Well, you people have finally done it. For two years, I've ridden a SuMo (MZ Baghira 660), and it's seen the dirt a grand total of two times on some trails in Death Valley but never anything that you could call "off-roading." Well, when you ride a SuMo, you also start to read all of those exciting trip reports from the dual sport crowd, because "hey, my bike's technically a dual sport, right?" And all of a sudden, you're envious that you've been so limited all these years to paved roads.
Anyway, when that dual sport conversion kit for my bike fell into my lap for a price that I absolutely could not refuse, it was useless to resist. So, long story short, I'm ready to slap on the DS wheels and other kit and take my first real foray off road. And being a guy with only the aforementioned off-road experience in the last 20 years, I of course want to start slow, which is why I want to find someplace remote and uncrowded to try my first few rides... uhh... I mean falls.
So, being the Peninsula dweller that I am, I have two or three choices in the way of organized off-road parks (Carnegie, Frank Raines, Hollister, etc.) that are close enough for a day ride. And another, less organized option (Clear Creek), that might provide more safety and privacy for the ultimate novice. Which gives rise to a few basic questions:
1. Is there a reason that I should not try a place like Clear Creek first? It seems that the best thing for me would be as much open space as possible with as few other people around to annoy/injure. Also, I figure I'm less likely to get in over my head and try something stupid when I'm alone with a variety of difficulty options than I am when I'm around other riders and I might feel the urge to "keep up."
2. If I do go out to Clear Creek, are there any tips about the place for a first-timer? Places to try or stay far away from? Suggested areas that have good terrain to practice?
3. Any other good areas for a n00b to try out his off-road skills (or lack thereof) closer to the core Bay Area that offer the same kind of thing as Clear Creek, only less highway miles to get there?
Thanks for any input, and BTW, I've already telepathically read everyone's first response, and all I can say is yes, I would LOVE to go to Doc Wong's next Dual Sport/Off-Road Clinic, and I can't wait until he does another one!