So before I began, I should tell you about the riders. First, is my better half. He doesnt have a screen name, so Ill call him DC. At 73 years old, hes MUCH older than me, but only in years. He didnt learn to ride until he was in his 60s. He prefers pavement riding on his BMW, but has a Honda 230L to humor me. Im jckid. Ive been riding since I was 6, but am certainly no expert rider. I ride a KLX250s, which weighs 3X as much as me, so in some situations, it can be a handful. I prefer dirt riding, but I do love to ride my Husky SM610 as well. The ride: So I wanted to ride some dirt this weekend, and DC said ok. It would be a simple day ride--a leisurely 73-mile loop on 50% dirt forest road and 50% pavement in the Sequoia National Forest. Wed ridden it several times before. The first section was dirt, and I was having a blast trying to slide around every corner. The scenery was great, and I was in the groove. Then I came around a corner and saw a mud hole in front of me, with no way around. I stopped, and DC stopped beside me. He got off his bike to check it out, but didnt realize that his bike was on too much of a slope and his kickstand gave out, causing his bike fell into mine. I was still on my bike and holding up both bikes with only my left leg, and I was tippy-toed. I figured I would either end up between the bikes or under mine. Finally DC uprighted his bike and saved me. We were mainly concerned about the mud hole, because not making it would mean landing in the goo, and it wasnt just mudabout ½ of it was cow crap! Well I picked my line and gunned it, and I made it through. DC followed. He doesnt have a real good track record with mud crossing, but he made it as well. Here he is: In retrospect, it wasn't that big of a deal, but we thought it would be our only little challenge for the day. Little did we know We stopped for lunch along a creek: Then we hit a stretch of pavement to the top of a pass. When we reached the next dirt section, we were met with a locked gate. Quite a while back, an OHV Ranger in the area told me that as long as theres no sign that says road closed, motorcycles can go around locked gates. So I was ready to do it. DC, being the more cautious one, wasnt so sure, but in the end he relented. So around the locked gate we went. I suppose this was the first decision, in a chain of several that, well .youll see . Once around the gate it quickly became evident why it was locked. deadfall and boulders. Small trees were down everywhere, and huge boulders blocked the road. A few of the larger trees had been cleared with chainsaws, but only a motorcycle could weave its way through. We were a bit nervous, but soon the road opened up, and we could actually see vehicle tracks. We finally arrived at a familiar meadow: We had a snack, and then made yet another decision. There were two ways to go. Both were dirt. Both led to the paved road, but one was a short cut that would eliminate about 5 miles of pavement. All of the vehicle tire tracks led the long way around. Only a couple of motorcycle tracks led toward the short cut. Now I probably should have gave this some thought. Because farther back, I had noticed a single motorcycle track, but now I was seeing two. But nope, I didnt think about it, I just headed for the short cut. There was a gate with a road closed sign, but the sign was halfway open. I thought maybe the other riders had opened it. We rode through, but within a mile we came to this: I knew my bike was a bit too tall to pass under, but I figured we could lean it enough to get through. But leaning it that far, and then pushing it up the slight grade was harder than we though. So DC got out a wrench, loosened my mirror and swung it around. (Future mod---folding mirrors!) That worked, and we got it through. The Honda was a cinch, since its not as tall. After that, we didnt see any more motorcycle tracks. Thats when I realized that it wasnt two riders at all. It was one, and he had turned around. But what did we do? Of course, we continued on. Less than a ½ mile farther, and we came upon this: Did we turn around? No, because I had seen a guys ride report on ADV where he had made kind of a ramp to get over a log. I thought it was brilliant. So we started stacking limbs. We quickly ran out of limbs, and the ramp wasnt high enough, so I stepped on the log to get to the other side where there were more limbs. I was surprised that the massive log moved, enough that I nearly fell off of it. It was like a light bulb went off in both of our brains at the same time, and we thought maybe we could actually move it enough to get around it. There was a gentle slope, and we figured that would help. So I pushed with all my might, DC pulled, and it was actually moving quite a bit. But then it didnt want to budge. I told DC to come around to my side and push, but he said no to give it one more try. So on the count of three, we gave it all we had. And then, like slow motion, I could see what was about to happen. I couldnt yell quick enough. The tree was actually rolling, and a large limb (about 4 in diameter) was heading straight for DCs, uh groin. But before it caused him to lose his manhood (as he called it later!), a longer limb (just as big) slammed into his chest and knocked in flat on his back. Thank goodness he still had on his chest protector and his helmet. He ended up with some scratches and welts on his chest, but was otherwise ok, although he did say it felt like someone hit him with a baseball bat. And remember, even though he thinks hes my age, he is 73. So wouldnt you think we just say screw it and turn around? DCs usually super cautious, so that fall must have done something to his head, because he got up off the ground and was quite proud that wed managed to move the tree enough to access the ditch beside it. The ditch was kind of like a bathtub. There was just enough room for a bike in the bottom of it. So he told me that we should put my bike in the ditch, and then I could ride out of it. I said ok, but that Id ride the Honda first, since its lower, smaller, and generally less intimidating. We cleared a path, dropped the Honda down into the ditch. In retrospect, we realized that was kind of dumb, because at that point, I had no choice but to ride it outwe wouldnt have been able to push it back out. I revved that thing up, DC got behind me and pushed, and with a little struggle I made it. Next was my KLX. It was actually easier, since I had already broken a trail. Im not sure if DC even pushed that time. So on our way again, we rode about a quarter of mile, before we came to this: Heres another picture looking back from the other side (you can barely see the Honda): There was no way we were going to get through that. Once again, youd think we would have just turned around, but nope, we started hunting around for a place to go around. There only seemed to be one option. It would mean crossing over a small log, going through a patch of snow, then up an off-camber hill, circling the debris, then dropping off an embankment to the road. It looked tricky, but doable. So this time I took my KLX first. Getting over the log was tricky. I suppose an expert rider would just blast over it, but again, Im not an expert. So after a couple of tries, some tire spinning, and DC helping, I made it. I made it through the patch of snow, but what we didnt realize was that the forest floor was soft. It was blanketed with small twigs and branches, and beneath the surface it was wet and soft. Duh! The snow had just melted. So as I started up the hill, my rear tire wanted to dig down. Id stop, back up, rev it to the moon, dig even deeper, and nearly topple over. Poor DC was pushing from behind as I coated him with mud and dirt. On maybe the third try, I could feel the bike leaning toward the rightthe downhill side of the slope. I had saved it on the previous attempt, but this time I knew I couldnt. The bike went down the slope, I went up the slope, and I think I actually landed on my feet briefly before hitting the ground. I was actually quite pleased, thinking how well I had fallen. Ive had the KLX for a year, and it was the first time Id dropped it, so of course a picture was in order! Well being practically upside down, the bike was flooded when we got it upright. It took probably 6 or 7 tries, but it finally fired to life. I gave it all I had, and I made it on the next try. I got hung up on a log and nearly went down again, and probably looked like a complete dork, but I made it, and I was proud! I do love a good challenge. Well then it was time to get DCs bike through the mess. It was pretty much a given that Id ride it through too. Technical riding is not his forte, plus it made more sense for him to be the one pushing from behind, because hes stronger. And I think he may have dug down deeper in the soft dirt, being heavier. The Honda has a lower seat height, so I found it much less intimidating, but the gearing is not as low, so I had to keep it revved up. Again, Im sure I looked like a complete spastic, but I made it, this time without incident. Here are the bikes on the other side: We still had a couple of miles to go to get to the pavement, and by this point, we were actually worried. It was getting late, and backtracking now would be real pain. We hoped and prayed for the best. We encountered this snowdrift across the road as we climbed higher, but made our way through. Then there were two more down trees. One we could ride under, and the other had a break in the middle. And then, we arrived at the pavement! I felt like jumping for joy! But then our worry quickly returned. We could see that the Forest Service had been hard at work clearing deadfall and boulders, but then there were some extreme washouts. It was bit unnerving, not knowing if the road was solid under us. And then we thought, what if they hadnt had time to clear the entire road. Fuel is limited in the area, and we had no extra gas with us. Finally, we arrived as the final dirt section, only to find a locked gate. We were about 17 miles from our truck. Going down the pavement would mean more like a 45-mile ride. That would be cutting it awfully close on the KLX. We went around the gate. Within a mile we were thrilled when we saw vehicles at a hiking trailhead. That meant the gate was open at the other end. It was smooth sailing back to the highway, and then down the mountain to our truck. In retrospect, we realize that in the future, we should probably take the safer option and consider our decisions and the possible consequences a little more. I think we just got kind of caught up in the challenge and were determined to beat the obstacles in our path. But the decisions we made put us in a bit over our heads, and above our skill level. But then again, it was one of our most memorable rides, a challenge we conquered, and a true adventure, and really, thats the kind of stuff I live for. But the next time we encounter a locked gate, I have a feeling my more cautious counterpart will remind me that taking the long way around, could indeed be the fastest and safest way around.