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Old 08-10-2002, 01:59 PM   #1
Deeter
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Ride Report: THC/M-10's Insanity Ride (Long!)

(Edit/Preface: This ride report started life as a letter to a non-BARFer friend of mine, which is why it's written the way it is.)

Uuuuuggggghhh! Let me tell you, sportbikes were never meant to go off-road. I got in last night after being out on the road for 17 hours of North Country insanity. A small cadre of BARFers and I had decided to take a nice long twisty tour up to Willows, CA to drop in on some other friends doing a track day at Thunderhill Raceway Park.

The day started out innocuously enough. I met up with Vicky in Pacifica at 7:15 am to make our way to the meeting point in the city. I lead, which meant I got do draw fire from all the dipshit motorists out on the road that morning. I came a frog hair away from getting clipped on three different occasions by three different oblivious morons. Iím told that it was normal fair for the morning commute in San Francisco; thank God I work on the southern edge of the city!

We collected ourselves at the McDonalds, accounted for were: ride leader and organizer, Sinh (Gixxersinh), Vicky (Mrtnz), Sean (torq-fiend), Declan (FiremanDecko), Frag (never got your real name, man. Sorry.), and me. Igor was supposed to show up, but had apparently sold his bike, so he never made it.

The route up was a piece of cake -- for the most part. There were lots of nice twisties along the way and one road that had previously (and aptly) been described as a paved supercross track. There were about 6 (dry) river-crossings along that stretch as well as plethora of crater-sized potholes.

I remembered my brief dirtbike schooling <G> and got up on the pegs and parked myself on the balance point. Problem solved for the supercross track.

We stopped for lunch at Willows, dining at McDonalds in the midst of about fifty 8-10 year old kids. After scarfing some burgers and soaking up as much air-conditioning as possible, we headed for Thunderhill.

The track was a blast; it was my first time at a racetrack, and it was everything I had expected. The weather was hotter than hell but I didnít let that stop me from gawking away on top of the observation deck. The trackday was being put on by a group called CCS and it seemed to be very well organized, breaking the groups down to four different subsets based on skill and passing rules.

Participants got to do something like four 20-minute sessions throughout the day. I had a blast watching my friends go round and round, but in the back of my mind, all I could think was, ďDamnit, I want to be out there!Ē Soon, Deeter, soon . . .

Regardless, all our buds seemed to be having a good time, save for Eddy who pitched his beautiful, self-made, custom, yellow R1 at about a buck-twenty going through turn one. He had gone home by the time we got there, so I didn't get to talk to him, but apparently what happened was he low-sided and the bike caught itself on a piece of pavement that caused it to launch into the outfield, landing it on a hillside ABOVE the firebreak! And he walked away without a scratch! Thunderhill is famous with area riders for its generous amount of runoff in nearly all the corners. Good thing, too!

After about an hour of ogling the track, it came time to head out again. I had thought that visiting the event was going to be the highpoint of the day, adventure-wise, but damn was I wrong. We were all pretty hot and tired leaving and were going to get hotter and more fatigued before we made it to our first rest-stop, in Stoneyford, CA. It was at a random country intersection, out in the middle of nowhere. The cross-street was the one Sinh had planned for us to take westward, but the entrance foretold that the road might be a bit dodgy; it was flanked on either side with signs stating the local OHV regulations. OHV?!

Looking down the road, we saw a booth setup, one that looked kind of like a lemonade stand. Sinh, being our fearless leader, decided to mosey on down the road, in his full leathers, to inquire about the state of the road ahead.

He came back after 5-6 minutes of talking with the folks at what turned out to be a hunter-registration stand (Deer season had just started) with that semi-sadistic smile that he sometimes gets out on rides.

ďDo you guys feel like and adventure?Ē

The road ahead was reputed to be paved for the first leg, but turns to gravel for the last. Looking at Sinhís map, it didnít really look to be all that long, so it couldnít be all that bad, right? Somebody please remind me to check the scale on a map the next time Iím in on decision making on a ride like this!

This is where we lost two of our members. Declan had to be in Sacramento, so this was the opportune time for him to head over to I-5 and Frag decided he had had enough fun for the day, so he hooked up with Dec and split.

And then there were four.

"Gravel? Pahh! Not a problem, it couldn't go on for a mile or two, look at how small this road is on the map." Onward BARFer soldiers!

Sure enough, as promised, there was plenty of gnarly pavement to be had and more crater-sized potholes than you can care tp imagine. I finally got to hear what forks sound like when they bottom out; it freaked me the hell out! With visions of TKOGixxer's shattered front wheel on Mines in my head, I immediately had to pull over and inspect my front rim for dents and cracks. Luckily, there was nothing wrong with it, so I got back on and sallied forth, making sure to avoid the monstrous road-divets. I think by the time we got off the pavement, we had all became experts at obstacle-avoidance.

The paved portion held out for a few miles, but, as promised, it ultimately gave way to the inevitable gravel.

We didn't miss a beat crossing onto the gravel. We didn't stop and say, "Are we sure about this?" We just pressed on. Lucky me, I got dubious distinction of sweeping in the back of the pack, which ended up resulting in me wearing and inhaling virtually all of the dust kicked up by the three bikes ahead. I had to pull over twice to Plexus my faceshield as the dust built up literally to the point of causing blindness. It was bad! But it was about to get worse.

We took the opportunity to stop three or four times along the gravel road to rest and discuss how friggin' crazy we must be to be doing this. At our first stop, we took in the view. It was halfway up the far side of a bowl-shaped valley that was laced with OHV trails leading straight up the hillsides as well as another trail leading over and around the skyline ridge. Great destination for a future thumper ride!

The other stops were pretty, but uneventful, save for the final stop. We were standing around, yakking, but at a short lull in the conversation, I detected a "sssssssssssssssss" sound coming from the vicinity of the bikes.

I knelt down and stuck my head in the middle and detected that it coming from the direction of Sinh's Gixxer 750. Sure enough he had a nice, constant-leakage puncture in his spanking-new rear Sportec M-1. Fuck!

Sinh thought that if we hurried, we might be able to make it out of the dirt before his tire went totally flat. It sounded like a reasonable enough proposition at the time, so we all got back on and hunched it for another few hundred yards till we got to a river crossing. It was dry, but not completely. The river was about a foot deep and about 15 feet wide; low enough to cross on sportbikes, though not necessarily the brightest thing to do.

I was first across and took more time doing it than I probably should have, but still managed to cross without mishap. Vicky was next and did it right. She took her EX250 and just bulldozed it! (I wish I had a camera for that -- that girl is hardcore!) Next came, Sean, who bulldozed it too, and finally Sinh, who took it a little too slow and in so doing managed to strand himself on some mossy rocks mid-stream. Sean and I ran down into the river and helped him push it out. Thank you, waterproof Triumph boots! We collected ourselves on the other side and Sinh realized that his rear tire was spent; he wasn't going any further.

Trying to think of what to do, I remembered that I had a puncture kit that I purchased prior to my Hot Springs, AR trip. That was a key ingredient in righting the situation, but we still didn't have any way to get air back into his tire. Somebody would need to go and get some Fix-a-flat. Those somebodys ended up being Sean and I. He bolted. I took off shortly thereafter, giving Seanís dust enough time to settle. Vicky stayed behind with Sinh.

Heading further up the trail, I came to the realization that we had managed to have a breakdown just short of the WORST portion of the trail. At that point, it was nothing but rocks and swithcbacks with a nice mixture of sand and dried clay to make keeping traction a real difficulty. The switches were steep enough to warrant needing to use first gear, but the road surface wasnít having it. I had one situation where a bump, mid-switch, made me poke the throttle too hard, causing a big spin and slide, almost resulting in me dumping the bike. Luckily I was able to kick out my right leg and save it in time.

After about 5 miles and what seemed like an eternity of this nonsense, I made it to pavement. Iíd never been so happy to see the black stuff in all my life! Unfortunately, the road down to town, though paved, still consisted of more gnarly, dirty switchbacks. It normally wouldn't have been a problem; in fact I would have downright dug it, as I've lately been working on my low-speed, switchback technique. But I was so incredibly fatigued at that point and didn't find this little twist of fate all that amusing. I tried not to think about the fact that I still had to traverse these roads two more times after this.

I was about 15 miles from the nearest town, Upper Lake, CA, where I eventually caught up with Sean at Bubba's Gas Shack or whatever the hell that Podunk gas station was called.

We gassed up, got two cans of Fix-A-Flat and headed back.

Going back up the mountain was easier and we made pretty good time through the switches. When we got to the top and the entrance to the now infamous Forest Route M-10, we stopped briefly to share our disappointment with the fact that someone hadn't given Sinh and Vicky a tow up to pavement. We had both been silently hoping that this would have been the case, but no such luck.

Down went Sean, I waited a bit and smoked a butt. Once I had finished the cigarette I started my descent, which turned out to be much quicker than the uphill leg. I passed Vicky on the way, she was making the trek up on her own, presumably because it was nearing dark and Sean had warned her that it was slow-going up the last portion of the trail.

When I made it back to the scene of the crime, Sinh was waiting there to tell me that I should have left the puncture kit with him. Apparently a passing motorist was kind enough to donate a can of fix-a-flat but since he didn't have the plug-kit he couldn't do anything with it. Thatís the thing about hindsight, itís always 20/20.

Anyway, after a few minutes of toil we got him back in business and I had another smoke while they all proceeded up the trail. As I was standing there at the bottom, I had to laugh at the sound of a Yosh-canned inline-four making its way up a mountain trail. You wonít hear that very often!

After a brief, encouraging speech to the RF, ďBaby, I promise Iíll never ask you to do this again, I swear!Ē I headed back up the trail. And in so doing, came to two realizations: 1) if I took the switchbacks really wide, they weren't nearly as big a problem as the last time and 2) just as on a dirt bike, if you pick up the pace, the bumps and crap in the road aren't nearly as much of a problem; let the suspension skim the surface rather than make it follow the countour of the road surface. Just be sure to leave plenty of time to slow down before the next turn! Realizing that, I got up in what seemed like no time flat.

We all met at the top and agreed all around that the pavement was a thing of beauty. A ranger who had stopped to chat us up, had confirmed that we werenít the only idiots to attempt such a stunt, but we only ones to do it in the last few years.

Down the mountain we went to the Hwy 20 turn-off, where I pulled over to see if we needed to take 20 or not. Sean pulled in ahead of me and asked if his rear looked flat. Sure enough, it did! He had managed to pick up a puncture somewhere along the way, but luckily it was of the variety that only leaked when you poked at it; nice-n-slow. Good thing he bought two cans of Fix-A-Flat!

We got his tire squared away and made a b-line for US 101. From that point on the trip home was pretty uneventful. The only thing that stood out was some tool in a Civic making unsafe lane changes at what must have been 90+ mph and damn near clipping Vicky. As a knee-jerk reaction, one of sheer terror and anger, I dropped it two gears and went chasing after his punk-ass. I was so pissed! But I quickly realized, "What the hell am I going to do once I catch him?" So I backed down and rejoined the group and we continued home.

I ended up getting home at 1:00 am, after having left the house at 7:15 am. It was a bitch of a long, hard day, but nobody dumped, nobody got hurt, just a couple of flats, and I think everyone gained some experiences that will make for top-shelf, ďI thought I was gonna die!Ē stories for years to come!

Last edited by Deeter; 08-10-2002 at 08:21 PM..
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Old 08-10-2002, 02:15 PM   #2
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Remind me next time I see you to NEVER RIDE W/ YOU GUYS!!
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Old 08-10-2002, 02:17 PM   #3
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Just slap me on the head the next time you hear me ask if you want to be adventurous

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Old 08-10-2002, 02:27 PM   #4
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Great story, but where are the pictures??????????????
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Old 08-10-2002, 02:45 PM   #5
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Remind me next time I see you to NEVER RIDE W/ YOU GUYS!!
me too...who says saying no is hard =) just say no!
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Old 08-10-2002, 03:22 PM   #6
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glad to see nobody was hurt
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Old 08-10-2002, 03:37 PM   #7
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some people just NEED to learn the hard way . great story.....glad you all came out alright.
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Old 08-10-2002, 04:05 PM   #8
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I wish I'd been there ... I could have showed you all the scar on my knee and simply grossed you out of taking this route. Not a pretty road. I'm glad to hear you guys finished it without too much trouble.
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Old 08-10-2002, 04:47 PM   #9
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ok, I was going to bitch about the hardcore part since mstingray, ET, Atak Kat and I first coined the term here with our crazy loop nightride into the fog, but this ride takes the cake!

DANG LT. DAN!
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Old 08-10-2002, 04:56 PM   #10
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What a day! Enjoyed your write up. Hope it didn't take long to clean up
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Old 08-10-2002, 05:11 PM   #11
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That was a beautifully written account Very descriptive -- you could almost see the whole ordeal.
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Old 08-10-2002, 10:15 PM   #12
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Just slap me on the head the next time you hear me ask if you want to be adventures
I saw that look as you were walking back from the hunter registration stand. That's why I ran with Dec. That and well my impending heat exhaustion, and laying down on a side walk in front of a random person's house, staring in their front window under the only tree for what seemed like 15 miles in the shade in Maxwell feeling like I was goin to pass out. Very surreal.

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Old 08-10-2002, 11:08 PM   #13
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deeter, that was an awesome story. I stopped everything I was doing to read it. I found myself laughing out loud in some points.
I almost wish I could have been there. It sounded like a real adventure. I am sure it will bring you all closer together.

As far as all that goes. I know how you must have felt. I was up at 6:00am after going to bed at 130am. Got to the track about 730am. spent the day in a blistering heat. (I still have the blisters in my tires to prove it!) Then 5 of us, 4 bike, in 2 vehicles set out for home.

Stopped for a bite to eat in vacaville, then split up. about 3/4 of the way home, I look in the back of the truck and my bike is laying on it's side. One of the tie downs had snapped. fortunately, there was only a minor scuff on the back fairing. so we drop my bike off at home, then we still have to make our way to san jose to drop off the other bike. before leaving my apt. I decide it would be a good idea to check the other bike to make sure it's ok.

So we stop and check all the tie downs to be sure. Not 5 min later I look back and the bike is laying on its' side. FUCK!!!! We quickly stop almost literally in the middle of the rode to fix it. Then who shows up, but the local leo. At first I started getting worried because I had already gotten a speeding ticket on the way up and manage to get myself out of a ticket for no license plate on the trailer. Yes, there was no plate. It wasn't my trailer! and I didn't know that it didn't have a plate until the officer said something. I had to call Gixxer squid to get the story, and found out it was a new trailer and just didn't have the plates yet. thank you officer for understanding the situation. where was I. Oh yeah so anyway, the cop was totally cool, he just directed traffic around us. and gave us time to get the bike tied back down.

then we were back on our way. Then 5 min later we get a call from our other vehicle, they had gotten a flat. NO! this was the person that was suppose to meet us in San jose to drop off the trailer so I could make the trip back home! I had everyones stuff in my car! I had already been up 18 hours. Can I just pull over for about an hour and take a nap?!?

So we made a plan that we would drop all the stuff off at Strawberry's house. (he was riding with me) and then I would leave the trailer and bike at Gixxer Squids house. (was his trailer)

so anyway, after getting strawberry home, I made my way to Gixxer squids. I was pulling the trailer into the drive and here they come. AWESOME! SO they were like just unhook it so you can go. I was like Thanks!!!!

Then I got home a little after 12am. Not bad for leaving thill at 5. NOT! Needless to say I passed out about 15 min after walking in the door!

Ok, now that's my story
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Last edited by newby1; 08-10-2002 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 08-10-2002, 11:33 PM   #14
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Deeter,

Thanks for the writing that whole thing up, I could almost see my self along you guys.

I think it was a good turn of fate that I could not go, since I would have been late to work and would have my boss wake up and work for me on a Firday night.

-Igor


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You guys are Insane, I wish was there.
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Old 08-11-2002, 02:15 AM   #15
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dang newby1 that's quite a long haul for you guys too. better tipped in the truck than on the road with you aboard.

wait till you see the THC vid. :eek
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