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Old 07-03-2005, 08:21 PM   #1
Shempster
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Ate some dirt today

Well, took the plunge (literally) and wanted to go off-road with my R1200GS. I've only had the bike since Feb, so felt it was time....

So I joined up a shop ride from calmoto.com. We rode to Hollister on 101, then south on J1 through Panoche.

J1 got smaller and smaller and goatier, then turns into dirt at New Idria... then quickly turns into a graded dirt road, with many bumps, creek crossings, holes and washouts. The original intention was to make it to Gloria road. But Fate had other plans...

The washouts were chock full of giant rocks which caused the guy in front of me to go down. Once I fixated on him, I lost my throttle to a gulley full of rocks and went down harder right behind him.

My bike went on it's side, with the head fitting snugly into the gulley -- so all I lost was a turn signal. The bike was way too heavy for me to lift alone, in fact, it took 3 of us to get her up...

So I jumped back on the saddle and tried to throttle outta there, and fired right into another bed of rocks, and the bike spun out from underneath me again, throwing me in the opposite direction of the bike itself....which landed hard on her right side. Fate was with me though, and it sat my head down into a nice little opening, preventing any fatal injuries... Something tells me I need those engine guards I've been thinking about.

OK, so I felt a little over my head on this particular road at this particular time. The guys on this ride weren't quite as eager to help a novice (the Pashnit riders are so much nicer), added with the fact that it was something like 90 degrees, no cell phone coverage, no water, made me think about turning back.

After helping two other guys lift their bikes back up, me and another guy gave the mountain it's due -- we were tired, sweaty, and our nerves were shot, so we decided to call it a day...

We made it back to the Panoche bar to tip a Bud with the Harley guys, then slabbed it on home, broken blinker tucked away in my jacket, along with a lot of my ego.

Looks like we missed the 84,000 Harleys that were in Hollister this weekend, although we saw quite a few remnants today -- just not on the mountain near the dirt...
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Old 07-03-2005, 08:28 PM   #2
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Re: Ate some dirt today

Well Shempster, I'm glad you made it out with just a bruised ego. Bike parts are replacable, people aren't.
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Old 07-03-2005, 08:43 PM   #3
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Re: Ate some dirt today

Well Brandon, you learned a good lesson about these big enduros. They are all technique, you will not be able to muscle it at all. Try a smaller launch next time and then work up. Maybe even take a class for off road adventure touring.

One thing is for certain, ditch this group of riders and find a few experienced pals that will take the time to cover the basics...like never go off road without water.

Very glad to hear you survived your get off. The good news? You got your first ding and wake up call. Did you have your ABS switched off?
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Old 07-03-2005, 08:50 PM   #4
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Re: Ate some dirt today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Law Dawg
Did you have your ABS switched off?
No, I didn't and after the dump, a couple guys said, "Oh we probably shoulda turned off the ABS" ... so another lesson learned.

Yeah I admit I was in over my head a bit, and the larger lesson learned is to not really get yourself in a situation like that to begin with. I agree that with these bikes it's all about your experience when on the dirt, cause they're just not easy to pick up.

The cool thing was the bike came out of it relatively unscathed. However, my new Airflow jacket doesn't have that "new-car smell" anymore...
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:41 PM   #5
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Re: Ate some dirt today

Quote:
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No, I didn't and after the dump, a couple guys said, "Oh we probably shoulda turned off the ABS" ... so another lesson learned.
These riders were either just plain rude or novices (prolly both). "probably shoulda"? No, definately turn it off...every time. With pals like this, you would have been better off alone. As I suspected, you learned that ABS will crash you on dirt. Use your engine compression more than brakes...think the 12GS also has linked braking as well. Makes it tough to use only the rear brake, go light.

Try some good surface fire roads and logging spurs until you get your dirt legs and then take a stab at sand. Never balk at turning around if the going gets too hairy, ride your own ride on dirt as well as pavement. Plan ahead and do not put yourself in any place you cannot get out of easily. Find a large flat dirt area (not soft dirt) for practice on your turns, braking, and traction...in other words play! The idea here is to try to lose traction and recover in a controlled environment. I cornered any dirt bike rider that would hold still long enough and asked tons of questions. Yes, their bikes are lighter and more dirt dedicated but they all share the same riding dynamics.

Just enjoy yourself as you learn.
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Old 07-03-2005, 11:08 PM   #6
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Re: Ate some dirt today

Come up to the north coast and we can hit some fire roads together. That is a good place to start. If you ask nice enough I will even evaluate you BMW for it's off road ability for you.
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Old 07-04-2005, 05:01 AM   #7
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Re: Ate some dirt today


Ok, now that I got that outa my system, congratulations letting that fine machine see a little bit of dirt!
I agree with LD, find some new riding buddies. I know as well as anybody that it's hard, but try.
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Old 07-04-2005, 05:06 AM   #8
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Re: Ate some dirt today

Quote:
Originally Posted by ekaphoto
Come up to the north coast and we can hit some fire roads together. That is a good place to start. If you ask nice enough I will even evaluate you BMW for it's off road ability for you.

Hey, sounds cool. When and where? I'm ready! I'm just a bit south of San Francisco...
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Old 07-04-2005, 08:40 AM   #9
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Re: Ate some dirt today

I'm in Eureka the land of hwy 36, 299 hwy 1 etc. Get on 101 and head north for for 6-7 hrs. depending how far south you are. We have more miles od forest service roads here than you can imagine. They are a great place to start to learn since they go from very smooth dirt to almost a trail with big rocks etc. Usually start with easy ones and work your way up. My days off are Fri and Sat.
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Old 07-04-2005, 11:06 AM   #10
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Name: Brandon

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Re: Ate some dirt today

Quote:
Originally Posted by ekaphoto
I'm in Eureka the land of hwy 36, 299 hwy 1 etc. Get on 101 and head north for for 6-7 hrs. depending how far south you are. We have more miles od forest service roads here than you can imagine. They are a great place to start to learn since they go from very smooth dirt to almost a trail with big rocks etc. Usually start with easy ones and work your way up. My days off are Fri and Sat.

OK cool. I'll plan a trip up there. Thanks for the offer!
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