Ah shopping and a nice big meal......now that Im recharged, where was I...
Oh yeah....Body Surfing!
So body surfing is quite fun to do in the water on a nice warm day.
Body surfing through the mud out in the boonies is a whole other thing...
But I digress.
Joe proved the KLR is a real top notch piece of work...Even he couldnt kill it!
He basically ends up with no front brakes because the lever broke, managed to run it off a cliff, (Cabritos and I got trapped under the right side a few times during the extraction process) and it just started up and kept going. I would say his biggest issue was lack of confidence (or experience) because he never got up on the pegs and slowed too much at every obstacle. He just wouldnt get on the throttle when he needed too and the bike would sway and auger in.
Note to self: dont ever buy those imitation handlebar crash guards.
He had a set of Aceribis BRUSH guards that deceivingly look like crash guards. When the right side snapped off I looked closer and realized the mounting hardward was plastic not metal (software???). I mentioned it and Joe replied "Now I realize why there was big warning notes in the instructions about BRush guards not CRASH guards.....
Other note to self: Disable those safety switches. Its something you read about but think "mine works, if it aint broke dont fix it! Besides, it will never happen to me....right?!?!"
After seeing it happen to the guy next to me...Im a believer.
I haven't disabled mine yet but checked some forum threads and made a mental note as too which wires need to go where if it happens to me.
Did I digress again....ok back on track.
So a lot of stop and go slow going. My guys were doing fine and we were all hunky dorey at the back of the pack, stopping every few minutes to help Joe or the other random guys that had a fall or an issue of some sort. Nice thing about being at the back is by the time you get to the obstacles you've watched plenty of others go through and have your line picked out. down side is, they have usually created lots of ruts and mud and you have to help all the stragglers which can eat up a lot of energy.
I think the general feeling was that we had gone through the rough patch and it was going to get easier, I mean this is a beginner ride (really?? a Harley did this???) and they wouldn't lead a bunch of novices off into the boonies on a trail that they weren't capable of, I mean, someone must have reconnoitered this route before setting this up...right?!?!?
Word on the street was that the rains this year made it much tougher. But, unless it was a graded county trail the last time they went,I'm not buying it.
After 4 hours of fussing and fighting with motorcycles we did end up in a gorgeous place:
Some kind of groovey looking silt mine that they called the playground. Took a nice break and since you could now see down in to the Central Valley we really must have drunk the punch because now it seemed like the ride would be easy breezy....
So we left outta there after about 15-20mins. Everybody seemed ok, even Joe who had got the worst end of the stick so far. Bumpstart Billy was now parking his bike on inclines regularly and getting on fine, and heck it all down hill from here right?!?!
We ventured onto some roughly paved mining road and while I was told in the briefing they were all county roads we certainly went past a lot of "No Trespassing" signs, but hey, they must know where they are going..Having said that, the signs and the amount of shot gun shells I saw on the ground made me wonder......
We turned off the mining road and this is where it all started going down hill...figuratively and literally...
Back on the dirt, down a decent, not too technical but enough so that you had to pay attention and if your braking skills werent up to snuff it was going to be a bad day...
Gianni, Sauro and I can around the corner to find Jim (Yellow Suzuki pictured a few posts up), face down not moving, under the bike off the side of the road with no one else around. We quickly jumped off and moved the bike off of him being careful not to tweak his already tweaked ankle any worse than it was. He was responsive, no head injury, but was limping and complaining of pain in his ribs....
We rode his bike up the hill to a flat spot where he could mount it easier when we got going. It was at this point I started to notice how old Jim actually was. Its hard to tell these things with riding gear and helmets on, but If my memory serves me, I think I heard something in the range of 67 years old. Props to him for giving it a go!
So the next thing we see is:
(Unknown BMW rider)
Doc Wong on his yellow BMW GS comes blowing back up the hill, shooting by us and without slowing down sez something about turning around...followed by a gaggle of the rest of the bunch. Someone down the line explained they ran into a locked gate and had to reverse course back up the hill Jim fell on. Guess those "No Trespassing" signs meant something.
So we got Jim back in buisness, and followed him back up the trail to the semi paved road we had left earlier, where everyone was waiting. Its all a blur but I think Jim fell once or twice more on the way back up to the paved road.
At this point I pulled Doc Wong aside, who had been at the front of the ride the whole day and told him of Joe and Jim's predicament. While he seemed concerned and talked to both of them, I didnt get the feeling that he really understood the gravity of the situation these two were in. Having said that, there was not much anybody could do for them except to continue on, although I was really hoping that he would have some sort of eject plan in place in the event of just such a situation.
Now its starting to look like this:
(Central Valley way off in the distance, civilization so close but so far away)
And judging by my odometer and the way things are going, its going to be dark before we get outta the boondocks, not good... We get moving on, paved for a bit then turns to dirt again. Down DOwn Down.. Several falls from Joe and Jim...after a few miles Gianni, Sauro and I end up behind Jim alone, and the way Gianni put it: "I saw him just fall over on his side for no reason, like a Zombie! He was done"
At this point we were all thinking it but Gianni said it first.
There was now way Jim should continue riding that motorcycle, something had too be done.. We all checked our phones by no cell signals to be had..
One of the ironies here was, the general rule of trail riding that was stated over and over during discussion.
The "You are responsible for the rider behind You!" rule.
This seemed to go out the window right from the git go...
As our group stood there with the injured and battered Jim I could see the trail down the valley for at least a half a mile and no soul to be seen on that road. The strongest of the group had taken off leaving the weakest to fend for themselves...
We decided to send Gianni and Myself up ahead to get help and have Sauro stay with Jim. Gianni and I rode just past a half a mile and made the tail end of the group.
Our logic was, if we could get Doc or one of the experienced guys with the burlier BMWs they could ride him out on the back and he would abandon his bike to be picked up another day.
When we got to the tail end of the group (which was helping Joe get up from a fall) one of the other KLR guys (I never got his name but he had a newer red KLR and was one of the other guys really helping people out who were in trouble, Kudos to you too unknown red KLR guy) rode back with me while Gianni went to the front to find the Doc.
Me and red KLR guy got back to Sauro and Jim and were sorting it all out when Gianni and the doc returned with one extra on board. The extra rode the Suzuki down to the end and when Doc said he didnt think he could take Joe on his BMW GS 1200, Gianni stepped up and said he would try to ride him down
Now a little backstory: Gianni and I work together, he is fairly new to riding motorcycles and has owned his KLR for maybe 3 months. With the exception of one other offroad adventure he and his father did he has very little dirt experience and that why he attended the beginners course. Through out the day he made the best use of his time and tested his skills becoming one hell of a good enduro rider in a short 8hrs... Ive been riding for 25yrs, worked as a motorcycle courier for many years, raced bicycles around the world on and offroad, Ive spent a majority of my life on wheels 8hrs a day. I knew that my lowered suspension wouldn't handle a 200lbs guy on the back over that terrain. I was thoroughly impressed at what happened next
I was afraid Gianni was biting off more than he could chew, but we talked about it and agreed that Jim should dismount and walk the rough spots. Low and behold not more than a mile or so later, there was the group and the end of the trail.....sort of........I was amazed at how Gianni handled his bike 2 up, he had really become a good rider in just a few short hours and was a real hero of the day...