We’ve beaten the PCQ malediction!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Jean-Luc, Oct 6, 2003.

  1. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    I was almost starting to believe in some curse about the Pacific Crest Quest (see thread) initiated by R-dubb. But hey, it's a quest which means some obstacles have to be thrown out to the brave knights who are trying to conquer it.

    So far, we had:

    - South team: Traveltoad chased by the cops and unable to join Mully for the start of the scouting. Mully going by himself anyway is stopped by the roughness of the trail despite his great riding skills.

    - South-Sierra team: After 5 hours on our way to get there, I had to go back home for family emergency. The same evening, close to the destination, cRAsH and YardSale have a biff on a patch of gravel. They were still able to ride but not in a great condition enough to tackle the intended scouting.

    - Yosemite-Tahoe team: BoeJangles and Vrago were having fun scouting their part when bears and washouts forced them to turn-around. The worst part is that a mechanical failure stopped them for good, waiting for the 4x4 tow-truck.

    Therefore it's with a slight apprehension that Turkish and I tried again the South-Sierra scouting. I'm relieved to say that we both came back in one piece without too much trouble. Oh, we had our share of adventure :arg and we couldn't complete more than half the route but it's still a success :freaky .

    I'm sure Turkish will write a much better report, but meanwhile here are some pictures:
    #1
  2. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    We left on Friday afternoon and after a quick stop by Los Gatos to see cRAsh and get back GPS and maps we mostly took the freeway :arg to do the final twisty roads and trails at daylight. We then camped at Lake Isabella. Great views of it in the morning:

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    Is the PCQ there? :):

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    His big bike, my small bike:

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  3. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Sawmill is a beautiful dirt road, and was much more fun in the daylight than in the previous evening! Rancheria road was fine too although we had to be careful of all the hunters' trucks. We might have see 100 hunters during the weekend! Some were even hunting bears :arg I didn't even know that was legal in California...

    Anyway, first issue regarding the scouting we had some closed roads due to washouts...

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    No big deal for those ones, we found great alternatives.

    The whole area is absolutely gorgeous. The trees made the KTM look not-that-tall :):

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  4. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Lunch time. Well, actually just energy bar, but a good opportunity anyway to chat with the Harley crowd. "So, what the brand of that bike?", "Austrian, huh?", "And it's called a dual-sport? I see...".

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    Then we had a talk on tire pressure and how religiously they were checking it all the time. When we passed them a while later I couldn't help thinking that at that speed they could have as well ride with flat tires :rofl

    We then tried to go on the trail from Bear Creek to Three Rivers but at the summit there was no more trail going North. There was only one sort of a trail that seemed quite arduous: we hesitated for a while considering that we had just hit the reserve and it would be really dangerous to run out of gaz in the middle of nowhere if we couldn't go through. But we yelled "For the Quest!!!" and went down the trail. Unluckily (or luckily :evil) it dead ended quickly. Coming back was the first real "hill-climbing" on a very soft dusty soil. Here is Turkish on his first attempt:

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    No luck!

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    In a Ricky-way :rofl

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    Let's go down for a 2nd attempt with more gas:

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    This time, the bushes are stopping him:

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    Not enough to discourage him and here the result of the 3rd attempt!

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  5. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    We finally made it and head back to the main road. Yes, we should have believe the posted sign! But, hey it was on our route and our duty was to check it :getiton.

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    However, the trouble was that we didn't encounter any gas station since we left Lake Isabella and we were supposed to get some at Three Rivers on the other side of the mountain! With the big detour ahead of us we must have spend 30 minutes riding without the engine, trying to save as much gas as possible. Going slow was a great opportunity to take pictures:

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  6. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    We were still going our slow pace when a group of HD riders waved at us (not that common :evil) because they needed some help. They were in a BIG trouble since they had a flat tire :rofl . In fact, none of the 3 bikes had a puncture repair kit, but they had the mandatory little-dressed girl on the back. She couldn't repair tires but she was young and cute and asked Turkish "How could he drive a motorcycle without a seat available for a girl on the back!" :smooch.

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    It's not the reason why, but we help them repairing the tire anyway. Actually it was not a puncture: the valve was leaking at the rim level (tubeless). Thankfully I had brought 2 Slime and so I gave them one and that did the trick. They were nice enough and insisted in giving us some gas in a nice container:

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    They also offered US a real cold beer that we couldn't refuse. Yes, no repair kit but a cooler with beers! :1drink The guy lying on his bike who didn't help his friends a bit finally stood up and insisted in discussing about the "Iraq situation" since "he never had a chance to speak to a French guy about that". That was almost surreal but we had fun and must have spend almost 1 hour all together with them.
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  7. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    We got gas and blasted through the 198: what a fabulous road! Twisty all the way and very scenic, especially through Sequoia Nal Park. We were lucky to not meet the Rangers since we were slightly over the 25 mph speed limit. One one our very few breaks to admire the view:

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    Too bad for the pictures but we had the sun in our face...

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    We were trying to ride as much as possible before dark but we had to stop for that beautiful sunset:

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    The man shooting the moon:

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    A Paparrazy for some "under the skirt" picture!

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    Ah, those skirts :(:

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  8. Baldy

    Baldy Founder of ADV Administrator

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    :clap :clap :clap

    Great stuff!
    #8
  9. Rad

    Rad Done riding

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    Great report J-L

    Love look'n at those KTMs

    What do you think of the big Katoom offroad?
    #9
  10. Renazco

    Renazco Formerly AKA Boejangles

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    Great report JL and it looks like you guy's had some fun out there. The scouting of the PCQ is time consuming but gratifying indeed, in fact I especially like the lessons that we walk away with. There is so much to learn from these short trips and regardless how prepared we may think we are there is always something that we forget. I'm starting to like the idea of carrying a fuell cell just in case because it seems that it's that one extra gallon that saves your butt. Great job you two :thumb
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  11. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Hold on you guys, I'm not done! Strangely enough some people around me insist in having me working once in a while :bluduh
    #11
  12. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Now, it's getting dark but in live it was really breathtaking

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    We arrived then in the only restaurant around, literally seconds before it closed. What a great day it has been! After a good diner we were trying to figure out where to sleep and always looking to get some more miles in our scouting I proposed to take the trail North from the 180 to Kings River and either reach the campground at the river or find a place along the way. On the map it didn't seem too long but obviously it's quite difficult to estimate the lenght and the difficulty of a dirt trail on a map :huh.

    The beginning was OK although the US lights for the KTM are rather weak and we did some miles trying to avoid the stones. Then it started to become harder, with rain ruts all over the trail. There were no obvious places to stop though, and the forest and bushes around looked very dense and may I say almost hostile. So we kept going. But then I almost crashed on that section that I couldn't see in the night, just after a blind turn. (picture taken the following morning)

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    BTW, I also noticed in the morning that I had bent one side of my rear rim! The real JL trademark :evil. It's really a shame that for the Adventure KTM choose the same (similar) cheesy Behr rims that I had already bent on my 650 and 1150GS. Such a bike (and heavy spokes) deserve Excel rims!

    I've waited for Turkish before the turn and we had to decide what to do. It was a long day, there was a long way to the river and the trail was not getting easier. We were almost ready to put the tents in the middle of the trail since it was late and very very remore, but Turkish remembered seing a place that would be okay not to far behind us. We turned back and finally camped just on the side of the road with the bikes as "protection". It was actually a good idea since the sound of a diesel truck awaked us at 3AM and passed really close to our tents. It stopped maybe 200 yards further and one passenger went down (we could barely see with the headlights) and I kind of started to worry a bit. We heard talks over the engine for maybe 5 minutes and they were gone again, leaving hopefully no one behind them :arg. We heard later at least 2 gun shots and the same truck came back around 6AM this time without stopping. Don't know what they were doing but I guess they didn't want anyone to find out either :huh.

    Besides that it was a great night! The moon was only half but was very bright and we enjoyed some great Lagavullin scotch and talks before going to bed.
    #12
  13. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Love what you've put up so far! Great work. The truck in the night sounds like it could have been kind of grim. Glad things went OK. :thumb

    Perhaps in a separate thread one or both of you could comment on the Jesse's, the rear flat plate and the tank panniers. Who makes them. How do you like them, etc. How are the Pirelli MT90 Scorpion A/T's working out in more challenging off road situations? Does the bike get hot when going slower on technical off road stuff? What is your general impression of these bikes off road vs. the GS and VStrom? How do you like riding them over distance? The good, the bad, the ugly!

    Thanks!:clap
    #13
  14. Ricardo Kuhn

    Ricardo Kuhn a.k.a. Mr Rico Suave

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    I'm in absolute agrement there,, but the main is the EXCEL does not make a rim that wide(as long as i know at least)

    great job,,I wish my brain,my body and my bike will be up to the task of doing some exploring from master r-dubb,but for now is just not even a possibility.
    #14
  15. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    In the morning, everything looked nicer and peaceful again. We had an early start and the KTM's worked beautifully, gobbling those ruts very easily. I'll write something later on the beast but I can already say that it had the best shocks/chassis I ever tried! It was even easier than a 400XR or DR in large trails like that.

    We finally reached the Kern river which is absolutely splendid.

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    Considering the number of fishermen around it seems that it's also a great river for fishing.

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    We both wished to have more time to do some tourism but the Quest is the master :bow so we're on our way again!

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    #15
  16. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Crossing Kings River to go North.

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    Then, after Balch Camp we took the narrow Blackrock rd that is one of the most scenic roads I've ever been on. Thank you R-dubb for making us "discover" all these roads! :clap

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    After a while really in the "middle" of the very abrupt cliff, the road goes a bit more "in land" but is still very scenic:

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    It's hard to see the hairpin and Turkish on the highest section

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    #16
  17. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Now starts the section that has excited me for several weeks already! It's not on Garmin but there is a trail that can be seen in topo maps, that goes from Mc Kinley Grove to Lake Huntington via Swamp Lake. It was still early in the morning we had plenty of gas and were ready to put these KTMs to the test!

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    The trail became rapidly pretty hard reminding me of the Squaw Ridge trail we did at the July gathering :arg. As always not many pictures of the tough hills since you don't want to stop in the middle to take pictures (isn't it Turkish? :evil). Here is a break where Turkish tried again his new toy: a Garmin GPS / Palm.

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    Now it's time to put the other toy to work!

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    Notice how focus he is?

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    Well, you better be!

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    That was his only real crash and here he is, victorious!

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    #17
  18. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    We gained altitude very rapidly and the trail became harder and gnarlier: our progression was very slow and we had to face the usual questions: How long is the difficult part is going to last? Will we be able to go through? Do we have enough water?

    The Quest part was over anyway since we were not intending to send GS with luggage on such a trail and so we were just continuing for the fun :eek:ogle.

    However, after a last climb (you can barely see my bike at the top) we started to ask ourselves if it was the right thing to do!

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    We were still wondering about it when we saw a well prepared Jeep going down the trail and I stopped the guys. Their answer finished to convince us: it was getting much more difficult further up :arg.

    Now we had to go down the same path we had such a hard time climbing!

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    Needless to say we were pretty tired after all that work at high altitude (I think we went up to 9,000 ft) and we decided to stop the scouting since we still had a long way to get home.

    That's it folks for my part but I'm impatiently waiting for the report and pictures from Turkish!
    #18
  19. cRAsH

    cRAsH Banned

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    :clap

    I had a feeling you guys were going to have a good time...


    :cry
    #19
  20. Frank Warner

    Frank Warner Traveller

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    I've an Excell rim on the front of the K75G/S... the rim hac been straightened once ... and presently has at least 2 flat spots ... I was told when I bought it "you'll never flat spot that rim" :1drink ...

    The rear rim is ok, a bm R100GS or mystic .. both the same type of rim ... must get another one of these and put a knobie on it.

    I'm wondering if a bm cross spoked front rim from a GS would be stronger ... at least I'd get a tubless tyre making flats easier to deal with.

    Frank Warner
    Man considers joining Salvation Army reserve
    #20