A solo trail exploration with ... unique ... obstacles.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by inte, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    Just got back from a quick Socal-Nevada run.

    300 miles of rain on the 1st day.
    Meetings & some urban exploration on the 2nd.
    Some fantastic post-rain desert trails on the 3rd.
    ...and some questionable trails thrown in...

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    Between the notebook in the storage box, camera in the pocket, and GPS mounted on the handlebars, I think I had all the offenses pretty much covered.
    #1
  2. DRZ400SK4

    DRZ400SK4 Long timer

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    Hardcore, baby!

    :D
    #2
  3. SteveBroskey

    SteveBroskey Teach me this knowledge

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    love it all ready.
    btw, what's the GPS of that sign? :rofl
    (technically, the GPS of the sign is legal - so, if you get three signs.....:type)
    #3
  4. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    I'll be pulling the GPS info down later ... but I'm not sure what will be recovered. Could be coincidence, but my GPS went completely haywire in this area. Started working again for the most part by the time I got to Barstow, but it was pretty sketchy back there as the trails showed no signs of use in YEARS, and the maps simply stopped appearing. I ended up flying blind for a while until I hit a major dirt service road that took me back to pavement.

    Mapsource showed roads through there - when I actually got back in the area, it looked like a big eraser had been taken to the screen - all the roads that went into that area just disappeared - even powerline roads.
    #4
  5. Road Rash

    Road Rash Infamous

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    :lurk
    #5
  6. Big Iron

    Big Iron Adventurer

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    I see the same thing here in Utah when we get close to Dougway Proving Grounds or the Wendover Bombing range. It looks like you were getting into the test range that doesen't exist - otherwise know as Groom Lake. Personally, I'd take the warnings seriously. Even if you don't run into an armed patrol, the stuff they are testing in these areas is not something that you want to get close to without milspec protection.

    Big Iron
    #6
  7. slogger

    slogger Been here awhile

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    That look's like a sign on that new fence that's been built out in the Fort Irwin area. Kind of West of Bartow/Calico.

    I'm looking forward to the story!
    #7
  8. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    That (hopefully) explains whatever was going on with my GPS - never seen it do anything like that before.

    For lack of knowing where I was, I ended up passing that sign & continuing on for a short distance ... the next "obstacle" I encountered tipped the scales however & I decided to turn around. Pics coming.
    #8
  9. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    Bingo!!!

    I was barely over one mile from the next waypoint on the intended route to hook up with "Irwin Road" or something like that when I saw this sign. I kept going, but the next deal I encountered made me turn around. Hard decision as I was soooo close & there was an easy go around.
    #9
  10. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    All a day's ride from Socal!

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    #10
  11. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    Clouds may have silver linings, but deserts have ... something else.

    Having a (very) short software meeting in Henderson, NV afforded me to scout a trail I've been meaning to check for sometime. Ironic traveling well over 600 miles for a 3-hour meeting, but if it serves a purpose why not? However ... if (at least) the first half of that ride is in blinding rain, that may provide a reason to ... not. The weather report said it was going to be raining on Monday, but living in southern California causes one to be generally skeptical about such predictions. "Dangerous driving conditions" read: overcast - that sort of thing. Sure enough, loading the bike up in the dark of the pre-dawn seemed to validate that theory - not a star out (cloudy) and very windy, but no rain. To be safe, I wrapped everything up in plastic bags before packing (laptop, clothes, notebooks...), but wasn't expecting much weather.

    Bike warming up & ready to go in the predawn hours:


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    The first 20 minutes of the ride were pretty nice ... until I reached the freeway. Then the rain started. "Every cloud has a silver lining" ... well maybe. But silver or not, the lining on these clouds was made of water. The Red Bull enduro-type jacket is NOT a rain jacket. I wasn't 30 minutes from home when the rain was coming down is sheets. Thick sheets. More like blocks. Visibility got to near zero, traffic was relatively light at that hour but slowed to a crawl. When I could feel the drops penetrating through my jacket, sweatshirt, riding jersey, t-shirt, and tanktop, I figured it was time to pull over & do something. Not a moment too soon, traffic was moving extremely slow at that point & another 50 yards up I could see why ... there was a small (but dedicated based on the amount of debris) group playing bumpercars on the 91 just up ahead.

    After pulling off, I pulled out the rain gear from the backpack. Most effective raingear I've ever purchased - 55-gallon trash bags. Completely water/windproof, highly customizable fit, extremely easy to pack, and very inexpensive. I carved one up into a jersey & placed it under all the wet gear & over the dryest...ish layer I had on. Back on the road. Scratch that, back into the river. The whole time I had been pulled off the rain just came down harder & harder ... cloudburst. Pulling onto the freeway (diving into the freeway?) forced you to make quick assessments of weather or not the water in the slow lane would go over the hubs or not...

    Raingear prep station:


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    Back on the road the visibility was really gnarly for a while, then improved noticeably. Still raining, but just rain. By the time Barstow came around however, I was a rolling sponge. Good time to find a truck stop, grab some breakfast & return a few calls while clothes & gloves spent some time in a dryer. Heck, I was tempted to crawl in the thing.

    The JBM Barstow Field office:

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    The title mentioned cloud/desert linings ... despite the rain, after getting everything dried out, once back on the road it was really nice for a while. Still raining, but not very cold - downright nice with dry clothes again - and the desert really lets you know you're in the desert when it gets like this - 300 miles of intensely dramatic cloud cover over a vast open landscape perfumed with desert sage - think of riding to Mordor minus the Nazgul & with potpourri instead of burning sulfur...

    The intended route took a detour here ... the original plan was to hit the dirt in the high desert & follow trails over to the destination in Nevada. The rain being what it was, I opted to avoid tackling the flash-floods on my own. Water could be seen flowing just off the freeway in spots! Just in case I pulled off the freeway to check the intended route & there was two clear paths set before me ... to the left was a black, streaked, foreboding sky with a strip of mud leading to a solo flight through an unknown path over the rain-soaked mountains ... and to the right, a rainy freeway.

    Call it what you will ... I went right.

    But hey ... I learned something new because of it. Crows know how to write in Nevada. They even tag gas station-rest stops.

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    The last 50-70 miles was great - black sky, but little rain. It eased up to the point that the outer jacket layer dried out a bit, & offered some wind protection for the inner layers once dry ... funny that you can actually feel things warming up in spite of the fact you're just riding longer. Finding the place was a snap - and they even had covered motorcycle parking! Pulled the bike in, and just after I snapped this pic, the sky opened up again...

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    The weather out here isn't showing any signs of letting up just yet, but the report shows sunny for tomorrow & partly cloudy for Wednesday. Given the schedule of the meetings, I'll probably give the trail a shot, in reverse, on Wednesday & hopefully have some brighter photos...
    #11
  12. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    The weather has improved dramatically. Today will be spent in meetings & working on the computer for the most part - maybe some local urban exploration as time allows. Planning on an early start tomorrow to scout the originally intended route. I'll be interesting to see what the weather did to the terrain.

    Awoke to a view of the hills in the distance...

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    Beyond the bustle of the city, the trails await...

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    950 serving as commuter today ... trailblazer tomorrow...


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    #12
  13. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    Rain was gone today - replaced by a hyper-sunny day. Sunny, but cold. Desert cold. The main reason for coming here on this particular date was that software presentation. 300 miles one way for a 3-hour meeting.

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    I'd been experiencing a bit of an oil leak on the bike. Nothing serious - the tank cap/dipstick thing was weeping. The rubber o-ring was still there, but perhaps worn from 17000+ miles of use. Following the conference I took some time to get a few errands done, one of which was finding a new rubber o-ring.

    The guy at "Checkers" auto parts was awesome - showed up & explained what I was looking for. He brought out a large assortment of packaged o-rings - I carried in the dipstick on the bike for comparison & found one that fit perfectly. He gave it to me - no charge. Nice!

    After replacing the thing in the parking lot, I took the bike for a quick spin to make sure the oil leak was indeed fixed & there wasn't anything else I might want to address before tomorrow's ride.

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    No more oil leak. Looks like everything is set for the great unknown tomorrow.
    #13
  14. RiverRat

    RiverRat Long timer

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    Nothing beats solo trail exploration... more pics!
    :1drink
    #14
  15. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Beautiful!!! That's some great nature shots you got there.. keep it comin' and thanks for posting. :thumb
    #15
  16. Hoder

    Hoder Card carrying greeny

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    :thumb Awsome pics. More please :lurk
    #16
  17. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    The sunny & clear conditions outside the hotel were like a red cape to a bull ... just begging one to charge at the mountains beyond the city. Looking out from a high-rise makes the distant trails seem just that much closer. In short order, the 950 was loaded up & on the road. For this trip the only dirt planned was all west of the 15. However riding from Vegas toward Jean I stayed off the 15 & took the frontage road instead - there's a LOT of opportunity for trail riding out there!!! Next time, for sure.

    At Jean the road cuts under the freeway & heads west toward Sandy Vally - again all paved, but nice pavement in any case. Dirt options do exist, but I had one day to complete this ride & the unknown up ahead let me to stick to the pavement for this portion of the ride ... found out later it was a good call...

    Looking down toward Sandy Valley:


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    Just pick your trail & pull off the road:


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    ...or pull off into the MX park:


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    #17
  18. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    ... but not quite where I expected.

    The first turn off the pavement was fairly clear - relatively major intersection it seemed & a well-graded dirt road. The next turn however was a different story. The dirt road made a sharp right & the GPS indicated you should continue straight. Two deep wheel ruts when off in that direction, so I figured it must be the way. There were traces of a long-since abandoned road, but a road nonetheless. Eventually I saw a ranch in the distance & figured this much have been the old access road to the place.

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    After passing the ranch the road turned into a rocky/sandy path that showed signs of much use. The scenery just got better & better...


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    The scars of old mining activity are all over this landscape:


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    #18
  19. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    This trail dead-ended into a paved backroad.

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    The road continued on & climbed up over some mountains with a ton of mining activity going on.


    Lunch stop on a Tuesday afternoon:
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    Just follow the powerlines to civilization...

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    #19
  20. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

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    Left the "China Ranch" & continued on to Shoshone to fuel up. The pavement, while nice wasn't as appealing as the offroad scene out here...

    Even the paved roads are nice...

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    But getting offroad is far better & there's plenty of opportunity to do that out here!


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    Now here is where things stated to get a little weird. After fueling up, the plan was to leave Shoshone & check out a route from there to Barstow. It would be possible to connect dirt nearly the entire distance by heading back out past Tecopa & hooking up with one of the washes that heads over to Dumont, but fuel was a concern as I didn't know how the route to Barstow would work out ... decided to simply shortcourse, by burning the first 15-20 miles of pavement over to Dumont before hooking up with the route.

    Turns out this was the wise course of action...

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    The majestic Dumont Dunes in the distance...

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    Pulling off the highway is easy. Wide turn, there's even a stop sign & marker there. Can't miss it - just down the road from "Little Dumont". Pretty cool knowing this route saved a guy's family ... this crew was truly into hardcore trail exploration:

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    A short distance down this road is where things got weird...
    #20