I just got back from a ride through Palen Pass, Midland, and then to Blythe. In the past, the road from SR177 over Palen Pass was a perfect ride (other than a little sand) on my 950SE. Mostly 50 - 80 mph cruising. This time, it was a couple hours of 5 - 15 mph crawling over fields of rocks mixed with sand filled washes. Lots and lots of cross ruts anytime the road crossed a low spot. In the past I'd have said a GS rider comfortable with sand could have ridden this route. In the condition it's in now, Riceless950 would 'enjoy' a ride along this road. I wasn't here during the August monsoons but I guess they were way worse than normal. I don't say this to dissuade you from riding - just be WAY conservative on your time estimates to cover routes you covered in the past. I was pretty late to camp - if my buddies hadn't been drinking they would have been worried.