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Old 11-21-2012, 10:09 PM   #1
Little Bike OP
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Noob on the dirt

Finally, got my dirt on! I spent a few days in Anza Borrego State Park (roughing it at a b&b) so I could try out my complete lack of skills at riding dirt roads. The idea was to take a dirt class and then go to the park, but I kind of ran out of time......so off to doing things in complete ignorance! Yay!

Day 1

Trail 1
Miner's Canyon
Dumpovers - 0

This is it, my first dirt road. I checked the conditions at the visitor's center so I would have some idea of what I was getting myself into (especially sand). Started up the road and the first 30 feet was.......sand. Oh well, my bike is short (thank goodness for not buying that klr650 for a first dual sport and getting my little xt250) so the feet were put to good use. I finally got my feet up on the pegs and with some wobbling around, that I'm very glad went unwitnessed, up the canyon we went. I did leave some pretty funny tire tracks - some probably looked like an anaconda with feet crawling up the trail.



Trail 2
Pinyon Mountain Valley
Dumpovers - 0

There is a huge drop off that I've always wanted to see at the top of this road (not to ride down, just to look!) I started up the road, the sand was so deep that I never felt the actual road bed. This was not going well. Again, feet, feet, feet. It was exhausting. About 1/2 mile up the road I came across a couple in a little passenger car who had somehow - no idea how - made it up that far and now were as stuck as I've ever seen a car (I would have hesitated taking my 4wd up that road in those conditions). They had stuck pieces of vegetation under the wheels and a little log or two - there was no way they were getting out. I offered to head back down to get help, but no, they said they were fine. Okaaaay.....For all I know that car is still up there (it was only about a mile walk out for them to a campground). I went a little past them and decided that going up the hill in very deep sand was probably not the best way to break in a new engine. Turned around.



You can see the car in the background. I wanted to get a closer picture, but I figured they wouldn't find that amusing. It doesn't look too bad, but the front tires were in about a 3 foot deep hole and the backs were down about 2 feet.

My turn around - run away, run away!



Trail 3
Font's Point
Dumpovers - 1

I was feeling a little over confident at this point so I decided to ride up to Font's Point (as you guessed, an overlook) for sunset. Like a lot of Anza Borrego you're riding up a wash. I've been up this road a few times in my truck so I knew it could be pretty sandy, but there are strips of hard packed sand and after all, I had just survived the sand pit road. I stayed on the hard sand and then all of a sudden I didn't.....

Nice shot showing my tire tracks where I overcompensated (f'ed up)



And a nice shot from the back.



Damage - bike, none. Me, scraped the back of my leg on the foot peg on the way over, ouch!!!!

Learned how to pick up my bike - (wasn't sure that was going to happen at first until I figured out to dig some sand out where the tires would stand up - this was after sitting in the wash for a little while just staring at the mountains)

At this point I decided I'd done enough for the day and headed back.

Day 2

Did nothing. Back hurts. Ouch.

Day 3

Coyote Canyon
Dumpovers - 0

The night before I hit the internet looking for some advice on riding sand. Got a few pointers and decided to hit one of my favorite roads. At the visitor's center the road was posted for having sand past Desert Garden, but I figured I could always turn around. This road can be pretty challenging after the rains - there are 3 water crossings that can vary from 2 - 3 feet deep and about 20 feet across to full on driving up an underwater road. The road itself isn't bad until you go through the 3rd crossing and then you hit a rocky hill and then another hill that can only be described as a staircase. I planned on looking at the staircase.

Oh my gosh! I had actually improved riding in some sand! Not deep sand, but where there is actually a road under there with some thick sand berms on the sides and middle. I rode both and had only a couple of bobbles - finally relaxed and started using those leaning street bike skills. Yay, improvement!

I also got in my first water crossings. Pretty funny, you look at the water and then wonder - hmmm, how deep is that? Are there big boulders under there? Slime? Really deep mud? Aaah, just go for it. So I did and made it through the 1st and 2nd crossings OK. The 3rd crossing was "interesting". It was the longest and deepest of the three with what felt like a bunch of slimy cantaloupe size rocks underneath. I just kept the throttle on and kept the feet down. When I rode back, same thing. Lots of water in my boots.

Crossing #2



Crossing #3





Ooookaaaay, not ready for that yet.......time to turn around.



Little soggy



Back down the canyon and home, booo. Looking forward to the next trip! Still need to take that class...........

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Old 11-21-2012, 10:37 PM   #2
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nice report and you survived.

we all have to start somewhere.

cool.

come to the 2013 death valley noobs rally.....http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=841673
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:42 PM   #3
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Nice first report and I hope to see more.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:24 AM   #4
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Hey, you're my kind of fellow. You'll have a blast on that little thing. You'll get very competant in no time.

I had a similar sand experience not long ago in Arizona aboard my Yam 250 wrr. I was trying to scout Camp Creek Wash, which is a natural drainage 13 miles long. Like your wash, it didn't seem to have a bottom. I tried it from both ends and failed after maybe a mile each time. Like you I came here for some pointers: up on the pegs, weight back, grip the seat/tank with your knees, arms loose, stay on the gas and go fast enough for the tires to get on top...

No luck so I mounted some new Michelin T63 DOT knobbies and went at the wash again. Presto! End to end in under an hour even with stops. At first I was going only about 15mph and a kid came whizzing by on a dirt bike doing about 30mph. I bumped it up to about 20 and it was much better.

You'll soon discover those rock gardens can be rolled well with a small bike. You just can't stop and your low gear has to be low enough to ride it slow.

I would have NEVER tried that last water crossing. Bold soul, you!

PS: Soon as your oem tires are done, get some T63's. They are cheap and work well in both sand and mud. They make learning a lot easier I found.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
Hey, you're my kind of fellow. You'll have a blast on that little thing. You'll get very competant in no time.

I had a similar sand experience not long ago in Arizona aboard my Yam 250 wrr. I was trying to scout Camp Creek Wash, which is a natural drainage 13 miles long. Like your wash, it didn't seem to have a bottom. I tried it from both ends and failed after maybe a mile each time. Like you I came here for some pointers: up on the pegs, weight back, grip the seat/tank with your knees, arms loose, stay on the gas and go fast enough for the tires to get on top...

No luck so I mounted some new Michelin T63 DOT knobbies and went at the wash again. Presto! End to end in under an hour even with stops. At first I was going only about 15mph and a kid came whizzing by on a dirt bike doing about 30mph. I bumped it up to about 20 and it was much better.

You'll soon discover those rock gardens can be rolled well with a small bike. You just can't stop and your low gear has to be low enough to ride it slow.

I would have NEVER tried that last water crossing. Bold soul, you!

PS: Soon as your oem tires are done, get some T63's. They are cheap and work well in both sand and mud. They make learning a lot easier I found.
Thanks for the great tips Pantah!
On the water crossing I figured the worst thing that would happen is my buddy and I would go for a swim. The only problem was I had checked out of my room and had my camera and iPad on the bike.....
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by NSFW View Post
nice report and you survived.

we all have to start somewhere.

cool.

come to the 2013 death valley noobs rally.....http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=841673
Just signed up!
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:21 AM   #7
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Salude! But you can take some time off the learning curve...

Good on ya! Here are some things you might be interested in as you grow into the sport:

Technique is everything

Tips for riding in Sand, Mud and Snow

Jimmy Lewis Off-Road Riding School

And another cool ride close to you, the Mojave Road.

Stay thirsty, my friend.

m
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:40 AM   #8
Little Bike OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motorcyclejazz View Post
Good on ya! Here are some things you might be interested in as you grow into the sport:

Technique is everything

Tips for riding in Sand, Mud and Snow

Jimmy Lewis Off-Road Riding School

And another cool ride close to you, the Mojave Road.

Stay thirsty, my friend.

m
Thanks!

I did the Mohave Road in a 4wd with my brother, sister-in-law and niece a few years ago. We camped out 3 nights and had a great time! I've been thinking about doing another camping trip out there on the new bike, just need to find some company.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:25 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Pantah;20097553] up on the pegs, weight back, grip the seat/tank with your knees, arms loose, stay on the gas and go fast enough for the tires to get on top...

QUOTE]

+1

Momentum is your friend...until you hit something of course Keep moving and pick your lines as far forward as you can. As soon as you loose your momentum, you fall over. Lots of practice and getting to know what the bike will and will not do is the key! Good luck!
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:41 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=Lappeman;20215584]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
up on the pegs, weight back, grip the seat/tank with your knees, arms loose, stay on the gas and go fast enough for the tires to get on top...

QUOTE]

+1

Momentum is your friend...until you hit something of course Keep moving and pick your lines as far forward as you can. As soon as you loose your momentum, you fall over. Lots of practice and getting to know what the bike will and will not do is the key! Good luck!
Thanks for the tips! I'm signed up for the Jimmy Lewis class the weekend before the Death Valley noobs rally.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:25 AM   #11
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Boots

Just in case (cant tell from pictures), if you are wearing hiking boots spend the coin and get a proper pair of MX boots, starting off you are going to fall, put a foot down etc.

MX boots will offer a LOT more protection for you than any hiking books and can in many cases save an ankle or lower leg from injury that would not be prevented by hiking boots.

That said, congratulations and welcome to the forum, look forward to seeing you in DV in March.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:31 PM   #12
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Just in case (cant tell from pictures), if you are wearing hiking boots spend the coin and get a proper pair of MX boots, starting off you are going to fall, put a foot down etc.

MX boots will offer a LOT more protection for you than any hiking books and can in many cases save an ankle or lower leg from injury that would not be prevented by hiking boots.

That said, congratulations and welcome to the forum, look forward to seeing you in DV in March.
Thanks! I can hardly wait for a Death Valley spring!
I was wearing my street "cruiser" boots - they're really not even good enough for street riding. I have a pair of Alpinestar Tech 2s on my shopping list (and a pair of Klim pants and a Motoport jacket and Happy Trails cases for my xt250 and new gloves.....and I'm pretty sure there's something else I want/need) :loll Just need to find a bank to rob!
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Little Bike View Post
Thanks! I can hardly wait for a Death Valley spring!
I was wearing my street "cruiser" boots - they're really not even good enough for street riding. I have a pair of Alpinestar Tech 2s on my shopping list (and a pair of Klim pants and a Motoport jacket and Happy Trails cases for my xt250 and new gloves.....and I'm pretty sure there's something else I want/need) :loll Just need to find a bank to rob!
i have the tech 2 for riding in the city, it is a shortie. tech 3 will give you better protection.

add leatt neck brace ( i feel naked without it), pressure suit (alpinestar makes the stella), and a ski mask if you plan to rob a bank.....
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:05 PM   #14
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i have the tech 2 for riding in the city, it is a shortie. tech 3 will give you better protection.

add leatt neck brace ( i feel naked without it), pressure suit (alpinestar makes the stella), and a ski mask if you plan to rob a bank.....
Oops, I meant the tech3. I prefer a paper bag with eye holes cut out for bank heists. :loll3

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around getting a pressure suit. I have an armored jacket, can I just add a chest plate or be fine with what I have? My idea of dirt riding is putting along sight seeing (although that may change as I get skills....) :mutt

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Old 12-10-2012, 07:48 PM   #15
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Oops, I meant the tech3. I prefer a paper bag with eye holes cut out for bank heists. :loll3

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around getting a pressure suit. I have an armored jacket, can I just add a chest plate or be fine with what I have? My idea of dirt riding is putting along sight seeing (although that may change as I get skills....) :mutt

Elbows, back and shins/knees usually take the brunt of an off-road fall, even on-road for that matter. As long as your jacket has back and good elbow protection it should be fine. Just make sure that the elbow pads will stay where they are meant to be and not move off the elbow when you bend your arm around. But for hot days when you take off the jacket, you should have elbow pads and a chest/back protector. Chest protection is more for rocks that get spat up at you when following other riders, so when you have a good jacket on, it should work fine for that. Shin/knee pads should be worn all the time, also helps when you knee to tighten chain or whatever. Unless you are riding crazy fast, I wouldn't worry about a neck brace but that's your choice. I had a Leatt and just sold it as I just don't feel comfortable wearing it but that's my choice. Just my two cents worth.
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