Exploring California - Journey of a Noob

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

  1. Zubb

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

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    Jim if you’re going to ride in shorts, take a lesson from our bicycle brethren and shave your legs.
  2. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    I can only hope learning is a part of it :doh

    My knee is healing up well and luckily the damage is all superficial but because of where it is it constantly feels like I'm re-opening the wound as I move my leg. I sure wish scabs had a bit more give to them haha

    Skipped today's FMAR ride but should be back riding this coming weekend.

    Bike is all back together and upgraded even. Just needs that rider mod now :D
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  3. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Been here awhile

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    I still have a big scab on my knee also, it’s a good reminder.
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  4. eaglescan

    eaglescan Borrego rocks Supporter

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    Vitamin E oil
    I like to wear shin pads with a knee cap .
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  5. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Noted!

    And yea I have the pads and armor, I just neglected to wear it and then actively said "nahhh!" when I very well could have gone home and gotten them.

    Famous last words and such.
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  6. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Been here awhile

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  7. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    I've heard it can get crowded with SXSs and 4x4s which is another reason I wasn't too bummed about not hitting it. We already had to deal with one dumbass in a stock Jeep rounding a blind corner like he was competing in Dakar.

    Lucky for me, I'm smart enough to blast my horn repeatedly when leading up to blind curves and he heard it just in time to get on the brakes. I had to come damn near to a complete stop.

    I heard about the guy from Arizona who wrecked and passed away Saturday when we were out, but not this on Sunday. Crazy weekend it seems.
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  8. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    I made a few more changes today.

    Firstly, I addressed my tweaked shortened sidestand buy buying a 2 1/4" grade 8 5/8x11 bolt and cut the head off leaving me with about a 2" grade 8 threaded rod.

    This time around I loctited my jam nuts in place as I often dealt with them loosening up over time. She's nice and straight now and the bike sits on the stand perfectly.

    As long as it took to cut through this damn bolt, I'd be shocked if this one gets bent.

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    Next thing I did was compare the air inlet to some Uni filters and ended up finding one that fits. So far the only air filters people have confirmed as working on the Himalayan have been a specific K&N, an offering from BMC and the OE filter.

    All cost $40+ and all are special order/hard to find. Today I found that Uni UP-4200ST fits perfectly onto the inlet flange and the clamp ring doesn't at all interfere with the airbox closing.

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    Oil it and put everything back together and she's right as rain!

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    I'll get around to tossing my handguards back on tomorrow.

    The Himalayan is back in bidness though and hopefully my knee will be 100% by the weekend because there are trails to be explored.

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  9. GonzoMD

    GonzoMD Adventurer

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    I can attest to bee canyon being a shit show on the weekends. It seems to attract the dumbest of locals that want to drink, shoot and go nascar in whatever they’re driving. The farther up you go the less people and weekdays are empty. There’s a creek crossing halfway up with a bunch of shade. Good place for a break and a beverage.
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  10. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    A fellow rider reached out to me through Social Media earlier this week, wanting to get out and ride. Originally I hadn't planned to do much/any riding this weekend as since moving here, my Wife and I haven't been out a whole lot. Now that things are re-opening we could get out and do some normal humany things together, we thought.

    After talking about it a bit though, Jay suggested we ride on Sunday and after talking to Fabiola about it briefly she had no issue whatsoever (she never does, I think she secretly uses my adventure rides as a way of getting me out of her hair for a day or two) and even encouraged the idea. Jay has a 2017 Ducati Desert Sled and is relatively new to riding and newer still to riding dirt. He had been on a couple FMAR rides but not to entire completion as he had various mechanical issues on each. After going over some routes, we agreed on meeting in Pala and then heading up Palomar Mountain via. Nate Harrison Grade. From there, we would see if gates were open and continue over High Point and down into Aguanga. We would grab lunch at Paradise Cafe and continue to Pidgeon Springs and ride up to 7000ish ft to Santa Rosa Mountain and back down the latter before heading home - but as is usually the case, things don't always go according to plan.

    I set off to meet Jay at about 8:45am and we met right on time at 9. I fueled up the bike and grabbed a few snacks, though something was irking me about the Himalayan.

    It seemed each time I turned the bars sharply, the ignition would switch off and on. I was sure there was a loose wire somewhere but it had been showing signs of this pretty much since I bought the bike (it's unfortunately a relatively common issue with the Himalayan.)

    We set off and a short ride later we were turned off onto Nate Harrison Grade. Having never ridden it before, I admittedly expected it to be more of a trail. On one hand it is extremely rewarding with the views it offers down into Pauma Valley while on the other, it is little more than a graded gravel road with occasional slight obstacles. It offers enough to get the blood pumping, but it can honestly be done bottom to top in any passenger car or motorcycle. Still, as you do we made it fun and I set a pace quite a bit more rapidly than Jay's just given my experience. Around each turn I did my damnedest to keep the throttle wide open so I could feel the rear of the bike kick sideways, roosting gravel behind me. Close to a dozen or so miles in, the continual failure of the bike's ignition system when I'd turn left had gotten the best of my attitude, so I pulled off both for Jay to catch up and also to assess and mend the ignition situation. The pines around would provide much needed cover as I worked.

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    Upon closer inspection, I found that the leads going to the ignition switch had split and upon turning left the wires would shift enough that for a brief moment the circuit was broken leading to a brief flicker of my dash, effectively shutting the bike down. To me, this is arguably something RE should recall given the potential danger the electrics of the bike suddenly shutting off could pose, but I digress.

    I quickly unmounted the ignition switch and decided the quickest course of action to finishing the day without issue was to snip the wires and until I could get home and re-solder them, simply hot-wire the bike; And that's exactly what I did.

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    We continued on to find that at the entrance of Palomar Mountain State Park, some no entry barriers were in place. While I waited for Jay to catch up though and even contemplated turning back, I saw a pedestrian vehicle go rolling through the park sans issue. It quickly dawned on me that the park had indeed re-opened but, for one reason or another the staff had simply forgotten or neglected to remove these particular barriers. We simply rode around them and found the exit to head toward the Palomar Observatory and hopefully back onto the dirt. After a short jaunt to the peak, we quickly found that the gates and all available cut throughs were apparently closed. I asked at the fire station and even used the ol' "My ignition is shot and I'm not sure I'll make it home to Aguanga unless we can cut through" which seemed to work until upon further discussion we found that there were 3 gates in total, and they only had keys to one.

    After a quick conference, Jay and I decided to head down to Josie's Hideout for a burger, and continue around to Warner Springs with the intent of riding everything in reverse, back to High Point and then down to Aguanga. This would make Pidgeon Springs and Santa Rosa Mountain unlikely destinations for the day - but in the end it would turn out this was for the best.

    After a surprisingly delicious burger and sharing stories of how we each got into motorcycling, we packed up and headed out. It's possible I might have dropped the Himalayan while taking it off the center stand. D'oh!

    It wasn't long before we reached our turn-off just past Warner Springs, and our trek up to High Point began. I let Jay lead at this point as the trail is "a bit" more technical than what we had ridden earlier, and I thought it safer for us both if we stayed together. This way I could go at his pace and simply exaggerate and practice technique. It was a win win.

    Riding it in this direction was interesting for a few reasons, primarily because the portion between High Point and Aguanga is actually technical and moderately difficult at times - compounded by us riding it downhill whereas going up from Warner Springs is pretty much a cake walk. Not as easy as Nate Harrison, but not a whole lot more difficult either. On the noob scale of difficulty out of 10, I'd give it a 2. Jay pulled off about 8 miles in for a breather and I followed suit.

    What happened next is best shown on video.



    After that wild incident, we continued on to High Point. Once we spurred off toward the peak, Jay asked that I ride ahead so he could watch my technique and as best as I could, I exaggerated what I've learned and tried to keep the speeds low. Admittedly I got a bit carried away and before I realized it, Jay had fallen out of sight from my mirrors. At the final turn toward High Point I paused so he could take over. This final stretch is slightly technical and on the aforementioned scale would come in at a 4. Not particularly difficult but you get to actually use some skills you've learned. From the top, the usual views ensued.

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    Jay and I spent a few minutes enjoying the views and adding necessary energy with calorie dense cashews and protein bars - before making our final descent. On the way down I led as Jay seemed to think he was holding me up. Despite my insistence that I really didn't care at which speed we rode, I was merely out for the thrill of being in the open air, I took point and headed down the mountain. On the way down I'd stop every few minutes to ensure I could catch a glimpse of him in my mirror or hear the rumble of his mighty Ducati in the distance - and we picked our way down Palomar Mountain.

    Having recently ridden this in the other direction, I didn't at all realize how technical this side of the mountain is. Going up is far easier than down, but there were indeed a few spots that challenged me on the descent. At these spots in particular I'd stop to ensure my new friend made it through safely. I'm proud to say that neither of us had any unplanned dismounts throughout the day's events. Once things smoothed out a bit, I found I was a decent bit ahead of Jay and took the time to hop off the bike and prep the camera for some action shots and to photograph the surrounding beauty.

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    Jay stopped briefly and asked that I take my time packing up. He would trudge ahead and find a suitable spot to return the favor which resulted in these next few shots.

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    It should probably be noted that Jay is a professional photographer. His work can be seen on his Instagram page at instagram.com/jayreilly.photo

    A couple miles later and I was at the base of the mountain in the wash one crosses before embarking up the trail. I hopped off and captured one more image that to me, defines adventure riding.

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    It doesn't matter how young or old you are, nor the equipment you have or the amount of experience you possess. Adventure and dual-sport riding make those of us lucky enough to partake in the grandeur that is this passion feel like kids on Christmas morning. The ear to ear grin inside his helmet says all that needs to be said.

    Cheers until next time, y'all.
  11. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Been here awhile

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    Awesome KBB, that’s one of those things you wouldn’t believe unless it was filmed. There’s an interesting concrete something or other ( maybe for water ) behind that bush where the dirt devil disappeared for the second time.
    Good times.
    Santa Rosa is pretty cool, try and find this chimney when you go up there. Watch out for nails. B8A529E8-C935-40F2-9B25-736F0097428E.jpeg EB133EC8-4657-41C6-BC79-41F9D75731BC.jpeg B8AED424-26C1-4397-B498-F896DA0FF70D.jpeg
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  12. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Been here awhile

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  13. eaglescan

    eaglescan Borrego rocks Supporter

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    I did the same route DOWN Highpoint, didn't find it hard, but just repeating switchbacks and took it slow. Going up is way more fun!
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  14. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Love the shots! Definitely planning to do some motocamping once I get my soft bags.

    Didn't notice the concrete pad there until after you mentioned it and I looked at it from Google Maps. Definitely piques my interest and I also find it remarkable you recognize the spot from the video!

    Agreed. Down to Aguanga isn't particularly difficult but the technicality of it in spots, especially at the various switchbacks make it an entertaining ride.

    I've come to love sliding the rear of the bike around and those steep, downhill, sandy switch backs are almost a guarantee that the rear end will get loose.

    Definitely looking forward to the annual ADV Rally in Julian to put all the skills I'm working on to the test.
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  15. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Went out to Wildomar OHV area in Cleveland National Forest yesterday. On the way up, found a fun short cut that Google Maps told me to avoid. I didn't listen.

    On the way up, passed a rattle snake sapping the remaining warmth from the pavement at the top and then arrived just after 5:45. Had a medium sized group - probably 10-12 riders in total. The loop trail is an absolute riot. Rode it twice.

    First time around was to take all of us noobs around - it seemed like a cakewalk as I managed to stick to Jesse's back tire the whole way as we stopped at each intersection to wait for the rest of the group. Second time after the sun had gone below the hills (thankfully, because damn was it hot prior to!) was more of a speed run. Jesse on the trusty KLR, Tyler Godwin on his 1250GSA (guy can ride his ass off), and Justin on is KTM 990. All very experienced riders and this run was not the "Oh, let's stop and wait for the crew to catch up sort."

    To my surprise, I could keep up well enough with them but where I fell short was being able to make those quick line changes/choices. Had two mistakes this go around, the first was a quick and easy low-side that I righted and kept trucking right along behind Justin and Tyler. The second had me go too hot into a right turn and I wasn't using my vision well enough, evidently. I ended up on the low/left side of the track right after the turn which was a huge rut. Low-sided into it and the crash bars caught, smacking my chest against the edge of the wind deflector. Whose idea was it to put a hatchet in front of this damn bike?!

    Anyhow I continued on after getting the bike back up and rode the rest of it out without issue. Tyler stuck with me in the back to ensure I didn't do anymore stupid, and as we talked later he seemed surprised I had been riding for as little as I had. Gave me some damn good words of encouragement - definitely feels good to have riders you respect stop you to tell you "You're a natural" etc.

    Still got my work cut out for me to be able to consistently keep up with them though haha, I reckon that's what decades of experience will do.
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  16. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    Yes, decades of experience does help. But, if you don't have decades to wait, and want to "speed up" the process of increasing your skill set, then enrolling in an adventure motorcycling class might be instore for you. It just so happens, there's a school in your backyard. www.motoventures.com in Anza. (You can even take the "WS&J" class.) Wheelie, Slide & Jump class. Gary is a pretty good instructor. He even has a book, "How to ride off-road motorcycles". It's worth the $15-20.
    No, I'm not affiliated with this school, but I have taken courses there before. (I wanna take a trials class next...)
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  17. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the tip. I've ridden by Cahuilla numerous times and see folks out there training/the signs that say "Ride Dirt First." It's good to hear a first hand opinion.

    I've thought about doing some training classes, but admittedly have been discouraged for a number of reasons. I've thus far lived by the theory that $3-500 is a lot of gas in my bike and a lot of time spent at low speed on the pegs practicing my technique and watching YouTube videos :jack

    Curiously (I see it says you're a retired riding coach) at what point in someone's growth/riding ability do you most see it a benefit to take coaching/lessons? Currently I'm able to comfortably ride single and double track/dirt bike trails on my Himalayan (obviously not black diamond stuff where you just couldn't get a bike like mine), and have taught myself how to get the bike on the rear wheel (harder than one might imagine on a Himalayan) as well as log/rock hop etc. and admittedly as someone who hasn't yet had any sort of formal training, it's difficult for someone like myself to see how I could grow/improve any faster than I am. That's not to say that it can't be done, but without outside input it's just difficult for me to comprehend.

    That said, I'm likely at the point where I'd benefit from some level 2/3 advanced lessons/critique. I don't feel like I'm at a plateau quite yet though and am definitely learning more and more every time I go out.

    I'm admittedly really proud of how much I've grown and progressed. I went from taking 30 minutes to scramble up the 2.5-3 miles of babyhead ridden trail to Volcano lake to being able to cruise over the lot of it at 15-20mph, and in a few short weeks I went from always being at the back of the FMAR groups to being able to keep up with many of the front runners on actual dual sport machines. I know I've got a lot to learn yet, but thus far simply getting out and riding many times a week has done wonders for my growth. I think it also helps that I always push myself, and tend not to back down from obstacles or climbs (even when I hurt myself:rofl) even if it means multiple tries. But above all, I really just love riding.

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    Edit: Thanks for the book recommendation by the way. Just bought the e-book version.
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  18. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    Ok, got a lot here, let's see what we can do.
    I hear you regarding the costs of riding these things. I know exactly what you mean. Try to look at it as an investment, not a cost.

    As far as "seeing a benefit" for riders to take a class, I can say that there aren't many riders that won't learn at last 1 thing in a class they're taking. (Or, 1 they're teaching...) There are always more advanced classes to take, also. Then, there are different disciplines as well. Got speed down? Try trials. Or hill climbing. Or practice wheelies from a stop, with minimal speed increase. Or jumps. Or slides. Or getting up a 10' rock wall, with soft/sugar sand for launching. Or, simple clutch control. There's probably hundreds of things that can be learned in a class. One of my most recent classes was "how to launch a motorcycle at a dragstrip." Training LEO's to "dump their bike to shield them from an active shooter" is one that promotes, "laying it down." So, you see, there IS a time and place, for even laying a bike down, when stopped or moving less than jogging speed.
    We know, through "adult centered learning" that we learn at a much faster rate if we're not scared or frightened. A new rider, that has new/larger obstacles in front of them, their anxiety rises quickly. This is when we need to be able to think, not panic.
    You ARE correct in your thinking re: Riding will make you a better rider. Video's only give you ideas on "how to increase" your skill set. You gotta turn those wheels to actually create those new skills.
    I've seen you ride, you're doing well. Don't worry about "speed." Let it "come to you." Remember, the faster you go, the less stability you'll have. As you've no doubt read on various forums, there are things that you can do to your bike, to make it "more off-road stable." But, sometimes, that often comes at a cost of highway stability.

    HINT: Don't be looking at your speedometer when riding off-road. The scenery can change too quickly from when you look down, to when you look back up. This can cause panic. Panic leads to undesirable choices with regards to the controls.

    Try not to compare your riding, to others. (Even though, it's almost unavoidable.) We want you to "ride your OWN ride."

    If you're going to "push yourself" please don't be riding alone. We never dive without a buddy. Don't "pick up the pace" without a buddy. (Unless you're on a track, then have at it.) Speaking of tracks, you might find me at Fox Raceway tomorrow...

    Just think about how far you've come, in the short time you've ridden. Why have you progressed? Do you analyze your ride that you just completed? Most riders do. (Especially riders in competition.)

    You say it best, above. "Riding as many times a week has done wonders for my growth." Yes, it has.

    And the biggest one: "I really just love riding." This is why you've grown so quickly.
    Ride on!
  19. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    I'd like this twice if I could.

    I definitely ride differently when I'm solo than I do with friends, but duly noted on that bit.

    And the not watching the Speedo part is a struggle I deal with all the time on the highway and a habit I really need to break.

    I'm looking at the adventure classes and it looks like the next one is in October. I think you've convinced me to sign up as you're exactly correct about it being an investment in me rather than a farkle I'm buying.

    I try to compare myself against where I was before and only that, although admittedly being able to keep up with the guys I look up to is huge - partly because I want to be able to ride with them and partly because it serves as an aspiration and gives me something tangible I can reach out and grab.

    I do analyze my rides but more than anything, I analyze my mistakes. When I wrecked out two weeks ago I immediately knew what I did wrong and started racing over the possibilities and what I could have done/should have done/will do to prevent that sort of failure in the future; and also realize the most important part of the rider/bike combo is the rider.

    I can buy the sharpest knives in the world but Gordon Ramsay will always kick my ass in the kitchen.

    Thanks for the advice and kind words. People like you and the rest of this awesome community are a big part of what makes this as fun as it is and largely responsible for my near-constant desire to improve.

    Looking forward to the next time we can ride trails together.
    :beer
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  20. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Another week, another Palomar/High Point trip in the books.

    Got in a group chat toward the latter part of this past week with a couple of friends - both relatively new to the dirt. Jay was again along for the ride, and our buddy Garrett joined in as well on his 1200GSA. Garrett has had some ADV bike schooling but not a heap of time to practice it with 2 young children and such, so we've been making efforts to get him out on two wheels more often so as to get those skills honed.

    Unlike last week, we started off from Aguanga and headed toward Warner Springs. This time around I led, pausing at appropriate intervals to ensure my friends were doing well. Along the way we encountered an errant Quail, a couple of rabbits, a gorgeous little Gopher Snake, and even a Yeti was sighted. A Honda NCsomethingX also tried in earnest to murder me dead, but the mighty Himalayan was too much for it.

    I also brought along the GoPro for the first time in a long time and tossed together a little video from the ride. Pardon the language toward the end; it's safe to say there was a slight pucker mark in my seat after that little encounter.



    All in all, had a fantastic time with good friends on bikes. No better way to spend a Sunday. My ignition switch started giving me troubles (not wiring related this time but instead the switch just failing, weee!) so we opted to head home after getting off of Warner Springs. The original plan was to add an additional 35 miles onto the ride but as it turned out, Sunday wasn't the day.

    A mile and a half from our lunch spot, I found by accident that a hornet somehow found it's way into my jacket and subsequently decided to sting my 7 times down the ridge side of my torso because of his evident Daddy issues. Mean sons a bitches they are.

    Home and no worse for wear though. New chain, sprocket and Tusk Pilot bags arrive this week so that'll all go together before my next ride. Anyhow, here's some requisite photos and my diatribe-like descriptions of them.

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    We arrived at the trail head and after a few short seconds of fiddling with gear, hit the trail - stopping only briefly to allow Garrett to make some settings changes to his bike. Apparently he has this thing called traction control? Bizarre alien speak as far as I'm concerned.

    Few miles up the road I pulled out and waited for them, allowing me to snap some more photos. Once they arrived we took a water break and got back to it.

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    I let Jay and Garrett take off ahead of me to make some ground while I packed away my things, which was the right decision as it meant I was in the right place at the right time to cross paths with that Gopher Snake. I quickly stopped and helped him off the road, although he didn't seem to want to be relocated on the first attempt, so I brought him over to the other side where it sped off the road.

    I caught up shortly after and then paved the way ahead, stopping a couple of times to ensure my friends weren't too far behind and again at the fork toward High Point. Once all back together, we headed up to the top for water and a snack.

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    Jay asked me to ride around before we headed out to snap some photos of me playing on the Himalayan. I geared up and rode a few circles in the area allowing him to snap these off. The man sure has an eye for photos but I reckon that's why he's a professional and I'm not.

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    We then headed down toward Warner Springs. A few miles in we passed a large group that turned out to be the San Diego Adventure Rider's Facebook group on their weekly ADV/DualSport ride. Like us, the group had a lot of folks who were pretty new to the dirt. I watched a gent spill his bike and offered assistance but he was fine thankfully; and then a guy on his Honda decided to play chicken with me haha. At the back is a friend from the FMAR rides, Tristan. Also a hell of a graphic artist, hence the giant caricature of Busey on his windscreen.

    A bit further down we stopped once more before rolling all the way down to Josie's Hideout and a burger before heading home. As described above, a hornet decided it didn't like the way my skin was looking at it. It most definitely won that fight.

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    Really hoping AB opens up before this weekend since the temps are gonna be comfortable again (likely one of, if not the last time until Autumn) and I'd really like to get out motocamping, but that's contingent on my being able to make my ignition switch reliable as well as AB being legally accessible. Fangas crossed!

    Cheers as always, and thanks for tuning in.