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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    Thanks @ChicoProf, I appreciate the comments! Wish it was captivating for another reason, but now that it's been a few weeks, it's definitely one of those stories we'll all be telling for many years to come :-)
    #41
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  2. AlH

    AlH Long timer

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    :lurk I too am looking forward to more- you are doing a great job

    I am puzzled by the Air National Guard Search and Rescue but then there is a pic of a US Navy chopper...:scratch
    #42
  3. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

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    Dang - I think you fellas may have redefined the Adventure Ride. I hope no one loses an eye. Very engaging read liv2day. Please press on.
    #43
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  4. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    :*sip*
    #44
  5. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    May have missed it, but what time of year did you head out?
    #45
  6. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    This was just a few weeks ago, ride started 9/16 from Summer Lake near Paisley OR :thumb
    #46
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  7. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Not sure how it works between 'em, but I think maybe it's a Navy bird that's used by S&R?

    Thanks for following along @AlH! Also appreciate the comments and follow from @wobbly one, @Comrade Art, & @HardWorkingDog.

    Finally have a break from the nuthouse and it's past lunch...next update coming.
    #47
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  8. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    Thanks. I would have thought that would be prime time for the high desert. Was there in June, still a bit on the cold side and got some rain/hail as i approached Cedarville. Think you were just plain unlucky!
    #48
  9. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Alright, left off with arriving at Summer Lake with several more text messages coming in that our 790 buddy was still MIA.

    Received a text from said buddy's wife that search and rescue was now getting involved and to please call the captain (I believe). So, I call and talk with Paul from S&R, send him the GPX tracks of the entire ride and talk him through where we ended up getting stuck and where the big bike track was relative to the small bike track. While still a large area to cover, it narrows it down and he said they're going to get a helicopter involved since ground search didn't have any luck. And it was going to be dark again and the weather still wasn't on our side.

    Finished with that call, we get my buddy's Husky 501 loaded up and he heads to PDX so he can make the orthopedic appointment the next morning. If you saw the pictures of his toe, they removed the nail and pulled bone fragments out of the nail bed :puke2 Ouch.

    I start the ~3 hour drive back to Denio in my truck.

    It's full dark by the time I pull into Denio junction and wouldn't you know it - I heard a helicopter taking off as I turn my engine off!

    Found safe and sound, albeit cold and in need of some water. Pics courtesy of the Humboldt Sheriff's Sergeant Kyle Negus.

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    Here's the excerpt from the Humboldt County Sheriff's FaceBook page (don't do FB, but could access the link) - also explains why there was a Navy bird there...there were 2 choppers helping!

    Today the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office conducted a Search and Rescue mission for a lost motorcyclist. While touring the area on an adventure bike style motorcycle, he became separated from his party, and was stranded after being stuck near Knott Creek. After searches were conducted on OHV vehicles, air support was requested through Nevada Department of Emergency Management. The United States Navy "Longhorns" Search and Rescue and the Army National Guard "Wolfpack" Search and Rescue flew in to Winnemucca and picked up HCSO Sergeant Kyle Negus and Captain Sean Wilkin, who flew out on the mission. The motorcyclist was located and safely airlifted to his party at Denio Junction. We would like to thank all of the agencies who supported the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office in this rescue operation and helping this gentleman return home safely.

    Obviously, this was a huge relief for everyone and we were so glad to have our buddy back safe and sound.

    Now, I imagine many of you are asking WTH happened?

    Our 790 buddy saw an opportunity to get off the big bike track and join up on the small bike track at an intersection. Ironically, it's the same intersection we had passed a couple hours earlier when the thunderstorm started. I guess we lucked out in that the mud wasn't that bad when we went back up into the hills, but a couple hours of rain had turned that mud into the same mud from hell we were stuck in ~10 miles away.

    790 made it about 2.5 miles up before getting slogged down. And to make matters worse, it appeared his clutch was fried, or possibly something in the drive train as the bike wasn't going forward. So he was pretty screwed, no chance of riding anywhere.

    All safe and sound at the Denio junction hotel, we cleaned up and went to the bar/restaurant to enjoy some hot food, drinks, and stories.
    #49
  10. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Yep, the weather definitely screwed us. I'm thinking my next attempt to do this will be in late June or early September. But if there's any chance of precip, it's gravel travel :lol3 :lol3
    #50
  11. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

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    What a great story!
    If your 790 buddy had his own spot with text ability would he have still needed air rescue?

    SPOT Story... On my last trip out this year on the NMBDR we had a team member with a new spot - great right. But, he never sent the link out to the group so we could all send to family members. Then his bike broke down in Alpine AZ for a 3 days waiting on parts, and keep the tracker with him - as you would think (he also had cell coverage there). SPOT , If its important to you , carry one. Self Reliance!
    #51
  12. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Though definitely glad to be out of the mud, have a hotel room and bar/restaurant right next store, we now had to figure out how to get 3 bikes rescued from different locations. I had a GPS waypoint for where our bikes were located and the deputy gave us GPS coordinates for where the 790 was stuck, but we weren't sure how we were going to get the bikes out.

    The next morning, we jumped in my truck and decided to do some scouting to see if it had dried out enough to get a truck up to both locations and get the 790 in the back and then we could ride our bikes back. We made it about 3/4 of a mile up this track before the truck tires were completely clogged up and basically acting like slicks. Yeah, that ain't going to work.

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    We ran into some folks who were planning to head up by Knott Creek to camp and hang out for the weekend. They ended up unloading one of their SxSs and were gracious enough to give the 790 rider a lift to his bike as nearly all of his gear was on it - like clothes, etc. I tell you, the people you meet out here are truly awesome.

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    With some gear, we headed back toward Denio and the cut-off road that would take us to where our two bikes were stuck. We made it a good ways up that road, but the same thing happened several miles from the intersection. Figured that if worse came to worse, we could drive as far as possible, then hike the rest of the way and ride back down. Fortunately, we didn't have to do that.

    Upon returning to Denio, we hit the bar and asked the bartender if she knew of any towing companies that would get up into the hills and retrieve a stuck bike. Have I mentioned yet how I like the people out here :D :D

    She calls her husband and explains the situation, turns out they have a SxS with a small bed and he'd be willing to haul us up to the busted 790 as well as haul us up to our bikes. We're not exactly sure how we're going to get the 790 down, but we'll figure it out when we get up to it :lol3

    Without anything to do, at least anything productive (lol), we bombed up to the Alvord hot springs and hung out for a bit, then headed to Fields to enjoy a burger and milkshake. Damn, I seriously like Fields Station - such a great place.

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    The plan was to head up Saturday to retrieve everything and it's a good thing we started in the morning as it was mostly an all day excursion. [​IMG]

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    Note the mud on the tires of the SxS in the pic below - it was still crappy up there and this was 3 days after we all got stuck.

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    Hauled back to Denio to unload and then head back out to get a lift up to our bikes. There were some slicks spots to go through on the road up to where we were stuck, and holy crap am I glad we didn't have to hike any of it. Think the entire road was something like 7 miles, we would have had to hike 3 or 4 miles uphill...no thanks.

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    Good, salt of the earth people - Joe and his son.

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    Damn beautiful when the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the mud isn't hell.

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    Made it back to Denio without any issues and proceed to hang out with Joe and his family the rest of the night. Lots of beers and thanks for being so helpful and instrumental in getting our stuff back. Doubt we'll be able to thank them enough, just hope to see 'em the next time we're out that way.

    Loaded all three bikes on my trailer the next morning and started the 3 hour journey back to Summer Lake to get the 790 rider back to his rig.

    8.5 hours later we're back in the PDX area with stories that'll last a lifetime. I can't wait to get back out there and ride, albeit without any rain, broken bones, missing riders, or the like :lol3 :lol3

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    #52
  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Thanks @HighTechCoonass!

    Nope, if he'd had an InReach or spot, he could've messaged us with his location and we could have come gotten him - or figured out a way to go get him. Guess what he ordered upon returning - InReach mini :lol3 :lol3

    I'm pretty sure the guys on this ride will likely end up with one after this fiasco. It's proved invaluable to me on several trips thus far. Nothing to the extent of what happened in this saga, but just being able to send text messages to folks letting them know you're ok, you made it to camp, you had to reroute, etc - that's priceless.
    #53
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  14. OG1

    OG1 Been here awhile

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    Great points. Many thousands of dollars (often time yours and many times also taxpayers) and frantic emotions of uncertainty from family members could have all been avoided with a $350 device and $11.99 a month. Get one and don’t leave home without it.

    edit: these are InReach prices, I didn’t consider a Spot when I bought one due to mixed reviews.
    #54
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  15. KarmaSect

    KarmaSect The Dude Abides

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    Brad, having been through those areas many time, I feel fortunate to not have ever been caught out in that mud! Great story!

    Question on the steep hill the 790 couldn't make (your pic below)

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    Is that here (my annotated route from last year)?. It is a small pass just past Hardin City that bisects two of the Black Rock Wilderness areas on the way north to Knott Creek and Onion Creek reservoirs. We were on 450s and 500s in dry weather and still had to make a second run to get up and over.

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    #55
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  16. CharlestonADV

    CharlestonADV I do my own stunts. Supporter

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    Interesting ride report. Doesn't sound like there was a very good safety plan in place when you made the decision to separate. A solo rider without a communications device??? From a backseat perspective it seems like the group should have stayed together. Even if it meant riding the 'big bike' route.
    #56
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  17. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Hey Mark - yep, that’s it exactly. You ride through that wash and then there’s that nasty climb with a turn in the middle. 790 got stopped halfway up and the 500 motored by so as not to lose momentum. 790 tried several more times and no joy. I made it up and we kept motoring.

    Tough climb, but totally worth it, great tracks after.
    #57
  18. Coaster

    Coaster Been here awhile

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    My tube :-). Geez; rain, cold & muck. Decision to separate; uuuummmm, questionable.
    #58
  19. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Fair point, but if you read the full report, you’ll have noted the decision to separate was a group decision and the 790 rider should have stayed on the big bike track. Granted, had we all done the big bike track, none of this $hit would have happened. But, it’s adventure riding.

    And the 790 rider now has an InReach. So all things considered, no regrets about what we did.
    #59
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  20. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    Did you/are you going to see a bill for the helicopter ride? I'm still unclear how that works in a case like this.

    My wife's helicopter rider was billed out at $70,000 but it was a medical flight, paid for by our health care coverage.
    #60