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...
By Eric Hall
I had not ridden for about a month (Baja) and was eager to test out my new TFX suspension, so I posted up this ride and only got two takers! Too bad because it was AWESOME! I also had a brand new Mitas E-09 Dakar on the back which made for some excellent traction in addition to some recent rain.
Tolga got some fantastic pictures of us (Rich and I) that I hope to post very soon. Doesn't hurt having a professional photographer/videographer with you.
We met at 8:45 at the Starbucks (of course) in Adelanto. Tolga rode his 640 because his rear tire on the 1190 R is worn and the new one doesn't come until tomorrow. He also realized he had no plug for his heated vest, so he was pretty cold. The coldest I saw was about 49 but it was basically low 50's.
I have been hit with this sciatica and just general soreness recently so I wasn't looking to do anything that hard, but I was feeling fine once we hit the dirt and we ended up doing some really fun stuff.
First trail break
What turned out to be a lot of fun was just taking random trails to work our way up in a northwesterly direction up towards Kramer Junction for lunch. We went through these hills and Tolga said "let's take that trail over there up that hill." I'm like "dude that's really steep" but we made it up! Hope to have that video soon as well.
We were talking to each other on our new Sena com units. I cannot believe I've gone this long without getting one of these! It was so nice being able to talk back and forth about whatever road hazard came up, where others wanted to go, when they wanted to stop, etc...
After lunch at KJ, we headed up 395 and went right at a dirt trail and up to a hill top overlooking the dry lake. Then we went down to the dry lake and farted around for a bit.
Found these spent rounds. Best guess is a 25mm round fired from some kind of military plane. We found about six and it looked like they were just dumped there. I bet someone found them at a nearby abandoned range and just dumped them on the lake bed because they are likely to just sink in the ground never to be found again. I found nearly identical rounds when I was a kid out near Imperial Dunes in what was Gen. Patton's old training grounds.
From Tolga's phone
Then over to Husky monument/memorial where a bunch of folks were there placing a new marker for a fallen friend. Tolga did some shooting for his Turkish TV series and took a few more photos.
We headed over and saw the petroglyphs at Inscription Canyon and then headed out when Rich got a front flat.
We got to Hinckley and pavement just as it got dark, then headed back. Rich had trailered in Adelanto and Tolga and I stopped for a soda at Oak Hills Brewery and a quick burger at Wendy's (brewery has no food). We got home at 9:15!
Like I said, lots more pics and video to come.
Short review of the new TFX suspension: A lot more robust than I had before. No bottoming out. Lots of confidence. Felt planted. Wasn't necessarily riding any faster as a result, just not fretting over every single dip in the trail. More on that later too.
In 2006, my brother got me interested in touring by motorcycle. I've been obsessive about it ever since.
Now, I have ridden motorcycles for almost 42 years. But, until he said let's go ride around Yellowstone, I had never thought about travelling by bike.
In 2007, I met his friend from Tennessee - Jim Bean (goes by Frijole on several forums. you can guess why). Jim joined our merry band of bike travelers, often instigating the trip by suggesting a destination or three. Fast forward to 2011 and the three of us, plus two other vagabonds we adopted over the years (crazy stories behind each of those. Alaska was at fault), thought we would spend two weeks on the west side of the country. I wanted to hit up most of the great roads in Calif, plus see the Oregon Coast, Idaho, and on and on.
Jim is the group photog. Mostly because I rarely see anyone take better pics than he can. We can stand side by side and take pics of the same subject and mine will look like crap, and his could sell for $$$. He also started, with our first trip, producing videos to remember them by. At first, they were slide shows to music, then gopro footage was added. The man is an artist.
Here is a link to said 2011 trip. It may affect me more than it will you, because I did that trip. But, it is a great video anyways.