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AltRider's Fourth Annual Taste of Dakar - Mar 13 2015

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We are hoping to get down to Pahrump area on Wednesday night or Thursday morning to get some extra riding in. Trailering down from Seattle so the timing is unknown. If anyone wants to ride with us or has some suggested tracks we are all ears.  We have the tracks from 14' and 13' but might try big dune or death valley areas.

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I got home just after noon today and am tired, as usual.  What a fantastic weekend!  Taste of Dakar did not disappoint (again).


I think what made this year different, besides new tracks, was live music from Brad Barker's Epic Nomad band with special appearances from Owen Balduf and Evan Firstman.  Also, the custom ICON Raiden jerseys were a nice touch.


I trailered with Rich because I had a bunch of stuff for Lost For A Reason I couldn't carry by myself.  We got up there Thur evening around 4:30, set up camp (Rich got a cottage) and then met Dimitrios and Ken for dinner at El Jefe's.


Here's me lounging on Rich's La-Z-Boy recliner

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I was also excited to put my new Hemisphere soft panniers from AltRider to use for the first time.

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I had a lot on my plate this trip as I was setting up the LFAR easy up tent as well as passing out some shirts from ADV Addicts (who could not attend at the last minute)

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Interesting side story here.  If you drive from Shoshone to Pahrump you may have noticed this black band of rock...  Read the link for a story on what it is ("welded tuff").  I thought it was Oreo cookie  :)

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For Friday, Rich and I decided to pre-run the intermediate course (in reverse).  I was a bit hesitant at first, especially with the Super Tenere, but we let Ken come along with us and he did not disappoint!  The guy is a madman on that Super Tenere!

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Dimitri was up early preparing his breakfast prior to his Jimmy Lewis class.  We did his class together last October but this time he brought his 450 for a different experience.

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We headed out east to to Lovell Canyon and then over to the same power line road as last year's intermediate course.  It only took us a bit more than two hours and our avg moving speed was 29.4.  Not bad :)


We had a great lunch at the Pioneer Saloon and then on to tracks down to Primm, over to the Ivanpah "bird fryers," etc...

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I guess this leg of the course was skipped on Saturday by a lot of riders due to the late breakfast.  Jimmy acknowledged it was probably more on the side of advanced than intermediate.  Second and third gear only, max speed maybe 25.  Lots of steep hills, loose rocks, ruts, etc...
We got to the pavement and it was a welcome break!  From there it was pavement all the way to Spanish Trail where we hung a right and headed back towards the dry lake bed.
We tried to take a hard right at was was marked as a road, but the was basically nothing there but a flat open area with brush, so we kind of made our way north a bit more, jogged over east and then back south to see if we could perhaps take a left on this "mysterious track."  At that point there did seem to be a trail, but it looked very primitive, like no one had been down in in years.  It was actually kind of fun.  Remember, we did it in reverse, so most would have seen this in the morning on Saturday.
We got back to camp I think around 4:30 and I had to rush to set up the Lost For a Reason tent to sell raffle tix, shirts, hats, stickers, etc...  I was totally wiped out!  I did not drink enough water, so I just spent time re-hydrating with my hydration pack on my back.

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Saturday I was honored to lead a group of journalists and photographers as well as Don from AltRider.  There was talk of should we do the intermediate or advanced, but since photos were our main objective, I put together a custom route for us.  We would go straight out to the dunes of Sandy Valley (we got a late start), then lunch, then south the the Ivanpah solar bird fryers, then back north through the snow and pines of Lovell Canyon.


You can imagine my excitement when the guys from ICON Raiden insisted I ride their signature Triumph Tiger!

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Okay, so only that last part I made up  :lol:
We made a beeline for the dunes with a short trip down a power line road.   After all, I had to see what I had to work with that day, right?  They all did fine.
Our light wasn't optimal, but you have to do what you can with what you have.  This is probably what I was most pleased with light-wise

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A few more...

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Don from AltRider, their product development engineer

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My new Hemisphere soft panniers by AltRider.  Great for keeping the heavy stuff low.  Top compartments were empty.

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Andy and Rich

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Jesse Kiser from Ride Apart

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Fonzie helping Andy get some traction

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We got to Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings a bit early, but that was good to beat the lunch rush.


Andy Davidson, MCN UK

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Fonzie from Motoinsider

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Then we headed south on some dirt towards Primm (for last gas).  The overhead power lines were tricking my gps and we had to double back once or twice to stay on the right track.  One would think that since I'd just ridden it the day before...
These solar fields are quite something.  I don't want to start any kind of debate but I think the whole thing is a sad fiasco.  I think the technology is actually very cool but they killed and/or relocated who knows how many desert tortoises, only to later euthanize them due to budget cuts so we could pay five times market rate for solar power that hasn't met expectations (company running near bankruptcy) and ends up frying thousands of birds every year as they are drawn by the bright lights and become flaming missiles as they incinerate mid-flight.  Your tax dollars at work!  (rant over).  If you think it's a great way to generate power from alternative sources then good for you, this is just my own opinion.  :)

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We finished up our day doing Lovell Canyon in setting sun.  We got to the turn at 5:30 and I said we'd be back at around 7, which is after dark, but Andy wasn't ready to call it a day and really wanted more good shots.


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We got back to camp right at 7:00 and I barely had time to change my clothes and rush over to dinner, sell some last minute Lost for a Reason raffle tickets and then before I knew it, it was 10:00!
Some amazing music from Brad Barker and his Epic Nomad band featuring Owen Balduf and Evan Firstman

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It seems like everyone had a really good time again this year.  Thanks very much to Jeremy LeBreton and crew (Nancy, Mitch, Don, Erik, Kurt, etc...) for putting this event on for everyone.   Thanks also to the event sponsors (Motoquest, Las Vegas BMW, ICON Raiden, Land Rover of Las Vegas, etc...) It is great to meet like-minded folks who like to ride big bikes off-road.
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Alfonse "Fonzie" Palaima is a fantastic freelance photographer who does a lot of motorcycle industry photos.  He was our photographer at Taste of Dakar for our ride with MCN UK's Andy Davidson.  Fonzie's website and Facebook page is called "Motoinsider" and you should definitely check it out.


Fonzie posted up some great pics from our event I thought I'd share here...


Bottom out much?

Bottom out much?

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Resting bitch face?

This is my "resting bitch face" apparently

Rich caught some soft stuff and went over the front of his bike

Rich spazzing out

Jesse (Ride Apart), just stand right there...

Just stand right there, Jesse

Rich blasting the dunes on the 690


Sandy Valley dunes

2nd gear, right?

Rich demonstrating proper wheel lofting technique

group shot with the bird fryers in the background

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You should invite Fonsie to come to the March Moto Madness ride next weekend, and your High Sierra ride later this year.

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Had a blast! Great to see/meet a bunch of you! I'll post some photos when I'm not on the clock.


And thanks to Eric for the stickers!


-Davin (from ICON)

Edited by motoguru
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Here's an uncharacteristically short video I took.  My GoPro battery died and I had left my charging cord back at camp.  This is from part of the intermediate course we pre-ran on Friday that most people skipped on Saturday.


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Was a damn great trip, can't wait for the next ride!


Getting the bike ready, fresh tires oil and replace a bad wheel bearing.






packing the luggage




and ready for the trip!




Riding up over ACH and into Palmdale, at least CALTRANs is actually working up here






Stopped for a stretch along the long ride out




Lots of long open ride















Sunset on the way into Pahrump



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Time for a nice prerun of the course with a couple other awesome guys.




Beautiful view from the higher elevations










Delicious lunch, the Ghost Burger was PRIMO!!!




Stopping to check out the bird cooker












A little bike porn from the campground area





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