New bike, new van, new friends, new year

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by scarysharkface, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    14,382
    Location:
    Indiana
    Fall of 2019 I sold the BMW R1200GS and picked up a new Yamaha WR250R, my thinking being that we had recently configured a cargo van for camping and I'd never need to voluntarily ride across Kansas ever again.

    The notion of having the right bike for the destination has great appeal, and I think maybe I've finally done it.

    My tentative thought was to head West over my job's Winter Break, visit my daughter in SoCal and explore some of the CABDR at a leisurely pace.

    While watching the West regional forum, I saw and got sucked-in to NSFW's
    Post Xmas Desert Ride Dec. 27-30, 2019 and opted-in for some communal fun and torture.

    My primary goal was to unload the bike in a place where this white stuff couldn't exist.

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    I would head West after work. It's going to be another cold day in Indiana and I'm happy about leaving this behind.

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    John
    #1
  2. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    14,382
    Location:
    Indiana
    Judging from the parking lot, I'd guess I'm not the only person with escape plans.

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    Heading off into the sunset..

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    I always find it interesting, which rest areas get upkeep and which ones don't see any maintenance whatsoever. This one I'll call home for the evening. It's quiet, well-lit and plenty of traffic.

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    John
    #2
  3. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    14,382
    Location:
    Indiana
    Good miles follow a good sleep, and I enjoy lunch in the safest restaurant in Oklahoma City, next to half a dozen police officers on break..

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    Somewhere West of there in a casino parking lot seems like a good time to see about fixing a rock chip from last month's trip to Big Bend with my son..

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    It doesn't really work. Probably not warm enough although I gave it plenty of time to cure.

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    Then it's back on the road again..

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    I stop for the night just inside New Mexico. Subway sandwich in my belly and one of those chemical heat packs at my feet. Sleep is again good, and I'm on the road again early. It's definitely chilly.

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    Approaching Albuquerque, I can confirm that not all heroes wear capes (I didn't take my eyes off the road)..



    Hopefully there is some heated gear under there though..

    John
    #3
  4. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    14,382
    Location:
    Indiana
    Miles and pawnshops and visits with peoples later...

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    I finally find myself positioned to do some riding in the morning..

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    I find I sleep incredibly well in the van, and this night is another blissful experience in dreamland.

    Sometimes the things in dreams turn out to be a bit more real.

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    My first opportunity to ride the bike and it's kind of pretty damn cold.

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    It's the desert though, so once the sun comes out we ought to warm up quite a bit..

    John
    #4
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  5. fastring

    fastring Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
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    443
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Great start! Like that van.
    #5
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  6. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Indiana
    In the time it takes to heat a couple of PopTarts and coffee, bitch about the temperature on facebook for a bit (I actually had signal) and make a phone call home to wish my Dad a happy 94th birthday on Christmas, we're off!

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    Just a few short miles to an old mine and back, but it was a glorious Christmas morning for it and the heated vest made it comfy.

    John
    #6
  7. ejm4

    ejm4 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    537
    Location:
    Capital of Pa
    iPhone camera?
    #7
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  8. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
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    Indiana
    Some little Sony unit that was on clearance (open box) at best buy a few years ago.

    Sony HDr as20

    Off-bike pics are my Samsung Note 9.

    Later on I'll post a few pics from a Nikon D810.

    John
    #8
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  9. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
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    In all of my past trips to the Mojave Preserve the campsites in this area have all been pristine, with the only evidence of people being the fire rings and tire tracks. This time I was very disappointed to find someone had literally shit down the side of some of the rocks and left dog poop everywhere. I scooped and buried some of it nearest the van and hoped the incoming weather would take care of the rest.



    John
    #9
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  10. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Indiana
    I figured it might be warmer at a lower altitude, so I loaded the bike and headed toward Death Valley via The Mad Greek in Baker..

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    Houston, it looks like we may have a problem..

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    Of course, the days are incredibly short and I only get a bit of a ride in before dark..

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    Retiring to the van to get out of the cold and wind is at least not the worst thing ever.

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    It rains later and continues through the early morning, so I call it a bust for now and load the bike in the rain.

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    I poke around a bit and head West to exit the park, but the pass is closed due to snow. A ranger tells me they're expecting 10 inches of rain in the mountains. I figure she means snow, but in retrospect I think she actually meant what she said.

    John
    #10
  11. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
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    Indiana
    At this point I'm more than a little bit annoyed that my riding has morphed into my driving, but at least I'm enjoying the oddity of rain in a place that doesn't normally get much.

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    A lake forms..

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    And I head towards what is hopefully better weather north of Barstow..

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    John
    #11
  12. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    14,382
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    Indiana
    I woke up to ice on the windshield again, in the Carl's Jr. parking lot.

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    But the sky was mostly clear and it was going to be a beautiful day.

    Instead of following Teh Google to Owl Canyon Campground, I followed my GPS and didn't have the routing issues others were experiencing.

    I hoped I'd be okay with 2WD after all the rain and snow.

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    And I was, although I have to admit there was great trepidation about crossing running water heading into the campground. You never know..

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    @Spank has already made it into camp under cover of darkness and much snow and rain. His rig is the only other action in the campground when I arrive, so I park nearby..

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    A quick walkabout shows me what's already obvious. There's water in them thar hills.

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    John heads off to explore and soon I unload my bike and follow suit.

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    Lots of icky stuff up in the hills..

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    But it's great to be on the bike and the riding is good.

    John
    #12
  13. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
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    14,382
    Location:
    Indiana
    @rider914 and @TrashBird arrive and the four of us spend time generally jacking around the campground and making sure our equipment is ready for tomorrow. Lots of comparing of notes about our arrivals and the wisdom of following your gut and not completely trusting Google Maps..

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    Matt points out that the campground has a trash problem, so we go on a short but very productive pickup run. It seems that either the wildlife has been opening the trash bins in the campground, or prior campers just didn't get them closed after filling them. Either way, a little impromptu community service is good for the soul.

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    It's a clear, chilly night. Possibly those are @NSFW 's headlights as he rolls-in just around dark or maybe a little after..

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    Fire gets built and we have a good hang.

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    A couple of us enjoy some pad thai backpacker meals and @Spank magically produces some pretty killer pizza for us. Good times and we're all looking forward to a good night's sleep before doing some riding tomorrow.

    John
    #13
  14. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Indiana
    By this point I've pretty much lost complete track of what day it is, which is fine.

    Once things warm up a bit (which they do), we head out to explore and see what's a mess and what isn't.

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    Quite a bit of water on the roads still, and it's chilly enough that my helmet cam isn't happy.

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    Things are looking really sloppy and icy at elevation..

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    It's really kind of a mess. Seeing what's frozen and what's thawed is about impossible for me, and I find myself riding with the bike about 45 degrees sideways more times than I can count. Ben has street tires on his big KTM and I don't know how he does keep it going in this..

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    I hate mud.

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    So we turn around and it looks like this..

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    Down the hill, we pickup a route at the powerline. The sand is wet but not gooey, and the riding is really good.

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    Eventually we end up near Calico ghost town..

    Everything's getting kind of torn-up by the quads and side-by-sides, but it's still good riding. Ben is about over doing this on street tires and opts to turn back. I'm really self-conscious about my abilities amid the traffic, but we keep going for awhile.

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    We stop for a break, re-hydrate and I break off at this point. I've never fully recovered from about a dozen days of total immobility a few years back, and my stamina suffers. I'm also paranoid about my abilities and am inclined to be terrified of being that guy who holds everyone back, so it's a thing.

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    I meander back to the campground and it's a really nice ride.

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    I bet this wash is a different animal all together when it's dry..

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    Back to camp and turn on the heat..

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    That was a good day with new friends.

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    John
    #14
  15. TrashBird

    TrashBird Rippin' Pigeon

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Great report!
    #15
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  16. greenmtndave

    greenmtndave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    312
    Location:
    Elmore, Vermont
    Nice report! Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

    What is the bike hitch set-up you have on the Promaster?
    #16
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  17. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
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    Location:
    Indiana
    Ultimate Mx Hauler



    John
    #17
  18. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
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    14,382
    Location:
    Indiana
    With all the trials of Winter camping, there are some tribulations. It's nice to know the snakes are sleeping snug in their dens.

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    Up early, enjoying some coffee and pop-tarts before Joel gives us his skills mini-clinic..

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    Matt and John go for a ride while Joel spends time running Ben and me through a few drills. It's incredibly useful wisedom he shares, and in retrospect so much of it seems obvious now that it's been shared. Lots of little strategies for lots of things encountered one most rides and I wish we'd done this before riding yesterday. Afterward we go for a short ride and after a short time I remember that I left my van unlocked with the keys hanging in the door, so again I am my own worst enemy and we truncate the ride. It's been great to meet new people and share in some of their world for a bit. I'll be back.

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    Everyone heads out and I point the van toward Trona..

    John
    #18
  19. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    14,382
    Location:
    Indiana
    I probably oughta mention that I absolutely love this bike.

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    Coming up from Trona is new to me, and it's kind of spectacular.

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    I take my time and really just enjoy being.

    I'm in the campground before dark and have plenty of chill time to just sit around and do nothing, which is kind of nice.

    Morning comes and I must recount the challenges which make up my struggle today.



    It's going to be another good day in spite of my hardships.

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    The temperature climbs a bit into the comfortable range and I hit the West Side Road..

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    John
    #19
  20. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
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    1,493
    Location:
    Edge of The Great Plains
    @scarysharkface said, "The notion of having the right bike for the destination has great appeal, and I think maybe I've finally done it."

    'Been wrestling with the same decision. Good to see its working out for you. Great RR!
    #20
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