05-04-2006, 01:11 AM
I just wanted to tell everyone I had a great time and it was fun to meet some new friends. We had 2 beautiful day's for riding and some great scenery. The Ozark National Forest in Arkansas is a great spot for dual sport riding and if you have not been you need to make plans to go, it is awesome.
Here we are the night before the ride, talking about our routes and enjoying some Wild Turkey.
The weather was perfect with low's in the 50's and highs in the mid 70's. (Left to Right) Beemin(Bob), Desmo (Steve), Tourmeister (Scott),Hood Ornament (Albie), and Dyna Sport (John).
Man I love the Ozarks, it is a beautiful place to be...
Waiting for our fearless leader to find the trail, it is up there some where...
Here comes Nace ripping down the trail...
Wasabi (Bill) looking for some log's to wheelie across..
Hood Ornament (Albie) enjoying the forest
Tourmeister is somewhere out in the woods, can you spot his KLR?
Checking a river crossing, the Clarksville Arkansas area had close to 3 inches of rain the day before so you know we are going to have some fun water crossing's.
Tourmeister getting a closer look....ahhh it's not too bad. Should have brought the inner tube and a cooler.
You know me, I have to get the token dirty KLR shot's in the report somewhere..
Dirt Bomb (Chris) and Hood Ornament living it up...
Dyna Sport (John) and Nace working on getting the bike started, it seems to be a little water logged.
Desmo, Wasabi, and Dirt Bomb relaxing while the KTM is being brought back to life.
Tourmeister, Hood Ornament, and Beemin taking in the sounds of the creek.
ZZZZZZZZZZZZ....Tourmeister kicking back on the cold rocks
Beemin resting his eye lids..
Hood Ornament skipping rocks..
These are all the pic's I have. Here is a video that I put together, this is the small low resolution version http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7041703643273220931 I will post a larger higher quality version later.
05-30-2006, 04:08 AM
I guess I should post all my pics...
:tab We actually got out of town pretty close to on time, just a bit after 7:00am. We had to stop along the way because the mascot "TWiT/Dillo" was starting to get a bit ripe...
:tab We hit some nasty weather up in Oklahoma and it had us blowing all over the highway. I must confess I was getting a bit concerned about what the next day's riding might entail... We reached Clarksville about 4:30pm and found many of the other guys already there: Albie, Bill, Nace, Chris and John. We passed Tim on the freeway coming in but he was headed to a nearby campground with his RV.
Here is what it did shortly after we arrived and got unloaded
We took cover in a walkway and waited out the rain before going to get dinner. (Bob, Albie, Bill and Tim L-R)
:tab During a lull in the downpour we ran across the parking lot to a Country Dinner family style restaurant. Smelled a bit odd when we walked in but I am willing to give most any place at least one try... This one should have been a pass :uhoh: When I saw the pot roast, I thought... "Oh yeah! Nasty weather and a great tender steamy pot roast!" :eat: I bent my fork trying to pull the meat apart :brainsnap I should have known better but I tasted it anyway :puke: Tim had ordered the same thing and had pushed it away after one bite. When the waitress came by she noticed. He tried to play nice but she was not having it and wanted the truth. He stated flatly, "This is the worst Pot Roast I have ever had." She asked if he wanted anything else and he declined, as she started to walk away I meekly asked her to take mine back as well and to bring me a burger instead. Good burger but I could not recommend this place.
:tab While we were all sitting at the table a guy walked up and asked if I was Scott Friday. Now it is always a bit disconcerting to have a stranger walk up and know you by name. I'm never sure if I should play dumb or admit who I am, hehe. It turns out to be Eeyore, a member on the AdvRider site that I met a few years ago when we stopped in Clarksville for lunch on another ride. He lives here and I has been giving me info on places to stay, eat, ride, etc,... He is amazed we are still planning to ride. He informs us that they have had over 3" inches of rain in the last 24 hours...:-| Oh man... what have we gotten ourselves into? :doh:
:tab Sunday morning arrives and it is nice out! A bit on the chilly side but that won't last long. With everyone gassed up and accounted for, we head out of town. The first few miles is pavement until we start heading up into the hills and find our first dirt roads. Considering the rain the previous day, the dirt roads are remarkably mud free and quite fun. We climb higher and higher and eventually the road starts to get smaller and less travelled. After squishing our way through one particularly slimey section, the road dead ends... I must have missed a turn somewhere. We spin aound and slide our way back. I watch the GPS closely and we pass the turn again. Must be one of those stealth roads :wary: So I spin around again and start going real slow looking down into the woods. Sure enough, I spy a very faint two track trail heading off into the woods right were the GPS says there should be a road. Off we go :rider:
:tab I have to admit, now I am really wondering what we are in for here... I am bending low to miss branches sticking out into the trail, dodging rocks and pieces of large branches. It does not look like anyone has been this way for some time. We are just putting along at a nice 15 mph or so and I see a good sized tree across the trail. I figure the KLR should have no trouble clearing it and pop the front up and over with no problem. Then the rear hits it and starts sliding along the length of the trunk... I am down already :doh: Leading is nice because the view is not the back of the guy in front of you, but it has its downsides too! Everyone gets a good chuckle at my expense, lecturing me on how to cross a log, blah blah blah... then a few of them wind up on the ground too :lol2: I really should have gotten the camera out sooner!
Albie gets around the log and goes in search of the trail
Looks easy doesn't it... :trust: It is wet and slimey!
A good look at the "road" on one of the nice sections
Wasabi taking it nice and easy
Somewhere over there is an intersection :lol2:
:tab We spend a few minutes at the intersection trying to figure out which direction corresponds with the route on the GPS and taking a break. Refreshed, we head out again and the trail starts to descend. Gently at first, then faster and steeper. There are pieces of branches ranging from 2-4" in diameter and a few feet long scattered along the trail among the ruts and rocks. And down it goes... At one point I recall saying out loud in my helmet, "slow down danggit!!" The rear was locked and I was not slowing down. For the life of me I cannot figure out how Dyna Sport goes down this stuff so effortlessly :scratch:
:tab In one particularly steep part, we slow and go down one at a time. About half way down, Wasabi bounces off a rock and into a tree. Ever fearful of being caught by a camera, he is up and immediately lifting the bike as I am trying to get down to assist him, hehe. I get past and find a somewhat level spot to pull off the edge of the trail and leave the KLR delicately balanced on its' sidestand. He gets the bike up and continues on his way. Time to get out the camera.
Desmo picking his way down. Of course it is far steeper than it looks :-P
Chris "Dirtbomb" about to drop off the steps. They are about 10-12" high.
Bryan "dbdolan" making his way down carefully
Just as he drops off the step on the somewhat smooth side
Nace "LooseBolt" coming down on his KTM
Nace waves, thinking the worst is past
When you least expect it... gravity rears it's ugly head!
My "level" parking place
Looking back up from my parking place
Trying to show the steepness looking down from the parking place
:tab Eventually the only people left at the top are Bob and Tim. While standing next to my bike waiting, I happen to notice another trail that comes down out of the woods and drops out onto this trail right where I am parked. So I decide to walk up it and sure enough, it is a cut around the hard stuff :doh: When I reach the top I share this bit of info with Bob and Tim and they decide to use the shortcut. Bob's bike does not want to start.
:tab He eventually gets it fired up and tries to loop around through the woods just off the trail to get back to the start of the short cut... Meanwhile I walk back down to my bike. After a minute or two it occurs to me that I am hearing an awful lot of engine noise for him to not be at the bottom by the time I walk down. This can't be good. So back up I go, wondering if I am going to have a stroke in the heat and humidity... When I get up there I see a sad side. He has hit a wet spot where water is running down under the leaves on the ground and his rear tire is up to the axle in goo. To make matters worse, there is a log in the ground just in front of the back tire so he can't go anywhere! We lay the bike over and drag it out and have to push it back up to the trail. Now I can feel my pulse throughout my body, pounding like a wardrum. We take a breather and then he starts trying to get the bike started again. No dice.
:tab By now quite a bit of time has gone by and we are wondering if the other guys are just gonna wait at the bottom or send someone back up to find out what is going on. Eventually, Desmo shows up with fresh legs and does some kicking. After a few minutes the bike finally fires up and Bob takes off down the bypass while I walk back down... again... The rest of the descent is not as bad as this section but it is still pretty challenging. We finally reach the bottom to find everyone waiting and talking about a deep water crossing :-| Are we going to have to turn back already? Is there any way out other than back up that hill!? It was about a 500 foot descent in about a half mile.
:tab I pull to the front to get a peek at the water crossing. Doesn't seem all that bad :shrug: Of course I am not wild about going first :-P Dyna Sport, Bryan and Albie head across and then I go. Time for a few vids!
Nace "Loose Bolt" - fell over right after the vid stops
:tab We get Nace righted and we are on our way. Now we are down in a beautiful valley under a heavy canopy of woods. The trail is a little more road like, mostly rocky, and follows the river. We have to do a few detours around some larger downed trees. Then we do a few more mild crossings.
Waiting for the others to start across
Nace clears this one with no problems
Next comes Wild Bill the Throttle Man!!
:tab If he's in doubt, you don't wanna be anywhere in front of him :lol2:
Bob "Beemin" getting across on the XR650R
Bryan "dbdolan" chugging his way across
:tab Everyone gets across with no issues and we keep going. Shortly we reach one that looks a little more challenging. This time Albie leads the way followed by Bill, then I get across and set up for some more vids and pics.
John "Dyna Sport" dodging the overhanging branches.
Nace climbing out of the water onto the slick bank
Bryan "Dbdolan" , Chris "Dirtbomb" and Tim "Thumper"
After a short break, we head out again trying to find the next intersection.
:tab We don't get very far before we reach a problem. We have reached a crossing that is moving really fast, looks deep, is a long way across and has some BIG rocks in it. None of us are real wild about attempting this one. Thinking maybe we missed a turn again, we ponder turning around. We have several GPS's with us and we cannot seem to figure out where the road is. Finally, we decide it must have been before that last crossing, so we have to backtrack :doh: Well, it is not so bad the second time, unless of course you are Albie... His bike goes under and gets a big gulp on the way down :huh2:
:tab The upside is that it is a really pretty spot to hang out while he gets the bike sorted out. We ponder our GPS's, look around, and try to find the road that should be right under us! After about an hour, Albie gets the bike drained and refired. By this time the decision is made that in fact, the road must be back near the nasty looking crossing. Even if it is not, rather than try to go bakc up that hill, we'd rather take our chances with that crossing because the road on the other side comes out about where we are trying to get anyway and cuts a bit off the route. This would be a good thing as we have not been making real good time! So back across we go, yet again. by now it is getting to be old hat :yawn:
:tab So we reach the nasty crossing and seeing it again in person causes a little doubt about our plan to set in. My GPS shows us to be right at the intersection. A smaller stream is feeding into the large stream where we are stopped. So we start walking around and sure enough, on the far side of the small stream is what looks like a road.
Do we turn around again?
Are you sure that is a road over there?
:tab Dyna Sport is our official Guinea Pig and we send him across to find out, but not before getting into a splash fight tossing rocks into the stream to try to build up the area where he will climb out on the far side. Kids will be kids... :roll: He gets across and we hear him thump off into the woods. A few minutes later he comes back and reports that the road continues and shows to be back on our route. Now the rest of us have to cross.
:tab The stream itself is no biggie, literally. It is about eight feet across and maybe 10" deep at the most. It is not even moving all that fast. The problem is the climb out on the far side. It is abrupt and steep with small trees lining the bank. We break some branches back so the bikes can fit through. After John getting across, the bank is wet and slick. I go next. As I get across, I try to get on the gas to get up the momentum for the climb out and the front tire tags a knot in some roots and slides out. The bars are yanked right out of my hands and over I go into the weeds. We manage to catch the bike so it does not go all the way down, but now I am on the bank at a dead stop. We basically have to drag it up the bank because there isn't enuogh traction to power up it.
Doesn't look so bad... There is about a 2-1/2 to 3 foot drop right at the edge of the water and it is loose, soft, wet sand and mud.
:tab Everyone else starts coming on across.
Tim climbing out and making it look easy
Bob roosting his way up the bank
Chris smoking across :-P
Nace is really focused. I don't think he likes water crossings all that much, hehe
:tab With everyone across we start winding our way away from the stream into the woods. This road has not seen traffic in a long long time! It is quite rugged and has all kinds of nasty obstacles waiting for the unsuspecting fools crazy enough to explore it. It seems we have not gone a mile before we come to another water crossing. This one has a steep bank on both sides and the water is moving fast! I stop to ponder the situation and Albie pulls up next to me. Before I can get the camera out, he is powering across, the bike bucking all over the place, and then he powers up the far side. Makes it look easy :shrug: I hate that :doh: Bryan goes next and also makes it look easy. Man, the pressure is building...
Wasabi takes a moment to reflect on the situation as well
"When I get right... about... there... I am gonna PIN the throttle!"
Well... he made it across :shrug: :rofl:
They get the bike up and drag it up the steep enbankment
Next is Bob and he hits a few of the huge rocks which slows him down, but he gets across
And with a strategic application of the gas motors up the bank!
Desmo sloggin his way through
Tim "Thumper" sizing up the crossing and heading over
But he stalls midway across. Looks like a fun place to try kickstarting your bike, no?
Not happening this time... gotta get pushed
:tab And finally it is my turn. I nudge the bike down the bank towards the water, try to look for a way between the rocks, carefully plan my attack, and it all goes to crap the instant my front tire enters the water! :huh2: I opt for the Bill method and start giving the KLR some gas. The baby head rocks start rolling under the bike and I am bucking around pretty good. The current is strong and is trying not only to push the bike over, but carry it down stream! More gas and I reach the far side. The bad thing about being last is that the far bank is now soaked. I get about half way up and the rear starts sliding all around and I lose all my momentum. I try getting on the front brake but start sliding backwards anyways. Trying to balance on a steep wet slope while going backwards is not something we covered in the MSF course :doh: Fortunately, the others are right on hand and they save my bacon. I fire the bike up and we walk it up under power.
:tab Everyone is across and the adrenaline is flowing. We take a few minutes to catch our breath before moving out again. This time we barely go a tenth of a mile before the road tries to cut back over the river. People are getting tired and we are wondering if it will be like this for the whole route. The map shows the road wandering back and forth across the river several times before finally climbing out of the valley in the direction we want to head. A few of the guys very carefully wade across this crossing and go exploring. The water is up to their thighs, moving really fast and there are large boulders several feet in diameter in the water. We mull around, walk upstream a bit, but this time we have met our match. It seems we have to turn around and face the hill. :-|
:tab A bit down trodden, we make a uturn and head back to the previous crossing. This time Bryan heads over first, then me, and after that Bob. Bob gets right out in the middle and goes down. The bike is on top of him and the water is rushing over him and the bike. My first instinct is to get the bike off him! We leap in and wade over to him as he struggles to get out from under the bike. As we get him up, the bike starts drifting downstream :eek2: I grab it and hang on until the others can get their footing to lift it. There will be no restarting of the bike and we have to haul it up the bank, about a 10 foot climb out and very steep! As we get his bike pushed up the trail to make room for the others to come across, we hear another bike coming... and then nothing but the sound of rushing water :uhoh: Albie has gone under...
:tab We get Albie out and then come the others. Nace had a close call on the bank near to us and hit a big rock. He caught the bike but did not have a good footing and was in danger of going over any second. Bryan and I went in after him and kept the bike up. Unfortunately, Bryan grabbed the exhaust with his bare hand :shock: I don't think it blistered but it had to hurt! We dragged Nace out, then Chris, Bill and John. No one else went under but no one could climb the slick muddy bank either. By the time we got all the bikes across safely, most of us were huffing something fierce!
:tab Albie and Bob immediately start working on getting their bikes back in running condition. When the spark plug gets pulled on the bikes, water squirts out everywhere when the engines are turned over. The rest of us hang out and try to recover what strength we have left. All these crossings have really beat us down. John decides to go on ahead and scout out to see if what shows to be a dead end on the map might actually be a way out. We had seen a road at the base of that descent that looked like it might connect up with another that was shown on the map. I did not think about it at the moment, but sending him off alone for such a long distance with several crossings was probably not a good idea. After he has been gone about 45 minutes it occurs to me that he has been gone quite a while. There is nothing I can do to help with getting the bikes restarted so I grab Desmo and we set off to go find John.
:tab Steve and I work our way back to the short crossing, which is much easier going this way! Then we reach the crossing we had already done several times before while trying to find this road. Once over that we start following the river, heading upstream, over a few more smaller crossings, and finally encounter John coming back down the trail. We pull over and take a break. John informs us that the road does in fact go through, but it was so nasty he did not think we'd make it up. He had dropped his bike and decided to play it safe and head back to the group. The good news is that he also found what appeared to be a shortcut that skirted around the worst part of that hill climb and hit the previous shortcut!
:tab We hang out a while and then it starts to dawn on us that perhaps the others might need help. Steve and I decide to wait here and John heads back to the group. If I had to guess I would say it was about 2, maybe 2-1/2 hours from the time of that crossing until everyone showed up. Meanwhile Steve and I hung out and I took more pics ;-)
Looking up the road towards the nasty hill climb
The KLR's pondering the shortcut...
A nice place to lay on a rock and listen, the junction of two streams
:tab About the time that Desmo and I start to get worried that we might need to go back as well, we hear the sound of thumpers approaching. Soon everyone is back together. It seems they had to stand the XR650R up on end to drain all the water out of the exhaust system. Then everyone's knees were shot from all the kicking. It has an aftermarket electric starter but the battery is small and does not have many cranks in it before it goes dead. Guess who had jumper cables in his tail bag :oops: :mrgreen: After a short breather, we tackle the shortcut.
:tab John and Albie take point and I fall in behind them. To use the term shortcut seems innapproriate. The climb out seemed to take forever! Maybe it was one of those time slowing down things. I was so focused on dodging low branches, huge ruts, slick leaves, mud, branches on the ground, big loose rocks, and trying to keep the KLR moving so I would not lose momentum. It was a major workout and I was already running out of energy. Lunch time had long since come and gone and all we had was a few powerbars. Most of us had long since consumed our water bottles and camelbaks. At this point, all we wanted to do was get to the top of the hill and cruise back to town on the easy roads!
:tab Somewhere along the way, we had to come to a stop. We had reached a pretty steep section that made a big sweeping S curve up the hill and John was down. He got the bike righted, pointed in the right direction and refired! Whew! Then it was back to the grind! Finally, I reached a semi level point and decided it was a good place to stop for a break. I grabbed the camera to get shots of the others coming up.
Right where the road seems to end, it just drops away down the hill. This branch is a good indication of the debris we were dodging
Looks level because the camera is pointing down the hill, it is about a 30 degree slope, covered in wet leaves and mud
Uh oh, this doesn't look good. He's going the wrong direction!
Bryan and Bill taking a break...
:tab You might notice Bill's leg is still up in air! Caught in the act! :lol2: Bryan is trying to keep his bike from sliding back down the hill!!
Given our state of exhaustion, I convinced Bill to let me take his pic and I'd help him lift the bike :-P
Looking back down the hill
Looking up the hill from Bill's bike, Bryan is already up and gone!
Bill tries to get under way but all it does is spin the rear tire
And then he starts fishtailing, roosting dirt back at me!
Desmo walks back down to render assistance
This kind of shows how steep it is. Notice how Desmo has to stand. Also notice the rocks and branches on the ground!
Does that box make my butt look big?? :oops:
:tab We get everyone past this nastiness and get under way again after a breather. Barely a few hundred feet later we are back at it. We hit one section that is really steep with rock steps. The guys ahead of me are out of site. I manage to navigate the steps and then it levels out. I stop and walk back to show the others which route to take. Brian comes up, sees where I am pointing and makes it look easy. Moments later Bill does the same. Then Tim comes up, bringing up the rear. He goes the opposite direction from what I am pointing and soon stops. I can tell by looking at him that he is beat! We all are! It seems Bill had another drop just back down the hill and Tim really whooped himself helping Bill get going again and then fighting his way up this climb. So Bryan and I just help him walk the bike up the last few yards. Then we all just sit back and take some deep breaths. Finally, another few bends and we are near the top where it levels out for good.
:tab So the worst is behind us. I manged not to drop my bike and I'm feeling pretty good despite being worn out. We catch up to the others and regroup near the log that took me out this morning. I clear it with ease this time and we start working our way back to the actual gravel road. I am cruising along in first gear at maybe 15mph, dodging branches on the ground and rocks, and the next thing I know something slams me in the chest and the bike goes right out from under me. I land off to the side of the road and the bike lands a few feet away. I have no idea what happened, I can't breathe, and time slows to a crawl. It is a strange place to find oneself, laying in the underbrush, looking up through the thick green leaves at a blue sky, and wondering how you got here? I don't feel any pain, just that numb soreness and lack of oxygen...
:tab After what seems like forever, I hear bikes pulling up and stopping. I manage to raise a hand to attempt to signal I am okay, sort of... I try to sit up but still haven't really caught my breath and just lay back down. Someone comes up and it is Desmo asking if I am fine. I assure him that I just got the wind knocked out of me. I try to help him lift the bike but I simply have zero strength at this point. He gets the bike up and we look it over. It seems fine. I look back up the trail and there sits the stubby end of a branch, about chest high, that has been freshly snapped off. It literally jousted me right in the sternum below the point where the ribs meet. Fortunately, it was not green and snapped easily! Still, the ribs are tender and no doubt will be bruised.
:tab After we are sure that myself and the bike are fine, we remount and do the last bit back to the main road. Strange that I would survive the crazy stuff only to get whacked on what was supposed to be the easy part :doh: that has bitten me a few times and I think it is starting to get through my thick head! It ain't over until it's over! No sooner than I start riding, I look down and notice my bars are all out of what and I have to steer funny to keep the bike going straight!!
:tab Now you might think, "What's the big deal?" The deal is that on our previous ride to Clayton, I had gone down in some nasty mud and tagged a tree with the right hand guard. It bent the handle bar pretty good, but nothing else. After that trip, a generous member of KLR650.net sent me another set of stock bars for $10!! When I got them installed, I decided to go for a nice ride the next day. Sure enough, I slid out in a corner and when I came to a stop, I could not keep the bike from tipping on over. So over it went from a dead stop as I ejected. The bar bent in EXACTLY the same place!! With this ride looming I had to act fast and ordered a set of Pro Taper bars. This is what I had on my GS and they seemed darn near indestructible! I mean they survived having a GS land on top of them a few times!! They arrived in time and I got them installed. Today would be the first ride since getting them installed :lol2: Some people just can't seem to get a break!
:tab Anyway, we get back to the main road and I stop the group and we dig out some tools. The bars don't look bent. It seems that the triple clamps are tweaked. So I loosen the pinch bolts and we get everything lined up correctly and resnugged. Good to go we make quick work of the ride back to town. Everyone is totally beat and just looking forward to getting back.
:tab At the hotel, bodies aching, several of us grab something to drink and hit the hot tub. Those jets on the back and shoulders were Heaven sent! Twenty or thirty minutes of that and I felt like a new man. Well... I was at least able to creak my way over to the Mazzio's across the parking lot for the Pizza Buffet! Afterwards we retired to the porch to view pictures and have a few more drinks... for medicinal purposes of course :trust: Total miles for the day were around 35-40 miles with an average speed of maybe 7mph :lol2:
:tab Monday breaks and it is another beautiful cool day. Today is going to be a better day, I can feel it! Yeah... I can really feel it, every time I bend over, twist around, or pretty much use any muscle in my body. Tim has decided to sit out today and do some mild exploring locally on his own. The rest of us head out AR 123 looking for the first dirt road and then head up into the mountains.
:tab Things start out pretty tame. The recent rains have made some ruts in the roads but nothing bad. We soon get into a pretty good climb with lots of switchbacks. Bottom up is about 750 feet. We have to to a few quick GPS checks to make sure we are still on track. We reach a locked gate at the highest point, but the GPS shows a small road heading away from the gate. Sure enough, there is a little narrow path leading along the fence row that descends down into the woods. It is pretty wet, strewn with rocks and branches... down I go...
:tab The first half mile is pretty steep, narrow and rough. I try to stay relaxed and let the bike find it's path. It is hard to keep from picking up too much speed. Little branches are constantly whacking me in the helmet. The whole time going down all I can think of is, "Man, I hope we don't have to backtrack up this like we did yesterday..." Soon, the path levels out and runs along a ridge for ways and widens out nicely. The wet spots are not bad at all.
:tab When using a GPS, it is easy to miss turns. Sometimes I am not zoomed in enough and it is hard to see which road I am actually on before I realize I need to turn around. Also, the maps are not 100% accurate. So anyone that thinks having a GPS means you can't get lost has never done much exploring with a GPS. So that was the long way of saying I took another wrong turn. As we are going downhill, the mud factor picks up considerably and I as much sliding as I am riding. We reach a small level area and I stop. Bob pulls up beside me and shares his opinion of the road, hehe. It is not pretty! It does nto take much to convince me we have taken a wrong turn. The only thing is now we have to slide our way up hill... When I get turned around I notice about half the group stopped at the top, smart guys ;-)
:tab Seeing the mud we rode through to get down, the smart guys were standing around with their cameras waiting for us to make our ascent :lol2: I take a steady pace and stay on the gas. The bike squirms and slides, but it keeps going sure and steady. Mud is flinging pretty good. It is that thick red gooey stuff that clings like crazy. I make it up and park the bike. The wheels are hidden beneath a LOT of red mud! Then the rest of the guys start climbing up, sliding around, but all make it without incident. I think the smart guys are silently disappointed! We take a break and then backtrack to the last intersection and get going again.
:tab Before long, we reach another open area where logging has taken place some time in the past. The road just sort of peters out and goes nowhere. We spend some time poking around trying to see if we can pick it up somewhere, but the terrain drops away VERY fast on all sides. We are on a ridge outcropping. After several deadend attemps, it soon becomes clear that we are going to have to backtrack all the way back to the locked gate :doh:
:tab I take off in the lead for the climb out. I stand up on the pegs, keep the knees bent and relaxed, pull first gear and start working my way up. I actually prefer going up instead of coming down. It just seems easier for me. I am soon deep into the concentration, picking lines, dodging rocks, goosing the front end over obstacles, and having a good time. I reach a good sized log that spans the trail and try to square off on it. The front lifts over with no problem, but right as the rear starts to hit, the front hits another log ahead of this one but pointing a different direction! Both tires hit at the same time yanking me to a stop and the front just slides out from under me, tossing me right over the top and into some vines, branches and other junk. Right away I feel sharp pain in my right wrist. :uhoh:
:tab I get the engine killed and just sit down on a log. I am not real worried about getting the bike up at the moment. I try moving the wrist around to check for mobility and range of motion and it seems fine. It is just real tender! It would seem I have gotten lucky and only suffered a mild sprain, nothing some Ibuprofen won't fix later. Once again Desmo comes to my aid as he was right behind me. We get the bike righted and refired and I finish the climb out. At the gate we stop. My front end is tweaked again!! :doh: A few minutes with the tools and I get everything straightened out, but this time the bar is actually bent! Now I would not be so frustrated except that I have not been the only one dumping his bike!! It just seems I am the only one dumping it RIGHT ON the bars! Well, the bend is not too bad and I can easily ride the bike. After a nice break, I get to rerouting us.
:tab We decide to just hit one of the maintained forest roads that runs East/West over to Hwy 21 just South of Ozone. It is a nice wide road with some great curves! After all the tight crazy stuff lately, this is a nice refreshing change and I am having a blast cranking it up through the corners. I never really ride exceptionally fast on this stuff and actually go into the corners pretty mild. I just love to pin it coming out :twisted:
:tab In Ozone, we head East towards Ozone Mountain. Then we find our "road", a beautifully groomed trail that winds its way down nearly 1000 feet to the valley below. At the bottom it reaches Liddy Creek and we do our first crossing of the day. It looks pretty mild and the far bank does not look to steep. I head across and climb out with no problems. However, just after the climbout there are a few trees down and I get high centered on one and can't go anywhere! Albie comes up behind me and high centers next to me :lol2: Now we are sitting here looking at each other wondering how to get out of this predicament!? He finally manages to get his DRZ pushed on over and then helps me heft the KLR on over.
No, it wasn't the big tree, it was the little skinny one :-P
:tab After Albie and I get sorted, Wasabi makes it across. It turns out that if you make a sharp right just behind this tree as you come up the bank, there is a short go around trail that gets you past the downed trees :doh: I never saw it! Anyway, I grab the camera and head back to the creek.
Nace coming up for his crossing
Chris gettin'er done!
John making it look easy, as always...
There's that nice little go around trail :roll:
Bryan "hold my beer" Dolan
Remember, water builds up on the far bank making it slick... Bryan has to get on it to get out!
With everyone across, we take a nice muggy break
:tab After this crossing, the trail just sort of meanders along the little valley a ways and then starts to parallel a good sized river called "Little Piney Creek". It is absolutely beautiful down in here! We pass an really cool old house in a beautiful setting. It looks like it might be some kind of historical sight. For some crazy reason I don't stop to check things out and keep going. Soon after though, we reach a daunting sight... a wide fast moving river. No fear though, Bryan is all set to go as long as someone catches it on video!
Bryan "Dbdolan" leads the way
A pic of the whole scene after Bryan makes it across
Bill "Wasabi" gets caught by the strong current
Nace "Loose Bolt" gives his bike a much needed cleaning
After the previous day's dunking, he was determined not to drop the bike here!!
He made it. My camera CD filled up while he was midway across :doh:
:tab And finally is it my turn to head into the water. Everything seems to be going great until I get about midway across. I had watched everyone else go off to the right into the rocks so I was aiming for a tree off to the left. I was not prepared for the push of the current though and despite my best efforts to keep the bike pointed upstream, downstream I went, right into the rocks. The front end went right up onto a nice big rock right as I lost my momentum. I was up high and there was little chance of me getting a foot down to keep myself from going over! Bryan was there to save me and held me up just long enough for the bike to back down off the rock so I could get a boot down... and filled :roll: After that, an appropriate dose of throttle and the bidness was all settled!
:tab With Nace and Albie's bikes taking in a good dose of water, it was apparent we were going to be here a while. Also, there is some concern about which way the route goes from here because once again the map and reality are not agreeing. Albie had the presence of mind to bring a can of starter fluid with today and it makes all the difference in the world in getting his bike restarted!
Nace's KTM is a bit more stubborn though.
Just hanging out
Albie's DRZ, looking back across the river where we had come from
:tab The air is cool and dry right here next to the river. Only so many hands can get at Nace's bike at one time, so I go find a rock and lay back to enjoy the ambience! Other than this mysterious splashing coming from Albie's general direction, things were pretty sleepy :roll: ;-) It takes about an hour to get Nace's KTM fired up again. The bike got stood up on end, air box drained, air filter squeezed out, spark plug changed out, and the float bowl in the carb drained! As everyone remounts and heads off, I pull up next to Bob to make sure the XR650R will fire off. It takes a bit, but he gets it going and we set off to catch the others. They had stopped just up the road a ways. I passed on by them and got back to figuring out how to get us somewhere.
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