

After some milling around, we were finally on the highway heading to Algadones border crossing. Temperature was already warming but we were all excited to get there and get this trip on the go. Once at the border we got to the gate, stopped, and after a couple seconds the magical light turned green and the arm lifted. No border guards or people to be seen. We were thankful and scurried into Mexico. Here we had to stop and get our temporary visa permit. This was a delightful process. It involved standing around in a hot office then walking over to the bank that was donning a teenage boy holding an assault rifle. We discovered the bank had one teller which resulted with us sweating our ass’s off in the sun, then walking back and having it stamped by the authorities. Overall, very simple but when you see Mexicans hiding in the shade you know it’s pretty damn warm already.

After what seemed like eternity, we were off! We weren’t sure of our route through town, but thankfully navigation can be fairly simple consider you take whatever road looks most well used. Lets call it Mexican nagivation.

I’d just like to comment on the crossing itself. Whenever going over borders it always amazes me how things can change so drastically crossing an imaginary line. Well, in this case a huge fence, but you get the idea. Once you step into Mexico, it’s completely different then anywhere in the states, or Canada for that matter.

The first day was mostly uneventful. We were tourists taking in the sights and smells. Oh! And what smells you find on the highways of Mexico. Dead animals, the common stench of burning garbage, and a heavy hanging odour of oil burning cars. Ahhh, Mexico, you just wouldn’t be the same without the smell.

We head just south of Mexicalli, then join onto the highway that’ll take us to San Falipe. On this highway you find lots of straight slab with the odd turn thrown in for good measure. It’s flat. Really flat. You cross the salt flats and that’s all you see in the eastern direction. Sandy clay that goes on forever and meets the blue sky.

Malcolm showing us some riding skill and scenery:



My bike parked by some scenery other then posted above. It was rare, but I enjoyed both types:



We get to San Falipe and find Rice and Beans to which we lunch. Our first taste of the Mexican cuisine. At the time we thought it was amazing, but later found to be not-so-great. Much better could be found in the smaller towns of Baja.
Some of our food:



Back on the bikes we’re heading south and looking for some adventure. For most, San Falipe is the starting point. From here on in, it’s Baja. Less Mexico, and more of that special spice that only Baja has.

Riding west of San Falipe:



Heading south of town we decided to take a sand road. On Google maps it looks shorter then the highway, and hey, it’s not the highway. Sounds good right?

Well it started off good, and then we hit a dead end. No problem, take another and road back north, join another road going west, and then head south again. Bingo. Rolling down the sand road putting my newly found sand skills to the test. I was railing the whoops and doing wheelies over sections. What a blast. All was going well until we found real whoops. These aren’t normal bike whoops. There is no mistaking bike whoops for “real” whoops. Bike whoops are fun and relatively easy. Whoops made by 700 HP Baja Trophy trucks aren’t bike whoops. We were soon in it quite latterly up to our necks. We’re talking 3-5 ft deep whoops spread far enough apart that wheelieing them is dangerous, and riding them is painful and very tiring. If this wasn’t fun enough, the soil type was either deep sand, or worse, deep pea gravel with the odd fixed rock in there. After about 10 km’s of this we decided to cut ties and head back to the highway. We weren’t making good time and we what time we had left was dwindling quickly.

No picture of the "real" whoops, but here is a pic of my bike taken when I was letting the dust settle:

__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095


Shibby! screwed with this post 03-23-2011 at 09:46 AM
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:42 PM   #7
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Currently - Canada
Oddometer: 1,656
Alright. It's getting near my bed time on a week night but figured if I made some effort here things might get done. It wont be completed tonight, nor will it be well done using a mini keyboard on a mini-ipad, but I'll try my best and work on getting what pictures i might have up later when I can get files off my broken computer's hard drive.

It's frightening to think it's been years since this all went down. I still remember it clearly. Its a point in my life where stamina and endurance was pushed to levels not often seen. When you think things can't go on, moods because negative and you realize you just have to keep pushing. Im typically pretty good in these situations if I can keep my head down. Some people were pushed but what can be said is we all made it, all still good friends today, and still bring it up for a joke once and awhile. Some of these guys I still ride with weekly as a means of venting off the steam created by stressful work during the work week. Before this trip I was invited as a nice jester, since then we've done countless days of riding the back country and plenty of road trips to ride far off places.


I last left off with us rolling into Alfonsonia's with the DA's. We met the guys, enjoyed some good food and downed a few beer. It was a welcomed finish to a day that was quite long, ended on a high (hard) note, and was left with questions when we arrived in the dark and were originally told us they had no room. Because of the plane that didnt come, we were informed there were beds for us to sleep it! What a great way to finish the day. Little did we know what was in store of us the following day.


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__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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Old 09-18-2014, 09:52 PM   #8
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Now after a few years (and possible a few hard get-offs) the morning events aren't that clear. I remember breakfast (always good), but don't remember why we were so late. Probably screwing around with bikes, etc. I do remember loading the bikes and having to wait for food with so many people at the hotel. In either event, we eventually got on the road heading north. Sad the trip was nearing an end.

We rode north eventually getting to the highway. I'm all about riding dirt, but wont deny that fresh, smooth pavement with winding sweepers is a bad thing in the right doses.

We eventually roll into San and grab some food, gas, and discuss our plans. It was brought up long ago during the trip planning we were wanting to visit Mikes Sky Ranch. I knew little about it, but why not check out something when you are in the area. We had some days left before we had to fly out of Yuma. At the end of it, it was somewhat unclear of our plan. Tensions were somewhat thick from prior days so it was generally understood we'd make a decision at the security stop north of town.

On the road again, only so much can be done to kill time on a dirt bike with straight pavement. As mentioned earlier, short doses are ok if the high way is fun. Once things straighten out, your back side becomes numb, your focus is lost, and the blaring noise of wind and droning of tires and engine start to get to you. Motorcycles arent made to go straight and at a constant speed. It defies what the very thing they were meant to do. Be fun.

Once again, details are fading about the decisions, but once past the security check we did have a discussion resulting in us heading west. If memory serves me well, it was now late afternoon. Possibly around supper. What worried me most was the sky was dark. Not like sunset approaching, but dark clouds turning day into night. This was brought up and overruled. We were to head west into another security check and towards what looked like hell.




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__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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Old 09-18-2014, 09:57 PM   #9
Shibby! OP
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Now I will admit, I'm somewhat a fair weather rider. Ive rode in anywhere from +44 in stop and go traffic in Pheonix, to -20 in our local back country only to get a flat tire km's away from our trucks. I still ride, but sometime don't enjoy it. What I do realize is most questionable days often become some of the best.

This instance was, in part, somewhat an example of the above.

While riding west you cross through mostly flat roads with slight elevation gains as you head into the mountain range. What mostly was on my mind was, a) how bad the rain might be, and 2) the storm front was actually producing quite the amazing views.

The third thing that soon came to mind was how will I stay warm? Temps were dropping quickly. The day was already cool, and we already had all our layers on. Running in to what looked like horrible rain clouds was only going to prove worse.




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__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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Old 09-18-2014, 10:13 PM   #10
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After a quick break, the 'Ok' was given by everybody to proceed. At this point i was in the lead and wanted to check one last time. There was still time to back track and skirt the clouds.

The day was getting late. Things were getting dark, and just then. The rain started. Light at first. A teaser as it normally is. F* rain.

At this point we suited up our rain gear knowing full well whats ahead wont care if we had rain gear on or not. With it being this cold, things were going to get ugly.

8" TT HID blazing into the darkness, we drummed down the highway glaring at the hue of GPS screens trying to determine where our turnoff might be. Things were cold. I was shivering already. That point where you don't want to move because things are as warm as they can get just as you are. If you move on the grips, seat, etc. It'll just be worse. Even moving your head becomes difficult. Been here plenty of times. Not fun, but already too far to turn back.

We eventually found our little town with sand road turnoff. It was missed by all of us at first because of the wet visors and goggles clouding our views. Once again, a quick washroom break on the side of the highway and evaluation of peoples moods and mental states. Our local riding is not only physically demanding, but also mentally challenging. Some struggle with this and it ends their ride. Once the mind gives up, the body uses 10x the energy. Once that happens it's all downhill from there. Exhaustion, falling, more energy used, etc. I'm sure most of you guys have been there. I know I have.




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__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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Old 09-19-2014, 10:15 AM   #11
prsdrat
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It's about time...........bring it!
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Old 09-19-2014, 11:04 AM   #12
Shibby! OP
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Who would think the mind has so much control over the body. When negative toxins swirl within the blood compounding the effect of exhaustion. It was soon to surface where the famous words would be uttered:

"I'm never doing this again! It's not worth it..."

As humorous as it is these days, it was a somewhat serious moment when it was said. Going back in history has had our little group getting into some precarious situations. Often ending in darkness and undesirable conditions. My first ride with the guys ended up in heavy rain going over a remote mountain range after a long dual sport ride (ironically, months after I was issued a written notice for riding in a government park... oops). As we descended, the rain turned to snow, finishing at just after midnight with 4-6" on the ground. Nearly smacking a cow in the middle of a back country road with fogged and soiled goggle lenses. Memories that test your will, but often looked back upon as a good time. I can guarantee you during the ride, I wasn't thinking "good time". Riding side-by-side with another riding buddy to share headlight, seeing the roost of wet snow and water from the front tire coming forward off the fender and flying back at him did create a bit of a chuckle.

Since then, we've had countless situations that just seem to happen. We know going into our trips that the likelyhood is probable. TOI T1 challenge with plenty of night time riding single track on precarious mountain sides, dual sport trips random camping in whatever ditch felt comfortable, and one ride, where gas was a major concern finishing at 3AM after a planned mountain pass was aborted because of snow on the ground. Only to be left with a 2.5 hour drive home, quick shower, and drive to work.

With that all said, I knew from experience that moods were becoming tense. Some were silent, others were rushed to answer as if serious time was being saved by giving an often poorly thought out comment. The situation was what it was. Nothing could be changed.

We proceeded down the sand road into darkness towards Mikes Sky Ranch. A trial not normally very technical and shorter in duration. We were dreaming of warm food and beds and a good night sleep. None of which would come reality.

The ride started quickly but soon slowed. The rain that was pouring down in the cold met that magical moment where it turns to snow. It was a means of mother nature kicking us in the crotch. We came from Canada, only to see snow this far from home... The very thing we were avoiding by doing this trip.

At first it wasn't an issue, but the snow remaining on the ground quickly accumulated. Soon, peering through the foggy and snow covered goggles, the road became hard to see, even with a 8" HID light. Others were less fortunate with their lighting and struggled more. At this point I was frozen. No doubt in stages of hypothermia where the body stops shivvering. Hands and feet numb, and an obvious reduction in core body temperature. Muscle reaction was slow and cumbersome, riding ability was seen as diminishing throughout our grip.

Heavy snow, now being around 8" deep blanketing the ground become a major obstacle. It not only covered the bumps and drainage trenches on the road, but he road itself.

People started to stumble and fall. At one point, on what would be a normal hill on a sand road, I climbed the wrong line, ended up in a drainage rut and dropped my bike. It eventually stalled as I picked my self up out of the snow. It was pitched black. I was frustrated and cold. It also dawned on me that during this ridiculous moment that Dion was the last to not drop his bike.

After numerous kicking of the heavy XR650R, it eventually fired to life and I slowly engaged the clutch with lots of slippage to get rolling again. I was beat. I just wanted to get to our destination. The final straw was pulled.

Shortly after this we stopped. Our group was being pushed the limit. Those who were quick to react were pushed to be silent, and those who were silent were quick to react. During this stop, after asking how much further, the words were muttered:

"I'm never doing this again..."

Everybody has limits. For Dwayne, those limits were met that day.

The ride was now a survivalist situation. There was nothing out there that we could see. People were exhausted, hypothermic and needing to find food, warmth and sleep soon. We pushed on. The snow remained about 8-10" deep with the odd snowdrift pushing past axle deep.

Eventually, with a few shorter stops to navigate the blueish white hue of GPS screens, we managed to cross the river, do the short climb, and find which branch of the trail ended in what is Mike's Sky Ranch.

It was a welcomed sight. It was now shortly after midnight. There was one light on at the corner of the building which was a glimmer of hope. Eventually somebody came to see who was showing up at this ungodly hour in a snow storm. Where we were once worried about vacancy, we soon found out we were the only ones there.

Now my views could be slightly skewed, but Mike's Sky Ranch is a few things. Sure it has some history, etc, but it's not cheap. By any means. The cost was around 50$ per person. In Baja standards, that's extremely high. Even for Mexico, 50$/per person could get you some pretty sweet accommodation. My subsequent trip had me staying places from 5-15$ per night, some of which were pretty nice. At the time, I wasn't going to complain.

We were welcomed in and the staff offered us up a midnight meal. Very nice of them. The steak dinner was much to be desired, but anything tastes good in that situation. Our gear was now stripped off in the entrance to prevent spreading a sandy, wet mess around.

After food we were shown our rooms. The staircase going up the embankment was ridiculously slippery in the snow. All of us nearly fell, with Malcolm actually falling at one point. Icing on the cake!

In our rooms we tried to settle in. We were in the rooms with oil burning furnaces. This soon became an issue as the rooms filled with thick, black smoke. Each of us viewed the other persons room and it was determined this wasn't going to work.

After some negotiations we were then moved to the rooms with propane heaters. Finally we could find some warmth and fall asleep. It was a day that will never be forgotten. One of those memories of riding that makes riding special, even though it was a bad one. It makes the good ones that much better and in it's own special way, remembered as a good day itself.

The morning would bring a new day with new highs. Rarely experienced and never forgotten.
__________________
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge - https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...551f1642711d75
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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