nOOb with benefits...first REAL ride...first Ride Report

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by 7164, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. 7164

    7164 1 above potato patch

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    Like the title says, I'm basically a nOOb "with benefits". What does THAT mean? Well, It means I fully admit that I'm really new to the dirt bike riding scene, but I rode sport bikes and cruisers for the last 15 years and have done a bit of off road Quad riding and some extreme (to some) mountain biking. I don't think those things make me any less of a nOOb, but they might, maybe, sort of, kind of help accelerate my learning curve....maybe......or my untimely death, I'm not sure which yet.

    That covers the "benefits" part, but what about the nOOb part? Well, I'm the proud owner of a "new to me" used 2011 WR250R, a freshly set up ADVrider and Smugmug account and a bunch of new and used (thanks to Craigslist) riding and wrenching gear. It also means I've never done a ride report before :eek1

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    My last bike was a large cruiser and the only reason I sold it was to help purchase a cabin in the mountains AND I couldn't ride the cruiser to said cabin so it was time for it to go. I found a great deal on this bike with it only having 292 miles on the odo, extended warranty, Devol lowering link, Yamaha tail pack/rack and single side saddle bag, acerbis hand guard / bark busters for only $4,800. So, I bought the bike, updated some of my gear to make me more dirt appropriate and got set to finishing the bikes break in.

    Most of the break in was on the street commuting to work or to the cabin on the super slab, but I got to throw a few dirt miles into the mix and discovered what a ton of fun this stuff is.

    Enough about me, get to the good stuff!

    So last weekend (4/12 -4/14) I decided that I was going to take my first real (dirt) ride to the cabin on as much back road and trail as I could with my limited knowledge of what the hell I was doing and where the hell I was going. I decided that I would just hunt and peck my way around the I-17 and see where it would take me and what I could find. There were several roads / trails that I knew I wanted to take, but I didn't know where they were, how advanced they were, how non advanced I am or anything else that would be standard information for a half way sane person going off into the unknown by himself, so this I felt would be an actual ADVenture ride.

    The only road I knew I was going to take was Crown King Rd off the I-17 to Crown King. The plan also included riding from Crown King along Senator Road to my cabin outside of Prescott, but I honestly had no idea what road that was or how to find it once I got into Crown King. PERFECT!

    So with a bunch of freshly purchased tools and equipment and a bunch more scavenged tools and equipment I set to loading up my bike and myself for the ride

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    Fully loaded up and ready to go with nothing more than a final destination set in stone I hit the road and let the ADVenture BEGIN!
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    I started out by jumping on the I-17 and heading north. I was hoping to find an entrance to one of the many side roads and trails that can easily be seen from the highway. After a few miles I decided to stop at Pioneer Rd and see if I could get into the dirt.

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    Upon exiting I turned left and there it was.....
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    the entrance to a trail that I just KNEW would be the sweet sweet ride I was looking for.

    I was confident it would be the perfect combination of nOOb friendly, challenging, exquisitely beautiful and that by the time I came out at the other end I would not only be at the entrance to Crown King Rd, right where I wanted to be, but I would also have been magically transformed into (insert the name of your favorite off road racer here......I'm new, I don't know the names of any of these guys) and I would be hailed as an excellent yet humble hero. I air down my tires and off I go…….for about 200 yards. My magical trail led me straight to a barbed wire fence :baldy . Oh well, I guess being hailed as the excellent yet humble hero will have to wait.

    So it’s back to here…..
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    And I’m off to new lands unknown. After just a few more miles on the super slab I come to the Table Mesa Rd exit and I know there is a power line road entrance somewhere in the area so I get off to do a little searching. As I turn west onto Table Mesa Rd I see a UTV driver closing a gate on the south side of the road just west of the freeway and I make a mental note to check that out some other time.

    After a minute or two on the dirt I come to this sign and take a minute to put a little air back into my front tire and snap a few photos.
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    I’m running the stock Bridgestone trail wings, or Death Wings as people like to say and when I aired down the front I went a little too far (9 psi) and found it was wandering on me a bit. A quick fight with the Bell bicycle pump and I’m back up to about 12 psi and I’m ready to roll again. This time my travels lead me about a mile or so down a dirt road until it dead ended into a cul-de-sac like area that looked to lead to a couple of the ranch properties. I wasn't sure if I was welcome there and the gates all looked locked so I headed back to the freeway a bit perplexed and a little frustrated at not being able to find any trail to ride.

    I decided that I would try out the area where I saw the UTV coming out even though that trail was headed south and I was wanting to head north. While riding to the gate I realized that one of the huge purposes of ADVenture riding was doing exactly what I was about to do, go the opposite direction of what was planned simply because it looked interesting and I could. My frustration went away and I smiled a little with the “so this is what this is all about” realization.

    On to the lands unknown…..
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    Not very far into the lands unknown I run into this…..
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    This is one of my wife’s favorite photos of my trip and yes I intentionally put myself in the mirror for the photo.

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    I really like this photo! Smugmug color correction made it look nice and my Ansel Adams like mad photo skills and use of angle and zoom help to make it look even more dramatic of a crossing than it really is. It’s tough to tell from the photos, but there was a doable, albeit narrow, line on the far right, far left as you ride it but that will be our little secret.

    In all honesty, this was a bit of a challenge for me. Not so much in the actual crossing itself, but in getting up the nerve to do it. Like I said, there was a doable, but narrow line on one side but it ends in a sharp two foot’ish off camber’ish shelf and more importantly my Flatlands racing skid plate hadn’t arrived yet so my case and frame were riding naked and exposed.

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    MADE IT!!!

    Here is another little secret just between you and me. The above photo, while accurate, was actually staged :huh . I was so stoked about making it through the crossing with literally no difficulty at all that I just kept going and didn’t take a photo. A little while later I ended up backtracking to get back to the freeway and when I came to the crossing I spent a few minutes getting the bike turned around to get the photo I forgot to take earlier. I did all of that, no bullshit, just for this ride report!

    You are very welcome, it was my pleasure!
    #1
  2. sonicsix

    sonicsix Ruckus Rider

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Centreville, AL
    That was awesome! Thanks for sharing this with us. I have a bad left leg and can't shift gears with my foot so I am limited to scooters and my Can Am Spyder. At least I can pretend I am on your ride through your ride reports. Thanks again!
    #2
  3. 7164

    7164 1 above potato patch

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    After making it through the crossing the trail became a nice, smooth and fast trail. By fast I mean there were two other guys on dirt bikes going the other direction and they were going fast! Me? I was just putting along and enjoying the view. As I putted along I came across this huge rock, which isn’t all that shocking in the middle of the desert next to a giant mountain that is also made out of rock, but this one was different…

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    This boulder looks to be a volcanic rock. It doesn’t fit in with any of the surrounding landscape and was way too far from the surrounding hills to have rolled its way to where it is. As I understand it, Arizona has several extinct, non-active volcanoes and I can’t help but wonder if this boulder was thrown here from some far off distance long long ago.

    I continue down this nice fast trail, finally satisfied that I had found somewhere to ride, and marveled at some of the great scenery that I was blowing past while ignoring my urge to stop and take more photos. At this point I just wanted to enjoy riding. I rode through another forest service gate that kicked me out onto a dirt road that eventually led me to a wide dry river bed. At this point I decided that another photo was in order…..

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    It was at this point that I realized that not only had I forgotten to get an exit photo on the other side of my first ever giant boulder crossing :wink:, but I had done myself (and you) a huge disservice by not taking a photo in a really neat part of the ride. So, I went back and corrected my errors….

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    Changing the color of the photo was my wife's idea :clap

    After making it back to the crossing and staging the exit photo :wink:, I crossed back over the "giant" boulder field then jumped back onto the super slab for a few miles until I hit my exit….
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    and went a very short distance to here…
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    A few miles later the road turns to dirt and an informational sign appropriately tells me where I am….
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    My reflection in the glass proves that the sign is correct, I really am right there.

    A few more miles down the road…..
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    Hmmmm, that could be interesting, mental note to check that out some other time.

    At this point I realized I was starting to run short on time and I would need to spend a little more time riding and a little less time taking photos. This wasn’t an easy pill to swallow because a short time later I came upon the almost extinct town of Cleator, AZ. As I slowed to a politely slower pace to go through the” town” I really struggled to stay on the bike and not jump off and grab a few photos (or a few beers in the bar, which is about the only thing in the town). I did really well with my promise to myself until I rounded a corner and went through a narrow cut through some rock and saw this…..
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    I went past it at a decent pace and couldn't resist turning around and snapping a couple of pictures. The desert, while incredibly scenic is often devoid of bright colors. On a road with landscapes that are nothing but shades of tan, brown and green the bright purple of this cactus in bloom really stood out.

    I did well from that point forward with my promise to ride more and photo less even though there were some amazingly scenic views. The road to Crown King is a well maintained graded road that even the biggest of bikes (edit: or a CanAm Spider, sonicsix) can handle with ease. It is easily accessed right off the I-17, has some incredibly beautiful overlooks and the destination has beer, food and sometimes gas.

    There is little if any reason not to go see for yourself!....
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    After posting this ride report and these photos I was scanning the page to see how it came out and I noticed something for the first time. *In the above photo you can see a fuzzy reflection of me and the bike. *I found it neat how the pictures of the past have a window into the future.
    (Yes, I know that technically it would have been a window into the present and even more technically it is now also in the past so it is the past having a window into the past, but none of that sounded as Hemingway)


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    After throwing my extra gallon of gas into the bike (the fuel light came on right as I pulled into town) I began taking those photos. There were a few people out in the court yard of what I think is an American Legion Post and some nice lady, sitting with another nice lady asked me “where ya headed?”

    “Prescott” I say
    “Prescott!?! This late!?! Are you going back down through Cleator?”
    “No, I’m taking the back way” I say.
    “Ohhh, so you know the way?”

    Um….well….no actually, I don’t really KNOW the way now that you mention it I just have a general idea of which direction it might be in……Wait a minute, what did she mean by “this late!?!” it’s only 5:30 pm!

    “Yeah, I know the way” I tell her.
    “Oh good, then you know it’s like 4 ½ hours away.”

    4 ½ hours away?....HOLY SHIT!!!!, 4 ½ hours away!!!! No I DIDN’T know it was 4 ½ hours away It’s already 5:30pm and that means I won’t get to my cabin until…..uh….carry the 3, subtract the 8……shit, I don’t have time for math its already 5:31 pm and now I won’t get to my cabin until….uh…double the six, divide the 4…..

    While I didn’t exactly have a certain time that I planned on being to my cabin I really didn’t want to be wandering around half lost out in the mountains at night. I really, really didn’t want to be doing it as a nOOb on roads that are apparently so bad that the 40’ish miles to Prescott was going to take 4 ½ hours and I really, really, REALLY didn’t want to disappoint my family who was expecting me to grill steaks for dinner at a reasonable dinner hour not for a midnight snack.

    …..wait a minute….how the HELL can it be 4 ½ hours away?....its 25 miles to Palace Station, then another 8 to my place for 32 total so figure maybe 4 hours by her math…..I know the road is not in THAT bad of shape because when I was at Palace station a few weeks ago I watched a couple of guys in a 2 wheel drive Dodge Dakota come from the direction of Crown King and most importantly…..I’M ON A DIRT BIKE….I should be able to do this in half her time…

    At almost the exact same time I was thinking this, the other nice lady sitting next to nice lady #1 said “Yeah, but he’s on a dirt bike it won’t take him that long”. Then it turned into a slightly drunken argument between the two:

    Lady1: Well we were on quads and it took US that long
    Lady2: But he’s not on a quad, he’s on a dirt bike
    Lady1: Yeah, but the quads we were on are pretty nice quads
    Lady2: But he’s on a dirt bike, not a quad
    Lady1: They’re not that different
    Lady2: Yes they are
    Lady1: Not really

    I could have listened to this argument all night long and had they offered me one of those beers I probably would have, but I didn’t have time for this, I had some mountains to get lost in and a family to disappoint so it was time to go.

    My biggest regret of this whole trip actually occurred right here during this exchange between the two lady’s. See, sitting right behind them was a guy dressed in the full mountain man regalia. Cowboy boots, black jeans, striped western shirt, long black coat, black hat, three days growth on his beard and a giant mustache full of tobacco spit. I wanted more than anything to ask this guy if it was okay for me to take a photo of him but I couldn’t work up the nerve to do it. It might have been easier if he was actually giving me directions or assisting in the nice lady argument, but he wasn’t. The entire time this was going on he was…….look, I’m a pretty honest guy right? I told you about the crossing not being as bad as it looked! I even admitted to going back and staging the after crossing photo, so with that in mind you have to believe me when I tell you that the entire time I was there this guy was looking at me, nodding in agreement with what the ladies were saying and speaking……mountain man jibberish!

    I kid you not, anytime one of the ladies would say something he would look at me, nod his head and say a bunch of half drunken half mumbled words that I’m positive weren’t really words at all and end his mumble with “YUP!” He kept doing this the entire time I was there. Sometimes, for seemingly no reason at all. Other than the word “YUP!”, I didn’t understand one single syllable that came out of his mouth. Not a single one……..damn it, I should have taken his photo.

    With the realization that I only partially knew how to get where I was going and that it was now several minutes past 5:31pm I jumped on the bike and took off……. in the wrong direction…….down a short dead end road.

    It wouldn’t have been that bad, but I drove right by the nice ladies and the mountain man to get to that wrong way short dead end road and I was going to have to drive right by them again to get on the correct path. To try and save a little bit of my dignity I actually stopped and got off the bike for at least 5 minutes when I was out of their sight so that when I drove back by, the nice ladies and the mountain man would think I was down there for a real reason. I figured my family would be just as disappointed with me when we are eating steak at 11:35 as they would be eating steak at 11:30 so what’s the harm in trying to keep a little bit of my dignity. Five minutes later with my dignity slightly more intact I drove by them again and I was back on my ADVenture.

    Possibly running way behind and needing to concentrate on not getting lost I didn’t take any photos on this stretch except for this one spot…..
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    I came around a bend and was just floored by this view. I couldn’t resist.
    #3
  4. 150ron

    150ron Long timer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,493
    Location:
    Valencia, ca
    Wow, great pics and RR, thanks for sharing.
    #4
  5. 7164

    7164 1 above potato patch

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    The trail or forest service road (i'm not sure which it is) #52 goes from Crown King to the mountains south of Prescott and the total distance to Prescott proper is about 40 miles. The path is in good shape and in some spots is fast while in others I took it pretty slow, mostly due to sharp turns with large exposure on the don't fuck it up side! The Goldwings and Harleys wouldn't want to find themselves on this path, but big bikes like KTM 990's and such would be just fine.

    About 25 miles past Crown King going to Prescott you come to a junction in the road at a place called Palace Station.
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    Now, contrary to nice lady #1's estimate that it would take me 4 1/2 hours to get to Prescott, I hit Palace station in about an hour. Knowing that I was 8 miles from a steak dinner and non disappointed family I blew threw and continued on without stopping. Fear not that I would rob you of seeing such a neat and historic place though, because I took photos two weeks earlier when I went there and a few more photos this weekend when I went again.

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    Palace Station has a neat story and a lot of history behind it, but it is way to lengthy for me to post it all here. Besides, this is a "ride" report not a history lesson. There are several very good websites that have the story and history behind Palace Station and here is a link to the Boy Scout Troop 109 Palace Station Hisory page:

    http://phxtroop109.org/history-of-palace-station-arizona/

    I have no association with the Boy Scouts but I felt they deserve to have their link posted since, according to the sign, they built the landing pad and according to their web site they did a whole lot more too! They received a national award for their work and President Ronald Reagan spoke at the ceremony.

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    About 1 1/2 hours into my "4 1/2" hour journey I was inside of my cabin telling the story of my grand ADVenture to a loving and not in the slightest bit disappointed family. Steaks and beer followed shortly after and so ended the first day of my first "real" ride.

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    Not too bad!

    Stay tuned for day 2, "The big hill and the busted hose".
    #5
  6. myorangecrayon

    myorangecrayon Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    That's great! Nothing wrong with staging photos, I dare say 90% of people want to convey what the ride felt like, rather than what it looked like. Why would we take pictures and post them for other people to see if that wasn't the case? Does the 250 have enough power for what you're trying to do?
    #6
  7. Havingfun

    Havingfun the road less traveled...

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    Plano, Texas
    Thanks for taking the time to write the ride report. I enjoy your style of writing. The dialog between the two ladies was great. Here's to many enjoyable miles yet to ride.
    #7
  8. Scubalong

    Scubalong Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    886
    Location:
    So Cal
    Great start, thanks for sharing :clap
    #8
  9. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    18,860
    Location:
    Recalculating...
    I put this in the front page nominations thread.

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    Good stuff, thanks! :clap
    #9
  10. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    103,504
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    Thanks for the cool story. :thumb
    #10
  11. yyzmdo

    yyzmdo Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    25
    Nice RR

    I'm jealous of the beautiful country you got. Great photo's

    Cheers
    #11
  12. Mtn Man

    Mtn Man Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    Wow, nice riding! Enjoy the WR, I have been kicking the thought around myself.
    #12
  13. Captain115

    Captain115 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    293
    Location:
    Brisbane, Straya
    This. Is. Fantastic!

    Seriously, that was a great report, you sure know who to convey a ride through words. Love the photos, and the argument between the women was hilarious.

    Can't wait to read about some of your other rides. Have fun exploring on the new bike!

    Cheers,

    John
    #13
  14. 7164

    7164 1 above potato patch

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    Havingfun: I’m very glad you enjoy my writing style, your commenting on it is a huge compliment to me and I thank you for that!....and many more miles to you too.

    Myorangecrayon: Yeah, it does. The biggest thing that I’m trying to do with it is learn so it having the power of a 250 is an advantage. It is an incredibly versatile bike and one of the huge advantages (for me anyway) that it has over other bikes is that it is fuel injected. If you want to hear more about my research and reasons for going with the WR over something else let me know and I’ll shoot you a PM….or if others are interested to hear what I have to say on it I can do a post with my thoughts
    #14
  15. 7164

    7164 1 above potato patch

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    Laconic: Thank you so much! I don't know what else to say except thank you and I take that as a huge honor that someone thought my photo (and really, my wife's....it was her idea to change it to sepia) was worthy of the front page. Even if it doesn't get picked you posting it on the submissions page is honor enough.
    #15
  16. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    18,860
    Location:
    Recalculating...
    You're welcome!
    #16
  17. AZ Mark

    AZ Mark Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    903
    Location:
    Wickenburg AZ
    Nice report... :clap
    I also have a few questions as to how you decided on your bike. :ear Have some 50 to 100 mile loops I cover often would like to see how your bike travels in my neighborhood. Another inmate who I have conversed with has a crf250l perhaps we can do a li'l run together. Will PMail you soon.
    #17
  18. 7164

    7164 1 above potato patch

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    After conquering the “giant” boulder strewn crossing :wink:, learning to decipher Mountain Man gibberish while refereeing a nice lady argument and crushing the 4 ½ hour land speed record for travel between Crown King and Prescott, I felt like the excellent yet humble hero I just knew I would become upon emerging from that first magical trail off of Pioneer Rd ,though now that I look at the words I type humble is starting to look like a bit of a stretch.

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    It’s funny, but in a way that 200 yard nothing of a barbed wire dead end trail, the start of my ADVenture riding experience, ended up being exactly what I dreamed it would be when I was airing down my tires at the entrance. Granted, at the time it was nothing but a frustratingly short barbed wire dead end trail, however, it was in fact my first “off the beaten path” trail (by about 83 feet, that’s how far to my right I-17 was, you can see it in the photo, someone could chuck a can at me from their car while doing 75 mph and have a pretty good chance of hitting me….so, yeah, off the beaten path) and for this ride it was the rough start to my smooth end. It didn’t lead me where I wanted to go, it didn’t live up to my grandiose expectations of being nOOb friendly as well as challenging and 3 minutes later when I emerged from it I sure didn’t feel excellent, just a little bit disappointed. What it was though was a very little, very tiny bit of adversity and I survived it, moved on and was successful in my overall goal. I didn’t even recognize at the time that it was an adversity and in the grand scheme of life it’s not even worthy of being called an adversity, but in the context of a brand new ADVenture rider with almost no idea what the hell he is doing and lusting for a trail to ride that’s exactly what it was………and THAT gentleman and ladies is exactly what I think this ADVenture riding stuff is all about, surviving IT….whatever IT is, and often times IT is ADVersity.

    ADVrider….ADVenture….ADVersity ….coincidence????? I THINK NOT!

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    I’d like to say that I started Saturday off two hours before the crack of dawn slugging down boiling hot black coffee and dry toast before kick starting a bike with one magical kick in the cold before tearing off up the steep, twisting, rutted, loose, rock littered hill for a day of wickedly skillful and dangerous ADVenture riding. :thumb

    I didn’t.

    I like sleep, I like cream and sugar in my coffee, I like butter and jelly on my toast, my bike has a battery operated magic button and the steep, twisting, rutted, loose, rock littered hill that starts at the end of my driveway intimidates me a little.

    This is the easy part of the hill…..
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    Honestly, on Saturday I almost didn’t go riding at all. My ADVenture the day before was incredibly satisfying and I didn’t really feel the desire to go out exploring. I was enjoying relaxing and hanging out with the wife and kids with no set plan or anything that needed to be done. A rarity with full time jobs, three kids and a cabin that needs work! The weather had turned cold and extremely windy and I was a little wiped out from the day before so for most of the day I just hung out, relaxed, went to town with the wife and kids to get shakes from McDonalds and leach their free wifi for a bit. We then came home and grilled up some burgers for a late lunch / early dinner. By the afternoon though, the wind had calmed down, the drive to town and back took me past several forest service trails and dirt roads that I have been eyeing and wanting to explore and the itch to get on the bike and take a ride just couldn’t be ignored. As I sat on the porch looking at the bike I came up with a ride plan and a few minutes later I suited up and told the family I’d be back in a little bit.

    My ride plan was simple. Go down the driveway, turn right and conquer the steep, twisting, rutted, loose, rock littered hill that starts at the end of my driveway. Simple!

    The first picture is from a little below my driveway. This is the entrance to my driveway and a right hand turn exiting it takes you up what you saw in the first photo...
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    The first part of the hill is pretty long, so here is a shot from the mid way point looking down.....
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    About 3/4 of the way up looking back down.....
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    Still a little bit more to go before the first turn....
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    From there it twists and turns right, no flat spot to stop, and goes up a short distance....
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    Once you go up that you can stop (if you want to, I don't....I might think better of it and not start again) and look behind you and see that this is what you went through after that first no stop turn.....
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    And this is what is next....
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    You're halfway up this section now and you can stop again at the next turn which would be a good idea....
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    You've gained around 150 of altitude and gone about .18 mi. The easy part is over. Here is where the SUCK starts....
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    Left or right line, your choice. The right looks cleaner, but the left sets you up for the right hand turn at the top. I take the left.....
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    You've made it to the halfway mark and this is what is next. Don't try to stop here though, it's steep, loose and off camber.....
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    I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a nOOb at this stuff….. and as such steep, twisting, rutted, loose, rock littered hills aren’t exactly my strong point. I recognize that and feel it’s something I need to change, I need it to become a strong point so in my future ADVentures I won’t be held back when I see a steep, twisting, rutted, loose, rock littered hill in my path, which is really often in Arizona. Now for many of you this hill from the very bottom to the tip top would probably be nothing more than a good time, but for me it is a challenge calling out for me to not just conquer it but to DESTROY it and with it any intimidation it holds over me.
    #18
  19. 7164

    7164 1 above potato patch

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    There is a reason I wanted… no….. NEEDED to both conquer and destroy this hill!

    Your now looking back at the half way mark from about half way up the last picture. That telephone pole in the middle of the photo is basically the halfway mark at the apex of that turn. It's tough to tell, but there is now large chunks of solid rock covered in loose granite sticking out everywhere as you climb. The sections between turns aren't really shortter in lenght but steeper so they look that way.....
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    The interesting thing is I’ve actually cleaned this entire hill going up about 3 weeks before, but it was a bit of an accident.

    When my wife and I bought the cabin we knew the road in front of it was in poor shape and that the winter would probably do some damage to it, which it did, but not any more than we expected. What we didn’t realize is that the rest of the road above us, just a bit after about the second turn, would be practically destroyed by the winter snow fall. Before the winter came the worst part of the road was actually the part directly in front of our property, mostly at the end of our driveway, but once you rounded the first bend it smoothed out and only had one or two rough spots. Apparently the 10’ish feet of snow we got up there washed away the road when it melted turning the once steep but smooth road into a jumbled pile of loose rocks. Since our cabin / road is on the north side of the mountain it keeps snow and Ice until the very end and is all but impossible to go up until all of the snow melts. Because of that I hadn’t driven my truck up the road at all before attempting it the first time on the bike.

    This much further to go and you're at the next turn. This section and the section after the turn actually get easier....don't get fooled, its a dirty trick for whats to come......
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    The first time I went up it on the bike I was right in the middle of it before I realized how bad it was and I had no choice but to push on. I was extremely surprised and just KNEW I wasn’t going to make it, but I figured I couldn’t give up and I had to at least ride the bike all the way to the scene of the crash!

    ***NOTE: I CAN NOT TAKE CREDIT IN ANY WAY FOR THAT LAST LINE. IT IS FROM ANOTHER INMATES SIGNATURE AND IT ACTUALLY SAYS SOMETHING LIKE “DON’T STOP RIDING THE BIKE UNTIL AFTER YOU REACH THE SCENE OF THE CRASH. If YOU DO THAT YOU JUST MIGHT AVOID THE CRASH ALL TOGETHER”****...…I probably botched and butchered the saying, but that’s the gist of it. I read that line early on in my lurking on this site and it stuck with me. It is 100% true and is by far the best advice I have ever read on here. The saying is basically a mantra that I repeat in my head any time it gets a little out of hand on the trail and I credit it with saving my ass more than once! (I should probably send that guy a PM to say thanks, or a six pack or something and if I could remember whose signature line it is I WOULD!)

    Through some stroke of luck I made it to the top clean! And that was the beginning of a very hard lesson I had to learn.

    The turn itself sucks but once you round it this is what is ahead of you. The trail becomes ever so slightly less steep and almost seems to smooth out a bit. It looks like a short shot to the next turn but its not that is a bump in the road that hides the length.
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    This is how far you actually traveled to get to the last turn of the hill......
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    See, three weeks ago after making it to the top by accident I felt like I could ride anything and I didn’t take any time to evaluate how out of my element I was during the event and see what I could learn from it or what I could do better to make the next clean trip up the hill a matter of skill and not luck. Instead I took off down the back side of the mountain which is much easier. Apparently I was spooked enough by the climb that I didn’t want to go back down the way I came up, but too nOOb to realize it and figure out what I needed to change. The hard part of the lesson came when I mistook luck for skill and thought “I am Billy BadAss and I can really ride this thing”

    I am NOT Billy BadAss……
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    ….I can BARELY ride this thing

    The crash didn’t happen on the hill, it was shortly after while taking a flat smooth turn too fast and I ultimately high sided the bike.

    Nothing other than my pride and the handlebars were damaged. I already knew that my pride was expensive to repair…..usually costs blood, sweat and tears….but I was pleasantly surprised to find out how cheap dirt bike handle bars are :D

    I knew INSTANTLY that my overconfidence from making it up the hill had contributed to the crash and that I was lucky, not skillful, in my success up the hill. I also realized right then how spooked I had been fighting the bike up the hill in the first place and the combination of events and realizations led to my current intimidation by the hill, or more accurately my concern that I would screw up again……and I don’t mean crash or drop the bike, that is going to happen, I mean have such a mental lapse that my ego can be so falsely inflated.

    You've rounded the last corner. The top is almost in site.....
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    But you're going to have to earn it.....
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    No Ansel Adams mad photo skills being used here.....
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    If anything I made it look BETTER than what it is.....
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    The hill, from bottom to top, is .44 miles long. You gain over 450ft of altitude.

    My ride plan today was to concur the hill and destroy anything it held over me……….
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    I made it to right about here……
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    Damn it!!!! Yeah, that's my gouge mark.....
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    It was a very low speed drop, and have no doubt I was bummed about not cleaning the hill…BUT…I wasn’t totally defeated. I actually rode the hill with intention this time, not just blind luck and when I dropped the bike I saw the obstacle coming and I attempted to correct my line in a controlled and deliberate manner, but alas I failed. The damage to my pride was minimal and to the bike even less and to my body none at all…..sweet!

    All I had to fix was the right bark buster. It spun upwards on the bar but did its job and protected the brake lever and “gave” instead of bending the handle bars……again :lol3

    I picked the bike up and while doing so I thought crap this thing is HEAVY! It wasn’t this heavy last time I picked it up and that’s when I realized that last time I was adrenaline charged by the sudden loss of control and high side, but this time I was calm, collected and in control when the drop happened. Hmmmmmm, I AM learning….YEAH ME!!!!:clap……..stupid fucking hill :baldy

    I jumped back on the bike, kick started the magic button with me thumb and easily rode the last 50 feet or so to the top of the hill where I planned on fixing the bark buster. Just as I crested the hill I ran smack into the middle of a flock of about 8 or 9 wild Turkey’s crossing the road! I quickly killed the engine and stopped in the hopes that I wouldn’t spook them until after I got my camera out……no dice. While I ran around the bike like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get my camera out and realizing that all eight of my fingers had turned into thumbs the turkeys took off like……well, wild turkeys….not really the most common phrase, but they were wild turkeys so it would be dumb to say they took off like anything else.

    If you look closely you can barely see the red of one’s beard hiding behind a downed tree limb and another one in the middle of the photo.

    There is probably several more Turkeys in the photo and if anyone can spot one, …..I’m between like 71 and 64 percent sure there are more in the photo…..I’ll buy you a beer next time (first time) we meet.
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    The turkeys came along at just the right time. The excitement of seeing them cleared the air over dropping the bike and took my mind off over analyzing what, why and how it happened. While busting out the tools and fixing the bark buster I thought about how I’m going to seriously look into getting a GoPro so I can video when I ride and not have to fight with getting a camera out as much. It will make my middle kid especially happy. She loves animals, motorcycles and had the following conversation with me the night before:

    “Dad you should get one of those video cameras for your bike when you ride”
    “I agree! I think it would be neat for you to see the stuff I see when I’m out riding”
    “Yeah, and we can watch when you WRECK TOO!!!”

    If I’d had a video of today’s events she would have been in heaven!

    I have since banned her from watching any more YouTube “fail” videos and I’m considering grounding her out of spite.
    #19
  20. 7164

    7164 1 above potato patch

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    After fixing the bark buster I took off down the back side of the mountain and headed to the trail head I wanted to explore. I had found this trail by accident during the winter while snowmobiling. A few months earlier when the snow base was about 5 ft I had started at the opposite end of this trail not knowing it popped out a very short distance from my cabin. Now every time I drive down the road where the trail pop’s out I think I wonder what that looks like on the bike? Today I decided it was time to find out.

    What I discovered is that it is much more narrow and a whole lot rockier than when it has 5 ft of snow on it, but not NEARLY as cold. I found that while it was really neat to ride between the tall pines the rocky climbs were wiping me out and they weren’t even steep. I wasn’t exactly up on my confidence today and after several small hills I was gassed and ready for a break so I stopped. As soon as I stopped I could smell the faint sickly sweet odor of coolant but I didn’t think too much of it. When I dropped the bike earlier I saw a small dribble of blue coolant on the engine case and figured it was from the overflow tube on the reservoir bottle leaking a little out as it lay on its side. That happened when I high sided it too.

    A little off topic here, but I think it is super cool that Yamaha uses a blue colored coolant. I don’t know why that fascinates me so much but when I high sided the bike a few weeks ago I freaked out when I saw blue liquid coming out onto the ground. I spent several very tense moments looking the bike over and trying to figure out what, other than windshield washer fluid, would be blue so I could find where it was coming from. I quickly ruled out windshield washer fluid as the liquid dribbling out onto the ground because I haven’t even ordered a windscreen yet (I may never order one…..the wind protection would be nice but I’m not sure it would be worth the hassle of wiring in the window wiper and sprayer system ……and where would I mount the reservoir bottle?) After a little digging around I found out it was coolant which made me panic even more. 1) How badly did I bust up my radiator and 2) Why would they use window washer fluid for coolant? My best guess is that when I found out the fluid was just a little overflow coming out the tube from the bike being sideways I was so relieved, that the blue coolant suddenly became way more impressive than it should be.

    This, however, was way….. Less…. Cool………CRAP! It looks like when I dropped the bike the edge of the hose clamp got pushed up and fileted the hose
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    YUP!
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    The fortunate thing here is that the hose was not punctured and pissing out liquid like a 20 year old, it was fileted and dribbling out liquid like an old man with prostate problems.

    Even better it was only doing it when the system was under pressure. Basically while running or shortly after. At this point I knew my day was done and I was thankful that I wasn’t very far from the cabin. I did however have a huge dilemma in front of me. Do I turn around now and try to go down the rocky hills that I just had so much difficulty climbing (going downhill over loose rocks wasn’t something I had ever done) or press on forward since the trail had gotten out of the water run off areas and was now much smoother dirt. I weighed the pros and cons of both options for several minutes while tinkering with the hose and coming to the conclusion that it was safe to ride back to the cabin in either direction.

    The pros for turning around were: It was the shortest route to the cabin and I knew what the trail was
    The cons were: It was further to a road if I did need rescue and………. I knew what the trail was!

    The pros for pressing forward were: It was smoother and it was closer to a dirt road for rescue.
    The cons were: It was further over all to the cabin and I didn’t know what the………

    Ohhhhhh…..sonnn-ooofff-aaaaa-bitch………trail was!
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    I guess I picked the wrong one
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    No going around that!
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    I’ve decided now is as good a time as any to learn to go downhill over rocky trails!

    There was actually a little more thought put into my decision to go the way I did before I took off forward instead of turning around. Basically it came down to a “what do I have to lose by trying?” decision. I could either turn around and face something I didn’t really feel like facing, or I could push forward and risk having to turn around and face something I didn’t really feel like facing.

    “It Seemed like a good idea at the time, Sir”, and unlike the many times I’ve had to say that in the past, I think I would make the same decision again today.

    When I was forced to turn around and started going down the rocky hills for the first time, my muscle memory took over and I found that without thinking I was standing on the pegs, shifting my weight around to steer the bike and letting the handlebars remain loose but controlled going over the loose stuff while controlling speed with the back AND front brake. The point where I realized this and had my A-HA!!! moment was when I let go of the brake to gain speed and free the front wheel a fraction of a second before hitting a larger rock. As the front rolled over the rock and I weight shifted to keep the back from hitting it and possibly getting hung up I realized that this was EXACTLY like taking a technical downhill on my mountain bike. It clicked!! I figured it out!!!!

    STOP riding this thing like a small motorcycle and START riding it like a giant mountain bike!!!

    Finally, the “benefits” part of being a nOOb with benefits kicked in. I started picking my lines faster and with better results, I started steering the bike around with my feet and shifting my weight to keep in or out of certain lines. I started bouncing the suspension with my weight and pulling up with my arms and leaning my upper and lower body in opposite directions than I normally would because I was now riding a giant mountain bike with an engine. By the time I got to my third downhill section I had it down and I started throwing some more gas into the mix and was really cruising (for me). When I came to a slight uphill I took the line I would of on my mountain bike and I whacked the throttle open for a split second to really *attack* the hill (shit tons easier than peddling by the way) and the bike bucked, bounced, slid and squirmed in very familiar and comfortable fashion.

    I not only felt like I was having fun, but I felt relieved that I had finally figured some part of this whole thing out. It was so much fun that I was SHOCKED when I came to another tree down in the trail :huh. I couldn’t figure it out! I was riding back down the exact same trail I had just ridden up. This tree was NOT here a few minutes ago.

    Is it possible that a tree actually fell blocking the exit part of the trail while I was out on it? Ahhhh, crap! Do I now have to walk to the cabin and get the chainsaw just to get the bike out of here?

    This is another moment that I wish I had a GoPro. As I sat looking at the tree trying to figure out what to do I turned the bike off and asked out lout “where the fuck did that come from?” I then turned to look behind me and discovered that I had missed the exit to the road by about 10 feet and it was literally in a straight line right behind me. OOPS! :rofl

    Once I got turned around it was a quick ride to the cabin where I sat and assessed the damage to the radiator hose a little more and tried to come up with a plan to prevent me from having to put the bike in the truck for the trip home.

    [​IMG]

    I started to formulate a plan and went inside to beg sympathy from my family to make me feel better about the ADVersity I had faced during my short ADVenture. The only thing keeping my spirits up was the fact that I felt like I made a breakthrough after turning around at the tree and being forced to go down hill, but even that made me a little bitter.

    I made a HUGE breakthrough on a now busted bike. I felt a bit like a kid that licked the ice cream right off the cone onto the ground. You know you’ll get another ice cream cone but it doesn’t help to temper the loss of the one you had until it is actually in your hand and ready to be licked.

    Until the hose is fixed and the bike is being ridden again I’m going to feel like crap!

    I had a plan to try and save the last day of my ride and keep the bike out of the bed of the truck but I had no idea if it would work. I sat there trying to figure it all out until something outside caught my eye and made me quit feeling sorry for myself.

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    Not too bad!

    Stay tuned for Day 3, "Rescue tape to the Rescue"
    #20