The Big Empty Bites - ER, Abandoned Bikes, Search & Rescue Chopper

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by liv2day, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    This ride turned out to be one of those epic varieties, though not because it lasted longer than 7 days nor involved crossing continents or any massive bodies of water.

    True, small bodies of water were crossed and one did claim yours truly in an embarrassing feat of ineptitude. We did traverse some killer terrain and the trip lasted longer than 7 days. So mods - please feel free to boot this to the day trips sub as we only made it 3.5 days into an 8-day trek. But the story is one we'll be telling for many moons to come.

    I typically like to offer some thanks before diving into any report. As such, I'd like to offer big thanks to the Humboldt County Sheriff's office and the Air National Guard Search and Rescue crew. I'd also like to heap praise on the good folks at Denio Junction NV. Without their help, we'd likely still be hiking to get our bikes back :lol3

    A few teasers to get things going and then I'll jump into how this saga unfolded :eek7 :eek7

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    #1
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  2. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    :lurk
    #2
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  3. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Looking forward to hearing the tale....
    #3
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Put together a short video with some clips of the ride we were able to get done.

    #4
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  5. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    In for a good story!
    #5
  6. td63

    td63 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hook set.
    #6
  7. Sumbike

    Sumbike Been here awhile

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    Oh man, that mud looks way too familiar! I'm impatiently waiting for the saga to unfold.
    #7
  8. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Appreciate the interest and the comments thus far folks, and it sounds like several of you have dealt with the gumbo mud from hell in the past :lol3. This is the 2nd time one of my trips to this area has been fubard by that stuff, my future trips out that way will involve lots of radar/weather checking and if there's the slightest chance of precip, it's gravel travel for this moron :rofl.

    So let's see, this journey actually started several days before we threw a leg over our respective steeds and started making our way south and then east. Won't jump into it too much, but I've been attending an annual Compadres weekend for 20 years, have gone to this thing when it wasn't actually happening if that makes any sense (tradition is tradition you know). Now Compadres might sound all fancy, but it's just a group of guys who head out for a camping weekend where we don't have to worry about being offensive (though the camp sites next to us would disagree), we drink and eat very well, and generally act like a bunch of adolescents again.

    Trailer packed with bikes, truck loaded with camp crap, we head south to a state campground.

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    Good food and drinks were had.

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    Ajdustafork from @Joe Motocross being put to good use

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    And of course fire

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    #8
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  9. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Following that weekend of gluttony, we head east to Summer Lake Hot Springs where we'd stage from, leaving our various rigs in safe parking thanks to the generosity of the owner.

    This the 3rd time I've stayed at Summer Lake and left my rig behind; it's a great place to visit as the hot springs are nice and I think it's in a seriously cool location. The fact that they don't mind you leaving your rig there while off having a good time doesn't hurt either.

    We arrived and the sun was shining, the temps were great, and there was plenty of time to hang out and get stuff sorted on the bikes before departing the next morning.

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    We feasted pretty well thinking it'd be our last 'home cooked' meal for awhile, enjoyed some bench racing and hanging out before hitting the sack with everyone looking forward to the ride the next morning.

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    #9
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  10. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    The next morning brought a drastic change in weather, temps in the high 30s with that oh-so-fun liquid sunshine falling. The original plan was to get on the trail by 8:00 or so, but with pretty damn cold temps and rain falling, we put the start off as the radar showed us the precipitation would pass by 10ish for the most part.

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    Our route the first day would take us up in elevation, as high as 8000 feet in some spots, before descending into Cedarville CA for fuel. The plan was to camp at Stough Reservoir campground after refueling and grab a bite to eat. We didn't do that.

    The ride started off easy, nicely graded gravel FS roads and great scenery. It was a bit chilly, but not too bad - even w/o heated grips or gear.
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    After ripping along the good gravel, the track turned west and headed up in elevation. We made it about 1/4 mile up the muddy two-track before deciding it wasn't worth the effort; damn mud was slick as snot and even though it didn't clog $hit like the damn gumbo mud we'd encounter later, it was still a slip-n-slide and there were far too many miles to go for the day.

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    Rerouting commenced and I thought I'd found a way to get us back on our original track while staying lower in elevation and hopefully avoiding most of the slick clay/mud.

    The ride was going great until I took a wrong turn, good reminder to always look at the direction the track is going...east and west don't lie :lol3 :lol3

    Of course, the wrong turn led us onto a lesser traveled path and worse mud. JP was the first to succumb to the slippery $hit and lost it sideways after getting crossed up between the ruts. Unfortunately, I didn't capture it on camera, which I imagine he appreciates.

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    This was roughly the same time that another rider discovered he'd failed to re-tighten his fork bleeder screw and said screw jumped ship at some point during the first 50 or 60 miles. On the bright side, he hadn't been squirted in the face with fork oil yet. Not so bright side as that missing screw wasn't going to help front end feel. Thus commenced the 'let's search this Katoom for a similar size screw that'll fit in that hole'.

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    Note the damn mud above. Not fun and it nearly bit me a couple of times. When it doubt, throttle out - saved my arse on several occasions this trip.

    We found a same thead/size screw and that problem was solved for the rest of the trip. I also figured out where I'd fubard the re-route and we backtracked through the crap to head the correct direction (southwest dummy, not southeast).

    The rest of the ride went well. One or two guys lost their arses in slick stuff, but nothing too bad and we rode through some great scenery. I really want to get back to this track when it's not sloppy and the threat of snow isn't so high.

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    It's probably a good thing that we skipped the parts of the track that crested 8k or higher in elevation. Snow had fallen with the storm that passed through, we rode through a section of 2-track that had plenty of snow on the sides, but at least there wasn't anything on the track itself. You know, because mud isn't slippery enough as it is.

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    We started our descent while heading slightly southeast and were pleasantly surprised to find the clouds breaking up and some blue up above. That didn't stop it from frickin' pouring on us as we made our way into Cedarville, but at least it wasn't a solid, steady rain.

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    We pulled under a defunct retail building that had an overhang and decided to warm up with some grub and coffee at a local eatery. Decent food and the service wasn't bad, though it was the poor girl's first day and she struggled.

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    We took one look toward the west and decided that camping another ~2200 feet up in elevation wasn't the wisest choice, so we went over to the Sunrise motel and asked about rooms.

    Boy, did we ever score. They didn't have any double rooms, but they did have the Sunrise Guest House - a giant place that only cost us $40 each - far better than the cost of a single hotel room for the night. And they had covered parking, a full kitchen, and tons of room to spread out with a full 4 bedrooms! Though it hasn't been updated since the 70s, it was spotless and a seriously great place to call home for the night.

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    I need to pull my tracks off, but I believe we covered 150ish miles and the original track was 177 miles. Not a bad first day, only turned around once and only screwed by mud once...or a few times if you're talking to one of the guys that ate $hit in it...lol.

    We kicked back with some grub, some whisky, and hoped that the skies would clear and we'd have great weather for day 2.
    #10
  11. Critic

    Critic More or less!

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    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Looking good, so far! This Great photo's, which really brings out the beauty of the area.
    #11
  12. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    The next day brought us blue skies and sunshine, though it was readily apparent a cold front had moved through as the morning temps were a fair bit more than brisk.

    Loaded up on coffee and full of gas and water as we'd be camping and not have services for ~175 miles, we headed out from our 60s dream house and hit the trails.

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    Really glad we weren't camping in that snow the previous night.

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    Fairly certain this sign was photographed by @KarmaSect in his ride the year before - it's like the perfect adventure rider sign. And I'm a loser for not offering thanks to Mark for intel and help with all the GPX tracks for this ride. Sheesh.

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    We traversed a whole bunch of awesome terrain, hard to keep riding and not stop every few minutes for pictures. I can't wait to go back to this area and ride again, sans all the crap that went pear-shaped starting with the middle of this day.

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    Turned off to start another section of track and noticed this poor thing off the side. Wondered if it was the doomed tube from the @KarmaSect & @tundradirtbiker ride...lol.

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    Took advantage of the area and threw the drone up in the air for some footage; also captured a couple cool pics.

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    Stopped by the BLM cabin that's open for camping, be cool to stay here for a few nights and do loops, there's miles and miles of track to explore.

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    More great riding and scenery.

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    Made it to the point where big bikes should route around unless you're of Chris Birch skills, High Rock Canyon. Amazing place to ride through, though the rocks were pretty damn tough.

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    The High Rock Garage - what a kick ass feature. Crazy to think this was originally built around 1916 and used by homesteaders back in the day.

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    It's a great place for a break, so that's exactly what we did.

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    Pano from the drone.

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    Time to keep ripping and enjoying this incredible canyon we're riding through.

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    It was whilst riding through these canyons that a water crossing got the better of me and I ended up under my bike in the water. Fortunately, I hit the kill switch before any water was sucked into the motor or air box, but my boots never dried out...lol. On the plus side, I was running my GoPro and that clip is in the intro video, full immersion experience.

    We came out of the canyons and had the pleasure of big open skies and areas. I mean, it's amazing to ride here.

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    Stopped in some shade for a rest before trekking on to even more awesome scenery and tracks.

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    Came up to a group of what I assume are wild horses hanging out on the track. They weren't very interested in moving, but a few engine revs and horns got them to head up the hill a bit. Pretty cool to see these out here.

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    More open awesomeness.

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    Found @KarmaSect's toes that no one else on his ride thought looks like toes...lol.

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    Shortly after passing this rock formation, I came upon my buddy who was attempting to get off his bike with a look of severe pain on his face. Was so intense that he needed to lay down for a bit before trying to walk around.

    A boulder hidden behind a sage brush on the left side of the track connected with his left foot and didn't play nicely when doing so. Didn't get any pics, but we pulled his boot off and his sock was already bloody. We weren't too far from camp, so he decided to get another sock on it to hopefully add compression and keep the bleeding controlled. You'll see that didn't quite work given he's on his feet and it's his shift foot, but that'll be in a couple pics.

    The rest of the ride to camp was damn cool - amazing views and seriously great terrain.

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    We made it to the old homestead camp and got things setup as the light was fading. Once tents were up and we were able, it was time to pull the boot off and check the extent of the damage to my buddy's foot. They say a picture tells a story - this one not such a happy one.

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    Foot elevated for the rest of the night, we were able to get a fire going and kick back to enjoy some whisky, grub, and bench racing from the day.

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    Thus ends day 2. Aside from a badly smashed toe, it was a great ride.
    #12
  13. JoToPe

    JoToPe JoToPe

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    Smashed toe! Hurts now but it’ll be a great story next year. Grabbing a beer and settled in for the rest. Carry on.
    #13
  14. haystack

    haystack Just ride

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    I'm in for this one.



    Oh! Ouch! Yuck!

    #14
  15. MrGoodwreck

    MrGoodwreck Retarded Adventurer™

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    That toe..

    Looks awesome!
    #15
  16. oh58plt

    oh58plt Adventurer

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    Portland Oregon
    Great ride report so far! Can’t wait to see how this ends
    #16
  17. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    Chopper rescue? Oh, this can't be good for one of you...sadly.
    #17
  18. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Everything turned out ok :thumb
    #18
  19. tundradirtbiker

    tundradirtbiker Been here awhile

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    Oregon City
    That was Doug's tube - I gotta send this link to Mark
    #19
  20. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob Supporter

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    I rode around that area in 91-92 on an old air-head GS. Great place for big bikes, in mid-June. NOT when it's wet.
    #20