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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BigWan, Aug 8, 2009.
What a great adventure! I am very glad you didnt gloss over the frustrations and just tell the fun parts. It really keeps the sense of adventure and helps others in preparation for the TAT. You both have a ton of determination and grit. Awesome!
What a unbelievable ride and report.
Thanks again for the kind comments - it's nice that people are still reading this! I think Ive addressed most of the questions (tell me about the gas cans, etc.) via PM, but if I missed something, feel free to let me know. Im friendly!
I recently received a wonderful email from my 90 year old grandfather - he read the whole ride report and loved it. He wrote: Wow, what an adventure that must have been. Sounds like so much fun. I wished it had been me on that trip. Later, when I saw Grandad in person, he told me again how he had wanted a motorcycle his whole life but never got one. He said he had enjoyed traveling vicariously through our report and added, I rode along with you as I read...
I love that about all of these ADV ride reports and I was so happy to be able to share a bit of the dream with my Grandad. So, in case I forgot to mention it earlier - thanks to all of you FFs for inspiring us to do the TAT and write a report!
As a side note, Matt always wanted to take Grandad for a spin on the 950 but I was nervous about letting my husband, The Cripple Maker, anywhere near my dear grandfather. Im pretty sure that NOT having a bike helped Grandad make it to 90!
Speaking of cripples, several of you have asked how Im doing - Im healing well, thanks . I never did get that birthday MRI (and I put off seeing a doctor as long as possible due to concerns about our crappy health insurance), but I finally went to see an orthopaedist last week and things seem to be okay with my ankle and knee. At the very least, there doesn't seem to be ligament damage and I don't have any unhealed fractures. Theyre still sore and they swell up over silly things like crouching down to rummage through the kitchen cabinets, but it seems like it will just take time. Ive been forced to sleep on my right side for 6 weeks now and its getting really old, so I hope my stupid ribs mend soon. They still give me a twinge if I reach up or bend down or breath deeply; but its much, much better now. Thank you for asking!
(Oh, and Matt is just fine - no lingering after effects from landing on his head. Luckily, he has a neck like a bull)
There have also been questions about the state of the 950...
Oh. The 950. Our loyal steed. Matt calls it a she but I always think of it as a boy. Shemale? Hmmm. Ill go with she.
Well, the bike just didnt seem happy anymore, so we sent her to go live on a farm. Dont worry, shell be happier there. Its a big, wide open farm with lots of other bikes to play with. All around this farm theres nothing but nice twisties and dirt. Lots of fun, rocky, uphills and downhills and water crossings galore...the roads are scenic and endless and theres NEVER any slick mud or silt...
Yeah. Doesn't that sound nice?
No. After much debate, the bike, which had better health insurance than either of us did, was examined by a specialist and deemed too damaged to fix. The insurance company totaled it. Matt was able to pull most of the farkles, including our renazco seat, but had to give up his woodys wheels. Sigh. It was a sad, sad day.
I put together a little 950 memorial for matt...
heres the bike, when we first met
Look how shiny and new she was - she had been pre-loved, but came from one of those adult rider, never been in the dirt, dealer maintained kind of ads. Dreamy.
She had no idea what she was getting into...
And, vice versa (he had no idea what he was getting into)...
The bike gave Matt some problems initially (typical 950 issues) and I remember him thinking he had made a huge mistake.
But, eventually he got all the kinks ironed out and she became a perfect, dependable, reliable companion. Though, maybe a tad bit homicidal. Matt and I had a few laughs as we remembered all the times the bike tried to kill him.
Actually, matt says Im his good luck charm - when Im around, he doesnt get as hurt. She's too busy going after me. Haha.
Let's just focus on the good memories, shall we?
road to San Borja
the road to San Evaristo
And, more recent times...
Our Beloved Bike 2005.5 - 2009
Rest in Peace
We talked about not getting another bike until next year. It seemed like the prudent thing to do.
Then, matt started talking about a 950 super enduro.
Uh huh. Right.
I'll let you know what happens, once we get it all settled. We haven't even received the check from the insurance company, yet...
It will be a week or 2.
TO BE CONTINUED....
Good luck, sounds to me like now is as good a time as any to shop for a new steed. Maybe 990 Adventure? LOL
haha, smarty pants!
was it the keeping of the farkles that gave it away?
Good luck with the replacement...seems there are plenty leftovers out there up for grabs!
In fact, just saw a 990ADV for sale...
Heal well and here's to hoping you gather no moss.
Long time, no see! Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yeah, looking for a new bike...
So, we looked at a 950 super enduro and actually sat on one together. The SE was taller than the adventure and seemed pretty gnarly, but the seat was shorter and narrow and not very comfy. Also, the subframe in the back didn't seem capable of handling all of our crap and the brakes made me nervous. I'm sure it's fun offroad, but it was not a good choice for 2up touring.
I was actually leaning towards not getting a bike. We were getting good money from the insurance company and maybe it was time to take a break. We have plenty of other things that the cash could have gone towards and we could start fresh next year and look for another bike in the summer. [that sentence is f'ed grammatically and I don't have the energy to fix it. you know what I mean]
And, then I saw the ad. Yes, I saw it, not Matt. A 2007 ktm 990S adventure with 3000 miles on it. Another "adult rider, never been in the dirt, all work done by the dealer" kind of ad, and the seller was motivated. It was perfect - a smokin' deal. We went to see it the next day (we would have gone that night, but the seller was busy). The seller was waiting for the clear title, but we left a deposit and planned to pick it up the next week.
Fast forward 3 weeks - the seller is still waiting for the finance company to send him the title. Matt has been riding his XR650r and I've been rethinking the whole thing. I had been reading (in orange crush) about the 990 problems and this bike was starting to sound like a mistake. Do we really need a 990? Do I really want to keep riding at all? My stupid ribs are still hurting, I'm still sleeping on my right side, and I'm afraid that I'm over it. Done. Fin. No mas.
Luckily for everyone involved, we had made the deal already and we were going to follow through. Matt went to pick up the bike and the giant box full of extras. It also turns out that the seller had purchased the 5 year warranty, so the bike is covered until 2013. Sweet!
Once I saw it in person again, I felt a little better:
Matt is so smart - he immediately planned a weekend trip so that I could make friends with the 990.
We rode up to Sacramento on friday (october 2nd) and went to visit Matt's brother and family. His brother coaches high school football so we went to the game and then hung out with our little niece and newphew. It was a nice visit. The 990 did well, considering that it was loaded down with hard bags - Gobi side bags off the 950 and a top case. This trip was my first (and last) time riding with a top case.
The next morning we headed to Stonyford. We took 16 out of sac and then out towards Cache Creek.
Since it's all about the riding and we rarely stop (no lunch today), I think almost every one of these photos was taken as we rode. Except for the obvious ones.
Gas station near the casino.
The road towards Indian Valley Reservoir
Not what you want to see when you go offroad...
I think this is Indian Valley Reservoir
On the way to M5
the CA version of fall colors
So, the 990S is AMAZING in the dirt! The 950 was pretty great, but it was kind of a rough ride. The 990S is like a cadillac. There were so many times when Matt would ask me how fast I thought we were going. I'd venture, "I dunno - 40 or 45?" And he'd say "60!" Wow. It was soooo smooth.
Normally, he'd be doing 80 or 90 here but he was supposed to be taking it easy on our lovely new bike. Our dirt virgin.
Here's the entrance to M5
As always, it's steeper than it looks in the photo.
So, I found the top case to be mildly annoying on the highway. I hear that some pillions like to lean back on the top case, and/or it makes them feel more secure. It bugged me. When we have the wolfman bag on the back, I have something there, but I can also lean back far enough so that I can put both hands in front of me and look at the camera to edit my photos or whatever. With the top case, I just felt confined.
And then, in the dirt, that annoyance went to pure hatred - I wanted to take that freaking top case and chuck it off a cliff. When we went over washboard or rocks or ruts, that stupid thing just kept whacking me in the back over and over. Not pleasant for the ribs, either. I was able to lean forward and get away from it, but leaning forward isn't my preferred position in the dirt.
Even these little baby ruts pissed me off.
Matt has ridden trail 20 on the 950 (by himself), so he thought it would be fun to take me.
With hard side bags
And scorpions (that's a kind of tire for our non-riding friends)
On single track
I had to put the camera away here - I was afraid we were going to eat it in these trees...
I can't believe we made it through unscathed! It was not the best idea. We barely fit on the trail.
Back on M5
This is M10 or on the way to M10
hello, rocks. I've missed you so! (no, really. I ♥ rocks)
little water crossing
The 990S gets sh*tty milage, though. I mean, REALLY sh*tty. We got about 32 mpg on the highway. Slightly better in the dirt - 37? - which makes no sense at all. The 950 got about 42 on the highway and 35 or so in the dirt. I know, even those numbers sound abysmal - but don't forget it's a 1000lb overloaded schoolbus.
Anyhoo, we needed to stop and get gas sooner than expected, so we headed over to Upper Lake.
Isn't this weird light? The trees are all coated with this yellow-orange dust
This part reminded me of Usal road. I think it was the ruts.
Upper Lake. My only non-riding/road/nature photo of this whole trip. I did take it while still seated on the bike, though.
Just before we left, Matt pulled the rest of the day's route out of his butt. Yoink! He looked at a map, saw Lower Gap Road and thought it looked fun. He put "Stonyford, CA to Philo, CA" into google maps, then used the hand to pull the route off the highway and on to Lower Gap Road. Then we printed out the directions and brought them with us. It should work great, right? Right.
Don't these directions look suspiciously like a backwards roll chart?
That should have been our first warning.
Low Gap Road was fun. Also kind of Usal-y.
It was a blast.
Until we tried to find Masonite Industrial.
The next thing we know, it's just like being back on the TAT. We had sketchy directions, it was was getting late, we had to backtrack a bunch of times, and then just as it was getting dark, we needed to circumvent a bunch of locked gates. Good times, good times.
The sharp right towards Masonite Industrial led to a locked gate. Rather than go around that one little easy gate, we backtracked and tried to find another road. After doing that for a while, we crossed over what we figured was Masonite Industrial. Found a detour down to it - that ended with a locked gate, of course.
This was such a huge, wide, well-maintained road, we figured it must have been a county road and our directions were just f'ed. Until we ran into this gate. Sh*t.
Not a problem
Until we rode about a quarter mile past a bunch of creepy buildings and found another locked gate. This one was pretty serious, too. It was a beefy gate (no sliding a bike under) with horizontal poles going from the gate into the dirt on either side of the road. Apparently we had been on a private lumber company road, and from all the warnings on the gate, they did not look kindly on trespassing. We tried to find someone to talk to and hoped they wouldn't freak out too much, but the place was deserted. We weren't sure how we were going to get out, but it was pretty clear that the side bags needed to come off. As I was putting them on the other side of the gate, I couldn't help but notice the long list of penal codes we were currently violating. Also, it was starting to get cold and dark. All I could think about were zombies. Matt makes fun of me, but when I was a little kid, my dad used to take me to horror movies and it really messed me up. I'm scared of everything now - the dark, basements, attics, forests... Every time we're lost in the woods and it starts to get dark, I get really jumpy...
Anyway, with the side bags off, we were able to work the bike up and over the poles. Whew. Getting that monstrosity over the poles - without dropping it - was a 2 person job, so Matt was lucky that we had been 2up. It would have been tragic to dump the 990 (onto metal) on its first time in the dirt.
What's that you're saying? Oh, why didn't we get a new MF gps you ask? Yeah. We've been meaning to do that. The bike actually came with another gps. One that is much newer than our garmin III. Unfortunately, we found out that this newer gps is almost as useless as the III, but is conveniently much larger and heavier.
Since it was getting dark and the zombies were coming, I never did get a photo of that gate - sorry! I just wanted to get the hell out of there.
So, we had some friends who happened to be camping at Hendy Woods (outside of Philo). They were expecting us, but we barely made it there by dark. It was so good to see them - they let us mooch a spot for our tent and they kindly fed us a delicious dinner. Too bad I totally suck and didn't take any pictures. Sorry, guys - but we had a great time! It was a kidtastic funventure, too - 3 crazy boys and 2 sweet baby popcicles. [ Hi Sebastian, Liam and Ethan - Hey, it smells like Up Dog in here! ]
The next morning, Matt pulled another route out of his butt (Yoink part deux) and he picked Fish Rock Road off the map. We got more gas in Booneville, then headed towards Mailliard Redwoods State Reserve. Fish Rock Road was fantastic - lots of really fun twisties through the redwoods, then it deteriorates into dirt. Very nice.
Bicycle on a pole
Towards the end, the sign says 15% grade. It goes on for a while.
When you get to the end, make a left on Old State and it spits you out at Gualala.
View at the stop sign
Gualala to the right
We swung through town and then headed south (oh, a second non-tree/road/sky photo)
Highway 1 is so beautiful...
We were just here, taking all of the same photos, on our way back from Port Orford.
I love, love, love riding on 1, especially just before Jenner
That was weird - I can't get around that youtube link.
Here's the last bit of the above post:
Jeeze, this went on forever. Did you miss me (you being the 3 people who are reading this. hi mom!)? I forgot how long this RR stuff takes. I wanted to add some stuff about comparing the 950 to the 990S, but I don't know if anyone cares.
Well, I guess I do.
So, maybe tomorrow I'll add that. And, I have another video, too.
Cool new bike and looks like a great "break in" ride.
I need to go back and look at your route, I like most of it(not the over the gate part}
Yeah I'd like to see your comparison of the old and new bike!
i read it too! (subscribed)
you two are an inspiration to get my wife to get out and ride off road with me! also, i know that you didn't have the GPS up and running, but from the photos, the roads you were on seemed like a blast, and as a fellow NorCal'ian... i was hoping that you or matt may have routes or google maps, or even street names. M5 / M10? never heard of it (new at the dirt in this area, when there is some)... hoping you might shed some light . maps to a fellow rider.
congrats on the new bike, btw!
Still searching daily for the salvage title 950 for sale.
All of the roads between Stonyford and 101 are awesome fun. The Mendo Forest is packed with great roads and trails. Elk Mountain road has one of the best set of switchbacks anywhere, and it intersects several great forest roads that are doable on any bike.
okay - I meant to do a better job with the route description, but I got bogged down. It was fantastic and I want to get my notes straight so we can do that ride again, too.
I'll confer with matt (he knows those roads better than I do) and see if I can put something together. The only problem is that some of the roads (like M5) are hard to find unless you've been there before.
We hit Elk Mountain Rd on sat. on our way to Upper Lake, I think. I'd love to see more of it.
Yep, one could spend a lot of time in the Mendo forest. It's pretty amazing.
I followed your Ride Report when you first posted it, and again want to give you a .
As for sending your orange KTM to the farm, well that was sad.
But hearing that you have a new blue KTM makes it all better.
It's good to hear from you again, and I'm psyched that you are still riding together.
h20pumper, kaia and greg - hi guys - thanks for checking in!
It's nice know there's someone out there (I lied - I don't even think my mom is reading this. It doesn't sound like she knows we got a new bike and I'm not telling her!).
I'm trying to write out that route but I lost a page of my notes. Matt didn't have time this morning, but maybe tonight...
thanks - great to hear from you, too!
congratulations on the 950 - are you loving it?? Now you'll have to do the TAT again, on the big bike
I took a little break from ADV and I have some catching up to do. I'm so glad that you and Motoadventuregal have started your RR!
I'm off to read...
Update: I've filled in the gaps with a few more maps and rough directions. When Matt and I were talking about this route, I realized that it's almost impossible to explain it to someone else. Matt thinks I'm wasting my time by trying. This is the best I can do. You have to be able to freestyle when you go offroad. Just get a good forest map from the ranger station and go explore!
The area does get snow, so check the weather. We never remember to. One time we came out and we didn't make it very far on M5 - there was over a foot of snow. We tried for a while but 2up in the snow and ice is pretty shitty. It's about as fun as 2up in silt.
That being said, I take zero responsibility for anyone getting lost or hurt or pissed off trying to follow these directions
We left the bay area on friday afternoon and spent the night in Sacramento, which allowed for an early start on saturday morning. Friday traffic starts getting sucky any time after 2pm, so I guess one would have to decide if it's better to lane split and spend spend the night somewhere outside of the bay area or if it's better to get up super early and have a really long saturday.
I started to write out these directions and then realized it was easier to just get them from google. Here you go. Print them out or write them down 'cause otherwise you'll be screwed when our photobucket account craps out and the images get lost!
Day 1: These directions start at the Vallejo bridge, eastbound on I-80.
LINK: vallejo bridge to cache creek casino
Update / Alternate route to Highway 16 - Matt refreshed my memory about Reiff Road. So, instead of all that freeway stuff, you could try to take this route: napa to 16 via Reiff Road. You would pick up the route on step #12 (on the above map), where it says to head "north on CA-16 toward Wintun Rd."
We haven't been on Reiff in a while, but last time we had to go around some closed gates. It was a neat road, though.
Oh, here's a thread about the current status: reiff road
Hmmm... you make the call.
We definitely took Walker Ridge, and then Bartlett Springs Road up and around Indian Valley Reservoir. But ignore the milage and the minutes in steps#15-18. If you look at a map, you can see that they squiggle all over and criss cross each other. Just wing it. The only important part is to get to the point where you can catch M5 (see below).
Going from Bartlett Springs to M5 is a little tricky. Google maps refused to do it and then I remembered that we had to cross a river bed. Here's a closer look.
LINK: bartlett springs + M5
This map shows (roughly - we did a lot of side trips and whatnot) how we went from M5 to M10/Forest Rte 18N01/Fouts Spring Rd. I think that white dot is where we missed the turn for Upper Letts Lake. Close to it, at least.
LINK: this map was a real bitch to recreate. whew. I don't know if it's exactly the same, but it's close enough. M5 to M10
Matt really wanted to take me to Letts Lake but we blew right past the turn (we do that a lot). That's the problem with blasting along in the forest. We didn't know if we had enough gas to backtrack, find the turnoff, go to the lake and back, and then still make Ukiah. We didn't. Instead we went to Upper Lake and got gas. He said it's not much of a lake, but we manage to miss it every time and I've never actually seen it.
We played around in the forest for a while and we took a bunch of different roads and trails...so I'm not going to bother trying to figure out the rest of it. From M10 to Upper Lake, you're on your own. You'll have more fun getting lost than you will trying to follow our exact route anyway, right? Getagripgreg suggested Elk Mountain Road (comment #195 - here's the link ) - is that paved or dirt? Matt thought it was paved.
Trail 20 was somewhere off of M5. I'm sure if you look on a Mendocino forest map you can find it. We didn't even have a forest map with us; Matt was going by memory.
Oh, look - you can find them on the interweb: Mendocino Nat'l Forest OHV maps
Here's the google map route we took after leaving Upper Lake - this will bring you to the Hendy Woods Campground. These directions include the f'ed up part from Low Gap Road to where we hit Masonite Industrial and the locked gates. I would suggest finding alternatives for #8-10.
LINK (the linked version isn't exactly the same as the screen shot, but close. you need to fiddle with it, anyway, to avoid the locked gates): hwy 20 to hendy woods campground
We stayed at Hendy Woods Campground It was nice, but pricey. $35 a night, $8 for each additional vehicle. Pay showers (didn't take one, but I think we heard they were $1.25 for a few minutes). Our friends spent the big bucks! There's a cheaper ($15 a night) campground just down the road. I'll let you google that yourself.
There's also camping in the Mendocino Forest, but I don't like to camp too close to OHV areas. I just can't deal with the noise and overall jackassery. I think one of matt's worst camping trips EVER was at Davis Flat, but it was cheap ($5). You can find more info at the Mendo Forest link (see above)
Day 2: leaving Hendy Woods, make a Right on Hwy 128 towards Boonville. Get gas.
Continue southeast on Hwy 128 towards Yorkville. It's about 8 miles to Fish Rock Road. Also look for signs for Mailliard Redwoods State Reserve - you'll be riding through it.
Turn Right onto Fish Rock Road. You'll stay on this wonderful road for 15-20 miles.
It dead ends at Iverson Rd/Old Stage Rd. Make a Left, towards Gualala. Somewhere in there Old Stage Rd turns into Old State Highway. Old Stage/State spits you out on Hwy 1 at Gualala.
here's the google map version LINK: fish rock road to gualala
Turn right for pizza, turn left for great riding. You can find your way home from Hwy 1, right?
950 vs. 990S still to come...
Hey now, don't alienate the audience. That or you can't count.
Glad to see you guys got a new bike. Guess I was right, you 990 ADV.