Ride like <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1lace>Warren</st1lace></st1:City>! Hahahaha, yeah right! I didn’t have time to pull off one of <st1:City><st1lace>Warren</st1lace></st1:City>’s epic one day rides, such as lunch in Laughlin, but since he did a short ride yesterday (http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=873107) I figured I could at least pull that off with the time available today. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> Also, I since I have had my 650 for about a year now this week, I figured it needed a birthday ride to put it over 6k miles for it’s next service. So this morning I woke up about <st1:time Hour="8" Minute="0">8am</st1:time> and showered and got ready to ride. After a quick stop at the ATM I was on the road and heading down to the 8 to head east. <o></o> The bike ready to go: <o></o> After riding for little over an hour or so I was in the small town of <st1:City><st1lace>Ocotillo</st1lace></st1:City> on the north side of the 8. There was a small store/diner in town called the Ocotillo Market that looked like a good place to stop, so I parked in some shade in front of the store and went inside to order up a hotdog, fries and a Coke. It was about <st1:time Hour="10" Minute="30">10:30-11am</st1:time>’ish and the food made a great breakfast/early lunch. <o></o> The view from my table in front of the store: <o></o> Some good food: <o></o> Me getting ready to head north on the S2 to the 78: <o></o> I checked with a couple of the locals on where the closest gas stations were and found out I would have to head either east or west 15 miles just to fill up and ride back to Ocotillo to head north on the S2. Once I heard that I checked my <st1:stockticker>GPS</st1:stockticker> and saw that Julian, Santa Ysabel, and Borrego Springs were my other options and I knew I could still go about another 75 miles before my reserve light would kick on, so I hit the road. <o></o> A quick stop by the wind farm that has been a bit controversial with the off-road community: <o></o> <o></o> The next stop was an overlook at the Carrizo Badlands: <o></o> <o></o> A bit farther down the road was the Aqua Caliente Airstrip: <o></o> And a little bit farther down I pulled over to put an extra layer on since I decided to go through Julian and remembered the weather report said it would be in the low 60’s. Well, I think the report was wrong, but the extra layer didn’t hurt. And that’s about it for pics of the ride. <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> While I’m here.. How about a quick review of the bike and some of the gear I have recently picked up? <o></o> The bike: 1 year old, 6k miles. Love it! Getting anywhere from high 50’s to low 70’s mpg depending on the type of riding I’m doing. Brakes work great, handles nice for what I do, and has been a very reliable bike. Although I think it does have a hot start issue once in a while and I will have that checked on the 6k service in the next few weeks. <o></o> BMW Rally 3 suit: I tried on the jacket back in December just to see how it felt and it was probably one of the most comfortable jackets I have ever tried on and figured it would be good with the Summer 3 pants that I had already bought a few months earlier. A couple weeks later I decided to get the pants too since the CA sales tax was going up soon. The gear fits good, except I was between sizes on the pants and went with the larger size since the smaller onse were not comfortable while sitting on the bike. I had to add some suspenders to the pants since they are a little loose, but all is good. The armor for the suit is much better than what I have had in my previous gear, covers more area, and still comfortable. Probably the only downfall to this suit is the waterproofing is in the liners, but I don’t picture that being much of a problem since most of my riding is desert areas. <o></o> <o></o> Shoei Neotec helmet with Sena Bluetooth: The helmet is about 8 months old now and I really like it. This is Shoei’s first helmet with a built in sun shade. It’s nice not really needing to carry an extra shield when out on long rides where you might need to switch to a clear or smoked one. The Sena is a recent purchase and I am still getting use to it, but so far so good. So far the only confusion is in the operation of the jog dial and phone button depending if I am using my Iphone 4 only, or Iphone 4 with a Bluetooth dongle on my Garmin Zumo 450. Other than that, I think it’s a nice system I will enjoy once I get the hang of it. I have not used it for making calls yet, but nice for music and <st1:stockticker>GPS</st1:stockticker> info.<o></o> <o></o> <o></o> And another recent purchase, a Pelican 1520 case and mounting system from Caribou Luggage: About all I have to say about this is its just good stuff! The mounting hardware is nice and solid and everything fit great. My tire pump, tool kit, bike cover, hat, beanie , and a few bottles of water fit just fine for today’s ride, and during the work week my cover and whatever goes in there.