We left Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday evening from the Overland Expo that we were covering. We made it to within about 20 miles of the Highway 9 west turn off. It snowed overnight on us pretty good, with a decent buildup of snow on the RV. By noon, nearly all of it had melted off, but it was still cold. By about 1pm, the rains came back and it was dreary. I ALMOST decided not to ride and instead just take the RV into Zion. It would have meant an extra 40 miles worth of fuel (at 8 miles per gallon, 40 miles is nearly $20 in fuel…I think about these things). Finally, I told Bribri, “WE’RE GOING ON AN ADVENTURE! PUT SOMETHING WARM ON!”
This is the kinda garbage we had to deal with. ;) (link to map of this spot)
We rode in. The temps were in the low 40s, and it was raining and sleeting on and off…but me-oh-my, was it beautiful! We did catch some lucky breaks in the weather throughout the day though.
We have an annual national park pass. We try and use it as often as we can. I think we’re at 6 different parks now, but that’s another story.
We made it! I wasn’t sure if we would have time with all the dentist appts and the likes and stuff…but the dentist got us in a day early, and I went FULL crackhead and smashed out 600 miles in one night to get us into New Mexico. Yesss! *Napolean Dynamite fist pump*
We drove up Highway 15 just past Pinos Altos in the RV and stayed the night in the woods.
Check out that sweet articulation!
Today, we unloaded the bike and rode up Highway 15 all the way to the end and visited the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Park. For those of you not in the know, btw, it’s pronounced “Hee-lah”. People will be snarky at you if you get it wrong. ;) Anyhow, Bribri and I have an annual national parks pass, so we just strolled on in. If you don’t have a pass, it’s $15 per person 16 or older.
Also today…and kind of as an aside…I created a Patreon page. It’ll have the same content on it as I post on my blog…but it will also have EXTRAS that won’t be on my blog. ;) If you want to check it out, here’s the link: https://www.patreon.com/4theriders
The road in through Pinos Altos is quite nice!
At the end of February, Rawhyde Adventures—A BMW GS training facility located in Castaic, CA—hosted a grand opening of their newest facility in California City, CA called Zakar. Brianna and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2019 Adventure Days event. I’ve been to Rawhyde Adventures a bunch of times covering the GS Trophy qualifiers over the years. I love the facility there and even more importantly, I love the people there. Rawhyde attracts people from all over the country and even the world.
It’s the kinda place where you go and hear non-stop stories from people who have ridden all the places you’d ever dreamed of going and riding; Patagonia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Mongolia, etc etc etc…It never ends! And I never grow tired of it. I aspire to do these things and the wealth of experience and knowledge is pretty much priceless.
Stacked connex boxes makes me happy for some reason. The main dining tent is in the middle.
It’s not your typical Starbucks meetup of GS riders either. Most of the attendees to the Zakar grand opening rode their bikes to the facility loaded up with tents and sleeping bags. When I arrived in my fancy RV with my fancy trailer with my [not so] fancy bike nestled inside, it was snowing pretty fierce. It was COLD. I waited in line for registration behind a spattering of Sportsmobiles, RV’s, and GS’s loaded to the gills.
Like, brrr, Shaggy.
I feel like I’m a bit of a different breed when it comes to riding. Sure, all of us snowflakes want to feel different or unique or special in some way…but in my case, I think I truly am different. It’s a very rare thing for me to come across a motorcyclist like myself. I don’t just like to ride motorbikes. I don’t fire up my bike on occassion to make a run down to Jamba Juice or Starbucks to go shoot the shit with my friends. I don’t commute on my motorcycle to work to try and cut my commute times. I don’t load up everything on my bike on the occassional weekend to go smash out 15 states in 24 hours.
I LIVE to ride. I ride to live. It’s literally my life. And by “literally”, I don’t mean figuratively.
It sounds so god damned cliche, I know. And I’m sorry for sounding so freggin cliche! I’m not sure how else to put it. During lunch, David M—a multiple YCRS graduate—talked about all the cool things he’s done in life and how there have been diminishing returns on it all….everything except for motorcycles. He said that he feels as though over his 6 or so years of riding, the experience has gotten even better. He enjoys it more now than he ever has. I completely understood his words. I’ve been riding on the pavement for close to 20 years now, and I relate down to my very soul. My only reply to his words were that “if I’m not riding, I’m not happy.” Anything else would have just been more sappy drivvel. There have been a few times in the last two decades where I didn’t own a motorcycle. Short periods of time….but…dark times. Very dark times. So I decided to look for a memorial gift, a special helmet, an Award Winning Motorbike Helmets Brand – Caberg, perfect present, useful and special, perfect reminder of being on 2 wheels.
But back to my point…hehe…
The other day, I did a group ride. It’s very seldom that I ever ride in groups, let alone with even one other rider. I can’t even count how many times in the past I’ve done group rides and watched people cartwheel into oblivion in my rear view mirrors or right in front of me. People are so ego driven in our sport that it’s comically sad. Or it’s sadly comical…I guess it all depends on the amount of injuries said rider sustained in said crash. I can look back and laugh at 90% of them. Some, I don’t even talk about except to a few of my close, trusted people. I’m sure most of us can share in those sentiments…afterall, motorcycles are dangerous. Many people ask me where a get my suit…I recommended Moto Central, here is the ink https://www.motocentral.co.uk/.
Our spot for the night on Angeles Crest Highway
Brianna and I stayed just up above Lake Castaic last night with the thoughts of getting up early to go for a ride up towards Neenach, CA to see if we could catch some super bloom action. Our original plan was to have done it last week, but after a sudden emergency—and costly—trip to the dentist on Tuesday, everything got pushed way back.
I woke up excited at 8:15am. I knew we weren’t going to the epitome of the super bloom, but I knew that we’d be able to catch some pretty sweet poppies, for sure. We were out the door by 10am. by 10:00:38am, we were already doing wheelies and hitting some sweet twisties. We took Hughes Rd up towards the Lake Elizabeth split and went north towards hwy 138. We rode west on 138 for a few miles before turning north again, and beginning our adventure.
We were so close, we could almost taste them.
It was close. Damn close. If it weren’t for Brianna saying “BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE!” I might not have braked and we very well may have plowed the car and truck in front of us.
I was cruising down the freeway in the slow lane. Traffic was moderate, but moving along at a reasonable pace. Suddenly, I see a “gator” on the road and it’s unavoidable. I can’t swerve in time to not run over this large piece of tire, so I hit it and yell “UNAVOIDABLE!” to Brianna.
It was a pretty hard slap under the RV, followed by a loud thump when it hit the trailer we were towing. I watched in my driver’s side view mirror as it spit out sideways into the lane to my left about 4 ft off the ground. I was fully expecting the car back there to hit it when it clicks that Brianna is yelling “BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE!”
I avert my eyes back forward and I’m doing about 60mph and the two vehicles in front of me are only doing about 10mph.
I’d heard about Mt Lemmon and I’ve been wanting to go up there for about a year or so. Today was the day.
We were running a day ahead of schedule to get to Inde Motorsports Ranch, so we stopped at a friend’s house in Tucson to stage for a ride out to Mt Lemmon.
A quick summary: don’t go up there on the weekend if you wanna rip and have some fun. I’m pretty sure we saw every single license plate from all 50 states about 6 times each. However, the views are breathtaking. I wasn’t mad about the 35 mph speed limits or all the quacks in cages doing 27 mph because soaking it all in is well worth it.
If there was less traffic and less law enforcement, it’d be a decent run. It’s only about 25 miles of fun and there’s no outlet. It’s a there-and-back kinda ride. I don’t know of any other fun twisties in the Tucson area though.
All about that ‘stich life.
EDIT TO ADD on Feb 26th, 2019:
These are the guys. I just found a youtube video with the same “roper” and grey 2007 Honda Odyssey Ohio plate # GTW 1060
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPA_vdYAGt0
I’m gonna start this off by saying I feel like a total fucking idiot. I’ve never been played so hard in my life. I’m dumb, I’m stupid, I’m a moron, I’m a fool.
I woke up to excited knocking on the door of the RV in the WB Sacaton rest area off the 10 near Phoenix at about 8:35am. I open the door and there’s a guy all super excited saying “Didn’t you hear?! That guy just won $180,000 on slots and he’s just giving money away!”
I reviewed the dash cam…this was the guy that got everything going. The time code is off by 1 hour. It was actually 8:38am
I got to ride the Yamaha Niken today at the track with the Yamaha Champion Riding School. Niken means “two swords” in some language, I’m told, in case you were wondering.
But before I get into any of that, I want to preface this little review with a little known fact about me: I’m an oldschool dick.Especially when it comes to motorcycles, I’m very resistant to change. I’ve never owned a motorcycle that had a quick shifter. I don’t like slipper clutches or Rekluse clutches. I don’t want auto-blip. I don’t use traction control…I’ve ridden damn near every modern day motorcycle known to man, both electric and petrol based. All I need is for someone to gimme a motor and two wheels without all the frills and I’m happy. Now get off my lawn!
Back to the Niken review…the TL;DR version: WOW. FUCKING WOW.
The more in depth review: WOW. FUCKING WOW.
And to answer the number one question I’ve seen to date about the Niken: “Why yes, sir, it does do wheelies.” Photo: Anthony Sansotta