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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Nixels, Aug 7, 2008.
Nice old Yellow Iron
Friday - <s>Lazyboy</s> - uh, Larryboy got up around 9:00 I think. Ben and I got up, he made coffee - I drank it - and we talked to a few folks that had come in during the late evening. I saw a few FF's I knew, and it was a mellow start. Eventually we had breakfast - and more coffee, and then it was time to get into vacation mode.
We went up to the porch and sat around there and prracticed an ancient Buddhist moving mouth meditation - very difficult to achieve a state of oneness with the moment without straying from the enlightened path. And as you know, practice is all there is - no perfection.
I find it hard to write about relaxation - it defies good storytelling elements necessary to keep the reader interested. No drama, no action, no resolution. :ddog
Ok, enough of that. We went off sometime during the afternoon and did something. I think we went into Mammoth and had lunch. But that coulda been Saturday.
We went back out to the hot springs and my riding got better. Lowered the air in the tires somewhere in there and I picked up speed and confidence. Watched the sunset again. Ahhh :hottub
Friday night the menu called for ribeye steak, potatoes and a little garlic and onion. :dg We had our own feast while the guys next to us had a big Mexican cookout. I don't think we missed anything.
Rob took me out for a little fishing - I didn't catch anything, but it was nice to stand at the river's edge and cast into the water with the wind gently blowing.
Hey Nicky...aren't you glad, there ain't nobody listening?
Hey Ben...aren't you glad, that no one seems to care what we do?
Aren't you glad there ain't no one here to tell us what's right
While we sit and we talk about nothing...
See No Other Bikes
Careful, I have black paint.
I see a red GS and I wanna paint it black.
Campin' out is enhanced by a fire and talk around it. Sometimes the divil's licking the flames. :eek1
Saturday morning there were people that were definitely NOT on vacation - starting their engines - or trying to - at 6:00 a.m. The sun started to lighten the sky around 5:30 and by 6:00 it was officially daylight. This seemed to be the accepted time to hit the starter button - over and over and over. Somebody near us was having fuel problems - or was that fire? I don't know but he sure made an effective alarm clock. Forget trying to roll over and go to sleep.
Now I know what snooze buttons are like - you can never really get back to sleep.
Rob didn't feel like making breakfast so I took over the bacon and eggs routine. I learned how to fry a pound of bacon with the lid on all at once. I learned how to STIR the bacon on Sunday. oser I threw in some breath freshener - garlic - and we had a few cups of Ben's coffee too. :dg
Some bikes were sick, but that didn't stop Rob from ridin' one like he stole it.
We had an agenda today: RELAX AND TAKE IT EASY! Now this was going to be difficult for me. I had brought a book to read. I had thought of things I "should" do - like take a ride somewhere in the dirt and hang out with people - see things, do things in Mammoth - you know, vacation shit. :ddog
We did nothing. The porch was our home yet again. Get something to drink - I got my t-shirt wet - and sat in the sun and let the breeze dry the shirt and keep me cool. Rhonda provided the background cackle soundtrack that let us know we were right where we belonged and we sat for a couple of hours talking about important stuff.
Because we had an agenda, there was a sense of urgency to our relaxing day - we had to be up the mountain by 2:00 p.m. so that we could enjoy the mountain ride before dinner at Red's at 5:00 p.m. But Rob reminded me that the only moment we could relax in was the one we were in, so forget the agenda and sit back, tell another story and be in this moment. Rob's the master.
Ben held court on some of his metallurgy exploits - hot, molted iron, cold steel magnafluxed to perfection. He lost me on some of the details, but he kept me interested in the narrative. Ben's a guy that has had a varied trajectory to his work life - and he's always doing something new - to perfection. The guy's a freak for knowledge and getting things right.
Eventually we dragged ourselves off the porch, bade adieu to Rhonda and geared up for a ride into town and up the mountain. We got snacks in Mammoth and saw a parade of silicone - where/how/why do these women get the scratch to augment themselves? Not all of these endowments were divorce-induced. oser
A twisty mountain road, no damned hurry and a stop by a little stream was the order of the day. We hung out for close to an hour there - Rob talked about fishing, camping and taking it easy as a little kid. Ben described his time as a Harley mechanic and he and Rob discussed engineering flaws in the great American marque.
Down the road abit we hiked the steep and treacherous trail to the Devil's Postpile.
Because of Rob's serious demeanor and concern for the safety of others, he made damned sure those 10 year olds hadn't seen any bears - even though he'd been mauled by one just the day before. Heals quick, that boy does. oser
We managed to make it back to the bikes, and Rob got a new girlfriend on a TransAlp. "Honey" really was surprised when Rob answered her - she was a good sport and so was her husband. That's not the first time women threw themselves at Rob - remember Rancid Rhonda? But the man is a steadfast beacon of fidelity and he declined any and all advances.
Dinner at Red's was great! Thanks to Stonewall's organizational efforts we had a fine meal - and just a tad heavy on the meat. oser I had a nice little chat with Super Suz about riding in and around SF. The food was great as was the company.
Rob and I had a little extra fun when we left - someone wanted to lighten their load so they punched a hole in their oil drainpan, leaving a trail to slide through all the way back to Mammoth. Fortunately Rob and I both caught onto the hazard and it was daylight so we could see where the dribble was. Not a fun thing to encounter.
We left earlier than Ben because we had one more thing to do on this agenda-packed day - yes, we wanted to hit a hot tub out on the desert floor before the sun went down. So we high-tailed it back to camp, got our towels and headed back to the gravel path to hot springs heaven. Our "normal" place was filled with teen agers, so we found a grotto and it was filled with by two couples - but they invited us in, and we had a cosy time - even though it wasn't all that hot. The visual treats were worth the tepid water.
Back again at camp, we had another campfire - Senor Peligro and a couple of other folks came by. More storytelling and relaxation.
Sunday morning was the big event - a ride up to the White Mountain Research Station. Maybe we should get some rest?
I've been delayed in writing this RR because I went back and reread Larryboy's I Left Town By The Railroad Tracks Oregon thread - and then got hooked on his The Whole Wide World Is Mine Death Valley thread. I still have to read The Answer My Friend, Is Blowin' In The Wind but I will soon enough.
I'd read the Railroad Tracks/Oregon thread when he was writing it - and again later, so I knew what he was capable of as a writer. His riding capabilities were quite obvious from reading - and having ridden with him, I can see he just makes the bike an extension of himself.
In those rides, he's going solo - on a path that many wouldn't follow - either because of terrain or the solitary nature - for Rob, that's an essential part of it. He's got a family, works in a job where there's the full compliment of assholes and a good long ride by himself is rejuvenating.
I'm in a different place. I live where I work - and I work alone. I like having my own space, answering to no one, being by myself for hours at a time - every day. Yeah, I have morning coffee or lunch with someone but much of the day and night, I'm on my own. I'm a loner, but I'm a gregarious loner. Rob's a family man, with that loner streak running right through it.
And then there's Benjava, the happiest curmudgeon I know. Ben's an artist/craftsman/engineer that doesn't put up with mediocrity. Pretty amazing for a former HD mechanic. I know that he took care of his customer's bikes, as was true when he owned the screen printing business. But he doesn't suffer fuckwits easily, and is hard pressed to hold his tongue. I get that because I'm the same way.
My experience with this trip as I mentioned was the concept of traveling with a couple of guys and camping with them for almost a week. I just don't spend that much time with one person or the same group - it's just unusual. And certainly not people I don't even know. It was a gamble, but I didn't put much thought into it - sure I'll go.
Rob had invited both of us, thinking maybe one of us would say yes. When we both agreed, the Dyspeptic Trio was ready to roll. And here we've been together pretty much non-stop for four straight days. And no-one was bugged with anyone else to need to get away. That is just amazing to me because I would have bet I'd be the one to get hinky and want to get the fuck away from all that continued human contact.
I spit my drink - whatever it was - coffee, water, coke, etc. a bunch of times. Rob has perfect comedic timing - waiting till I'd just taken a drink to say something that made me laugh. He did this again and again - and I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. I got him back once or twice, so I feel somewhat vindicated and we seemed to all like the same kind of humor. A bit acerbic, maybe cutting about a type of rider that we weren't fond of (there were numerous groups to choose from - all having the common theme of POSER attached ), as well as language manipulation. A good traveling group for certain.
My n00b dirt riding had been improved when Rob gave me a few basics to follow - and Saturday morning he showed me how to change the pre-load on the 'Fant's rear shock. This gave me a better ride - combined with airing down the tires for the dirt.
When we left Sunday morning, we were pretty jazzed about the ride, having had breakfast and something of a good night's sleep. We left with about four other bikes so it was a small band of riders but we weren't "attached" to that group, just rode with them for a while. As we traveled south on 395, the land changed subtly - and then a big change - humidity and moisture! :eek1 We came around a bend and down a grade to be hit with a big jump in humidity, green fields and trees, and a glimpse of a river.
Then onto Bishop for gas. Maybe we'd stop at the big camping and sporting goods store on the way back. I thought we'd be headed back around noon, so I was scheming on how to get the guys to take a detour to the museum of old iron about six miles east of Bishop. oser Right.
We got to the turn-off to take 168 East, and I felt my excitement build. This was the road I took when I travelled to FL on my R100RS five years ago on my first cross-country bike trip. I had gone down this road at about 8:00 a.m. in June - and it was below zero and ice was on the road in spots. You could see frost on the plants - too damned cold for June for me.
This day, it wasn't so cold - and it was about 9:30 - 10:00 when we got there so the day's heat was established as a given. Not that it was deadly hot, just not a freezing morning's ride. I remember the road as a twisty, climbing road through canyons and between wide-open spaces.
Rob took off, Ben behind me, snapping pictures as he rode. If he gets a high-speed connection, maybe Ben will post some pix. :nudge :wink
I didn't try to stay up with Rob, but I did ride to my limit amongst these canyon walls. I'm not a fast rider - I don't have the confidence I had as a kid riding everything to excess, but my previous days riding with these two had honed my abilities and I was riding faster, leaning more, and feeling more at ease with the 'Fant than I've ever felt before. It's a much different experience than riding an RS - seating and handlebar position, height and of course engine output and response. I've had the 'Fant for almost two years, but half that time it's been in the shop or parked, so I have only put about 10 miles on it - this trip accounting for 1/10th of that.
Rob ran out ahead and would stop and set up for a passing shot, and sometimes, Ben would do the same. It was a frisky ride and I loved it.
We stopped at a lookout and could see the Sierra Range - Mt. Whitney's kinda tall, huh? oser
Then it was onto the dirt and some serious climbing to the station. I guess we took at least an hour, and occasionally we stopped.
After all, we were on vacation, so there was no need for speed.
See, it was documented at the Research Station, and the lovely Super Suz verified it.
Walking around up there made me feel like I was on top of the world. It was only 12,400 feet, but I felt pretty high - and yet, grounded.
We rode down the way we came - encountering a few knobby squids that seemed to think it was a race - and everyone in front of them was in their way.
But nobody in our group had a mishap, so we just motored on at our own pace.
I think I heard Ben singing.
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Not to get all flowery, but we stopped at the Ancient Bristlecone area and Rob got all arty on us, crawlin' around in the rocks to get pix of these tiny sprays of color.
We talked to a local that wanted us to tell Babs Boxer to get her head outta her ass about wilderness legislation. He was a funny old coot and talked a blue streak. We had lunch in the shade of one of those ancient trees and enjoyed the breeze and cool absence of direct sunlight.
Some of the knobby squids roared in and made a bunch of noise - just to remind us that we were being ambassadors - and then we headed out. I don't know if Rob stopped to talk to them or not?
We got back down to the road and sure enough it was hot on the desert floor, so a good cool dip in the Owens River was a welcome diversion.
We got back to camp around 4:30, I think - much longer than first imagined. When we stopped in Bishop for gas, we had a nice chat with a couple on a new BMW - I forget the model - but they kinda didn't quit fit the mold. Maybe recent converts from the Harley cruiser crowd? Rob and Ben were much more astute in picking out their socio-economic sublties than I am. oser
I was just going to say Cletrac.I love threads with old crawlers in them.
A lot of people left that evening - running back to get to work on Monday morning. Rob and I decided that one more hot springs trip was in order, so we headed over towards Whitmore's hot springs. The first place - the grotto with the slimy rocks had people at it, so we kept going. We went to our trusty best place first and found it full to capacity with teenagers. They told us of another tub a half a mile down the road. We passed a closed gate and figured it would be just beyond that. Ok, fine, we kept going about 2 miles and were out in the middle of the desert so we turned right at the first road we found. Had we gone left, we would have met up with some GPS secret hot springs FF's from the campsite. But we didn't. :ddog
Instead we rode down this other road - kinda back the way we came. Stopped at a bunch of rocks and lit off to the northeast. Walked around that fuckin' desert floor like some modern day biblical characters - made me think of the Randy Newman song.
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We finally hiked back up the hill we'd gone down - a nice big dusty loop and now I'm sweating and just slightly fed up. Maybe we should just blow it off and go back to camp. :ddog
We went out to Benton Springs Road and headed back up towards Whitmore and got back on the dirt road. Yes, I was doing much better on this road, but still not up to Rob's speed or comfort level. I'll have to work on it some more.
We got to the first one and said fuck it - there's people there but it's close to the main road. No one was in the tub - they were setting up camp, so we got in. We talked to two guys that went to the Blues Festival. They enjoyed it - and one of the guys worked at Laguna Seca but didn't currently have a bike. His VW van was taking all his money, time and permission slip from his old lady.
I didn't tell him "wrong wife" - he probably knows it somewhere in the recesses of his mind anyway. oser
Ok, we did that - half an hour or so, just enough to knock the muscles into some sort of submission. As we rode back we saw the red lights of emergency vehicles not far from the campsite. As most of you know by now, Conestogaman hit a cow and was on the side of the road. He was on one knee, there were fire, another ADV guy was there and EMS so we rode on - Rob and I couldn't add anything to the deal.
I had insisted on cooking a steak, so we went back to camp and I did the deed and we ate well.
The campground was pretty thinned out, so we walked to three campfires. Each one had at least a dozen folks but for some reason as we walked up the conversation stopped every time. Like we were invading private parties. Huh :huh
The other bit of drama besides our cow-killin' comrade was the fire on the mountain. It was amazing to see it glow - and then Rob watched a break-away light an area lower down - not a good thing. I've never watched a fire like that - it was educational to say the least.
Oh well, we went back to our meager little campfire and told some more stories, laughed a little and said goodnight. This was our last night and we had been having fun and relaxing for five days straight! That was a new record for me.
Senor Peligro had offered to make breakfast Sunday night, and we were looking forward to it. Rob had to be home by 3:00 to be able to unwind and then go to sleep for work that night.
The plan was to get on the road ASAP, and go through Yosemite - hopefully not too clogged with traffic on a Monday. Right, that was a good idea, but it didn't pan out.
I wanted a shower so I wandered off at 8:00 a.m., having almost completely packed my bike. Needed to put towel and dirty clothes in the pack, so I couldn't button up entirely. The boys went to the far end of the camp where Andy was preparing the parting feast. I got back and felt like I was holding them up - so I didn't take as much care loading the bike as I had coming out. The Beverly Hillbillies look can only be accomplished with some careful strapping of the load - a cantilevered effect to keep the thermarest, tent and sleeping bag high enough to stay out of harm's way. I was violating one of Larryboy's rules - don't hurry. And so I zipped over to the campsite, swigged some lemonaide, ate a crepe and a few pieces of bacon, and we were all ready. Super Suz was continuing her adventure on a solo ride north, and so we headed back four strong - Senor Peligro would ride with us until the other side of Yosemite.
We headed out onto Benton Springs Road towards 395. I was in the lead - I don't know why. I felt like my load had shifted and wanted someone behind me to check that it was ok. That message didn't get across, so I twisted around and took a quick look then kept going. We made it to the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining and filled up on fuel and went into the store for a piss and maybe some water. I pulled up behind everyone at the store, got off, and looked at the back of my bike.
I guess i didn't do a good job with that cantilevered packing. I burned a perfect hole in my new thermarest. I'd only had it a year - but now the dumpster gods would have it for all eternity.
The pull of home, work and daily life was starting to crowd in. My mind wasn't just on enjoying the ride - and going into the park, there was considerably more traffic than before. S L O W traffic, at that, too.
Rob railed on ahead and was waiting a while at the park entrance.
We had a great ride through the park.
At one point we stopped for a piss, some water and a rest and Rob took off so that he could shave a little time off on his way back. He was going to be late and the evening would burn away without sleep if he didn't step on it.
Now we were three - and it was hot.
Ben, Andy and I stopped on the other side of the park and ate. I was having a real hard time staying awake in the heat - now I understand that I was dehydrated. I should have taken in twice the amount of water I was drinking - I just didn't want to have to stop the troops every fifteen minutes for a piss.
The lunch was good, and Andy and Ben and I told more stories, lies and jokes - it was a great way to wind down. Andy split off soon after that and Ben and I took 49 north. It was really hot and I couldn't stay awake. Around 3:30, I got Ben to stop and told him to go on, I was beat and I needed to sleep for a while. He headed on from Angels Camp and I took one of those rider's naps. My jacket was my pillow, I lay in the grass next to a hedge in a little park and fell off to sleep quickly for about 20 minutes. I got up just after 4:00 and was on the road again at 4:15 headed back. I hoped to be back by 6:30, but I wasn't sure I'd make that. I had 165 miles to go, right through Sacramento and down I80 during rush hour.
It was still blazing hot, but I had a little energy, so I slipped up 49 to 16 and along that road towards the south side of Sacramento to intersect with 50. I made great time - I was in Sac by 6:00, got a couple waters, gas, wet my shirt and hit I80 for a brisk 90 mile stomp back home. I made it back here at 7:15 - an average speed of 55 with stops. :eek1 Maybe I went a little faster than posted suggested speeds, but I was respectful of other motorists.
Remember the foreshadowing? There was no disaster, challenge or drama. It was a vacation and I relaxed pretty much till Angels Camp. That's just amazing - I took Larryboy's class on how to relax, and I think I passed.
Larryboy's vacation rules.
I'd been home for 30 minutes.
Fun trip we had, I'm glad it worked out for all of us.
You should not try to smother the poor Heffalump. They have to breathe and if you don't let them breathe they get mad (you don't want a mad Heffalump).
I'm sorry I did not get to visit with your Heffalump on the aventure. Camping on a bolcano with a Heffalump is a aventure! Donkey Hotey (who is not really a donkey) is not very nice. If he won't take me next year, somebody else will.
Thank you for sharing the pictures and showing what I missed.
Adventure Kitty! Thanks for the helpful hints on the care and feeding of a Heffalump - I don't want to smother mine - or get it mad! After I got rid of the nasty thermarest, my Heffalump was able to breathe easy - and seemed to like the mountain air and the views through Yosemite.
Maybe Donkey Hotey will learn some better manners and take you to some fun places in the future.
Nice ride report dude. I especially liked the parts where I was all awesome and stuff. Man I wish I'd caught up with guys early instead of wasting my time with all that adventure riding nonsense. I think I am in serious need of another vacation. I'm heading out to Tom's Place on Friday with a bunch of F650 riders and I'll try to remember to slow down and relax more.
Can I strongly recommend a Hydration Pack? Those things are life savers when you're out in the heat.
Hydration Pack? :ddog
I's a MAN, man, hell, I don't need no bladder on the outside. :ddog I got one on the inside works just fine gettin' rid of all them liquids I don't need anymore. If I was drinking all the time, I'd have to stop 3x more than I already do!
Maybe I'll break down - but I think it's more a case of underestimating the heat - I'm not sure I would even remember - the first time I was overheated - to draw on that little bulbous sack o' water. :eek1
Now remember, slow down, then taper off.
You must have been really dehydrated 'cos you've forgotten to mention when those cutey Japanese girls posed with us/you for photos.
Right! I didn't get a picture - but I bet we're superstars in Japan now.
That's right folks, These young Japanese tourists showed up with their cameras and asked Andy if he'd let one of the women stand with him and his bike for a photo. Being the encouraging older, more sedate gentleman of the group, I wanted to extend the excitement of these far-away travelers. I insisted that both women sidle up to me and the Fant - and they enthusiastically agreed. Then one of the guys got his picture taken with Larryboy. Ben was shy, as I recall.
Too bad we don't have any evidence. oser
Andy, thanks for reminding me of that little thrill in the mountains.
This post is worthless without pics.
Good to see you actually ride that beautiful bike sometimes, Nicky.
Duke! Yep, I'm riding it a lot more now that the R100RS got wrecked.
I guess I won't make it for my Salida lessons before the snow falls this year (unless it's late) but I'll be out there on the 'Fant and then you can lead me astray. oser
As for the pix - my camera was broken and I think my colleauges were too fried and hot to snap any pix.