Newb to Noobs but not Death Valley - 3 Days of Nirvana

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by liv2day, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Prior to jumping into this report, I want to give a sincere shout out and thanks to @NSFW. Unknowingly, he reached out to me at a time in life where I desperately needed the true mental therapy that only riding delivers. I mean, most sane people would think that driving ~30 hours and ~1700 miles to ride ~20 hours and ~200ish miles is completely nucking futs.

    Well, I don't fall into the most sane people camp..I'm not that well-balanced. And fortunately, neither is @hardinoki. But I'll get to that part of the story shortly.

    I'd also like to thank @avejoe for being willing to go explore Nadeau Trail and some new-to-me cabins while also being incredibly patient when I pulled the drone out for footage (side note for all the folks "worried" about national park flying - all the footage was shot on BLM land :-)).

    And @SonoraDave for flogging the shit out of his wife's TTR250 so we could go do the incredible Pleasant Canyon to South Park Canyon ride. Holy hell that was one heck of a ride and one I won't forget for a long time.

    And then there are the tres Midwestern amigos whom I met by pure accident; if you call finding your campsite occupied by some a-holes truck and trailer with Michigan plates an accident. Not sure if the (long) bearded menace and (short) bearded menace are inmates, but I befriended @hardinoki and his two pals and feel incredibly fortunate in doing so.

    I know I'm missing out on thanking some folks, like the guys who put the radio repeaters up and everyone else who puts time into making this a killer event for the folks who attend. @SonoraDave and @BigBikeMike for going to retrieve the front brake-less 690 that Mike (not sure of his screen name) unfortunately tossed off-trail ending up with a broken leg. For those folks, know you're efforts are appreciated, even if not specifically called out.

    And with that overly long intro that likely has some already opting out :lol2, here's a teaser trailer I put together with footage from all three days of riding.



    More to come...
    #1
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  2. hardinoki

    hardinoki Adventurer

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    Moar!
    #2
  3. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    Down around the corner half a mile from here
    Outstanding!

    Great riding with you and let’s hook up in the Owyhee.

    Thanks
    #3
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  4. BigBikeMike

    BigBikeMike Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    #4
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  5. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
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    To back track just a wee bit; for the five days prior to arriving at Panamint Springs, I'd taken my boys over to a place I've become quite fond of over the years, Christmas Valley. Now, reading that name might inspire images of huge doug fir trees, nobles, Frosty the Snowman, and the like. However, it's just a small town in south-central Oregon that offers an abundance of opportunities for outdoor activities in the high desert. Ironically, lots of people who've grown up in Oregon have never heard of it.

    I mention this as a backdrop to the marathon driving session that also encompassed the haul to PSR; it's roughly 5 hours each way to Xmas Valley, so in the span of my boys' spring break week, I'd logged well over 40 hours in the old truck.

    Just a couple shots from that little adventure; and if you're looking for a great base camp to do dual-sport rides (or larger adv rides), Xmas Valley is a killer spot.

    There's 11,000 acres of sand dunes to go play on.
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    There's a great small lake and lodge near the heart of town.
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    There's a cool volcanic fissure to hike known as the crack in the ground
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    There's Fort Rock, another cool place to hike around.
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    And there are multiple caves to explore, one of which is Derrick Cave
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    So I enjoyed this mini-adventure with my boys; we left Xmas Valley Tuesday morning and slogged the 5 hours back to my home. Got them sorted and then dropped off at my ex's house, then came home and looked at my bike and all the gear I'd already packed.

    Loaded the truck with everything and planned to get up stupid early the next morning to drive the ~15 hours to PSR. As I sat there looking at my bike in my truck, I said screw it...let's hit the road. Drive until I'm too tired to continue and find a place to pull over and sleep for a few hours in the truck.
    #5
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  6. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    I made it as far as the small town of Oakridge before the head nods started and I knew I needed to pull off to grab some shut-eye. Found a rest stop on the way east from town and pulled in. Realized a couple flaws in the thought process leading up to the conclusion that leaving home at 7:00pm was a good plan.

    First, sleeping in the front seat of my truck cannot be described as actual sleeping. More like contortion that my now middle-aged body is not up for.

    Second, the term 'rest stop' for this location is a bit of a misnomer. During the course of the ~3 hours I attempted to get some sleep (11pm to 2am), no less than 4 vehicles pulled in with people slamming doors, leaving their motors running, hitting their horns, and generally doing anything but resting. My dog loved it - every time someone pulled in - he woofed to let me know. That's great for quality sleep. LOL.

    Said the hell with it at 0200 and started heading east again. Rather than painfully describe the rest of the drive east and then south, just a few shots. While a long SOB, it is quite a scenic drive down.

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    Ahh...finally nearing PSR.
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    Made it!
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    Now, where the hell am I supposed to go...lol.
    #6
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  7. hippie

    hippie Adventurer

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    35
    Nice sunrise.
    #7
  8. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    Now serving just Snohomish County
    Let's see what you got!
    #8
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  9. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Let's see, where were we again? Oh yeah, pulled into PSR on 4ish hours of sleep. I knew the camp spots for the rally didn't open until the following day, so after chatting with Joel for a few minutes to say Hi and distract him from the 500 things he was trying to sort, I walked across the street to inquire on where I'd be parking my truck and unloading my crap for the night. Wasn't too worried about moving to another site the following day, planned on sleeping in the back of the truck once the bike and other stuff was unloaded.

    Dude "covering" the reservations across the street told me to take site 49. Ok, walk back to the campground and walk around taking random shots of peoples setups as I look for site 49. Here are a few of those shots.

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    Meander my way through the campground and find site 49. Only, there's a Gladiator and trailer parked in 49 with one bike pulled out of the trailer with a couple bikes and gear still inside the trailer.

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    Walk back over to the guy "covering" the reservations and let him know there's some maroon in site 49. He looks puzzled for a bit (or maybe he started that way) and spends several minutes looking at the monitor. I quietly let him know that site 48 didn't have anyone in it - at least several minutes ago when I walked by. He jumps on it and says take site 48. Umm. Ok.

    Move my truck and unload my stuff. During the unloading process, site 49 occupant comes over and starts chatting. Turns out he has issues distinguishing between the numbers 48 and 49, maybe he's mentally blocking them as those ages are creeping closer. Regardless, the numerically challenged @hardinoki and I hit it off quickly and he invites me to a campsite a couple spots down where a group of dudes he rode with that day (not part of the rally) welcomed me as they welcomed him and we enjoyed beers, their propane campfire, and bench racing. Now that's the way to set the stage for the next several days.

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    #9
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  10. svahadean

    svahadean Been here awhile

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    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Former DV road warrior here so luv'n the back-country views I've never seen... in for the rides!
    #10
  11. hardinoki

    hardinoki Adventurer

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    So there you were, site 49...
    #11
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  12. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Actually, there I was...site 48 as a certain someone had occupied the site I paid for (which happened to be site 49 for the numerically challenged).

    :lol2 :lol2 :lol2 :lol2
    #12
  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Retired somewhat early from the propane campfire and bench racing, seems a few beers on only a few hours of sleep has the affect of dropping eyelids. I didn't feel like setting up a tent as I assumed I'd be moving in the morning, so it was the sleeping pad and bag in the truck bed - easy and comfy. @hardinoki's friends would not be arriving until midnight or later, so we'd get a plan together in the morning.

    Next morning woke to bright blue skies and sunshine...damn I love Death Valley.

    My 4-legged pal.
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    The plan discussed around the fire the night before was to head out through Goler wash, take a stop at Barker Ranch, then head to Mengel Pass and just beyond to check out Striped Butte and the Geologist cabin. Then backtrack and possibly do some exploring up South Park or Pleasant canyons before heading back to camp.

    You know what they say about the best laid plans...
    #13
  14. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    The rip out Panamint Valley road and then Indian Ranch road to Ballarat was nice and easy - good to be on two wheels and dirt/gravel.

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    Stopped to take care of postal needs on the way.[​IMG]

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    I hadn't ridden the Goler steps since my trip in '19 and at that time, they were actual steps that required a bit of a attention. This time through it was as easy, which is likely why we saw a goofy Honda Element on our way back out.

    Stopped out at Barker Ranch and it was a hoppin' spot - never seen so many people stop by the ranch in my previous trips. Lots and lots of 4WD groups out enjoying the roads too.

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    The guys hadn't been past Barker Ranch in their previous adventure, so hitting Mengel Pass would be new to 'em. Aside from one minor off for our 790 rider, the rip up was mostly uneventful.

    I say mostly uneventful as we did encounter another group of riders with a 701 rider who experienced a few downs while making his way. @hardinoki being the good guy he is helped him up several times (and helped him with a fuel fitting once back at camp if memory serves).

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    Made it to Mengel Pass and two of the guys decided they were just going to hang there and not deal with the climb back up after going to check out Stripped Butte and the cabin.[​IMG]

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    The decision to stay on the top of Mengel Pass turned out to be a good one for our two amigos, though it did mean they had to do a fair amount of hiking...
    #14
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  15. Krider1

    Krider1 Adventurer

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    great report looks so fun out there.
    #15
  16. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    So @hardinoki and I jump on the bikes and start heading down Mengel Pass, picking our way through the technical pieces. We first pass a group of riders heading up the pass and pull off to let them by so they don't lose their momentum. Get going again, round a corner, and a slew of 4WDers are stopped blocking the track.

    Unfortunately, Murphy decided to eff with us right at this moment in time. @hardinoki hit the brakes to stop, lost the front, and fell at exactly the worst moment possible - right on a big ass rock in the track. This resulted in a tank puncture with fuel immediately spilling out into the track. On the plus side, he was up in a hurry and picked the bike up to lay it over on the opposite side; thereby stopping the fuel leak. But now what.

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    As two of the three Midwestern amigos were still up on the pass, I hiked up the hill to let them know what was going on. They hiked down and the process of figuring out how to get the leak plugged started (already going in the pics above).

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    The temporary solution was to use a bolt wrapped in F4 tape (self-sealing silicon tape) and screw it into the puncture. Pretty damn brilliant IMO as gasoline isn't the most forgiving substance when it comes to most materials.

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    Bike back together and no weeping or leakage and we bombed back to PSR hoping it wouldn't develop a leak on the way.

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    Made it back to camp without issue, time to break out the beer and kick back. These guys brought some fantastic beers from their home states, awesome to taste what's being brewed back there.

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    @hardinoki getting scolded for something...lol.

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    Disco lighting from our eastern European neighbors
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    And finally a fire to kick back by.
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    #16
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  17. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    Nice fix. :clap

    I was thinking a screw with goo would be a good semi permanent solution. Or Tenacious Tape for a quick but less permanent solution. Makes me glad I often bring along my spare stock fuel tank on long trips. :-) I will continue to do so.

    Is that a KTM or Husky? If so, I found that you can screw one of the rubber bumpers (like the one that goes in with the top screw to hold the tank down) on where the shroud used to screw on to the radiator so the radiator (or guard) is less likely to poke a hole like that. I tried to find a picture but could not easily.
    #17
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  18. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Apologies for not answering that question @MasterMarine - it's a Husky 501. @hardinoki - something to consider prior to your next rock encounter (lol).
    #18
  19. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Took time to get a short vid together from the 1st day's ride. Couple regrets on the video front from day 1. Didn't get the drone up as much as I wanted; wind picked up way too much in the afternoon. All the GoPro footage I shot on the way out to Mengel Pass was at 120fps - forgot to change it back after doing some shooting at work (effin' rookie mistake; can't believe I did that).

    #19
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  20. hardinoki

    hardinoki Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
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    2020 FE501S with the new IMS 4.5g tank.

    We had two part epoxy, steel stick, F4 tape, and an assortment of metric bolts in the tool kit. Trail side decided to go with the screw fix as it's mechanical and probably had the best chance of holding. The epoxies may or may not have adhered to the slippery plastic of the tank. F4 tape ended up gelling overnight from contact with the fuel; so day two fix was the same bolt, a washer, and some two part epoxy. Held for the remainder of the trip.

    The puncture actually came from contact with the supplied tank bracket that interfaces with the radiator/ guards.

    I was among the first to receive these new IMS tanks last fall and my first one was delivered without the fuel pump holes drilled. They promptly sent a new one with the required holes drilled and a return shipping label.

    On my drive home from Noobs I contacted IMS about the punctured tank and was fully forthright about the spill and asked what they thought. Initially they offered a discount on a replacement, which I was completely happy with and prepped to send funds. In a follow up email the same day they asked for a couple pictures. I quickly sent those over and to my surprise they decided to send me a new tank at no cost. Solid.

    Definitely looking at something like you suggested to buffer the interface between the tank and bracket. There's a funny angle there that I foresee being a problem for my sure to fall over ass in the future.

    Funny shit, the stock tank was taken out of the trailer last minute and left at home. 20210405_131354.jpg
    #20