Business AND Pleasure!!!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Cpt. Ron, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    It all started with a flyer in my inbox. A professional organization of which I’m a member, was having their biannual conference in Phoenix. Well now, that isn’t too far from Sacramento, I could probably ride there. So here is how you attempt to mix business with pleasure. Unfortunately, I was to attend another similar conference the previous week in Philadelphia. That doesn’t leave a lot of at-home time to pack for a significant motorcycle trip. And getting bronchitis on the Philly trip certainly doesn’t help. Nothing like coughing and riding for 12+ hours, eh?

    I have a thing for the desert. Unfortunately, living in Sacramento with a full- time job, wife and kids doesn’t really play into that little obsession. So, I get what I can. Eight years ago, I finagled a trip to acquire a backpacking permit in the Grand Canyon. The trip included a little exploring in Death Valley as I passed through. It was just enough to whet my whistle. Two years ago, we took a family trip (sans MC) to Death Valley. Oh that was an adventure. Some I would wish to repeat, many that I wouldn’t. But I have plenty of unfinished business in the desert, and damn it, this was an opportunity to capitalize on…

    My research of Advrider told me to not try to arrive first thing on a Monday morning on I-10. Camping on the outskirts and riding in first thing on Monday morning was not advised by the locals. Thus, the plan morphed to pretty much straight shoot it Phoenix in one sitting. I would leave early Sunday morning, hoping to arrive before sunset. Ahhh, but what’s the point you may ask? Well, the burn down was to make the business trip. Wednesday afternoon, the trip was in my hands. I had 3 ½ days to make the best of my return trip. Again, I turn to Advrider…

    I decided that I wanted to ride the Old Mojave Road from the Colorado River to Baker. From there, I’d travel north into Death Valley to explore some new territory. A couple of searches on Advrider later, I had a lot of information, including where to get more information, ala the guidebook. I was even able to find some gps tracks. With the guidebook in hand, I started generating a roadbook to help guide us. I figured, this was easier than trying to pull the book out all of the time to verify the route while enroute.

    FRESH MEAT!

    [​IMG]


    Chasing a train on 66:

    [​IMG]


    My run down to Phoenix was uneventful. 795 miles in 12-hours, 50-minutes, door-to-door. The basic route was I5 towards Bakersfield, then 58 over to Barstow. From there, I diverted to Route 66 past Amboy and continued south. Lunch was on the road. For those of you from the Bay area, you may recognize a piece of Zachary’s….

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Back on the road:

    [​IMG]

    Gas was a bit of a concern here, so I took it easy on speed until I knew I was within range of Parker. Even with the knobbies on the bike, the 950 handled the curves wonderfully. The sheepskin seat cover helped my ass handle the drone of the straights. After filling up in Parker, I took a little diversion to the Parker Python, a part of BITD’s Parker 250 course. A sample of sand from Superhunk’s crash site during our race in '07, and off I go…

    Traffic in Phoenix, even on a Sunday, SUCKS! And with this NOT being California, no lane splitting. Very frustrating. Here I was, within 10 miles of my hotel, and I’m stuck. Without knowing other ways around, I trudge onwards to downtown. With a quick stop for beer, I check my slightly weary ass into my room. Actually, I feel pretty damn good. I stopped my caffeine intake the previous week, so my energy level is still up there. I might have been able to pull off another SS1000…

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Rusty Rocket

    Rusty Rocket Life behind "Bars"

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,872
    Location:
    Trying to leave CT

    Good one! :rofl Nice repot though.
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    57,304
    Location:
    Toronto
    Best of both worlds :thumb Thanks for posting.
    #3
  4. mrazekan

    mrazekan Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,358
    Location:
    DT Vancouver. The other one...
    Zachary's! My favorite Pizza (notice capitalization) in the whole world! Nice job!
    #4
  5. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    The little trail up to my Zachary's lunch spot just about put me on my head. I had a lot to learn about riding in loose conditions. And despite the 90+ degree heat, the warm pizza still hit the spot. The only thing to make it better would have been some beer, but I had too many miles to complete...
    #5
  6. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA

    Weellll......there are SOME curves on that road. At the time the pic was taken, it wasn't too curvy, and I wasn't making fast time. But, closer to Parker, the road got much more entertaining.
    #6
  7. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    After a couple of days of the conference, I’m back on Captain Ron time. Actually, I took one night to hang with the PHX inmates for dinner and brew near ASU. Wonderful food and beer, and good company. And good thing I wore my helmet, as the photo radar picture snapped of me speeding can’t really identify me. I shipped off the excess stuff (clothes, laptop etc.) and hit the road. The wind on this stretch is strong and all over. I tuck in and just go. Gas mileage be damned as I want to make time.

    [​IMG]


    As I roll back into Parker, I then hit the trail again for another sand sample. Now, noting my desert riding experience, taking this top-heavy pig of a bike into the sand (with luggage), alone, is daunting. And I dumped it. Christ…..Back to pavement to find the approximate location I’m looking for, since Pin_it_Dad! had a little get-off during our race too, he gets a souvenir.

    I continue north to Needles where I’ll pick up my first compadre for this trip. Bud rides an airhead PD similar to my old bike. Before this trip, we spent a day doing tons of routine maintenance that has been neglected. Bud is waiting for me at the city park down by the river. With a quick handshake and pee break, we head off. And Bud promptly dumps his bike in the sand. A glimpse of the future…

    Next stop, the Avi casino. CrazyRider is waiting for us there, with his 1200GS prepped and loaded.

    [​IMG]

    This is the official starting point for the Old Mojave Road. The original plan was to hit the trail that afternoon and camp. Seeing that it’s close to 5:00 already, I make the executive decision to get a room and a real meal and hit the trail fresh. No arguments from this crew. They snap a salute and reply, “This is your ride, Cap’n!” So we unload the bikes and hit the steakhouse for dinner and beer. The next morning, we fuel up and load up with water. It’s about 100 miles to Baker…
    #7
  8. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    15,368
    Location:
    On a set of 50,000 mile tires.
    Those bikes on the Old Mojave? :huh


    This should be good... :lurk
    #8
  9. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    I won’t write much about the trail itself, except to say that it was a lot more sandy than I anticipated. It took some practice for this Norcal rider to figure it out, but I knew I had to if I was going to make it out of here. CrazyRider is awesome on these trails. He’s spent years in the Lone Pine area, so he knows sand. His pointers definitely helped this city boy.


    [​IMG]


    The start at the "Mighty Colorado":

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The California/Nevada Border:

    [​IMG]

    Approaching Fort Pitute:

    [​IMG]


    And spring flowers:

    [​IMG]


    At the fort itself:

    [​IMG]


    One of the first washes to cross, and Bud dumps it. CrazyRider jumps in as his pinch-hitter for the picture opportunity:

    [​IMG]


    Did I mention it was spring?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Bud dealing with loose luggage:

    [​IMG]


    And while we're here, drop a penny in the "Penny Can"

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    If a 950 tips over in the desert, does it count? Well, if you have to take the picture yourself, maybe it doesn't:

    [​IMG]

    Rock Springs:
    [​IMG]


    Government Hole:

    [​IMG]


    The bomb run to Cima-Kelso Road:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    By the time we hit Kelso-Cima Road, Bud has had it with dumping his bike in the sand washes. He lost some water bottles and his survival pack due to loose straps. CrazyRider and I are able to “kick it up a notch” with Bud slabbing it to Baker. This next section also happens to be much more whooped out than earlier sections. Trying out my steeds abilities, I start riding the bike for what it’s worth. Even with the luggage, I’m amazed at how well the bike handles this stuff. If timed right, I was even able to jump a few of them. CrazyRider, on the other hand, was bottoming his suspension trying to keep up riding his GS.
    #10
  11. donny662

    donny662 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    399
    Location:
    Michigan
    Keep it coming. I like seeing those big bikes do the sand.

    :lurk
    #11
  12. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    So, CrazyRider and I are bombing along the trail. A few stops here and there for flower pics, but still making good time.

    [​IMG]


    And of course, there are the required stops, like the Mailbox:

    [​IMG]


    And finally, a decent break to eat and drink without having to navigate and ride at the same time. Ahhhh, bruchetta, cheese, beef jerky, crackers, water, whiskey....

    [​IMG]

    About 70 miles into the day, my notes indicate that deep sand is ahead. Yikes. Once we hit it, I was feeling intimidated. Afterall, earlier experience showed I had a lot to learn. Once I got the bike on top of the sand and in second gear, it got easier. Hell, third was much easier (at least until corners came into play). This isn’t so bad. Don’t ask me to stop, but this ain’t too bad. Once around 17-mile Point, the trail gets easier again, and my confidence is building. We turn east off of the main trail and beeline the last 10-miles to Baker which is now in sight. If third gear is good, fourth must be better. Man, this is a lot of fun! I can’t see CrazyRider in the dust cloud in my mirrors, but I don’t spend too much time looking behind me, anyway. Right where the trail intersects the road again, I just about dump it when I close the throttle to slow down. How embarrassing.

    Here's CrazyRider taking a self-portrait with me re-inserting earplugs:

    [​IMG]

    The Greek Store serves some great food and beer. It’s quite hot, but I’m on a high from that ride. Bud was already there and quite happy that he took the asphalt after our trail stories. After fueling up and refilling with water and such, we head north towards Death Valley. Near our turnoff is Little Dumont Dunes. CrazyRider insists that we stop and play a little bit. Damn that was fun! I stripped the gear off of the bike and let ‘er rip. Scoot back and give it gas. Did I say this was fun? I can’t believe I’m on the same bike that I rode down to Phoenix in one day, and then just did a good section of the Mojave Trail. How cool is that?


    Removing luggage:

    [​IMG]


    Having just a little bit of fun:

    [​IMG]

    Sorry, don't have the time or patience to figure out embedding videos, but here you go with the link:

    http://crazyrider.smugmug.com/gallery/4712690_hYwGe#278890717_wo94P-A-LB
    #12
  13. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    15,368
    Location:
    On a set of 50,000 mile tires.
    Way to go!!!!! :ricky



    <object width=425 height=318><param name="movie" value="http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008051501.swf" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="flashVars" value="s=aT0yNzg4OTA3MTcmaz13bzk0UCZhPTQ3MTI2OTBfaFl3R2UmdT1DcmF6eVJpZGVyJmU9MQ==" /><embed src="http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008051501.swf" flashVars="s=aT0yNzg4OTA3MTcmaz13bzk0UCZhPTQ3MTI2OTBfaFl3R2UmdT1DcmF6eVJpZGVyJmU9MQ==" width=425 height=318 type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullScreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always"></embed></object>
    #13
  14. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    [​IMG]

    The Harry Wade Exit Road is the southern dirt road into Death Valley. With the dust flying like it was, we spread out. Even being a couple of miles apart, we can still see each other. Unlike riding up north, the scale of the landscape just swallows you up. to continue the dirt theme, we take the West Side Road for the final leg into Furnace Creek. We roll into the campground around 6:00 or so and proceed to eat crappy food and drink beer (Mojave Gold, to be exact). I’m on a high that I can’t describe. I’m up till like midnight or so just tinkering on the bike and repacking some things. CrazyRider and Bud have no problems sleeping well. Something about exhaustion or something….

    [​IMG]

    You can see Bud's dust trail down there:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Friday morning, we leave early after getting a light breakfast and gas. Next turnoff, Saline Valley Road. Highway 190 is a fun roller-coaster of road leaving Stovepipe Wells, with some nice twisties a few miles after that. The higher elevations are cool, but it’s a nice feeling knowing that it’s going to be hot later. We top off for fuel at Panamint Springs Resort and continue westward. At the turn for Saline Valley Road, CrazyRider drops to the ground at his back tire, mentioning something about the bike handling funny. His gauge reads 7 psi. And that’s hot. Sheesh, this is not a good start to be leaving asphalt for 60 miles or so. He puts some CO2 in it and insists on traveling on.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Dropping down towards Saline Lake, I hear this horrendous noise behind me. You see, CrazyRider has tried to pass me before on crazy downhill stuff, and stood the bike up just in time to see him slide by on his side. Just as I’m thinking that CrazyRider is trying a stupid pass on me again, an F-18 buzzes over my head. Damn, that was cool. Sorry, too fast to snap pics. Near the bottom of the valley, the road finally smoothes out and I’m able to increase the speed a bit. With the sun as high as it is, however, I don’t see the shadows of the ruts that cross the road.

    [​IMG]

    Lucky for me, the suspension the KTM doesn’t flinch and it tracks perfectly. How cool. CrazyRider, on the other hand, has issues. The last rut breaks off the lower shock mount on his swingarm and the rear end slams to the ground. Not good. It took some time, but we were able to jam the shock back into somewhat of a normal position and hold it in place with a strap. The rear is lowered, but the bike is rideable. Amazingly, he also makes good time. The road north isn’t too bad, just a bit rocky. And once we hit asphalt, we were good to go.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    We camped in a park on the north end of Lone Pine. A quick trip to the store for food and beverage, and we were set. Despite the bike trouble, we were all in a good mood and quite content. Maybe a few choice words from CrazyRider about BMW, but hey, can you blame him?

    Bud:

    [​IMG]


    CrazyRider:

    [​IMG]


    Yours truly:

    [​IMG]


    And the night goes on...

    [​IMG]


    and on....

    [​IMG]


    And the next morning

    [​IMG]


    We took off again, bombing north on 395, then taking Monitor Pass to Markleeville. After that, it’s a relatively boring ride on 88 back to the Sacramento Valley. I did a total of 1800 miles in 4 ½ days of riding. The bike and my body held up well, and the weather was mostly cooperative. I need to hit that area again someday. I know the 950 can handle it.
    #15
  16. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    15,368
    Location:
    On a set of 50,000 mile tires.
    I bet you guys know what the little cairns are for now. :huh


    My last time through there I was standing and saw the trenches in the distance, got a little closer and saw the cairns.

    Glad you guys made it through that without injury. :deal


    Thanks for sharing your ride!!! :thumb
    #16