It was like riding on the Moon....

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Mavilago, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Mavilago

    Mavilago Adventurer

    Oct 18, 2018
    Rohnert Park
    19 July 2019

    This was a trip that needed to happen. Badly. Last year my dad, two uncles, and I rode from Northern California / Oregon to Tuktoyatuk Canada. 28 days of awesome!

    We were supposed to go again this year, but one uncle sold his bike and quit riding, dad decided to build a cabin in the woods and I got a new job that I couldn’t take four weeks off from.

    So late in 2018, after our trip to Tuk, I started making solo trips into the Mendocino National Forest. If you like riding, don’t ever come here so you won’t ruin it for me. This place has almost no one in it and is super peaceful and quiet.

    Problem was, the same day I left on my second weekend warrior trip, was the same day the Ranch Complex Fire started and decimated portions of Lake County and somewhere near half of the Forest. Guess I’m not going back for a while...

    My buddy Thing 1, his friend Thing 2, and I rode the Usal Road back in September. Again, awesome trip that none of you people should ever go on. (It actually was some really tough riding, I'm not complaining; just don't want you guys to think it’s a piece of cake. Lyndon Poskitt did it a few years ago on his Races to Places YouTube channel.)

    This summer, we had planned a weekend trip in early June to explore the Forest and see what parts were open. But Thing 2 has knee problems, and Thing 1 hurt his back for the 47th time so we didn’t go. Plus I stupidly spent my motorcycle money buying a new house after my divorce so whatever. We didn’t go.

    So early July I was looking at the calendar. Between work, alternating weekends with my kids, housewarming garbage, other excuses to not ride, etc., I realized this weekend was the ONLY free weekend I had between then and October.

    Omg!!! What happened to the awesome summer of riding Thing 1, Thing 2 and I had dreamt of? Where were the repeated nights sleeping on hard ground eating half rehydrated Mountain House food packets? Where did my days of lack of water and squinting into the sun go?

    This is miserable.

    So on Wednesday the 17th, I made the conscious decision that I was going. I was leaving Friday at five when work got over and I was gone. Screw the new house. Screw work. Screw my neighbors remodeling their house at 6:30am. Screw all of it. I’m going on a ride!

    So as of noon Friday, I had done exactly zero prep except think about it. What could possibly go wrong?

    So while driving around, I filled my two 2 gallon gas cans I carry off into the mountains. I figure on my F800GS with a 5 gallon tank, having four gallons spare should save me right?

    First mistake. I didn’t even get home from work until 5:10. I probably won’t make my 5pm departure time at this rate.

    Second mistake. You just cannot pack all your crap for an overnight or two night bike ride in less than an hour. But I did it anyway. But I did find $120 cash stashed in my tank bag. How cool is that?! I’m making money on this ride.

    Starting Mileage 15030. BPJB3878.JPG View attachment 1842472

    I made it three blocks before I turned around to get my iPhone charging cable. I listen to the TuneIn Radio using the TuneIn App (shameless plug, you guys owe me advert revenue now...) via Bluetooth on a Bilt Techno 2.0 Sena helmet. So as long as I’m riding in range of a cellphone tower, I can listen to the SF Giants baseball game that was 0-0 vs the Mets into the seventh when I lost service, or for a while I was listening to NDR1 from Niedersachsen Germany because I used to live there and when it’s 3am for them, they play a weird mix of 60s to early 80s that reminds me of long car rides with my parents as a kid......but I’m kind of off topic all of a sudden.

    Anyway. The ONLY thing I could have possibly forgotten was the charging cable, so off I go.

    I rode north from Santa Rosa over the hills of Calistoga Rd to St. Helena in the Napa Valley. Yes it’s wine country and it’s beautiful, but the traffic on Friday evening sucks. So I had to idle for about 15 minutes passing that dumb stop sign intersection in front of the gas station. Anyone from here knows which one I’m talking about.

    I rode up CA Highway 29 and at the top of the mountain is Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. I never stop there. It’s my one hour from home marker.

    Cruising through northern Napa into Lake County is usually pretty nice. And this trip didn’t disappoint.

    I stopped for gas in Lower Lake to make sure I had a super topped off tank so I can get really far into the woods when I run out of gas and guarantee my 4 spare gallons won’t get me home.

    Traveling east on CA Highway 20 towards Williams is almost like a freeway. My loaded bike is probably the slowest vehicle out there because I don’t drive like I’m racing a gunshot victim to the ER.... I don’t understand why people drive so fast, let alone though some really nice country.

    So it’s cooled from 80 degrees down to about 75 when I turn north off the pavement. Walker Ridge Road leads north into BLM land and I’ve ridden here once before. I just don’t really have an idea of where I’m going this time. I want to go somewhere new, but I want to explore what’s open after last year’s fire. We shall see.

    Riding around near dusk on gravel isn’t really fun for me. I kind of don’t like it. Makes me squeamish. But I hadn’t found a decent place to park my tent for the night, so I kept going and eventually ended up at the south end of the Indian Valley Reservoir at about 9pm just as it was getting too dark to comfortably ride.

    It’s $13.00 a night in the campsite. Per vehicle. Grrrr. So do the jerks with the 97 foot fifth wheel camper and four ATVs inside pulled by a Chevy Love who screamed and yelled all night at each other pay $78.00 or the same $13.00 I did with my scooter? I don’t recommend this place due to the loud people. And the price. But I give it a serious thumbs up for the flush toilets with clean government supplied TP. Having a place for my morning committee meeting now that I’m into my forties is seriously nice and made listening to Devon’s mom scream at him to eat his dinner or go to bed almost worth it. Sorry Devon, just eat the damn carrots next time.

    As I set my tent up in the almost dark, I’m feeling pretty dang proud of myself. I made a decision to ride, I’m having a good time, this is great!


    Where are my matches?

    So I got a campfire permit a few months back just to have one. But you can’t build a fire in this area this time of year. Remember the fires I keep mentioning? But I have a small camp stove which according to the signs is ok.

    Where are my matches?

    I get my dinner stuff all out and ready to boil water and can’t find my matches.

    Third mistake. I didn’t bring matches.

    So now I’m forced to decide:

    1. Do I eat three of the one dozen granola bars I brought with me for dinner

    2. Do I eat a cold dehydrated Mountain House dinner, and if so, which one?

    So poop. I’ll try cold water in my Chicken and Noodles instead of the Lasagna. It was almost a coin toss, but I figured the cold fake pasta sauce would be kind of gross.

    I don’t know what’s worse, the nasty cold noodles or realizing half way through that if I stay out another night I’ll end up eating the lasagna cold too.

    Mistake Number Four. I wear contact lenses. Guess what I forgot. All my stuff to take my contacts out before bedtime. Man. I suck at this. I was on the phone with my dad while packing my bag of toothbrush and contact stuff. Guess I can be a hypocrite to my kids now too by not brushing my teeth. Garbage.....

    Anyway. Now I need to head to bed. It’s 10pm and I want to get a good start tomorrow. Go to bed already Devon!

    Ending mileage 15120.

    To be continued.....
    RedEX, Amphib and bobw like this.
  2. wilddoktor

    wilddoktor Adventurer

    Jul 11, 2019
    HaHa! This is awesome...I'm in. :-)
  3. Mavilago

    Mavilago Adventurer

    Oct 18, 2018
    Rohnert Park
    20 July 2019

    Not a bad night overall. Devon finally went to bed so I could get some sleep. I woke up around 5:30am just after first light and started getting ready to leave.
    Thank goodness breakfast was supposed to be cold. Although Mountain House could either add more granola or lighten up on the berries. Just saying....

    So I decide to rearrange my gear just a tiny bit and pack neatly so I don’t have a mess all day today.

    While digging around my small bag of hotel soaps and teabags and the hotel coffee pot sized bags of instant coffee I have, I dig out a cigarette lighter. And it freaking even works!

    Two thoughts:

    A. Heck yes! I get hot dinner tonight!

    B. I ate cold water chicken and noodles last night for no reason....

    In either case:

    Third mistake. I didn’t bring matches. Isn’t really a mistake anymore.

    Fifth Mistake: I have no idea what I actually have with me.

    So I was packed up and was on the road by 6:30. I forgot to clean and grease my chain last night so I sprayed it down and cleaned it. Good chain!
    My goal today is to head west. I want to get into the Forest. But I don’t see much in the way of choices and the map shows a bunch of dirt roads that could possibly make it. So let’s go.

    About five minutes into my ride, I turn right and downhill onto this two wheel track. That keeps going down and down and down. Eventually I’m almost to the bottom of the spillway of the dam and it’s getting steeper and narrower.

    I stopped. And good thing too. The road basically nose dives down onto the spillway. If I wasn’t loaded down with gear and on a better bike and not such a terrible rider to begin with, I might have tried it.

    Problem is I don’t know where this is going to go and I don’t think I can make it back up from the concrete below. Plus if I screw this up, concrete is all I have to land on. I gotta go back.

    Problem is, in pointing downhill, on a narrow track, with no reverse. Dang it.

    So I put the front tire to the left into the hillside and no, I can’t put the kickstand down. Poopsies. This is turning into a world class mess up.

    My left bag is only about six inches from the road and the crash bars on the front are about the same. I’m gonna do it. Yes, I put the bike down on the left side on purpose and then took all my gear off and made a nice pile of boxes, camping gear, and gas cans next to the bike.

    Now what am I gonna do?

    I picked my bike up, moved it back a bit and put the kickstand down. So before I spend a ton of time and effort on a 47 point turn or trying to rotate on my kickstand or a bunch of other senselessness, let’s go see my concrete landing pad and examine it for softness. Maybe it will go where I want it to go.

    No such luck. It’s steeper now than I thought and I’m not going to bother climbing down there to look. I’d rather turn my bike around than even worry about losing something down there because I wouldn’t go down there for it unless a bear was chasing me.

    So I spend about fifteen minutes and tons of struggle to turn my 500 pound bike around on a hill, using the front brake, clutch, first gear, and lots of grunts, groans, and colorful R rated words.


    I have the bike turned around now. I repack my gear and take off. Yay for me!!!!

    Now to get out of here before anyone sees me....

    After saving myself, my bike, and my trip from the retched claws of failure, I decided to be a bit more prudent with the day. So I went back east to the top of the hill where I rode in yesterday.

    From there I continued north towards Bartlett Springs in 9.5 miles per the sign. Don’t think I ever got there.

    At the eastern access road M12 that goes east to Leesville, I could have gone west but there was a “4x4 Recommended, Travel at your own risk sign”. I seriously considered ignoring the sign and going for it, but after my most recent screw up this morning. Forget it.

    So I went north. Maybe two hundred yards to the top of a hill and dead ended at an AT&T building in the middle of nowhere. It’s fenced off and warning signs and all that so I went back down to the intersection and east to known and familiar routes.


    I went north to Lodoga and then turned back west onto Goat Mountain Road. Never been here before, and my map shows I can get all the way to Lake Pillsbury. Let’s do it!!

    After a committee meeting at Little Stony Campground, I continued on. It’s been around 75 degrees most of the morning and hot in my jacket. The short break and snack were good.


    I hit half a tank of gas at around 11am. But that was going uphill. Going downhill I had more than half a tank. Yay!! Just keep going up and I’ll be fine! I can coast down when I run out of gas.

    So BMW did an annoying thing with the dashboard on this bike. It’s a 2015 F800GS. Red in case that matters. But the LCD screen only shows the bottom half of the gas gauge and an up arrow if you have more than half a tank. It could be full? It could be a splash over half tank? Who knows? It’s just more than half tank. I don’t care for it. Next time, program the gauge to show 0 to 100% instead of 0 to 50%+ please???

    (Or if someone out there in internet land knows a way to garage fix this in less than three steps, let me know? Thanks)


    The road entered the burn scar and the landscape took on the appearance of the moon in places. The road climbed several hundred feet over a few miles and I had surprisingly good reception on the TuneIn App. Baseball game won’t be on until this evening so I was listing to NDR1’s odd mix of Olivia Newton John, Elvis, Eurythmics, The Backstreet Boys, some German hits I am not familiar with and Justin Bieber. The only real fun parts were the traffic reports talking about 17 km long traffic jams due to well, too much traffic in Germany. That’s like 12 miles for the rest of us using an odd measurement system. For all us Americans who think the Autobahn is for driving fast, it’s not. There are speed limits and stuff. You need to do it at like 3am and pray the semi-trucks stay in the slow lane. Many times it’s like bad rush hour in LA and the first time I lived through it, it blew my mind. I did have a rental car up to about 140 mph or so in Bavaria, but driving that fast in an Opel is just dumb.

    Sorry. Off topic again.

    Where was I?

    Well, at this point I don’t really know. I finally found an M5 sign even though I had been on it for a few miles and passed Cedar Springs Campground which is closed. I rode westerly up and down some roads and came off the 17N69 and found a sign pointing to Bear Creek Campground. I want to go in that direction. So I picked “Up”. Not sure what road it is, but I’ll follow the signs.


    At this point it was noon and time for a break. I took off my Aerostitch Darien pants, my used Nitro jacket, ear plugs out and sat down to a granola bar and some water. Having this much fun is exhausting!

    Most of the road has been dirt and gravel with water ruts and a few rocks. Some water crossings but nothing I needed to stop for. A few slippery spots going downhill when water trickles ran down the road. Again, not bad. Worst was a giant water rut about 18 inches deep that ran down the right wheel track of 17N69 for about 200 feet. I was stuck on the right side and had to pick my way over to the left. I never stopped or put my feet down, just had to take it slow and plan. Good thing I did. Fifty feet further a tree trunk was laying over the right side into the rut. I would have been stuck going downhill again worse than this morning.

    Ok. Break is over. Time to get dressed and back in the saddle.

    To be continued.....
    N-Id-Jim, frog4aday, B10Dave and 3 others like this.
  4. Mavilago

    Mavilago Adventurer

    Oct 18, 2018
    Rohnert Park
    Continuation of Saturday, 20 July 2019:

    So for anyone who hasn’t been in National Forests before, it’s kind of weird sometimes. There are weird islands of private property in places; the Forest Service closes roads for whatever reason; but the hardest part is the fact that maybe 10% of the roads are marked. And not all of the roads in real life are on the Wood Cutting Map I got last year from the Forest Service. Point is I get myself kind of lost on a fairly regular basis.

    I know I’m fine, I have enough gas to turn around and bug out, but that isn’t the plan.

    I follow a few more signs toward Bear Creek Campground and end up turning down a barely driven road that has an open Forest Service gate. That means good things right?

    So it’s 1pm.

    The next mile takes me about 30 minutes of almost all downhill. It’s overgrown in places, but a car can still pass. It’s covered in two inches of pine needles, so I can see a single wheel track going the same way ahead of me. So either a motorcycle went up this or went down this. That means I can too!

    The first stretch was heavily eroded, but I followed my previous partner motorcycle friend’s wheel tracks and he picked a pretty good line so I did just fine. After a little bit, we come to a fallen tree across the road. Must have happened a long time ago. It wasn’t fire damaged. And if I break a few branches around where my friend rode through, I can navigate this without a scratch. Dude! I’m amazing at this adventure biking stuff!

    Just remember this is just in the first quarter mile or so.

    I’m going to give all of y’all a piece of friendly advice. DO NOT GO AROUND FALLEN TREES! Unless you know for an absolute fact that you are getting where you are going or already on your way out, just do not do it. Not freaking worth it.

    I’m still super pumped about having gone around the fallen tree. I am the Man!

    A few hundred yards later, I enter the burn scar again and find three fallen trees right on top of each other. I look in the dirt and dust and my friend rode up and around to the left up a berm and then back down the other side. Heck yes! I am a pro at this!

    So after another quarter mile we are really into the burnt parts of the Forest with almost nothing left standing. And a tree across the road. In fact, about 50 yards down, is a another one.

    So I dismount and investigate. My friend ditched to the right this time and rode through about three inches of burnt dusty powdery ash to get around both trees at once. I followed him. I banged into a few subterranean root balls and burnt sticks but followed his tracks and made it out the other side none the worse for wear.

    Just between you and me, I’m getting kind of tired of this. It’s a little stressful and hard ass work and frankly, I’m going to have to repeat all this if I have to turn around.

    “Hint hint. Turn around already.” Said the little voice in my head but no..... I keep going.

    So about 50 yards and around a bend is another pair of downed burnt trees about 30 yards apart. Did I mention I should have turned around yet? Because this is where reality and my conscience collide.

    Thus endeth the mile I started at 1pm.

    It’s about 1:30pm. 85 to 90 degrees. Basically no shade at this point, and my dumbass heads up the right side berm following my friend into the regolith again.

    I skillfully follow his path and make it past both downed trees, but he’s like 30 yards off the road at this point and I’m doing like 5 mph. That’s when I tag a half buried charred up stump of some unknown kind. Not enough to damage my bike or imperil, but it knocked me off balance to the right, and the bike settled down on the right side into the powdery softness that is what happens after a giant freaking forest fire. Dang.

    So I’m getting good at stuff like this, remember I’m like a professional adventure rider at this point. Did I mention that Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman have invited me along for the ride when they film “Long Way Up”? Sorry I haven’t sent in my RSVP yet, I’ve been too busy doing dumb things like dropping my bike on the Moon....

    I feel kind of like their cameraman Claudio in Mongolia when he hits the only freaking boulder for miles around. But I’m not getting paid to run into things with an expensive bike. I’m just gifted that way.

    So.... Poopsies. And lots of other decidedly R rated words.

    I have forgotten how many fallen trees I’ve ridden around and how many mistakes I’ve made so far. Only good news is that even though I’ve crash landed on the Moon, I have no injuries and no damage to the bike a good wash won’t cure.

    BTW, Thing 1 texted me a picture the last time I had cell service of washing his KTMs in the driveway. I’ll be over with my dirty BMW for you to wash since I’m actually adventure riding!!!!

    Back to my dilemma. It takes me literally an hour to get my bike unloaded, turn around 180 degrees and then unstuck three times in 15 feet from digging the rear tire into the ash. This friggin sucks. I’m not having fun now and I’m hot and embarrassed and thinking Ewan and Charlie might be done filming before I get out of here.

    It takes me another hour to ride my unloaded bike back the way I come and onto the road; and about five walking trips of 100 yards each way to get all my gear back to my bike and reload it all.

    For those of you doing the math. It’s hot. I’m sweating a lot. I’ve been drinking from my Camelback almost constantly so it’s almost empty. I haven’t needed a bathroom break since lunch. I’m getting dehydrated.

    I ride up and up and up the mountain around all the fallen trees. Almost. The second one on the way down, so my second to last on the way up, bites me.

    I go to my right following my previous tracks and get up the berm, turn left, make it about five feet and BAM!

    That’s not a super good word when adventure riding alone.

    I misjudged how wide my left saddlebag was, and still is actually, and overlapped about three inches of the bag with a burnt out skeleton of a tree that wasn’t about to move just because my day was heading south (and not in a good way...)

    So again, I get unbalanced and fall to my right, this time, there is a gentle downhill slope to the right and my bike gets almost upside down.

    I was nimble with my cat-like reflexes and stepped off as the bike came to rest basically horizontally. I turned off the ignition and just looked at it. For like a minute.

    It’s maybe 3:30pm now and I’m whooped. It has taken me 2.5 hours to go almost two miles, I have one more fallen tree to get around and a long stretch of eroded water bars. This is starting to really suck. What happened to all my fun?!?

    Oh yeah, this is adventure riding. It’s fun. I’m just not very good at it.

    So I unpacked my bike again. This time I deformed the left saddle bag enough I had to unload it and turn the orange plastic release knob by hand to get it off the frame. For everyone’s future reference. The BMW Motorrad stock bags, the orange release lever is in two pieces. The female end from the lever and a male end to the clamp. I didn’t break the release mechanism, but I got those two pieces separated and it’s going to take minor surgery at home on the bag to see if I can fix it. Unless maybe I am just really dumb and did in fact break it. I’m too scared to go in the garage and work on it right now.

    So putzing around in the sun and banging into stuff and dropping my bike has really started to burn me out. I got all my gear unloaded and laid down on my jacket in some shade for about 20 minutes. I’m overheating and starting to feel like I want to throw up. But that could be all the embarrassment right?

    For like the 34th time I brute force lifted my bike upright, moved it to a level spot and repacked my gear. This is so old. Or is it just me?

    I got back to the top of this road with little else to talk about. But it’s now 4pm and I chewed up 3 hours on this little escapade and I don’t think I can make it to Lake Pillsbury. I just can’t find the right road.

    So I decided I’m going to head back to Little Stony Campground and have dinner. Collect my thoughts. Possibly even head all the way home maybe. My bed and a shower seemed like a great idea.

    So it’s still dang hot. I started riding with my jacket unzipped so I don’t heat up as much but with the awesome Touratech aftermarket windshield I have; there just isn’t much wind across my open jacket.

    At about 4:30pm, I’m up near the top of Goat Mountain and my helmet starts beeping at me that I have incoming text messages. I’m back into cell service.

    I stop, completely undress all my riding gear, ear plugs too, and check in with my fan base, mainly Thing 1 and my family.

    Thing 1 sent me a picture of himself grinning by the pool in his backyard drinking a beer. Jerk.

    I spent about half an hour laying in the shade sipping water. It’s about 75 degrees and breezy up here, but I’m still hot.

    As I get moving again I end up passing the turnoff to go to Little Stony Campground and out to Lodoga, poor signage remember. I got a few miles down the wrong road before I saw signs I could find on my map and backtrack.

    I arrived at Little Stony at about 6:45pm. I figure dinner will take me an hour at least. I make the decision to stop. It’s been a 12 hour day in the heat with lots of self-inflicted garbage on my part. Time to rest.

    This place has no running water but vault toilets. Costs $5.00 a night. Perfect for my committee meeting in the morning.

    My campsite neighbor comes over and starts chatting about the weather or something. I wasn’t ignoring him but I wasn’t listening either. Until he mentions a path down to the creek behind us with a sandy bottom wading pool. Heck yes I’ll be right there.

    So I dunked my groady sweaty self into the water and picked up at least as many germs as I washed off. But the water was cold and I was glad.

    I remembered to clean and lube my chain this time. Happy chain!

    After my hot Mountain House Lasagna dinner, good choice by the way, you should always use hot water on these things. I had some tea and packed it into my tent for the night.

    I knew I didn’t have enough gas in the tank to make it home, so I put in about a gallon from each gas can. Should be enough to get home.

    Oh and I found my freaking matches in the food bag too. I’m not very good at this whole planning camping motorcycle thing.

    Problem now was, I didn’t have Devon and his mom to serenade me to sleep tonight. We shall see how tomorrow goes.

    Well. At about 10:30pm I rolled over onto some pointy stick and popped the sleeping pad. More R rated words. I got my wish and actually was sleeping on the ground.

    Ending mileage 15218

    To be Continued......
    N-Id-Jim, frog4aday, B10Dave and 2 others like this.
  5. Mavilago

    Mavilago Adventurer

    Oct 18, 2018
    Rohnert Park
    Sunday, 21 July 2019

    Up at 5:30am. First light was at 5am, but I was sleepy and just loved my accommodations. Since I was sleeping on the ground with zero pad I was awake about every four minutes. I sipped from my Camelback most of the night so I felt much better when I woke up.

    Breakfast was better with coffee. Especially after a night with about 6 minutes of sleep. Got all packed up and was heading east by 6:30am.

    Well that was my plan anyway. My campsite neighbor mistakenly believes I am a morning person who wants to chat. I’ve had my coffee dude, I’m ready to ride. He’s got nothing to do and all day to do it.

    So he yammers for about 20 minutes about this and that. I told him about last summer’s ride to Tuk and he gets bored with me talking about my adventures and buggers off.

    I hit the road about 6:40am. After a few miles I get cell service and let everyone know I wasn’t swallowed by a shark or something. Got my funky German radio station going, they were playing 90s Shania Twain now, maybe I like this station because it’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. I should sell that line to Hollywood. Would probably do well in a movie. Maybe even Oscar worthy?

    View off Walker Ridge down to Indian Valley Dam where the campsite and boatramp are located.

    One of the locals out for a morning stroll.

    Now I’m on pavement for a piece. I rode my incoming route in reverse. Up the M12 to the 4x4 sign and south on Walker Ridge Road to CA Hwy 20, south through Lower Lake to Calistoga and over the hill to Santa Rosa.

    Very light traffic. It was flirting with 80 degrees while I was on Walker Ridge. But as I came down into the Napa Valley it was down to 60. Perfect. Coming over the last hill into Santa Rosa, it was 55 and still marine layer foggy from the Pacific Ocean. Even better, it was down to 52 by the time I got home around 11:00am. Heavenly.

    Ending Mileage: 15324

    Total Mileage: 294 Miles

    Gas Used: About 7 gallons

    Time Away from Home: 41

    Number of Times I dropped the bike: 85,146,923,751,469

    Number of Extra Holes in my Sleeping Pad: 1

    I did the last ten miles with the gas light on. I’ve done 35 miles before so when it came on I knew I could make it home.

    This was a fair to good ride, my stupidity notwithstanding.

    Just remember: Never go around fallen trees!!!!
    N-Id-Jim, frog4aday, B10Dave and 5 others like this.
  6. wilddoktor

    wilddoktor Adventurer

    Jul 11, 2019
    So many lessons to learn from your ride; I'm happy to know I'm not the only one who's life is apparently only meant to serve as a warning for others! :rofl
    iantochips likes this.
  7. Mavilago

    Mavilago Adventurer

    Oct 18, 2018
    Rohnert Park
    That is exactly why I posted such an odd trip. I have a ton of fun riding through the mountains alone, this trip was rushed and forced and did not go very well. There is no substitute for good preplanning!
    wilddoktor likes this.
  8. txbear55

    txbear55 Been here awhile Supporter

    May 15, 2009
    Rowlett TX
    Ha! Good read and lesson learned about solo ride, dehydration, etc. Thanks for the report!
  9. Kingfish

    Kingfish Been here awhile

    Nov 30, 2007
    Enjoyed reading your RR. Lots of good reminders of things to avoid, especially about detouring around fallen trees. Good stuff.
  10. Mavilago

    Mavilago Adventurer

    Oct 18, 2018
    Rohnert Park
    Yep. It was certainly a lesson learned that day......

    To be fair, if you know where you are going and can remain 'non-stupid' long enough unlike myself, going around fallen trees isn't a big deal, just be prepared for the "Oh #@*&%" moments later on.
    Amphib likes this.
  11. HickOnACrick

    HickOnACrick Groovinator

    Dec 5, 2007
    Loved it. Reminds me of most of my solo rides, especially some of my first rides when the learning curve was a lot steeper. I applaud your sense of adventure!
  12. slow-n-go

    slow-n-go Adventurer

    Jun 17, 2013
    Wallowa County
    Your clever writing made reading about your self-proclaimed lack luster riding very enjoyable. Well done and thanks for posting.
    KYVanVanMan likes this.
  13. Mavilago

    Mavilago Adventurer

    Oct 18, 2018
    Rohnert Park
    Thanks. I'm probably not as bad as I pretend to be, but no one went on the ride with me for me to pick on, so I had to pick on myself.
    chevmekanik likes this.
  14. Alroc06

    Alroc06 n00b Supporter

    Mar 9, 2015
    Central NC
    Sounds like the riding had it's ups and downs, but the writing is keeping me from mowing the lawn - - Thank you!
  15. frog4aday

    frog4aday n00b

    Jan 4, 2010
    Hill Country of TX
    Just awesome. We've all been there at one time or another and you captured the feelings of "that trip" perfectly. got out riding. And it is the tough trips we tend to remember and laugh about later. Thanks for sharing. You're hilarious by the way. I've seen many comedy "specials" that weren't half as entertaining as you were. Nice.
  16. bananachunks

    bananachunks ride camp ride camp ride camp

    Jul 7, 2013
    San Francisco
    Wow, Mavilago, it sounds like you have the same kind of adventures I seem to have. And in some of the same places, too. There's a good chance you were following my "go off-trail to get around the downed trees" routes, and for that I apologize ;) I was going in the opposite direction.

    Google My Maps of my July 12/13/14 weekend in Mendo Forest:

    I was in Mendo Forest the weekend before you. It was just my second time (first time solo) in what I thought was surely going to be my new favorite "close to home" place for riding and camping.

    I left work in SF on Friday 7/12, went up 5, and ended up camping at Long Point off 162.

    Saturday morning - now time for the good stuff. Locus says my route is about 80mi. Let's do this!

    Part 1 Condensed:
    Loving life, exploring trails, marking spots for future camps, surprise bear around blind corner, surprised bear surprises me, bear "chases" me for about two seconds (I was between him and his downhill escape path), haul ass, check map to find out my trail doesn't lead back to the main road, don jacket/bear mace/cam in case someone finds my body, head back, get on main road, exclaim how I'm not sleeping in the woods tonight, this is dumb, who does dumb crap like this anyway? 50+ miles to go. Might as well finish the ride and then go home and sleep on my couch (I'm in a studio) like a normal person.

    Part 2:
    I get to Bear Creek Campground and look around a little bit. As is normal at this point, the places I wanted to check out don't exist in real life where the map says they do, or they're impossible to get to or blocked. I'm not sleeping in the woods anyway, especially near a place with "Bear" in the name. Less than 20mi to go. A quick committee meeting and time to go. M10 going east from Bear Creek Campground is where all the crap went down. And by down I mean downed trees.

    Two and a half miles in, I hit my first one. Luckily it's one tree and it's close to the ground. There's enough wood laying around, it "only" takes about 30mins to build ramps on either side of the log and continue on. I'm so proud of myself.
    tree1.jpg tree2.jpg

    I get to the next tree in less than a mile. I can see it near the top of the hill - the trail is steep, badly rutted, and the sides are higher than the middle of the trail, so there's no going over it like I did the last one. I should walk up and check it out before I ride up there.
    The temp is up to near triple digits, I'm running out of water (seems like every stream crossing I marked on the map did not exist), I'm about 60mi into an 80 mile ride, and I blew most of my wad by way of bear induced adrenaline about 5 hours earlier. Walk up the hill, almost to the tree, turn around and see that my key/lights are still on. Damnit. Walk down to turn the bike off. Get a little more water, a little nicotine, quick rest, back up the hill. Just happen to look back - crap, the whole reason for walking back was to turn my bike off! Sigh, walk down, turn the bike off. Go back up the hill. When I get to the tree, I notice there's a second bundle of trees not too far past it across the trail. I start marking an off-trail path to go around both bundles of trees, clearing out any downed trees/logs, trying to make as few, straight lines as possible. The ground/ash is super soft, the burnt tree nubs are plentiful and sharp, and down the hill closer to my bike, the path/line I clear out is fairly far from the trail. After about an hour, I figure this is as good as it's gonna get. Walk back to my bike, do the last of the water, cross my fingers, and go. I go off trail to the left and work my way up, trying to keep a steady speed so I don't get stuck or drop the bike - not sure if I have it in me to pick it back up right now. At least I have my gear, so if I have to, I can sleep anywhere. But bears, so I keep going. I get semi stuck once, but some improvised wiggling and waddling gets the rear tire out of the hole it was digging, and after what felt like a good 20+ minutes, I was dropping back into the trail.

    I remember having to go off-trail to my right for at least one other downed tree, but it was a short and quick 15 feet or so out and then back.

    About 6 miles down the trail and I felt my rear tire go.
    This is where I strongly second: Never go around fallen trees!!!!

    Nice little stick up in there. I have plugs, I have a pump, I have Ride-On in the tire already. I just have nothing to dig the stick out with, or to push it into the tire.

    Rest of Part 2 Condensed. Not looking forward to doing the 170 miles home having to pump up my rear tire every 4 miles, I hump my way towards the campground near "that lake I saw on the map" (Letts Lake Campground). Get halfway to the lake, pump up tire again, FS Worker drives by/offers assistance/let's me know the campground is closed/directs me towards the Gray Pine/Fouts/Davis/etc campgrounds. Get to Davis, and a group there that has a SxS has a screwdriver! (I only have screwdriver tips and a tiny ratchet for them). We successfully get the stick pushed into the tire as well as 6 plugs, and all is well. Stay at Fouts for the night (soothed to sleep by the gentle sounds of very loud mariachi music coming from a few camps over until 1am - but hey, that means people not bears!).

    Go home Sunday morning without incident.

    Anywho, that was a lot of words to basically say those were probably my off-trail routes to get around the trees from the weekend before. And never go around fallen trees! And, if you turned around where I think you did, you only had one more tree to go over (with ramps!) if you'd continued.

    I'm hoping this weekend will be Trip Number 8. Hoping to check out a few cool looking spots near Hull Mountain Saturday night - I wanna test some gear in the predicted over-night low 30s.

    Ride on!
  17. Mavilago

    Mavilago Adventurer

    Oct 18, 2018
    Rohnert Park
    Dude! That was my trip minus the flat tire and i bonked a tree.

    Had I known The "one last tree" then I would have rather continued.....

    We need to get our scheduled matched up and get each other lost up there one weekend. :rofl
  18. bananachunks

    bananachunks ride camp ride camp ride camp

    Jul 7, 2013
    San Francisco
    You just need a bear experience and you're set! :)

    Every time I came to another tree on that trip I strongly debated "should I turn around or can I get through this one?" But the thought of not only having to backtrack so many miles (I didn't trust trails on the map for trip shortcuts), but to also have to go past every tree I already passed ... I just kept going and hoping. Not sure I would have made it back through the off-trail to get around the two sets of trees, though being downhill in the reverse direction may have helped.

    I did do a quickie this past Saturday night. I "chickened out", or rather, was a little concerned with exposure and weather conditions near and above Hull Mountain, so after taking a few pics, I went back another two miles (-1500' elevation) and found a spot below the tree line. Ended up with a 33* low for the night (39* in the tent), so not bad at all.

    Anytime you wanna get someone else lost, just hollar! :)