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Getting caught in the storm.

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Main Divide Road - Cleveland National Forest - Orange County, CA

 

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Beautiful day for a ride in the dirt. After having knee surgery earlier this year, I've been doing some short conditioning day rides like this.

 

Rode Main Divide this past weekend from hwy-74 going north. Didn't initially intend to go all the way through, till I got past the halfway point and things were working really well for me. Road was in good shape, scenery and temperature was great, and the knee was holding up really well.

 

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At the top of Santiago Peak the clouds were low and it was really pretty.

 

Was all going well, till I got to the north end and the gate was locked. This is about when the thunderstorm started to show its teeth. High tailed it back the other way to try and beat as much rain as I could. Then it just started dumping... It wasn't more than a few minutes and the trail became a river in many places. I was cursing myself for potentially getting in over my head, when I turned a corner and found two fellow riders seeking shelter beneath an oak tree. After telling them the gates were locked to the north, and chatting about the quickest way off the mountain, we decided to head to Indian Truck Trail together.

 

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Stopped to get this shot at the top before heading down to the north gate. No rush at this point since I wasn't expecting it to be locked.

 

Made it out safe and sound, even if soaked to the bone... at least it was a warm rain. There were some pretty gnarly hill climbs in the rain, and the trail was pretty flooded in some sections. Thankful to have run into those two, it made the next couple hours of riding through the rain much better. Wish I'd gotten their names though...

 

Didn't drop the bike at all so overall I'd say it was a great day!! Definitely will be checking for locked gates online before heading out around inclement weather, I learned my lesson.

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Glad you made it back safely! I've been caught riding in a couple of lightening storms, both in the mountains of Colorado and now the lightening capital of the country (Tampa FL). Scary stuff.

 

Check this out:

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/fatalities.shtml

 

22 deaths so far this year, one on 05/15 in NM riding a motorcycle. And, one standing under a tree in NC! :(

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Yeah you are very lucky.  The only gates that have been open there for quite some time are the Blue Jay one near Ortega Hwy and Indian Truck Trail.

 

You did very well on that big bike though.  That's a long way and it has some tricky sections.

 

Glad you made it out!

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Whats the deal with locked gates everywhere in California?  I was born and raised in Redding Ca.  There were tons of trails and roads and now they are all locked.  

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Whats the deal with locked gates everywhere in California?  I was born and raised in Redding Ca.  There were tons of trails and roads and now they are all locked.  

I think in this case it has to do with keeping people out of areas that are a fire danger as well as not being able to fix previous erosion damage from sections of the road.  They don't have the money or the staff to maintain, patrol, etc... so it's easier to just shut it down.  For us adventure/dual sport/dirt bike people, we're fine with all that stuff but if the road is open, sure enough you'll have some mini van or Prius trying to drive up it and then they get stuck and have to be rescued.

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That's a good idea actually.  They have various entry barriers to trails like this for vehicles of a certain width.  I saw a photo of an IDBDR trail we are riding next week that was limited to something like 50" wide.  I saw another one up near Mammoth in an OHV area that was a wooden frame designed to let through motorcycles but not quads.  It can be done if they want.

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Sounds like you did well handling that beast up there in the wet, especially on those tires. Not to mention what sounds like a still-recovering knee. 

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Sounds like you did well handling that beast up there in the wet, especially on those tires. Not to mention what sounds like a still-recovering knee.

You should have seen him ride in Sequoia two weeks ago!

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Rode up there again yesterday and main divide has some sections that are pretty torn up after the rainstorms. Indian Truck is easy and still in good shape though.

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