GS Giants High Sierra 2015

Thursday night we got lots of riders already!



More pics!








I started doing this ride on this weekend four years ago when the White Mountain Research Station said they weren't doing their annual open house at all and weren't going to open their gate the first Sunday in August as they had usually done.  They were going to open the gate the first Sunday in Sept but not have an open house, so I thought that would make a good weekend.


I wanted to get some exposure for the GS Giants out on the West coast and thought this would be a good chance to do that.  It's reachable by riders in Northern and Southern California as well as even Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.  Why should people join an organization known for hosting great rides when there are no rides in the area?  There you go!  So last year was the first and this year is the second time I've made it a GS Giants event.  There will also be a March Moto Madness event people can look forward to.


People should know that ownership of a GS is not a requirement.  I didn't do a census, but I can tell you that there were quite a few non-BMW bikes there (KTM, Triumph, Yamaha, etc...).  Like I said, the GS Giants are known for putting on simply great events for EVERYONE.


This year the GS Giants got some great sponsors on board with the BMW US Riders Academy, Jesse Luggage and Michelin USA.  The idea is to have sponsors kick in some $ to help offset the cost to the rider to attend an event.  How many vendor rides have you seen that charge top dollar, only to see your dinner cost was picked up by yet another vendor?  You're like "but what did my $ go for?"  Exactly.


This year's event was about $100 and that does seem like a decent amount of money, but when you consider a camping site is about $28/night, two dinners are $30 and then throw in fire wood, beverage and prizes, well then that's a pretty good value.  We also managed to raise money for Lost for a Reason, which is kind of an official adventure industry charity that helps children and families of the Navajo Nation (and beyond).


Take a minute or two to see more about Lost for a Reason


This is a good value and a good time simply because it's being put together for the pure joy of riding.

Day 1:  Thursday, September 3


I got on the road by about 7:20 I think and made pretty good time.  I was amazed at how mild the temperatures were!  I went up last year to the Sequoia event and needed a cooling vest because it was 110 degrees!  I think it barely hit 90.  I made Pearsonville in three hours and then stopped at my favorite bbq place, Copper Top BBQ, in Big Pine for lunch.  I gassed up in Bishop and then decided to take Casa Diablo (dirt) north to camp (about 32 miles).  Even with the bike fully loaded, it handled pretty well.


I was amazed to see so many people show up on Thur night!  I finally got to meet the legendary Randy Owens (Polar Bear).

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Got some nice sunset shots of the project 990 and the Redverz tent


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We ended up eating some chili we heated up (which was delicious!  Don't forget that for our Death Valley ride Nov 6-8) and then went over to the hot springs.


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I can't tell you what an amazing experience that is to soak in hot water and gaze at the stars.  Heaven.

We did this "bottle cam" video shot in Death Valley last November and when Mike showed me his giant flask, I knew we had to fit the Sena Prism on there and see what happened next...


Great weekend with XLADV and GS Giants.  Thanks.  Here are a few pictures, from high altitude plateau to late night star fields, to first rays of sunshine on our group.  Looking forward to future rides and gatherings.  Cheers to all!!


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Day 2: September 4


Wow does it get cold there in the Owens River valley!  The cold just descends from the surrounding mountains and settles there and doesn't warm up until the sun peeks over the mountain.  I think it was 26 or something on Friday morning.


The plan Friday was to ride an intermediate trail with about 10 or so riders and then see how they do.  Everyone did pretty well but a group of four or so of us split off to finish a more technical section of the route.  The other group waited for us at the rendezvous point but we didn't get there until 12:30, so they did their own thing after that.  We went to Lee Vining for lunch then took a close by route south via dirt to June Lake loop then back to camp.


Did you see this 690 rally Basel kit Point Man put together?  Insane.  He totally stole my thunder :)


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The Sena crew showed up and while we had amazing food, apparently so did they!

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Great food, indeed!

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And great people!

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Landon and his dad/mom and Eddie Plam (Wunderlich USA) showed up late.  Here's Eddies' sweet R120







And then you can see from the video that we got the giant flask out...











Awesome!  Hope there is more to come?

Day 3: September 5


Saturday morning was definitely colder.  Can't recall but I think it was mid-20's.  I slept fine in my 15 degree Big Agnes Lone Ranger bag and Nemo Astro insulated pad but there were quite a few who were cold.  Hard to believe with daytime temps nearing 90 that it can get that cold, but it does.


I wanted to do highway north to Lee Vining and just do breakfast there since most of the tracks I had planned were dirt south from there.  I'd wanted to leave camp at 8:30 but that was a bit optimistic.  I think we left around 9:15 or something.  We got a great breakfast there, met some later arriving riders and then about 8 of us went up Log Cabin Mine Rd across the street and then back to the Mobil station at 11:15 to pick up Brice.  That guy is a real tardy Teddy, I tell you!  We left his ass in camp the day before.  It was 9:50 when I saw him sauntering off to the bathroom half dressed when we had 10 riders suited up and engines running.  Sorry, Brice!  At that point it was just an executive decision.  I came to ride, not to wait :)


Jason with Brice's coffee cup  :lol:



Some shots of us up on Log Cabin Mine Rd overlooking Mono Lake






We got to the June Lake paved loop at about 12:10 and were in June Lake at 12:30 so we had to make a call on lunch.  I don't think any of us were really hungry yet but I didn't want us eating a late lunch in Mammoth and then no one being hungry for that awesome dinner at 6:00.  We stopped at June Lake Brewing Co and got some eats at their roach coach and a few of us had a small beer :)  Really cool place!
Here's Wolfie wanting a shot of himself in front of their sign


We did some great single-track through the Mammoth OHV/Snowmobile area but two of our riders got separated as one rider didn't post up at a turn.  Happens every year!  Then later I lagged behind the group and then it was me who didn't post up long enough and Brice flew past the turn and we had to backtrack to find him.  Sorry man!  My bad that time.  :(
We bailed on the final leg into Mammoth and had just about 15 min to do a photo or two in front of Convict Lake and then back to camp around 4:00 in time to shower, mingle and then dinner.
We raffled off all our goodies too!  I will have pics of that later.  Can you believe Steven Bushong's luck?  I joke that he won three prizes at Taste of Dakar and then the guy wins not just the first drawing, not the second drawing but a total of FIVE drawings!  I bet he stuffed the bag ;)  Roger Norman was really stoked to win that Sena Prism too.  He said he'd never won anything before, so now was his time.
Sat night was not nearly as crazy as Friday.  I think most folks were really tired from all the riding, the altitude and maybe the not-so-good sleep the night before.  I had two beers and crashed at about 9:30.  I think the Norman clan went over to the hot springs.


Day 4: September 6


Sunday morning was C O L D!  Steven said his thermometer said 21 degrees.  Kevin said his bike showed 18 degrees!  CRAZY!  I think 29 was the coldest I ever saw it there and I've been there 5 times before.  It's usually in the high 40's at night.


So the highlight of the entire weekend is really on this day, Sunday.  WMRS opens their gate up on the mountain twice a year now and this Sunday was one of those days.  It's a good idea to get up their early to beat the Jeep traffic up the mountain, plus I wanted to be home in Irvine by 5:00 but we were again about 45 min late leaving camp.  All that stuff to take down, pack, etc... takes time.


Group shot before we left.  Brice is shirtless, no doubt for his Grindr profile pic ;)



About 8 of us headed out south and went down Casa Diablo.   Arwi and Maria were two up and took it slow.  Ross took a fall in a tight, soft corner near the end and bent his rear brake lever but he was okay thankfully.  We got gas in Bishop then headed up the mountain.  We got going up there and then ran into Kevin and Danny coming back.  They said another rider, Mark (Scott?), had fallen and busted his shoulder.  They had already taken him into town with the help of some 4wd people and were back to tackle the mountain but it was too much for Danny.  Kevin, seeing he had us to partner with now, said his goodbyes to Danny and joined us up the mountain.


Silver Canyon was REALLY torn up this year!  Lots of loose rocky stuff had Steven Green turning back at first, and then Arwi/Maria, Jonathan and Ross.  Mike, Kevin, Fonzie and I went for it on this steep hill and I saw Greg and Anja at the top of that section!  I was glad to see they made it up that hardest part.  The rest was tricky but not as bad as the first third we'd just finished.


Kevin, Mike and I ended up just racing for WMRS and Fonzie showed up not too long after that, as did the Sena crew on their Yamaha 250's (cheaters!).  I passed a group of AOLrider friends of mine I've ridden with many times before on their way back down White Mountain Road.  It would have been fun to catch up but I was anxious to get home to Irvine.


12,333' in elevation!  Not many places in the lower 48 you can get that high, even in Colorado.




Mike went back down Silver Canyon and Kevin and I raced down to Big Pine.  He hadn't eaten lunch so I left him there and just blazed back home.  I got home at 7:15 and was just wiped out.
What a weekend though huh?  I can't wait to see the professional shots our photographer Fonzie took!  I want to see more of everyone else's photos too.  I'll have another video done shortly too so stay tuned....

Kevin posted a vid of Mark's little get off where he busted a collar bone.


Arwi had a minor tipover on Silver Canyon he got on video.  That was a LOT worse than I've ever seen it before!  Not easy at all to get up there this time.


And the video you've all been waiting for...


(edit: I will try to re-post on Vimeo or something.  YouTube spanked me for the copyrighted song on the soundtrack even though it's considered "fair use.")


This was a lot of fun to ride, record and edit.  Don't get uptight with the music or theme; we're just having fun with it.  I've been to events that were drinking themed before (WARPED) and this wasn't one of them ;)

Awesome video!  I was wondering what the bottom of my skid plate looked like...



It had been a long time since I rode with Eric and it was the perfect event to join in on some action!  Met some very cool like minded folks.  Nuts for motos, dirt, scenery and commodorie!  I had the opportunity to see this from another angle as I took my wife on board two up on a few of the tracks.  A great challenge for us.  Not too many folks take their spouses two up on dirt.  But we must not be regular folks right? It was very cool to see some new adventure riders and some veteran adventure riders.  Our community is very small, but when we get together we make it a big event.  Well done Giants!  Hope to see more pics and video from the other riders.   Hope you enjoy!

That video is great!  Love the Cash track.  For a second there I was like "I don't think Jonathan's last name is Giant!"  Then I got it. :)

Jonathan posted this

If you haven't checked out the 515 professional photographs taken by Alfonse "Fonzie" Palaima then you should spend some time perusing them here.


Just a few of my favorites...


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