2014 Flying Monkey Adventure Rally - Zion, UT
By Eric Hall
I had done this even previously and just called it "WMRS" after the White Mountain Research Station, but that old name is really for an old AOLrider event and there just seemed to be too many better names out there. Besides, I wanted to do a specific event for the GS Giants to try and boost some awareness out here in the West for the group.
What are the GS Giants? Well, the short answer is they're simply a great bunch of riders (not even just GS riders either) that originally came out of a BMW MOA rally a few years ago of who preferred dirt to pavement. They started a Facebook page and it kind of just took off from there. They have a number of regional events, but their most popular one by far is "March Moto Madness" and that one is held in Tellico Plains, TN every year in late March. Last year it went global with multiple countries like UK, Spain, Japan, Singapore, Canada, etc... participating. There's no brand requirement; it's just that the BMW crowd tends to put on really good events maybe more so than the KTM crowd.
For most, I think what made the event so nice was we chose to get dinner for two nights catered for us by a great caterer from Bishop, Classy Cowgirl. They have actually done events in the past for BMW Motorrad AG there, believe it or not. For me, though, it was that I got to ride up two weeks earlier to scout out some new trails. We also discovered some really cool hot springs nearby that were great to soak in after a day's riding.
Here's an idea of how that scouting trip looked two weeks earlier...
By Eric Hall
I had met Tolga Basol of "Ride Must Go On" a few months back when I had him and his professional photographer friend Caglar Erkenci stayed with me for a few days while they prepped their loaner bikes for the US leg of their round-the-world adventure. Tolga is a film maker and has done some truly amazing stuff. Check it out:
Tolga is sponsored by KTM Turkey, along with many other familiar vendors: Konflict Suspension, Giant Loop, Rottweiler Performance, etc... He started in Istanbul in June and rode his 1190 R to Magadan (the first to ride that bike there).
Thierry and I had just ridden in Pahrump, NV the week before and he went on to Death Valley and I went back home to work for a few days, coming back to DV on Thur of that week. Tolga and Caglar are making their way back down south after picking up Tolga's 1190 R in Vancouver and stopped at Death Valley to ride with us. We camped at Panamint Springs Resort.
Tolga and Caglar are absolutely brilliant with a camera for photos and video, so don't let this lame amateur's attempt at video distract you from their work
They took some amazing photos of us all that you can see in the gallery as well as posted here below.
There was a storm supposed to move through on Friday, so I brought my lower-profile tent instead of the Redverz "Garage-mahal." As it turned out though, the guys moved to the tent-cabins based on a suggestion from the camp staff that the storm was going to be quite severe. It did rain pretty steadily for a long time but the storm wasn't that bad. Still, it was nice to have a bigger tent to cook in and all that. Talk about glamping!
By Eric Hall
James Valentine came out the week before LAB2V and since he's from Kansas, I thought he might want to get a taste for what LAB2V is going to be like. Honestly, I thought he might struggle given that I've never seen him ride before and to my knowledge he's never ridden in the desert.
Boy was I wrong! This guy can RIDE!
He had a camera on his helmet and since we were riding side by side, this song "Dueling Banjos" came to mind...