Exploring California - Journey of a Noob - RR Megathread

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by KennyBooBear, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Long! Good to hear from you! I'll have to hit you up as some plans materialize for rides across Searles and Death Valley this Fall.

    Also wanting to ride the Central Coast and get some saddle time in the Sierras so will keep you posted there too.

    Rubber side down, friend!
    Scubalong likes this.
  2. Scubalong

    Scubalong Long timer

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    Hell yeah.! Keep me posted of your plan. I will head out to DV in the fall for sure. Can do Central Coast as well.
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  3. Swamper

    Swamper Been Nowhere Done Nothing

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    Just road up to Washington across to Alleghany then over to Goodyears Bar. Kept thinking about your old ride reports along the way. Tracks aren't being maintained at all this year so it gets pretty rough except where the logging trucks are chasing me. Probably shouldn't be up there alone anymore.
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  4. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    I'm genuinely envious.

    I'm thankful I moved down to SoCal due to the work opportunity and implications it will ultimately have on our ability to retire etc. The move has also directly led to me becoming a much improved rider. That aside, those riding skills I've gained are skills I'm dying to use back up that way. All of the riding I think of/dream of is back up north. I miss the forests, rocks, water crossings, and generally stunning scenery. I really need to take a week or two to go up there and work so I can rummage through my old stomping grounds on the Himalayan.

    The section of Foote's Crossing Rd headed down toward the aptly named bridge is easily one of my favorites in terms of scenery and such. The fact that it's going unmaintained this year is almost for the better with regard to wanting to disappear into the wilderness for a few days at a time haha
  5. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    So I was invited by some rad folk at ADV Pulse to join a ride out in Mojave National Preserve. We met Thursday afternoon in Barstow and after unloading the bikes, set off Northwest on I-15. We turned off the highway after 35 or so miles, knocked out an additional 20 miles of dirt and after a fun but challenging push up a deep, sandy hill we all setup camp in the dark, between Beacon Station and Zzyxx. Rob provided the steak and Jon, Stephen, Rob and myself sat around the fire sharing conversation as the night waned.

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    After a fantastic night's rest, I was up with the sun to find a staggering scene awaiting. The fresh sunlight revealed an expanse of mountains and volcanic remnant across the Mojave Desert.

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    As we all packed up camp, I stumbled upon a Mojave Horned Lizard - something I've always wanted to see, let alone catch. As a bonus, the lizard was little more than a hatchling.

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    Just after 9am we began riding toward Zzyxx and across a dry lake bed on our way toward a the Sawtooth Mountains.

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    On the way we went through more deep, loose sand than I had ever cared to ride through and quickly found I was in over my head. The first 2 miles or so we're okay but then my energy and talent expired quickly. The guys were cool though and used my slow pace as an opportunity to get more shots in. The sand quickly sapped every ounce of energy in my body, so much that by the end of it I damn near passed out. Once we got to the highway, I was genuinely ready to throw in the towel but after recovering at the lunch stop and some encouragement from the group, I (very thankfully) continued on.

    After lunch we found ourselves in a stunning forest of Joshua Trees for a few more shoots. This area was about the time I finally recovered my strength, and I sat near my bike, taking in the beauty and simply enjoying the moment.

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    After, we pounded out some more sandy dirt tracks into the volcanic core of the preserve on the way to a little known and visited lava tube.

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    On the way, we made a quick pit stop at the abandoned Aiken Cinder Mine. Apparently they couldn't afford their dues for the land claim and after being forced to shut down, left all of their equipment in 1990. Everything has sat fairly well preserved since.

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    We killed a bit of time at the mine playing around on the bikes as Stephen worked his magic with the camera before riding the remaining couple of miles over to the tube. With the sun quickly fading, we clambered down into the cavity and explored for a bit.

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    Once we made our way back up to the surface we found the sun setting in an incredible fashion.

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    We needed to get rolling to camp soon so as to not have to setup camp in complete darkness, but as what came to be a norm - we took a few photographic laps for the article first....

    Part 2 on it's way!
  6. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    After the last shoot of the day, we raced to our planned camp. Our first choice already had folks setup there, and thankfully so - as our second choice put us between an ancient lava flow and the cinder cones responsible. We setup quickly in the dark and soon after had a nice fire brewing.

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    The flames we're warm, conversation and laughter was in surplus and I finally retired to my tent a touch after 10.

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    Saturday morning due to an unfortunate pet incident at home I needed to depart the trip a day early, but not before one more shoot on the volcano above our camp. Despite the somber tone (the dog ended up being fine by the way after a CT scan revealed she simply needed to vomit up part of a toy she swallowed), the world again greeted us with stunning scenery to start the day.

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    After packing, Rob asked if I'd be willing to help out with one more shoot. Of course I said yes without hesitation - and we quickly found ourselves riding the South slope of the volcano we slept beneath the previous night. The trail was largely made up of volcanic rock ranging in size from softballs to basketballs which just so happens to be the kind of riding I live for.

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    In the process we raced back and forth over all manner of volcanic rock and silt (I even managed to bin it once with the drone chasing us, ironically in the easiest spot of the track - the spot captured above.) On that same run I also caught a basketball sized volcanic rock under the right peg of the Himalayan hyper-flexing my right ankle and straining something. Thankfully it's healing quickly and isn't impeding my mobility, just my range of motion.

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    After Jon helped me right the bike (when I attempted solo, the pain in my right foot flared up quickly) we headed back down to repeat the shot and I'm happy to say that my second effort went without issue haha

    After flipping around once more, we took a few medium speed runs across the desert toward yet more cinder cones but it was all in vain when Stephen told us that he couldn't keep up with the drone. In a way, I took it as a bit of a compliment. In a spat of irony, Rob threw his chain on the final run and after helping him get it back on the sprocket, I headed back down the cinder cone and toward Baker.

    17 miles later though, the temperature dipped and the winds picked up. The remaining 62 miles of my ride back to Barstow were unpleasant to say the least. I stopped 12 miles into the interstate stretch beneath an overpass to put on a layer beneath my jacket.

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    Rain, terrific winds, and cold temperatures made me anxious to reach the truck and trailer but I was forced to stop another 20 miles later as my hands were going a bit numb. I spent a fair few minutes warming my hands on the cooling fins of the engine before knocking out the remaining 32 miles.

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    Once I reached my vehicle in Barstow, I rapidly trailered the bike and packed things away so as to get out of the cold wind. On the way out, I sat at a stop light for my homeward journey and to my surprise Jon, Stephen and Rob we're just arriving back. As it turned out, they all decided to call the trip short as well due to a clutch issue in Jon's bike causing it to slip under minimal throttle.

    A 2 hour drive through the rain and I reached home. Fabiola greeted me with a kiss and a delicious late lunch that I scarfed down before going back out in the cold rain to unload the bike and trailer. Finally, I happily retired to the warmth of sofa. It was a damn fine weekend!

    Thanks for reading!
    klaviator, Johnnyadv43, Bors and 14 others like this.
  7. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    Nicely done! and as always, a great write up and pics. Keep it coming Kenny!
  8. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Much obliged Zubb! Hoping to have quite a few more worthy rides now that the weather is cooler!
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  9. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    I know it's been slow in here lately - now that some things are in motion I can come out and say it though.

    Wife and I are in the process of moving back to NorCal which likely means there'll be many more updates (the benefit of living in the mountains is that getting to the dirt is far more convenient). We just put an offer in on a house about 15 minutes from where we last lived so if all goes well, we could be back that way as early as the beginning of January.

    In the meantime I'll do my best to get a few rides in down here before the big move.

    Cheers.
    klaviator, outdoorsman and Wierdrider like this.
  10. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Long timer

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    Good luck on the offer. Hopefully we can meet up and ride before you leave?
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  11. Swamper

    Swamper Been Nowhere Done Nothing

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    :clap
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  12. picknpluck

    picknpluck Been here awhile Supporter

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    Selfishly, I'm glad you're headed back up north. I stumbled on this thread the other day and your NorCal adventures have turned me on to a bunch of places I want to ride. So I'll be looking forward to seeing what other gems you uncover. I'm in the bay area...hell, maybe we can hook up for a ride sometime this spring!
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  13. outdoorsman

    outdoorsman Lets Ride! Supporter

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    Welcome back to NorCal, Kenny! Best riding in California.
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  14. Swamper

    Swamper Been Nowhere Done Nothing

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    Did you look into Home Owners/Fire insurance. If you can get it up here it's increased by 300%, state issued.
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  15. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Let's! I'm likely free to ride this weekend as well as next. I'm gonna try and make at least one more weekday ride with the FMAR group if not a couple more. We're here at least through mid January so gonna take advantage of the opportunities to get out with friends before the departure.

    I need to finish this damn KLR up too - d'oh!

    Definitely hit me up! We'd be happy to host at our home and we could set out from there and motocamp if you're down for such a thing. The routes are damn near endless in the Sierras - you just pick a direction and go.

    We have, yes - and surprisingly it's not terrible compared to some other places in the Sierras and will still be less damning that simply buying at a premium down in Rocklin where my office is. The house we're buying is in Colfax and more importantly, on the edge of city center - which is far less susceptible to fire than say, the middle of the forest outside of Grass Valley. According to the CPUC fire map, the house isn't even in a tiered zone for fire risk though we'll have better numbers on the actual cost in the next few weeks. We're not expecting it to be high though.
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  16. picknpluck

    picknpluck Been here awhile Supporter

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    I'm definitely down for camping. Colfax is only a couple of hours away. On the flip side, I've got a spare room in the Bay Area.
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  17. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Good deal! I'm thinking come late April/Mid-May I'd like to take a 3 day weekend into the Sierras.

    More details will come as that gets closer, but the main bullet points - ride to the top of the Sierra Buttes, Volcano Lake, Campbell Hot Springs, Eastern Side of Tahoe, down to Bodie over Potato Peak, loop back up to Highway 4 over Ebbetts Pass, Deer Creek to Upper/Lower Blue Lakes and then Strawberry Creek back to Highway 50 and finally over to Nevada County/Grass Valley to complete the loop. It'd be a few hundred miles (400ish?) probably about 80% dirt/intermediate dual sport riding. There's be water crossings, rocks, ledges, silt and a whole bunch of other stuff that makes riding a blast.

    Course that's all contingent on this house deal not falling flat for some unforeseen reason haha
    outdoorsman likes this.
  18. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    The ADV Pulse piece I got to partake in just hit!

    It's a fine read and doubly enjoyable for me since I get to relive it through the writer's eyes rather than my own. Also, I'm biased haha

    himalayans-in-mojave-preserve-8.jpg

    https://www.advpulse.com/adv-news/a-himalayan-adventure-in-the-mojave-desert/

    In other news, I may be partaking in an iron butt ride before the move - more to come on that.

    Also did a fun 150 mile loop with about 100 miles of intermediate dirt last weekend I'll post about later this week.

    Cheers y'all!
    klaviator, NSFW, outdoorsman and 3 others like this.
  19. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    So I’m going to cram a bunch of short updates here pre-move.

    Over the past month and a half I’ve been getting out pretty regularly which has been more than satisfactory. I also finally snuffed out a couple of things that were bugging me with the Himalayan, making the bike far more pleasurable to ride.

    Firstly, we’ll talk about the riding. After the long weekend of moto-camping in Mojave Preserve, the bike sat largely dormant until nearly mid-December. It’s funny because once I finally did get the bike out on some dirt, I felt hugely out of place. It’ amazing how 4-5 weeks away from the dirt feels like an eternity.

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    I chose to simply ride Nate Harrison over to my friend’s home atop Palomar Mountain. This, as has been previously discussed, is a very easy ride and is closer to a poorly paved road than a gravel track. Even so, by the time I reached the top the arm pump was creeping fast and while I wasn’t gassed – I felt out of shape.

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    My friend Burt and I got together and then rode pavement around Palomar. It was good to finally get back out on the bike! The view from his place isn't bad either haha

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    The following weekend I set out on a solo trek with the goal of riding to the top of Toro Peak. This is a ride I had wanted to do since moving here due to my love for altitude, but I just never really got around to it. The ride itself is scenic and what one would consider a beginner ride. You can ride at whatever pace you choose and there’s nothing that would challenge any rider though there are a few options one can take to make the ride a bit more entertaining.

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    I first summited Santa Rosa Mountain and headed up to the camp area, making my best effort to find the more challenging avenues to the top. When I reached Desert Steve’s fireplace, there were three gents on 790 Adventure Rs taking a break. We chatted for a bit and found that we had some common associates (not too far out of the norm as the DualSport community in SoCal is huge and tightly knit) before they set off to continue their ride. I hung out a bit more to snap some photos before heading further up myself.

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    On the way to Toro Peak I passed them coming down – there was still some remnant snow on the sides of the trail from the storm a number of weeks prior. You end up reaching some gates before being able to summit the top and at the risk of being a hypocrite (I always advise against skirting gates), I opted to go around. My thoughts were simply that I won’t be living here much longer and there’s not likely to be many more chances for me to enjoy the view from the top.

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    The last bit is steep and made up of some very loose, somewhat deep asphalt gravel. To make it, you’re pretty much required to stay on the throttle and keep the rear end spinning while also keeping it tidy enough. It’s almost guaranteed that the rear of your bike will waggle around a bit but as it’s a pretty short trip to the top, the fun is soon over.

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    I made it a point not to disturb anything and only take a few photos before quickly going back down. When I went to go back around the second gate, I took a bad angle and low-sided on the left. Karma for defeating the reservation’s security measures I reckon!

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    I made my way down without any further drama and headed home via. pavement to watch some football with my Dad (he’s 2400 miles away but we watch games together despite the distance.)

    After this ride I was feeling better and back in riding shape. I felt ready to host something a bit more organized, and so I did....
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  20. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    After the previous couple docile rides, I had a serious hankering for a more technical ride over greater distance. Knowing that we’d soon be moving North, I wanted to check a few things off the list. One of those being that I wanted to string multiple rides together. The plan started as a solo thing but through the local group page, it quickly turned into a group ride. We would leave out of Temecula and immediately hit dirt through Glen Oaks and along Sage Ridge. We would then ride Happy Valley toward Anza and – instead of the normal turn toward Chihuahua Valley, we would ride out toward Anza with the intent of tacking the fun route up to Thomas Mountain. After that the plan was to get lunch and if time permitted, ride Pidgeon Springs/Sawmill Trail as a final shred before cruising pavement home. We ended up not having time for the final section and would exchange this for Chihuahua Valley back to Temecula, but I’ll get to that.

    Sunday AM we met up at the local Mobil station on 79s. Andrew on his 790 r, a regular with the FMAR group, would lead us up Happy Valley. From there I’d take over and lead the rest of the ride. We also had my friend Jay along for the ride on his new-to-him Beta 500RR, Jimi on a 2-stroke Beta, Lawrence with his DRZ400, Joel on his beauty of a CRF450L and Mikhail on his Christmas gift of a Husky 701.

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    The weather was perfect, and we made good time riding Sage Ridge to Happy Valley. The whole ride out went drama free and we all kept a good pace. At one-point Jay went ahead to get some shots of the group.

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    As Jimi was strapped for time, he and Jay headed back after we reached Anza. The rest of us fueled up and continued up to Thomas Mountain. Andrew would later comment that it was tough to keep up – comments like this always make me chuckle. Imagine a world where folks have their work cut out keeping up with a Himalayan of all things haha

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    At the top we spent a good 20 minutes talking about the ride and sharing stories while enjoying the seemingly endless views. A system was moving in making the horizon beautifully dramatic. Since we didn’t want to get caught in any rain or general crappy weather, we shot down the mountain out toward Highway 74. I always forget how bone bone-jarring this part of the track is. It’s not at all difficult, but the whole 7-8 miles is non-stop washed out ridges that can and will rattle every single tooth from your skull and ensure anything even slightly loose on your machine will find a way to fall off. I was grateful to get back to the highway.

    We sped toward Palm Desert as the intent was to grab lunch at the Sugarloaf Café. As it turns out though, they were closed. As we were all starved, we opted to scrap plans for Sawmill and run back to Paradise Café. Andrew graciously bought lunch and I must admit that damn burger hit the spot!

    We cruised back to Anza and decided to ride Chihuahua Valley around toward Temecula. At this point Joel took the lead and I tailed Lawrence. We spent the next 10 miles flowing well until the end of the track. Joel opted to continue West on the tracks toward Warner Springs while we turned North to head back to Temecula via. Pavement. Over the span of the day we covered about 150 miles, 100 of those on some good moderately technical dirt.



    The next couple of weeks I rode a bit sporadically but I did get in on a snow run up Palomar Mountain. If I recall correctly, 12 of us started but only 7 completed the ride due to various folks turning back at one point or another. Admittedly I almost did too as my nearly bald DSport wasn't doing me any favors on the ice. Only managed to dump the bike once (though I also did get stuck on an icy slope at one point for a good 10 minutes while I waited for some assistance to get the bike down to a flat spot without busting my ass) and made it all the way without too much hassle or drama.

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    The cocoa waiting for us at the top made the whole journey very much worth it, and we also said our goodbyes to a friend of the FMAR group who was moving up to Idaho. Happy trails, Dave!

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    Speaking of bald rear tires - I finally swapped a tire on myself and I have to say, wrestling a DSport on a 17" rim is way more of a workout than riding the Himalayan!

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    But escaping this nearly bald tire was worth it.....

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    Between then and now I've done some tuning on the bike and lots of shakedown rides - unfortunately for the last 5 or so months I've been experiencing a gradually worsening sputtering when on rough tracks.

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    After troubleshooting it relentlessly, another Himalayan owner suggested I look at my EVAP delete which revealed I was pulling vacuum on my TB. I capped off the TB and immediately the issue disappeared. Later on I went back and ran a new line from the tank vent down along the purge line so the tank isn't pumping out vapor onto the top of the engine.

    I did however dial in my valves perfectly while troubleshooting this niggle and also took the time to pop in a new spark plug and catch up on lots of engine maintenance. The Himalayan is now running better than it probably ever as at 11,500 miles. Hard to beat an outcome like that!

    On the snow run I evidently managed to split my speedo cable, so I also spent some time soldering the wires and heat-shrinking the surgery closed.

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    This was hugely relieving as I've already planned and scheduled to host a DualSport ride in NorCal for the 13th. I was starting to accept I'd have to bring the bike into the dealer to let them bother with it under warranty meaning I'd have to cancel the ride or find someone else to host.

    Finally able to celebrate, I took the bike a few nights ago up above the town. She runs like a top now!

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    Just in time too - as this is my last week here and I wanted to get a couple more rides in before trailering the bikes up to the new house this coming weekend....
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