The Tao of Lil Mule

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by dirtphoenix, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. dirtphoenix

    dirtphoenix from the ashes...

    Joined:
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    In a conversation with a friend last summer he said that the people he knew that were really good riders rode all the time. We were actually talking about mountain biking, but I figure the same principal applies to motorcycling. My son is off visiting the various grandparents for the next four weeks, so it is my goal to ride my trusty steed, Lil Mule, everyday that he's gone. As a single mom, this is my one month to not have to worry about making plans for him so I can escape for even a short ride. As a fairly n00b rider I figure the best thing I can do is just put in the time.

    So...most of these will be lil day trips around my home in Salida, CO (especially on Sundays when I only have 8 hours between a 12 hour shift and a 16 hour shift). I do have a couple of longer 3 day trips in a few weeks and the Rocky Mountain Adventure Ride at the end of the month.

    Yesterday 07.08.2010


    We got some rain yesterday afternoon and after it stopped the clouds looked amazing, like cotton candy stretched between the mountains. I decided I wanted to get as close as I could, so I took CR 140 out of town and across Hwy 285 to CR 250. Once it turns to dirt I veered off onto CR 252, which took me to the trailhead for Mt Shavano at Blank's Cabin. From there I veered off into Weldon Gulch and then onto CR 254. As I came into this clearing I could see the fog thru the trees. It was silent and still and dripping everywhere...
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    The end of the road...
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    This is when I realized that my left radiator shroud was missing. This is also when I remembered why I wanted to stop at the storage unit where Lil Mule and all her accoutrements are kept; I'd noticed it was loose and missing a bolt after my last ride last week. But alas, it was getting late and I just wanted to ride and the fact that the shroud was barely hanging on escaped me as I took off...so I took off back down the road and kept it in first gear, scanning the road and the grass at the edge for a glimpse of the blue plastic. Also, the guy that introduced me to this fantastic lifestyle once told me that if I could balance and go down rough roads slowly, it was a good foundation for going fast later.
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    Finally found it just before the parking area for the trailhead:clap
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    Back out on CR 250 and the setting sun dappled on the hills on the other side of town took my breath away...
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    Looking back with Mt Shavano just to the right of the tree...
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    #1
  2. SirWrecksAlot

    SirWrecksAlot Slowventurer

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    Awesome!!! :clap

    Lil Mule looks good!!!
    #2
  3. Tinks

    Tinks Demented Snow White

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    :clap
    #3
  4. East Coast Rider

    East Coast Rider Just Me...

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    Stuck somewhere in motorcycle Purgatory
    :wings

    Another place I need to visit and get an extensive tour from an inmate :D Hurry along and post more pics, please...







    :hide

    :D
    #4
  5. PsychoSayWhat

    PsychoSayWhat Been here awhile

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    nice! :D
    #5
  6. akadvntr

    akadvntr Frozen

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    Anchorage, Alaska
    Looks like a fun area! Thanks for posting, I enjoy seeing other short rides.
    #6
  7. fxstbiluigi

    fxstbiluigi crash test dummy

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    :clap :clap
    #7
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Lil' mules are the most fun... especially on this kind of ride! Thanks for posting :thumb
    #8
  9. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    Canada
    Great idea Ren. Keep it coming.
    #9
  10. dirtphoenix

    dirtphoenix from the ashes...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Today's ride is up Dorsey Creek Rd and FR990, SE of Poncha Pass on US 285. I haven't been up this road for almost two years. On my second day ever on a motorcycle (Honda XR400) I went up this road and crashed. This is how I learned to ride- C would ride the bike wherever we were practicing and I would follow with my son in my Jeep. The boys would hang out together and I would just go.

    So, on my second day, I took off up Dorsey Creek Rd. The first time I tipped over was stupid- I got intimidated by a short rocky section, froze and tried to stop too quickly. I got it upright but then it flooded and took forever to kick start. I kept going until I got to a steep, rocky hill. I stopped and looked at it and thought I saw a line, so I gave 'er a go...and tipped over again. This time was a real struggle to get the bike up on a steep, loose slope. Turning it around, I dropped it again. By this time, the curses were flowing freely and I was sweating my ass off. There was no cell service and they were about three miles away, so I knew I had to figure it out on my own. I finally got it to a semi-flat spot and kicked it so many times it felt like my leg is going to fall off. Good Goddess I wish I would've known how to bump start it! By the time I got back to the Jeep I was almost ready to give up on riding, and I told him as much.

    He took it for a spin and I chilled in the shade. He came back and said,"Are you really never going to ride again?" I agreed to try it again but I parted with,"If I'm not back in an hour come find me. I don't think I can pick this bitch up again!" The second time up I flew through the spot where I tipped over the first time. I got to the base of the hill and pondered it for a bit, then decided it wasn't a good idea; it was simply over my head.

    So today I decided to go back to see if the hill was still over my head...
    #10
  11. dirtphoenix

    dirtphoenix from the ashes...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    On Dorsey Creek Rd
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    Looking back towards Poncha Pass
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    The Hill. I'm sad that this pic makes it look like a really mellow hill. Hell, to most dirt riders on this forum I'm sure it IS a really mellow hill. I stopped to survey it thought about walking all the way up it but then thought I could see enough from the base. Mistake #1...
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    One more pic before I attack...
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    #11
  12. dirtphoenix

    dirtphoenix from the ashes...

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    So...if I would've walked up the hill around the first curve to the right, I would've seen that there was a huge hole in the right side of the road. (Which, once again, doesn't seem to been done justice by camera)
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    Perhaps this wouldn't have stopped me, since my plan was to stay to the left. Which is exactly what I did until there was a big ol' rock there and I didn't think I had enough momentum to go up and over so I veered a bit to the right. I think I must have clipped the rock with my rear tire because it felt like I got thrown even further to the right than I'd planned...straight into the hole. I then thought I could pop out of it and skim by the left side of the fence post. Mistake #2...
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    The only damage was chipped paint, bruises and some wounded pride. I'm also happy to report that the 250 is WAY easier to lift and turn around than the 400 was...

    So I decided that I'm done with the hill for this go around. I headed back down to a road that peeled off to the north (I think). When I got to it, I saw a teeny lil sign that said that THIS road was Dorsey Creek Rd. I took off and soon found myself in the shade of aspens, which was quite welcome.
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    #12
  13. dirtphoenix

    dirtphoenix from the ashes...

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    ...was a Forest Service sign that said 990. This road was nice and easy, although I did slide around some squirrelly mud a bit. I like riding in the trees and the aspens remind me of the birch in northern MN, another favorite corner of the world. It was very cool down my the creek and there looked to be some sweet campsites...but the bugs were horrendous!

    I rode on til I got to this lil meadow that seemed almost like a secret...
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    This tree made me laugh...and also made me wonder if I should continue...
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    When I got the camera out I checked the time and saw that I needed to turn around soon so I wouldn't be late for work. I decided to see how far I could get in five minutes.
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    Time to head back...
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    So I headed out and was almost back to the highway, thinking to myself that the last mile or so was complete cake. Mistake #3...

    I was standing up, going around easy curves when my back tire started to wash out in some sand. I let off the throttle while sitting down...and grabbing too much front brake which just made it more unstable. I'm not entirely sure how I hung onto it, other than sheer luck. It maybe helped that I didn't completely panic...I let off the brake and put my left foot down and that straightened me out. The foot peg clipped my leg...if it turns a pretty shade of purple I'll post a pic...

    So today was a bit disheartening, although according to my skiing buddies if you're not falling down you're not riding hard enough. I'm not sure that logic applies here...but I definitely learned a lot today.
    #13
  14. Laconic

    Laconic Hapless Rube

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    Sweet. :thumb
    #14
  15. prometheus rising

    prometheus rising Ghost In The Machine

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    :thumb :thumb Sweet riding in some gorgeous country
    #15
  16. East Coast Rider

    East Coast Rider Just Me...

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    Stuck somewhere in motorcycle Purgatory
    Boarding a plane to CO in 3...2...1...:D

    Awesome shots, Ren!
    #16
  17. Hannda

    Hannda Short, fat, bearded, slow

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    Not yet far enough away from town
    Very nice report Ren. Thanks. :rogue
    #17
  18. fxstbiluigi

    fxstbiluigi crash test dummy

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    excelent report and awesome pics Ren. Where are you off to next?
    #18
  19. dirtphoenix

    dirtphoenix from the ashes...

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    ...REALLY not too far! So. Today I didn't get off work til 0830 and by the time I got home and showered and in bed it was after 0900. I knew friends from IA would be here this morning and they got in a lil after 1100. I chatted with them for a bit and then laid down for another 45 minutes...and then it was beer fest time! Thank Goddess Josh cooked us a great breakfast (at 1300). We met friends down in the park to taste some beer and then all came back to our apartment for a cook-out on the deck; beef and fresh zucchini from IA:clap

    Oh shit...I forgot I was sposed to have bacon for the steaks. No worries; I need to get at least a lil ride in today to say I was on the bike and Safeway is only two blocks away. So my friend Tracey's friend Corey and I saddle up Lil Mule and are off on a bacon run!

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    doG bless the valve adjustment; she now starts on the first kick almost every time...
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    And we're off! Yes, I know...not ATGATT and I always am. The truth is that we were laughing so much that it didn't even bother me...
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    The crew at the Boathouse after dinner
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    #19
  20. smilin jack

    smilin jack Grandpa Adventurer

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    Lebanon Oregon
    Nice pictures and story. Been to Colorado a few times, and want to more... Great riding...

    Dave
    #20