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Riding time for the kids

Tourmeister

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Howdy,

:tab A few weeks ago Ralph hosted the Family camp out and dirt bike weekend at the Sterling Ranch ATV/Motorcycle Park near Willis. Daniel and I were able to attend, but Beth, Rachel and Sarah were not. I had this past weekend off and the weather was looking to be spectacular, so... I decided to take Sarah and Daniel down to do some riding on Saturday. Rachel would spend the day with Beth. Friday night however, Rachel wanted to ride and then Sarah wanted to ride to "prep" for Saturday. I try hard not to say NO when the girls want to ride because they are off/on about their riding enthusiasm, as opposed to Daniel who wants to ride all the time. The following are just random shots from Friday and Saturday.

Rachel still doesn't ride her regular bike well, so she still has to use the training wheels on the motorcycle. She gets to practice in our back yard, which until Sunday was overgrown with massive clover patches!


For a long time, she was bad about sightseeing rather than looking where she was going. She has gotten MUCH better about looking where she's going!


Deep clovers!




This is Cody. He's not our kid. A friend is helping to take care of him. His Mom was killed in a car accident last year and I think his Dad has left the picture. He's a really cool and sweet kid. He did not get to ride though, just posed.


Sarah on her CRF110


She has fear issues and her confidence comes and goes. She knows this and is working hard at overcoming her fear.


Like Rachel, she too has really improved with respect to where she is looking when riding. Her control of the bike has improved as well. She even works with cones in the back yard doing weaves, tight turns, stopping in a small box, etc,...




:tab I loaded the kids and bikes and headed for the park Saturday. Not being much of a morning person, we got there around 1:00pm. Roger "Rsquared" and his son Mason were already there and had been riding. I got the bikes unloaded and ready for the kids. They were soon in a big open area near the pits riding in circles. The last time Sarah was here, she got REALLY freaked about the big water run off ruts on each side of the dirt road between the pit area and the big open area. She wound up barely even riding that time. This time, she is determined that she will conquer that fear and immediately sets out to riding back and forth across those ruts.



Daniel would MUCH rather be riding Sarah's bike, but for now agrees to ride his TTR50. I really need to get another bike for him.


Daniel crossing the run off ruts


They began practicing riding in tight circles


She's getting her head turned, but still not pushing the bike down while staying up on top. She lacks the aggression that Daniel has when riding




Daniel has better body position, but needs to work on turning his head a bit more


After crossing the ruts once, she just started doing it over and over until she was no longer afraid of it. It is cool as a Dad to see the kids learning and striving to do better. Best of all is seeing their satisfaction and confidence grow as they do better.




I even got her to practice riding over a "log" :lol2: Baby steps... baby steps...


:tab I got the XR80 fired up so I could ride with the kids and we began wondering around the park. Last time we were here, the trails were not marked for direction so we just made small loops in one area. This time they are marked and there are more riders present so we are trying to make sure we follow the arrows. However, a few spots aren't clear so I proceed with caution. We had one almost close call, and I am sure it freaked the other rider because he wasn't expecting to see anyone, but we were off on a side trail and he had plenty of room to zoom on past us. So we turned around and headed back for the little roads where there was less traffic.

:tab I got off the road and back onto a wide trail section that had a lot of sand and small branches/roots on the ground from recent clearing work. Sarah ran right through it with no problems. However, at one point we came upon a large wide ditch. Daniel and I just rode down through it and came up on the far side. I looked back and Sarah was on the ground at the top of the hill on the entry side. Upon seeing the ditch she panicked and hit the front brake, washing out the front and hitting the ground. She got the bike up but she was really worked up into a tizzy. "I am NOT riding across that!!" To be fair, it is at least a 15-20 foot drop in elevation over a somewhat steep entry. There is water running across the bottom and a good bit of deep sand on the exit before the climb out on the far side. So I sat with her for a few minutes and got her calmed down before we turned around and rode the long way back the pit area.

:tab Sarah decided to take a short break after the big ditch ordeal so Daniel decided to ride her bike for a bit. I rode around with him on a few trails and he did some fun hills. Then he rode a while with Jason, Brad's son. Brad is the park owner. Jason was riding a XR70. After that, Daniel was pretty much done riding. He played on the trampoline with Brad's other son and generally just goofed off for the rest of the afternoon.

Roger, Mason hiding behind Roger and Rob "Woodsguy"


:tab I took a hair raising spin on Roger's KTM 250 SX something or other. It's a two stroke. We rode some of the single track trails. The trails in this park are narrow and tight! There is a lot of loose sand, roots, stumps, creeks, etc,... So it was challenging. I can see how this bike would be awesome for someone with serious trail riding skills, but that is not me :giveup: I don't think I ever got out of first gear or even let the clutch out all the way!! :lol2: By the time we got back to the pit area, I was ready to get off the bike. I was already getting arm pump.

:tab After a break, I fired up the little XR80 and convinced Sarah to just go putt around with me, exploring the park. We stayed off the actual trails and just cruised down the little dirt roads created when the timber crews came in to work the property. She likes those. I took her across the dam to the spill way to see if I could get her to ride across it with me. She stopped short and sat there shaking her head... "NO!"

It's a gentle slope down about eight feet vertical change in elevation, but to a kid it looks MASSIVE! It is not slick at all.


Looking back along to the top of the dam toward the pit area


:tab I rode back and forth across the spillway a few times to show Sarah how to do it. Finally, I got right beside her and we slowly went down and across together. We climbed the far side and rode further back into the property. She hates sand, so we rode in some sand and she did great. She even negotiated a couple pretty nasty mud spots without me having to stop and help her. As we got near the back corner of the property I pulled over to stop and she came sliding up beside me. She was fortunate that she did not go down because she grabbed a fistful of front brake and slid in the mud. I am still working with her on using the back brake when traction is questionable! We turned around and worked our way back to the spillway, but this time the mud almost got her. She stopped and I had to go back to talk her through it. She lined up on what looked like a good path through the mud and hit it... The back end slid out and a split second later she was going sideways for the edge of the trail... and a nasty drop into a tangled mess of exposed tree roots reaching down to the bottom of a wash. She managed to stop short, which is good because it would have been a REAL chore getting her and the bike up out of that tangled mess!! Worse, she would have been an emotional basket case. As it was, she stayed calm, I got her straightened out, and we were back to riding. She wanted to go practice crossing the spillway some more.



Climbing out the longer steeper side of the spillway. The back protector on her jacket is to long and when she sits, it pushes the top up against her helmet. This annoys her and makes it hard to turn the head. I need to find a better fitting jacket for her.


Coming back down for another pass


LOTS of enthusiasm now and no fear! :clap:


yeah... I need to work on the photo skills... This one sucks


I have no idea who this young lady might be. She was there with her Mom and Dad. I think she might have been 12-16 years old, but at my age, I am a terrible gauge of age in young people :shrug: They had a sweet triple axle enclosed trailer pulled by a fire breathing monster diesel dualie of some sort.


I think that is a TTR125?




:tab After doing so well with the spillway crossing, I asked Sarah if she wanted to attempt the big ditch again. Riding high on her new found confidence she agreed. So we wandered over behind the main house to the ditch. I talked with her for a few moments about how to approach it and then showed her how. She then followed me through and did it perfect!! Of course I didn't get any pictures of that attempt, but she did agree to try a few more times so I could get a few shots.

Here she is at the top psyching herself up for another run


It's relatively smooth, but it is kind of steep and sandy...


:tab She did great on the entry, hit the water, plowed into the sand... and wiped out! :lol2: She was fine because the sand is deep and soft. I asked her if she knew what she did wrong, "I looked down at the sand!!" To which I replied, "And that is where you went because you go where you look!" We both laughed and she took it well.

That big rut behind her is where the back end spun out. That's Daniel playing in the mud behind her.


:tab She did not want to ride the bike to the top of the ditch. She really wanted me to do it for her. I gently refused. On the upside, there is a big deep wash out down the right side of the slope. However, there is still a wide smooth area to the left of it. I pointed to a telephone pole in the distance that lined up with the smooth side and told her to just keep her eyes on that as she went up the hill. She fired up the bike and took off. The back end spun out and slid around as she went, but she kept her eyes on the pole and stayed on the gas, making it to the top with no problem! :clap: At this point, I thought she was done and ready to head for the pits. I walked back up the hill to my bike and put my gear on, but when I turned around, she was perched at the top of the hill wanting to make another run at it! So she waited for me to get my gear off and get ready for pictures.

You can see the pole in the distance...


This gives a better view of the wash out she was worried about...


She plowed through the sand with no problems, crossed the water...


and made it to the top of the hill in perfect form!


:tab Rob's son and his family showed up later in the afternoon. One of the bikes they had is a KTM 250 XCW, a "mild" version of Roger's bike... I got to take this for a spin on the trails with Rob. It is indeed a milder version of Roger's bike, but it is still a handful for an inexperienced trail rider! I have no doubt I would like it if I stick with trail riding and get better. Right now though, I am thinking something easy and small would be better for me. A Honda CRF230F looks appealing and won't break the bank. For now, I am just looking for a kid chaser.

:tab Speaking of kids, they were done riding around 5:00 or so and we just hung out enjoying the company of Rob and his family on an incredibly beautiful day! :sun: Roger and Mason had left earlier and the park had pretty much cleared out at this point, so we were the only ones here. It would have been a PERFECT evening to camp out under the stars.

Rob, his wife Becky, and their current crop of "kids"...


:tab Rob is one of those old racers that thinks he's a slow rider now... He spent a LOT of time waiting on me to catch up to him on the trails :lol2:

:tab The kids had a great time. We cruised over to the Chik-Fil-A in Willis for dinner. Sarah was quite excited about all the challenges she managed to face and conquer in one day. I even had her going over some little hills that were a few feet tall but fairly steep. She did the big ditch, the spill way, some deep sand, the ruts on the road, a "log" and some nasty mud. For Daniel, that's all just part of the package and he scarcely gives it a second thought. But it was a BIG deal for Sarah and I am quite proud of her for working so hard. We've recently been talking about rational versus irrational fears and I think she took some of that to heart and put it into action! Daniel pretty much has no fear :flip:

:tab I can't wait to get them back down to the park for more riding.
 

cdc

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Excellent.
That would be the way to learn to like dirt...
Kind of late for me!
 

Tourmeister

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Excellent.
That would be the way to learn to like dirt...
Kind of late for me!
:tab Not really... I did not start riding dirt until I was 38. My mistake was starting on a BMW 1150 GS rather than something small like an XR200. My problem now is that I have to unlearn some bad habits and get rid of some fears that were created by riding the big bike first. You should come out to one of the dirt events and just putt around on some of the smaller bikes. I think you might find that it is quite fun even if you are not an expert like other riders.
 
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Awesome Scott! Kids are doing great. To me a big part of what this hobby is about is getting to share it with our kids and get them away from the gadgets while exploring a new adventure together. Good to see the girls getting in on the fun and that Daniel is going to be a force in a few years, it was neat to see how confident and aggressive he was a few weeks ago at the camp out.

Hang in there in the dirt, I didnt start riding at all until almost 4 years ago (40) and learn new things every time I throw a leg over. Main thing is have fun and ride my pace. Good on ya!

Yall are doing great!
 

M38A1

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Great story, Scott.....

When you say you suck at some shots, looking at the EXIF information there's a couple things you should try next time out.....

For openers, there's a world of difference between the backyard shots about 6:30pm and shade vs the bright sunshine shots the next day. Sunshine is your friend.

Do you have a "CF" mode for Continuous Focus? If so, try that next time. What it does is lock the focus bug on the subject and retains focus on that subject as long as you have the shutter button slightly depressed. Just don't forget to set it back to S "Single Point" when you are done.

I noticed you were shooting ISO100 for most of the park shots. Man, bump that up to your 640 you seem to like or even 800-1200. What that gives you is way more capability for faster shutterspeeds which translates into less motion induced blur. And faster shutterspeeds will allow your camera to better track/stay on top of the subject and grab it when you are panning.

Give those two things a try next time out!
 
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Good report, Scott. "It's a gentle slope down about eight feet vertical change in elevation, but to a kid it looks MASSIVE! It is not slick at all." When my wife was learning to ride, she was faced with a very similar situation and her reaction was also shaking her head no. She said, "You expect me to ride down that CLIFF." Memories and good times. Let's all enjoy them. Thanks for posting.
 

Tourmeister

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Great story, Scott.....

When you say you suck at some shots, looking at the EXIF information there's a couple things you should try next time out.....

For openers, there's a world of difference between the backyard shots about 6:30pm and shade vs the bright sunshine shots the next day. Sunshine is your friend.

Do you have a "CF" mode for Continuous Focus? If so, try that next time. What it does is lock the focus bug on the subject and retains focus on that subject as long as you have the shutter button slightly depressed. Just don't forget to set it back to S "Single Point" when you are done.

I noticed you were shooting ISO100 for most of the park shots. Man, bump that up to your 640 you seem to like or even 800-1200. What that gives you is way more capability for faster shutterspeeds which translates into less motion induced blur. And faster shutterspeeds will allow your camera to better track/stay on top of the subject and grab it when you are panning.

Give those two things a try next time out!
:tab I still struggle with the exposure triangle. I was under the impression that you generally wanted to keep the ISO as low as possible to avoid noise issues. I was thinking that with the crazy bright sun, I should be able to get away with the low ISO and still get decent shutter speeds even shooting around f/8 to f/11 for better depth of field to help with focus issues. Getting sharp focused images has been a real struggle for me with this camera. If I use a big aperture to allow for higher shutter speeds, I often get shots where everything but what I want to be focused is in focus. If I go to a smaller aperture for better depth of field, I get motion blur because of low shutter speeds. As a result, MANY of my shots normally have ISO 6400 or higher unless I am in bright sunlight or am blasting away with the flash. Sometimes I get confused about what the camera's auto features will do with letting one or more of the exposure settings float. Maybe I should start shooting full manual versus aperture mode?

:tab Speaking of focus. My D7000 is set up right now where the top button only does exposure and shutter release. The AE-L/AF-L button on the back is set to focus. If I push and hold, it constantly refocuses on the center point. If I push and release, it locks the focus, like for reframing after focusing. It is set to AF-Continuous and d21 (for the number of focus spots). Also, the shutter is set to release regardless of focus. I have used it this way for a while and have been thinking about resetting it back to the defaults.
 

bwdmax

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Good times for sure!!:clap:

I will have to show these to the kids tonight. I wish it was not so far for us to Willis.
 

M38A1

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On the noise issue, with your body you should be clean up to 6400 if I recall correctly. And barely visible at 12,800 but it's creeping in on the D7000. So pretty much anything you shoot at 6400 and below should be awesome. In daylight, that allows you to get crazy high shutterspeeds wide open on the aperture, or fast shutterspeeds at mid-range apertures.

Try shooting at 3200 and 6400 and see if you can tell a difference. I bet you'd be hard pressed. Also, check to see your ISO isn't floating around on AUTO. That's a crutch in some ways to understanding what the camera is doing on it's own. If you manually set ISO, if you dial in a desired exposure solution and it doesn't work, ask yourself "WHY doesn't it work"? It's either ISO, SS or Aperture and if the camera is on AUTO, you don't know what it's trying to do. It just does it.

Make sense?
 

Tourmeister

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I do start seeing grain or "noise" at around 3200 and definitely at 6400. However, it cleans up well in LR4. I pretty much never go over 6400. If I am shooting indoors with the 18-200 lens, then it almost always heads straight to 6400 if I am shooting in aperture mode and shooting wide open at relatively low shutter speeds.
 

M38A1

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I do start seeing grain or "noise" at around 3200 and definitely at 6400. However, it cleans up well in LR4. I pretty much never go over 6400. If I am shooting indoors with the 18-200 lens, then it almost always heads straight to 6400 if I am shooting in aperture mode and shooting wide open at relatively low shutter speeds.
Ok, seems like you have your head wrapped around the concepts then. Indoors consider a flash in the hotshoe, TTL ALL the time! It just 'knows' what to do and turns out every time.
 
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