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 don’t know the exact count, but it looked as though upwards of 400 people attended the 2019 Adventure Days opening of the Zakar facility. It was a combined adv bike and Sportsmobile event. Though a medium sized group of people there weren’t actually motorcyclists, I felt that kindred spirit connection with them none-the-less. They were adventurers, wanderers, goers. People that loved, every bit as much as I, to see and do and explore. And hawt damn, they had some super cool overland 4×4 rigs!
Expedition 65…This was my personal favorite rig.
In the welcome email I’d received outlining what to expect, what to bring, and how to get there (which were GPS coordinates with an attached gpx file), there were several “self guided tour/rides” options with associated difficulty levels as well as a list of classes and times. The rides consisted of places like Burro Schmidt’s Tunnel and The El Paso loop, the X-15 Crash Site, the Ghost Town of Randsburg, the Trona Pinnacles, and the Switchbacks of the Paiutes.
Brianna and I opted for the Trona Pinnacles and Burro Schmidt’s Tunnel while we were there. Difficulty levels of easy and intermediate, respectively. We’ll get to that in a minute though.
The classes and presentations were varied and also very well attended. Stuff like navigation and how to use a GPS effectively, how to organize for serious adventure rides, what kind of stuff you should be thinking about in first aid kits as well as first aid tips, desert survival, tricks for spooning tires on and changing tubes, and so on. It was pretty cool. Like I said, people had come from all over North America to share their knowledge and experience.
Early risers checking out the list of available classes for the day.
The facility itself has everything. Power, water, bathrooms, showers, and even rooms you can book to stay in. It’s only a 10 minute drive or so to get to the town of Mojave for fuel or whatever.
The connex boxes are converted into little motel-like rooms with power, a bed, and little more.
I shot this very early on before even 1/4th of the people had shown up. I forgot to take another picture of the facility totally packed with people.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all prepared by the Rawhyde staff. They REALLY know how to take care of their guests. In all my experiences with Rawhyde, the food has always been amazing.
The night life there is fantastic as well. Everyone got together nightly around a big bonfire or under the tent for music and entertainment. The E and O Medicine Show never dissapoints, with Evan and Owen (both Rawhyde coaches) jamming the guitar and home made electric 6 string violin. I’ve seen these guys play about a half a dozen times so far, and it’s some of the most fun ever…especially when Owen starts rapping Snoop Doggy Dogg and such. Haha!
Getting ready for some fun!
Fire dancers? Yes please.
E and O Medicine Show, with Ron on the percussion!
During the next two days, I cruised around and snapped a bunch of photos of people doing their thing, be it attending classes, riding clinics, test rides, or just heeing and hawing with one another. I even got to do a test ride on the new GS 1250. Wow…what a machine!
The “dirt for beginners” riding clinic.
There were a few little places to go play.
I demo’d the UBCO 2×2 electric bike while I was there. It’s a pretty unique feeling having front wheel drive!
The fleet of demo bikes that were constantly being ridden by anyone who wanted to try. GS 1250, GSA, GS 850…pretty much the entire line of BMW GS bikes.
After shooting a buncha pictures each morning and then having lunch, Brianna and I set off to go shoot some bikes out on the self guided rides. The first day, we went up to the Trona Pinnacles. It was about an hour ride to get there from the Zakar facility. Maybe 8 miles of it was off road. It’s pretty breathtaking, honestly. The landscape is so harsh and desolate and unforgiving.
Everywhere were bikes. You pretty much could look in any direction and see a motorcyclist.
The Trona Pinnacles.
Jiri was having some fun out there on his rental GS 1250 from Rawhyde.
Brianna and I had some fun exploring the Trona Pinnacles on The Mighty FJ. It’s not exactly an adventure bike…but whatever. :D
The wheels are round and rubber…what more do you need? Pardon the cell phone quality.
The next day on our after lunch ride, we went to Burro Schmidt’s tunnel. It was closer to the facility than the Trona Pinnacles were, but it was muuuch more off roading to get there. So much, in fact, that I took 5 clicks of compression out of my shock. Haha! Some sandy washes, a few step ups and step downs… Everyone that saw not only the fact that I was riding this all 2-up, but that I was also riding it on Dunlop Q3 sport tires thought I was not only a bad ass, but that I was stupid. Haha!
If you’re wondering what the Burro Schmidt Tunnel is, here’s a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burro_Schmidt_Tunnel. From what we were told, Steve McQueen used to hang out there a lot.
Now tons of adventure rider guys hang out there. :D
Brianna and I walked the length of it.
The view on the other side is amazing.
I took a bunch of pictures of people being majestic and such while we were there.
Just gonna send it.
I too, shall just send it.
I’m pretty sure this guy is at least 65 years old. *fawn*
There was one GS casualty that required a tow out and to be loaded onto a truck.
All in all, we had an amazing time. A big thank you to Jim Hyde for having us out there and taking care of us for a few days.
If you’re at all interested in off roading adventure bikes and you want some training to be a real bad ass, you really ought to check out RawHyde Adventures. Their staff and coaches are amazing!
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