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Old 12-28-2014, 07:38 PM   #1
heavy Cy OP
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“HOKEY POKEY” DEATH VALLEY Solo Ride/ BMW G650 (frustrated Chicagoan’s***FIRST RR***)

I had a business meeting in Santa Monica in mid-October so I decided to fly in a few days early and see Death Valley on a BMW G650 rented from Motoquest in Long Beach.

BACKGROUND: Me? Frustrated Chicaggah-based ADV rider. You need to understand Chicago has N.O.T.H.I.N.G. to offer motorcyclists- zippo, zilch, nada…nadafrigginthing! Ride an hour to get out of nasty metro traffic and where are you? Yeah, uh huh, out on s.t.r.a.i.g.h.t., FLLAAAHHHHTTTT corn field roads. WOC (wallet on chain) pirate doo rag bikers don't seem to mind going bar hopping but I scratch my head, scrunch up my nose, curl up my lip and marvel at that mystery. Got only one question ‘bout that… “Huh?” I have just never understood the combination of getting on a motorcycle and going out and getting liquored up. I have a beautiful wife and five kids, a great career. I’m about to get my child support years behind me from that first little (expensive) starter marriage. I need all the acuity and quick reactions to ride as safely as possible-and that may not be enough. Why mess it all up drainkin?


WHAT’S A MOTORCYCLIST IN A SHITTY URBAN AREA TO DO??? Answer: RENT ABC… That’s “Anywhere But Chicago”. Although I do own four bikes, rental bikes are a great way to r.e.a.l.l.y. experience different bikes. Furthermore, maybe it’s just me and I’m just luckily renting the right bikes but I find rental bikes to be supremely capable of doing just utterly amazing shit that your personal bike(s) simply can’t do.



RENTALS I’VE ENJOYED:


-KTM 990 from San Francisco to Yosemite to the Black Rock Desert of Nevada including 100mi+ of pure desert riding on my 50th birthday. I also learned some lessons about ABS and sand.



-Suzuki DR650 in Smoky Mountains for Parson's Branch Road, Tail of the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway etc. What a pleasant, even tempered bike that surprised me-no vibe at 75mph down the parkways.


-Hardley Ultra Glide 800lb pig from Phoenix, AZ to Chicago to Milwaukee via North Rim of Grand Canyon, Valley of the Gods, Muley Point, Moab, UT, Arches NP, Telluride, CO. Heh heh. Yeah I dropped AND singlehandedly picked up that bloated 800lb pig up near treeline, elev. 11,000ft over Telluride, CO at midnight looking for a place to camp. I spent the final day doing an Iron Butt SS1000 from Idaho Springs, CO to Chicago.



-BMW GS800 in Boulder, CO to do Guanella Pass, and 4WD roads over Mosquito Pass (solo, East to West, Fairplay to Leadville, the harder way), Weston Pass, Breakneck Pass etc.



-BMW 1200GS that had broken down in Las Vegas and the rental company needed it returned to Chicago so they PAID ME(!) to retrieve it after it was repaired. Vegas to Chicago included some Summit County CO offroading and Boreas Pass, Mt Evans highest paved road in North America. For a second year in a row I did the same Iron Butt SS1000 from Idaho Springs,CO to Chicaggah. FWIW, the 1200GS was wayyyyy easier to do a 1,000mi day on than the Hardley bagger the year before.



Each of the above is fodder for future retroactive RRs but I thought I'd use my latest ride for my first ADV RR… DEATH VALLEY.
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97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:05 PM   #2
heavy Cy OP
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“HOKEY POKEY” DEATH VALLEY Solo Ride/ BMW G650 (frustrated Chicagoan’s***FIRST RR***)

SO LET'S FLY... LET'S GET THE HELL OUT’A CHICAGO! Now I'm a window seat kind’a guy and I get a kick out of using my handheld GPS in flight to see where we are, how fast we're going, etc. We were just off the ground from Chicago Midway and before electronics could be used I realized we were about to do a fly-by of my house and workplace and Professor Dr. Mrs. Heavy Cy's workplace. I reached for my camera and snapped away. Take a look at this.



(looking North) My home in Riverside is hidden in the trees just barely below the bullseye of this pic. Riverside (referred to as a “village in a park” or a "village in a forest") has more green space per capita than any other village in the country. Laid out in the 1860s by world renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (who designed Central Park in NYC, Biltmore Estate, Washington D.C. Capital grounds etc.) it is quaint and bucolic with the DesPlaines River winding through town. We hike by the river and canoe down there. You can be lost here and other than those damn jets (that I’m in!) taking off and landing at Midway, you’d never know you were in a metropolitan area. I am a small town or rural boy at heart and Riverside is my only saving grace for being tied down in the Chicago area. I call it Riverberry RFD. It is Mayberry’esque- just surrounded by metropolitan Chicago. Bummer.

The bottom one third of the pic showing more buildings is Lyons, IL separated from Riverside above it by Ogden Ave (ROUTE 66…Y’know, Chicago to Santa Monica) and the Des Plaines River.
The baseball fields in the bottom left quadrant next to the quarry is (one of MANY) where my boys play little league baseball. The ball field visible barely above it, across the river in the trees is about 1,000ft from our home. When the wind is right we can even hear the games going on over there. The water tower and similar height building centered left to right and about 1/4th down from the top is Hines VA Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center (where Dr. Mrs. Cy is a Nursing professor). Visually compressed, Loyola is actually about 5mi north of Riverside. The somewhat open area barely above the bullseye is Riverside Brookfield High School and the Brookfield Zoo.



My flight is heading for LAX, so I’m about to do the entire Route 66 in four hours at about 500mph.
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73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:15 PM   #3
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Keep 'em coming!
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:16 PM   #4
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“HOKEY POKEY” DEATH VALLEY Solo Ride/ BMW G650 (frustrated Chicagoan’s***FIRST RR***)




(above) Somewhere over Southwest Colorado. I think those are the San Juan Mountains. I lived in Denver 27 years ago.



“The boy is back in Illinois but his heart will be in Colorado forever.” Aww well, I’ll get back out here again.






Hmmm, where’s the other one? Off the map, I guess. Ever been here? Reachable just North of Y Valley.







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73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:30 PM   #5
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WAS FRANK ZAPPA AN ADV’ER?


Motoquest rents bikes in Anchorage, Portland, San Francisco, and Long Beach. Nice helpful people-all of them. One might worry about taking a bike to the boonies *IF* you read your rental contract. I read my Eaglerider contract (BMW 1200GS) and it stated you are NOT to take it off paved roads-not even gravel roads! Hah! That’s another future RR but my story is “Those stunning mountain views looking way down below there… Yessirree, those views were Photoshopped behind that GS bike! Uh huh, Photoshop.”


I had called MQ intending to rent a Kawasaki KLR650. Turns out MQ puts knobbies on all their Alaska KLRs as they appear to EXPECT their bikes to get shown some “dirty love”.
I don't need no consolation
I don't want your reservation
I only got one destination
An' that's your dirty love -F Zappa

I planned on doing 4WD roads in Death Valley and knew from riding a KTM990 in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert sand, more knob= more control= more fun. Another one of life’s lessons in that 990 relevant in later pictures in this RR, I found out how important it is to ***turn OFF ABS*** in the sand. I experienced a couple instances of picking a last second line through the sagebrush when the ABS jest let’er roll!



Andrew at MQ told me they had just received two new BMW G650s that happen to take the same size tires and since it was a couple weeks before my trip he could get a set of knobbies on a new BMW thumper. ***SOLD*** I have offroaded in Colorado on both a 1200GS and 800GS and I am a pretty strong believer in “less is more” so I was really looking forward to this little thumper Beemer. The Sertao had 543mi on the odo when I pulled away and 888.8 of MY miles on the trip meter when I returned her. Dirty. But loved.

__________________
73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 10:17 PM   #6
heavy Cy OP
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“HOKEY POKEY” DEATH VALLEY Solo Ride/ BMW G650 (frustrated Chicagoan’s***FIRST RR***)

L.A. LANE SPLITTING… A NEW ADVENTURE IN COMMUTING.
Before I left, I had googled and Youtubed around for as much info as I could garner about lanesplitting. After I left MQ midafternoon on Friday and hopped on the 405 (note: the 405 is the world’s yardstick against which to measure bad traffic) I waited for another bike to overtake me before beginning lanesplitting. It takes some respect and, for a splitting newbie, a little paranoia. Now my experienced take on this is that it “can” be “relatively” safe if you manage your delta AND ride like a gazelle watching the lions. It’s kind’a goofy to ride more than about 15-20mph faster than ambient traffic but man it sure keeps you rolling through the gridlock. This is north of San Bernadino about an hour after leaving MQ in Long Beach.





Another 30min after this I gassed up and stocked up on 2 ½ gallons of water and a variety pack of trail mix and energy bars and headed north on 395 heading for Lone Pine. Most of 395 was coverd in darkness so I had no idea what the scenery was like out there. Just blindly get ready for the oncoming semi blast, the price you pay for a lighter bike wearing knobbies. I planned on camping up near Mt Whitney, the highest point in the Continental 48.
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73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 10:33 PM   #7
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I rolled into Lone Pine about 9pm and rode straight to Carl’s Jr for a couple cheeseburgers that topped off my tank. Coming into town I had noticed a few motels with bikes around them before burgering up. On the way back while looking for my turnoff to head up to the mountains I pulled into a motel courtyard parking lot where a half dozen guys were sitting near their bikes with coolers. I pulled up and talked for about a half hour with some Harley pilots from Nevada-nice guys. They offered me a beer and suggested I take one of the vacant rooms freed up by a cancellation but I wanted to head up the dark mountain road to find a camping spot and have a beautiful mountain view when I awoke the next morning. Again, I’m a reluctant, resentful, urban-bound, friggin Chicaggain whose heart is in the mountains and who left the motorcycling hellhole of the world 12 hours ago and I did NOT wanna wake up inside some cheap mowtell in the morning.



I headed up Whitney Portal Rd looking for Tuttle Creek Campground. Climbing to higher elevations the air distinctly chilled. I missed a turn and ended up way up the mountain posted with “active bear area” signs so I turned and headed back down to the outskirts of Lone Pine. I found a two track side road and set up camp not having a clue what the view would be like the next morning but I knew it’d be better than that mowtell. In the night I heard the distant lilting yips of coyotes- a beautiful sound I much prefer to a bear sniffing and snorting around right outside my tent.



WOO HOOOO! THIS WAS MY LOTTERY VIEW DISCLOSED THE NEXT MORNING! Yep. Beats a motel. That's Mt. Whitney up there.








__________________
73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 10:57 PM   #8
heavy Cy OP
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Location: Illinoise.Flat as a pool table.Crooked as a snake.
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“HOKEY POKEY” DEATH VALLEY Solo Ride/ BMW G650 (frustrated Chicagoan’s***FIRST RR***)

After loading up I dropped back down into town to gas up and turned East on 136 just south of town which linked up with 190 that goes into DVNP. Before entering the park I turned North on Saline Valley Rd and began the dusty fun.



“SO-CALLED” PLAN…

My “plan” was take Saline Valley Rd about 26mi to Lippincott Rd. Hang a right heading NE on Lippincott and go up AND then back down Lippincott Rd. After coming back down Lippincott, I would hang a right continuing North on Saline Valley Rd, then turn right/East up Steele Pass Rd and camp that night at Warm Springs.



The next day I would do Steele Pass and Dedereka Canyon and camp near Eureka Dunes Sunday night. Then Monday morning I’d stay on pavement and work my way through the park and show up in Santa Monica about 10pm. Man I love traveling solo with a tent and sleeping bag. That way it’s no problem to change my "so-called plan".





Saline Valley Road turnoff of 190. OK, are you ready for some DIRTY LOVE… dust, stutterbumps, desolation and raw beauty?




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73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:09 PM   #9
heavy Cy OP
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“HOKEY POKEY” DEATH VALLEY Solo Ride/ BMW G650 (frustrated Chicagoan’s***FIRST RR***)

My first stop on SVR overlooking Panamint Valley and Panamint Dunes down there.

The actual Death Valley is on the other side of the Panamint Range you see on the other side of this valley.





WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH,
THE TOUGH GET DUCT TAPE!


I discovered the cap was backing out of the end of the left swingarm.

Since the torx bit (Thanks BMW. And what's wrong with a good old B.O.L.T.?

Ohhh, I know now. It's that saying that BMW stands for "Breaks most wrenches")

to fit the bolt was in the tool kit underneath the seat, I used the always accessible

Y-chromosome tool kit, a/k/a duct tape.



__________________
73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:19 PM   #10
heavy Cy OP
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“HOKEY POKEY” DEATH VALLEY Solo Ride/ BMW G650 (frustrated Chicagoan’s***FIRST RR***)

HEY! I’VE SEEN THAT!!! This is at the corner of SVR and Lippincott Rd where Lippincott diagonals northeast across Saline Valley’s floor and heads up the mountain to the actual pass. Thank you to other ADV’ers who have posted RRs in the past. It’s so neat to be riding along kind’a in the middle of friggin nowhere and see a familiar sight show up. Ya gotta realize that for a frustrated urban Midwesterner who has pored over RRs for months daydreaming and scheming and planning my route this is cool to see in person. Approaching this turnoff I smiled inside my helmet and shattered the silence under my helmet exclaiming “Hey! I’ve seen that!!!” Here’s another picture that someone will hopefully remember when they see it in person. Enjoy!
THE VASTNESS… One appeal of the desert similar to my visiting the mountains is the vastness. Let me put this into perspective. Looking out at this road crossing the valley floor your eye might try to tell your brain that you could probably go offroading, cross country across that desert floor out there and it’s be pretty rough and bumpy-but surely it’d be doable on a motocross bike with a foot of suspension travel. If so, your eyes would mess your brain up because you just cannot grasp the GYY-FRIGGIN-NORMOUS SCALE right before your eyes. It is deceptive. There are arroyos and washes right out there that would swallow and hide complete freight trains and rows of houses. Twelve inches of suspension travel wouldn’t mean squat after flying over the edge of a thirty foot arroyo.

__________________
73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:30 PM   #11
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THE LUCKIEST MAN IN THE WORLD…

After crossing the valley floor on Lippincott Rd and starting the climb up the hills here’s a selfie I took looking back down across the Saline Valley where I had come from. Bad idea or not, I thoroughly enjoy traveling solo. I enjoy shutting off the bike and listening to…shhhhhh… NUUUUH-THINGGG! I live in a metropolitan area. I have five kids. Mrs. Cy and I both work full time jobs. We have goofy crazy schedules. This year- I shit you NOT! -we attended over 180 little league games our three youngest boys played in. Now I have a much greater need for solitude therapy than Mrs. Cy-she does ok with her occasional pedi/mani but me? I’ve got to get afriggin way or I’d probably eat my progeny. She understands, condones, and even endorses my cycle-therapy. As I tell Mrs. Cy often, I am the luckiest man in the world.






QUIET IS BEAUTIFUL… That is the start of Lippincott Rd down there on the valley floor. Some people may not be able to see the desert’s pure, raw, timeless beauty. Sorry for them. That’s their problem. This is beautiful. This is quiet. Quiet is beautiful.
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73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:41 PM   #12
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W&W...WATERMELON AND WEBER GRILL SIZED ROCKS… I had come through a pretty rough and technical spot covering a hundred yards of rocks that went from softball to football to watermelon to Webber kettle size.



When I rounded a corner after a really intense W&W section and it was smooth for a few yards and then appeared to head right back into W&W I decided to stop and catch my breath, suck some water down, munch on some trail mix, take some pix and inhale the beautiful silence. Does anybody else enjoy conversations between two or three of you (Me, myself, and I) on solo rides? Just before this I was having a nice dialogue when someone smiled and uttered inside my helmet “You’d have to be sick in the head to take a big assed 1200GS up here!”



__________________
73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:41 PM   #13
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Moto-therapy. Good for everyone. Bring it on!
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:55 PM   #14
heavy Cy OP
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“HOKEY POKEY” DEATH VALLEY Solo Ride/ BMW G650 (frustrated Chicagoan’s***FIRST RR***)

THE HOKEY POKEY… I’m here to tell ya Man and you can quote me on this one. What else can I say…

“THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT”
Look at that little bike down there. And this was just a short hike from the bike!


500 feet down there to the bike. 5 miles to the valley floor...





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73 1/2 BMW R60/5 "Uta"
83 Honda C70 "Ole Blue"
90 BMW K75s "Katja"
97 Ural Italia w/ 06 750 motor, "Grusha"
I prefer to travel in threes... "Me, Myself, and I."
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Old 12-30-2014, 02:57 PM   #15
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Cant believe you went UP lippencott, I have done it once on the 625.
That was a chore.
Usually people go East over Hunter Mountain and West back via Lippencott.
Much easier going down than up.

Waiting to see if you made it.

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