Scouting Trails for Taste of Dakar
By Eric Hall
"Taste of Dakar" began back in 2012 when AltRider decided they wanted to do a couple of things. One was establish a relationship with the riding community through a destination type event. The other was to literally give riders a taste of what riding the Dakar rally might look like. Now of course the Dakar is run by professionals on custom designed 450cc rally bikes over severe terrain in stages that are sometimes 1,000 km or longer. This was designed to be more for the weekend adventure bike rider and has levels of difficulty depending on what type of rider you are (A, B, C).
The first was held at Shoshone RV park in Shoshone, CA. This was really more of an experiment and it's clear AltRider has learned much because each event has been better than the one before.
Here's a video from that first one.
I got my tracks jacked up because my 60 CSx won't handle tracks of over 500 points so it truncated most of the "intermediate" tracks I wanted to ride and I think I ended up routing us on one of the advanced sections because it was a very long and loose sand wash. Luckily, Jimmy Lewis rode by and showed us an easier way out and we finished without too much trouble.
The 2013 event was moved over to Pahrump, NV to the Lakeside RV resort. This wasn't really ideal since there was only one shower and the ducks from the lake crapped everywhere and were quacking all night long. It got really cold too, like 25 degrees. The tracks seemed better this year, at least the intermediate ones I rode. They asked me if I'd let two journalists ride in my group and I said "sure as long as they can ride." They could ride for sure! The highlight was ending at Big Dune and riding my 600 lb pig in dunes for the first time ever AND... with none other than Johnny Campbell and Jimmy Lewis. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
But this ride report is for the 2014 Taste of Dakar. In so many ways this event exceeded the prior two. For one, they held it at the Wine Ridge RV resort, which has MANY hot showers as well as a jacuzzi, laundry, car wash, wi-fi, etc... The tracks were AMAZING. And of course the weather was a treat; we had a major rain/snow storm blow through that actually made for epic desert riding conditions.
Since the event, this video by Ride of My Life's Brad Barker, has really taken the event to mythical status.
I rode up on Thursday with Rich and we had planned to ride the day before. We ended up riding the intermediate tracks in reverse order (no big deal really) but in the afternoon, the storm really intensified and we got caught in a flash flood and for a while, it was a bit dicey exactly how we would get ourselves out of that area...
By Eric Hall
Official ride report thread for this year's TOD event
Picked up an AltRider Rear Brake Master Cylinder Guard for the KTM 1190 Adventure / R , and an AltRider Side Stand Foot for the KTM 1190 Adventure / R today at the EuroMoto 2015 today. Was able to call in and order them ahead of time and have them bring them to the show to avoid shipping. Thanks Altrider! Always a pleasure to deal with.
The rear master cylinder guard looks like this...
And the side stand foot like this...
I didn't get home in time to install them today. But hopefully I'll get a few minutes tomorrow, as I don't think it'll take that long. However I'm throwing a 5th birthday party for my son... So who knows.
All that aside, when I get it done, I'll post up some pics and initial thoughts. Then return after some thorough use and review it again.
Currently I'm already running their bash plate and rear racks. Suppose I should get some good pics of those as well. So far so good with them. I'll say a little more once I get a couple pics up.
If anyone else is running Altrider kit and would like to contribute, by all means, jump in and get after it!
*Just to clarify, I have zero afiliation with Altrider other than enjoying they're hard parts and 2013 and 2014 Hoh rallies.
I completed this ride/event in 2013 and 2014. Both times were great and I would recommend for those in the general PNW. It isn’t nearly the event the Taste of Dakar is down in Pahrump NV, but still a good event. Unfortunately, it looks like AltRider will not be doing in 2015 (typically held in August.) However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see in again in the future or potentially complete your own ride in the area. if you get the chance there are a lot of great options on the Olympic Peninsula/Olympic mountains. I do have some GPS tracks and maps I could share for those that are interested/PM me.
2013 was held at Satstop Center which is roughly straight north of Montesano WA off of HWY 12. There are a lot of riding options in the area and it is a bit remote. The facilities were decent but not the fanciest. Below is a screenshot of the event. Red was route in, yellow was morning, blue afternoon and purple out.
2014 was held at Skokomish Park on Lake Cushman. The facilities were top notch but the campground/area is pretty busy. AltRider setup a good sized event area and kept our group together. Red was route. You can see the silverware mid-point which was the lunch stop. The blue is the pavement back to camp. It is good ride for pavement and included on many of the day rides from Seattle (Hood Canal Loop) but you did end the day with 70 miles of slab back to camp.
Here is a slimmed down event summary: (Food was catered by Mary from the Skokomish Indian tribe both years and was great.)
Friday – Everyone arrives and sets up camp in the evening. Signing up for groups begins and typically ends at breakfast Saturday. Dinner, event introduction, campfire, a few drinks, and then early to bed for the ride. 2013 event had a large grassy area were everyone setup camp with a few who went into the woods. 2014 had RV type campsites shared by tents and then areas between the campsites where the rest of us squeezed in.
Saturday - Eat a hearty breakfast and break into groups based on skill level for a staggered GPS-led ride. This event typically has everyone on the same tracks regardless of skill. The higher skill riders typically just go faster and have more side adventures. 2013 tracks include quite a few switch backs which allow advanced/faster riders more mileage while allowing slower/less advanced/casual riders short cuts. 2014 routes were a bit of a disappointment for me as I had the same route from a book/GPS tracks already. It wasn’t nearly as challenging/enjoyable as the 2013 routes. After a riders meeting and brief training seminar, head out onto your adventure ride through diverse terrain amongst the stunning forests, bridges across vista’s and lakes, twisty dirt road and gravel roads.
Halfway through the Saturday ride, we’ll stop for a scrumptious lunch at a scenic picnic point. Come back from your epic day of riding to a big dinner back at the campsite. There is typically some sort of speaker/videos/awards event after dinner. Fire and drinks continue through the evening.
Sunday – Typically includes a good breakfast and then everyone breaks camp. 2013 include good a GPS track back through the mountains from camp to 101. 2014 was choose your own adventure (left on your own to map it out.)
The ride includes:
2 nights of camping under the stars at a campground than years past GPS self-led routes in the Olympic National Forest (near the Hoh Rainforest.) 5 delicious meals prepared by the Skokomish tribe – fresh oysters from the local bay, elk stew, seafood chowder is on the menu Locally crafted beer to be enjoyed nightly by a crackling fire Awesome prizes and giveaways from event sponsors Off-road teaching seminars from informative instructors. Optional/additional fee off-road training on Friday before event. I personally didn't take too many pictures of the event but here are a few.
Great views from all the peaks.
Our group found a side excursion near Lake Quinault where we able to get on the river rock.
We had a small group of about 4 bikes heading back to Seattle. Apparently there was a 'Scooter Club' ride that jumped on behind us. I have never seen a full lane of the ferry taken up by 2 wheelers.
By Eric Hall
AltRider SYNCH Dry Bag
The AltRider SYNCH (siNGk) Dry Bags are the culmination of 15 years of off-road camping experience, world traveling, and soft goods design, all rolled into a single easy-to-use and durable package. Each bag has a fully tape-seam sealed, D-shaped body construction made of 14oz vinyl coated fabric (“Truckers Tarp”). The SYNCH bags are designed to be 100% dust and waterproof, engineered to withstand the most extreme temperatures and wet weather over hundreds and thousands of miles of trails and roads. SYNCH was designed with accessibility and flexibility in mind. Each bag features daisy chains for easy lashing of camping gear like bed rolls and tents. There are four anchor points with high strength nylon D-rings for strapping the bags to the bike and for connecting bags to each other. All of the anchor patches are made from a military grade, waterproof and chemical resistant neoprene. Designed for quick entry, the side openings allow access to either of the bags two openings without having to release the tie-down straps. This holds true when the bags are stacked on each other as well. Each dry bag includes tie-downs, and the 25 and 38 liter include stacking straps. One end of the tie-down features a soft-loop style closure, perfect for attaching to crash-bars, trellis frames, luggage racks and other great tie-down points. The other end is a heavy duty, steel wire-gated military grade nylon snap-hook for securing to the bags. Features list: Wide-mouth roll-down opening with cinching straps 14oz waterproof and durable “truckers tarp” Military-spec neoprene on all anchor patches Tape-seam sealed construction for water and dust proof performance Daisy chain(s) for extra gear lash-points Nylon D-rings for tie-down and stacking options Custom tie-down straps (can be used as shoulder straps for portage) Custom stacking straps (for connecting to other bags and gear) 6 styles available; 14 Liter Black, 14 Liter White, 25 Liter Black, 25 Liter White, 38 Liter Black, and 38 Liter White