Sometimes, we go out to have a little mischief, some high spirited fun...shenanigans shall we say! See, us men (or at least me!) are big kids at heart. We like to have some fun, some banter between us, competitiveness and some hint of danger. Dual sport riding with friends provides all of this. The cast of characters were sure to provide this today but we got more than we bargained for!
It started mid week. I was thinking about a place I had just begun exploring but I wanted to tie in some sections and there were some sections of trail that were questionable to proceed on solo. So what better thing to do than invite some friends that like the technical, hard stuff that is unexplored. The cast of characters today would be Briley, running his new to him KTM 300 2 stroke, Chris on his Beta 500 and his buddy Casey riding his KTM 950 super enduro. Myself, I would be on the Honda xr650l.
It began bright and early on a Saturday morning with Briley delivering a slightly used goldentyre front 21" tire to replace my sorely lacking in the grip department Continental TKC80. The Goldentyre had a proper tread pattern sure to give me more grip off road. We spooned it on quickly and headed off to meet Chris and Casey at the trail head. We arrived just a few minutes late but all were ready to hit the trails. This was to be a shorter ride for Chris and Casey (afternoon commitments) and then would leave Briley and I to continue our ride.
We were on the trail in short order setting off on a quick pace. I was feeling good and confident with some superior rubber up front planting the front end on the XR. About a quarter mile into the trail, I gave a little squeeze of the throttle coming over the rise and felt the chain snap. I quickly pulled the clutch in and slammed the brakes coming to a quick stop. This was not good.
I had come light (too light) in the tools department on this ride and certainly was not prepared for chain problems. Add to this, it wasn't a simple master link coming off but a catastrophic link failure having the chain break where it shouldn't. A defect? Chris and Casey had plenty of tool and what they didn't have on them was just back at their trailer. We began to break off the busted link, or rather Casey and Chris went to work on my bike. Briley had a master link but wasn't for a o-ring chain. We decided if we could get the bike to limp to the road, we would trailer back to my house, pick up my wife's bike and come back to continue the ride. We managed to jerry rig the chaing enough to limp to the road. l barely limped out with the link half off the chain when we hit pavement.
This is now how things change. A random KTM rider shows up and starts talking with us. He mentions that he has a chain, masterlinks, everything we need at his house, 5 miles away. Perfect! We follow him to his house, we put another masterlink on (chain now has 2 of them), and we head back to the trails. Our new found helper decides he is going to guide us as well to some secret spots. Perfect!
We now head off at a quick clip, running hard in the dust hitting trails I had never known were there. We ended up on some sweet tight 2 track and single track in a pine forest that was a blast heading off to an old Indian cave that locals dug for arrowheads. Along the way we stopped at a waterfall. From there to the cave was a high speed jaunt. When we arrived, we took a short break and were ready to hang on. It was here our next problem, or rather mine, would rear it's ugly head. My phone was gone from my RAM Mount. Uh oh! I had lost it. We decided to back track to the waterfall, about 2 or 3 miles and see if we find it. About halfway there, Casey spots it. We stop. Then he notices his Sena headset is gone so we all backtrack again. Find it at the Indian cave. What luck!
Now we are heading to an overlook I am familiar with. Problems come again, this time to carb problems on the 950 super enduro. Casey and Chris decide it is time to cut their ride short and limp the bike back. We escort them out and the carb issues resolve itself as soon as they get out of the woods. They take off at a race clip with the engines roaring, gravel flying and an impromptu race ensues. We just watch as spectators and head back to our own adventure.
Now it is significant to note. All of the above was unplanned. The plan was to ride about 1 hour of trail to tie into the valley below, back to blacktop, gas to refuel, food and some water. With this in mind, I only brought a little water and no food. It was now way past lunch, hot and I was out of water and I was feeling it. After a short break at the overlook, I mounted my trusty steed and promptly dropped it. My overall ensuing dehydration, lethargy and lack of personal fuel coupled with heat was showing. I was determined, however to persevere! We continued on and it quickly became technical with some treacherous mud holes, a beaver dam crossing, tight trails with blind curves, drop offs with quick climbs. I put the bike in a ditch coming over a blind crest of a hill but were on our way again. A little later the trail was blocked by dead fall and trees so we began to bushwack through the swamp. This created the need for duck paddling my bike through as I was getting almost no momentum or traction from the rear tire. However, after a lot of physical exertion, we made it through and back to the road. I was spent!
This was where we parted ways with the other rider as Briley and I headed on the blacktop for some long overdue lunch and re-hydration. By this time it was later in the afternoon but a bit more riding would endure. I decided to show my riding companion another spot I was exploring and for us to do a quick loop. Quick it was and I just was not feeling at the top of my game. On a tight, technical, loose hill climb my rear end came around and I took a nap with the bike in the dirt. I was done physically at this point and we made the decision to head back.
Now usually, when I leave the trails, I wipe the dirt of the license plate so Law Enforcement can read the tag and see I am legal. Today I didn't. In the middle of town, both of us get pulled over by the police. He thought we were on straight dirt bikes on the road. We wiped the dirt of the plates, LE was satisfied, and we headed home. It was nice to get back, get out of the riding clothes, and laugh about our calamities, shenanigans of the day. This is what it is all about!
A few random pictures from the day and don't hesitate to come by our FB page to see some video clips in the upcoming weeks.