There and back again, a break-in ride.

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There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by Funkweasel » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:47 pm

This will be a bit rambly as its also a noob intro. :D

So this all started with a mistake. It was Dec. 1st and I *really* didn't want to work on my old Jeep project, do any research, or really much of anything. Cory (wife who figures awesomely in this tale) asks what I've been looking at for a couple of hours and I show her some pictures of a Gear Up and mention that there was a dealer only 150 miles or so away. I figured I wouldn't stop obsessing so we went on down to Triquest to talk to Ski. Ski is awesome and took us through the shop talking metallurgy, bearings, electrics....everything. We were literally taking stuff apart. This mistake: even going to look at them. Had to have one. Cory agreed after seeing the 2wd and the comfy monkey seat. By next Saturday Ski had unboxed and prepped our Gear Up so we could break it in overnight and get it back to him on Sunday. See....we wanted to take it to Prescott, AZ for Christmas via the Mojave Road and as much off road as reasonably possible. Ski really came through on a tight schedule and we picked her up on the 8th to break it in:
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Now you see, Ski is chatty and well I am too....we didn't actually leave to head home until it was quite dark. I'm not a bad motorcycle rider and I'm a decent wrench, but its a new bike and I've never ridden a sidecar. Whatever, we took back roads...froze a bit....got bad gas mileage....had a total blast. Next morning we woke up to take it back:
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Ski finished it up and drove the bike back up to us on Thursday for us to leave on Monday after prepping it a bit. Due to the hurry I had some Kenda 335s delivered direct to him, some heated gloves installed, somehow a 49 state airbox found its way on there...normal stuff. Ordered up a bunch of spares (cables, u-joints, etc) as well as a Givi A620, some Moose Racing bash guards/deflectors, and some k&n precleaner raw material. Planned on having our shop opened up a bit (one project leaving to make room) and that got delayed. Yay. So we got to prep the bike in the rain, under a tarp clipped to the shop, in our alley. So...extra day to prep:
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Basically we just added a 20l gas can/mount (don't laugh...we used it) and moved the smaller can to the outside of the hack. Added some quickfists for mounting the shovel, a hatchet, and some other bits on the inside. The bashguards are very nice but don't fit perfect. Took a little time. Whatever, we were off on Tuesday morning with tent, food, bags, clothes, riding clothes, spares, thermarests, heated seat for Cory, first aid kit, water filter.

Here's the basic route we followed, all 4000kms worth:
http://spotwalla.com/embed.php?id=5d7d5 ... refresh=no

Basically the plan was to go down the foothills to ultimately make it to the Mojave. 1st destination was Bass Lake:
Hwy 49
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Sonora
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More Hwy 49
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Yay, twisties!!
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Got to Bass Lake pretty late, but the campground was empty and the view is awesome too:
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Got a bit cold and frosty....1.5L water bottle half frozen...so not too bad:
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Lake bed was frozen enough for walking out on
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Frozen sea (yeah yeah...lake) shell
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Your reporter
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and his monkey
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Not many pictures of the next part of the adventure...basically we headed up over a pass to Lake Isabella in a snow storm, hit ice and snow around 8-9pm...hit another pass to Ridgecrest that was less cold and harrowing. Next post will begin with the Mojave Road. If you don't know what that is...its basically a 4x4 trail directly through the Mojave Desert Preserve. Its awesome and you should check it out. :wink:
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by cdscoot » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:52 pm

Sounds like you guys are tougher than the normal bike rider! How cold has it been ? Sounds like a real adventure !
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by gflapg » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:02 pm

Nice report. Keep it up and welcome.
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by pierce » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:09 pm

You are very lucky to have such a PRETTY wife to share your adventures with. I am looking foreward to the rest of your report. :)

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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by Funkweasel » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:12 pm

So....we headed to Barstow to ask at the Ranger station about "the" water crossing to get onto the Mojave Road at the beginning of the West->East route. This is the 1st experience with the **absolutely** unfailingly incorrect information we would receive from every park/public servant for the rest of the trip. I kid you not...not one right bit of information or help was forthcoming. The ranger lady, errrr conservationist, even suggested she would have to call the park people to warn them of an "ORV" heading into the park if we went....even after we explained it was a licensed, road-going vehicle. She also stated we would certainly get stuck in Soda Lake as it was mired in water, and that there was no known water crossing into the Mojave Road. :roll: I hope a desert tortoise bites her.

Anyway we got to Yermo, CA (ie nowhere) and started into the road. Basically its a river w@$#, and remains that way for quite a number of miles:
Yermo to Afton Canyon
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It doesn't look deep, but I assure you when we stop the pontoon mufflers live up to their namesakes. Even in 2wd we would have to run beside the bike, get it up on the bow wave of sand and hop on and watch the sand spray out the rear. Seriously fun.
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More pretty
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Bike overheats a bit at these speeds/throttle, so we would find rocky bits to let her cool off
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1st steep and rocky uphill to the left here
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View from the top
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We *love* this thing
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Ok....so we made the washy, sandy part and are ready for more adventure.....the water crossing we know of is coming so we ask an ATV guy how deep it is: "Meh, maybe 10-12...you can make it easy, but the 2nd one is pretty deep but there's a bypass on the rails" Heh, made it just fine much to the amusement of onlookers at the campground nearby. Problem was the next one was 18+" deep and I hadn't setup a snorkel, no skid plate (there were rocks), etc. Went to look at the bypass: LMAO! He meant ride the rail bridge. Well the bike barely fits and the trains have pulled up out of the valley at well over 50-60mph....no go. Figure we'll head back and bypass this section. Bike had nearly stalled out with the low exhaust so we hit it a little faster, and well it makes for more awesome pics.
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Innocuous the first time through
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Woot!
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Errr.....
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Damn.
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To Cory's credit she bailed over the side and started pushing before I was even off the pegs.

Dammit, dammit, dammit....
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So kicked water out, drained carbs, pulled filter/airbox, swapped plugs, double checked FD/oil...the little bastard fired up and cleared its throat pretty quick. At least enough to get us back up hill to the campground. Its now pretty late and *seriously* cold. We lay everything out to dry and start setting up camp while I check the bike over some more. Its still actually pretty powerful (Ski had mentioned that the bike seemed like one of the stronger ones)....fingers crossed.
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While we were setting up, some serious UDF hits. An RV couple has come in on the access road to the camp and wander over to chat. They were *****awesome*****. Seriously nice folks and helped Cory find firewood and setup while I was working. They even brought over coffee the next morning. The night was pretty bad....fire melted some bits of my gloves/socks, curled my riding boots a bit....and dropped under 20F. Really. Frozen solid 1.5L bottles, but we were careful to pack some in the tent with us.

Next post we bypass Soda Lake since it was reported to be soggy and anxiously keep an eye on the water logged Ural....
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by MartyL » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:26 pm

Welcome!! Excellent report.
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by gflapg » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:16 pm

Someone is also a very good photographer. Thanks.
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by Funkweasel » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:55 pm

Ok, so we bypassed Soda Lake and reentered at Brannigan Mine Road. This figures later in the story when we avoid some fairly odd people who I'm sure were serial killers.

Anyway, more sand and cattle stuffs
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Rear shot showing camping gear and sand
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Luckily the scenery changes in the Mojave
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The problem is that most bikes travel east to west and I'm constantly in a trough. I didn't mind, Cory liked the view, but the exhaust was hating life
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This was pretty interesting...lots of volcanic rock/etc...
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What was weird was that we saw freaking melons hanging over the edges and along the way
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Apparently they're called Coyote Melons are are so bitter they are inedible, except for the seeds. We saved one for our hippy botanist friend to play with. There were cacti on the cliff face too, prompting a Troy's a freaking dork picture
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I like the cairn (which btw are friggin hard to find going West->East)
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Another scenery change and we get some Joshua trees
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And a mailbox
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Its cool since there's a solar powered light, people drop life saving goods in the mailbox (ie condoms, bullets, ponchoes, beanies, porn, maps) along with the trail sign-in
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While we were letting the bike cool down I noticed a little bit of green man-made stuff about 50 yards off the trail
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Awesome frog monument and wishing well (yes we left a dollar)
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At some point we enter a whoops section with a long, long series of 3 foot deep rollers. It was fun, but a bit tiring
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Little history
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So it was getting late in the day and we were pushing to get to the officially indicated camp site (dunno why we can camp anywhere...maybe I was punchy) and we hit a Joshua Tree forest
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Apparently many 4x people bypass this section as it gets very narrow and eroded. Nice to know afterwards, but then I'd do it anyway.
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I hit a cactus that was across the road. It wasn't my fault. Whatever....I still have cactus spines in my hand and they are literally embedded in the handguard plastic. Cory pulled a 3/4" one out of my knee the next day too. So....the spot light has to come on here and we're going over some really angled (ie I'm peg legging since the bike is teetering on its balance point) stuffs
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Unfortunately the "campsite" is a private "we'll shoot you" spot....wtf? We found an ideal spot. Located where the bypass remeets the harder trail. I figure if the bike doesn't start someone will be by (did I mention the last entry at the mailbox was a week before that??).
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Desert sunsets and cold are too awesome to describe properly
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From here to I95 the road got rougher and the scenery changes (we didn't take pics of the snow in one of the desert mountain passes, but I assure you it was there)
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This downhill was pretty rough (pics just don't come through) and we were overheating crawling over rocks/etc going *down*
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Pretty tame, but we were still getting a feel for the little guy
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Rest stop
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Done! Headed towards Oatman, AZ (pseudo-ghost town) with oddly xmas-decorated bushes for many miles
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This is old route 66 and some abandoned buildings
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Oatman has jackasses aplenty and is +1 for the day :wink:
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This one tried to bite Cory or at least get a little something to eat in the hack. Maybe she should have made her cordura door a little taller?
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Twisties! On the way to Kingman we actually saw a BMW with a Ural sidecar hack....so freaking awesome! They were waving all their hands at us while we did the same. In Kingman I had to grab some jeans and gloves. I'd ripped mine (getting old and fat is so awesome). Got some duckcloth Carhartts and fleece lined Carhartt gloves. Still using them and rode through some serious weather with them. Highly recommended. Oh and we had to change out the pusher tire...335 was already killed. :x Irritating.

The plan was to go over Hualapai mountain on dirt...but we hit a road block
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The ranger *literally* refused to tell us which unsigned road was the right one. In her mind only a "offroad capable" vehicle could make it. At this point we just gave up and bypassed the lot. Road Rte66 through the Supai Indian reservation. We'd already been to Havasupai so we skipped it with some time pressure. I highly recommend camping there if you get the chance. btw...you need extra gas to make this road to Seligman. Luckily we were well stocked and only had to break out the jiggler once.
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Made it to Williamson Valley road in Seligman which is a local dirt road through Prescott National Forest and dumps us out 10 miles from Cory's folk's house.
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Got some snow and mud, but pretty tame and fun overall
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Lots of bridges
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Its not christmas in Prescott without Javalina
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Mostly Prescott before xmas consisted of doing some errand shopping, buying Cory some Carhartts of her own, buying a Duro from the Prescott Ural dealer, and finding a 60s era badass leather jacket for Cory from a local indoor swapmeet for easy money. She is officially cuter *and* more stylie that me now. However, after xmas it was time to explore.
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We went looking for a neat hiking trail up Senator Highway. Rode past some two trucks winching their buddy out onto a more tractive surface. Guys just didn't miss a beat....pointed the way towards where they thought the trailhead might be and giving the thumbs up. Snow was so deep at 8000 feet the trail head signs were covered, so we turned back and went exploring for another hiking trail...sue me..we left our helmets in the trunk for the 5mph search....
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Cool frozen waterfall....looked severely unstable though so we got out of there asap
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Think I was being hyperbolic do you.....two days later:
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We found a cool old mine(?) building that was so reinforced we started looking across the river for other stuff
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And found it
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and then some
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View back across the river to that building
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Then it started snowing snowballs at us
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Jeep trail to Groom Creek Trail. We'd been on this one before and its a little long, but pretty.
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No Jeeps recently
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Unfortunately we were following a set of deer tracks and a little something else that was fresh enough to splash mud unfrozen in the last hour
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I'm not exactly tiny-handed
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So we went home for a bit and gave some rides around the neighborhood. :-)
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Soon it was time to leave and get truly tested and dirty.....
Last edited by Funkweasel on Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by Funkweasel » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:58 pm

cdscoot wrote:Sounds like you guys are tougher than the normal bike rider! How cold has it been ? Sounds like a real adventure !
Yeah it got pretty cold a few times. I think the worst was Afton where we had a verified 15-20F while we were wet, followed by going down the Tehachapi pass on Hwy 58 in the dark with sleet, snow, and fog. That sucked.
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by Funkweasel » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:01 am

gflapg wrote:Nice report. Keep it up and welcome.
Thanks! Will do.
pierce wrote:You are very lucky to have such a PRETTY wife to share your adventures with. I am looking foreward to the rest of your report. :)
Agreed. :D
MartyL wrote:Welcome!! Excellent report.
Thanks! It was a seriously fun trip.
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by socklessman » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:40 am

Hey

Welcome and might I say
what a freaking awesome intro.
Might I say also what a cool
break in ride and
awesome gal you have too.

Congradulations on your
ride I am happy for you!
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by sagerat » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:24 am

Great report. Wonder why the pusher died in less than 400 kms?
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by Funkweasel » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:30 am

So the plan leaving Prescott was to keep the knobby on for as long as possible through the Mojave again and change to the more road-oriented Duro and head west to the coast. First we planned to take Camp Wood Road from Prescott (basically) to Baghdad, AZ. Pretty high road and we knew we'd hit snow....

Ascending
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Gettin a little tired of this....
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Exhaust finally just gave up and came apart. Nut was nowhere to be found and I had a spare that was hiding from me. So we hose clamped the back side, kicked the muffler on further (damn shame what happened to those cats....), and made use of our big supply of zip ties. Truck passing by said "Yep, its a little rough on up thereabouts. Have fun!" Hmmmmm.....

Beautiful
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Getting softer
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Colder
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Road block...well...I'm lying...this is from the other side after we forced our way around the obstacle. This was a big accomplishment though as we really didn't want to have to turn back
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The creek crossing was very, very deep with huge (literally feet wide) chunks of ice floating in the rocky stream. There was no bypass.
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Except if you look to the left of that last picture. See the large rocks before the iced over creek? It turns out a Ural in 2wd *can* push up over an icy embankment, put its hack wheel up on a rock face, go around a smaller rock and traverse a sufficiently thick ice-covered creek. Needless to say I was muttering something that sounded like prayers and curses. Then I had to run it into a tree...thought the branches would give more. Cory now looks through pretty scrached lexan. But we made it. :boogie:
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Feeling quite full of ourselves we pushed on and with a sense of relief we hit the top of the mountain and headed into a high plain sort of area
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Now, you see....we hit a bit late in the melty part of the day and the mud got pretty thick
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Last pic before we were just too busy to bother...the off angle is because there are quite a lot of rocks, ruts, and other bar slamming obstacles in there
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This took quite a long time to make it through. We were covered in sticky clay mud from running and leaping into the moving bike. The ranchers had to be laughing their asses off when we went by. Eventually it started drying out
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The best part of this picture is that I had been wearing gloves and still got my hands that muddy
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Pretty
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The best part is that we made it to Baghdad! Broken exhaust and a torn off engine guard (seriously...triangulation people...triangulation). The rock that got us on that one was a doozy and I'm glad to only have sheared the bolt off. Once we entered Baghdad we had to get gas from the gas station in town. Some guys were there getting their rig fixed after they had ripped their front driveshaft u-joint in half trying to make the muddy pass we just came down from. They were super impressed for what its worth. Score another point for the Ural. :cheers:

The only thing with a possible way to fix the bike was Parker, AZ so we made an extra long day and aimed for a hotel.
Desert was pretty...but it was just more desert...you had to be there
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Next morning a couple on a Goldwing at the same hotel we found came over to chat. The pillion rider was more than a little jealous of Cory's seating arrangements.

Bike was still a bit muddy
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Headed to Napa to see if anyone in town had an easy out or something we could begin repairs with in prep for attacking the Mojave again. The two guy's running the store came out before we even came in. Younger dude said nope no shops open on Sat. but he lived 3 blocks away and we could use his gear. I was like nfw...is this happening(California has jaded me)...sweet. We take the Napa van to his house and he just starts handing me tools and parts....

Problem was the lower bolt was fully seated and sheared so we had to drill a tight fitting shaft
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For a cut off bolt (it was nice of him to give me *his* eye protection and hope for the best!) to be hammered into place:
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And welded (he just handed me his MIG gun and asked what setting I wanted). Finito...good as new:
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See here's the thing. John (turns out he's the co-owner of that Napa) had a bunch of his race equipment and tools stolen just a bit previous to inviting complete strangers over to his house to use more of his equipment and tools, and literally demanded that he receive nothing in return. When we visit him again I'm getting him drunk on my dime whether he likes it or not. :D

Kept fixing up the bike in their parking lot. Note the caved in muffler.
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A straight up awesome dude John is. Its refreshing to meet people like that and remember how awesome people can be to each other.
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It was time to reenter Cali and the Mojave across the Colorado
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The plan was to explore some other bits of the Mojave we missed and to complete all the sections of the Mojave Road that we had bypassed....
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by Funkweasel » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:33 am

socklessman wrote:Hey

Welcome and might I say
what a freaking awesome intro.
Might I say also what a cool
break in ride and
awesome gal you have too.

Congradulations on your
ride I am happy for you!
Thanks! I'm pretty lucky on all fronts, and I *really* needed the vacation. This paid off in spades.
sagerat wrote:Great report. Wonder why the pusher died in less than 400 kms?
Ah...typo...it was 1400kms. Still a bit premature though don't you think? I was more than a little irritated.
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Re: There and back again, a break-in ride.

Post by MrPark » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:45 am

Great report. Thanks for posting. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Thinking of buying the same Givi 620 for my new Gear Up. Was wondering what your thoughts are on it now that you've put some miles behind it?
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