Joined: September 6th, 2010, 8:54 am
There's been a lot going on in the FakeName world. The economy has whipped the rear end of business, family members have died, connecting rods wore out, etc. I've been wanting to get away for a long dual-sport ride for some time, but postponements kept reoccurring. And it's hard to get away- my wife works an executive job that is a timesuck, and the kiddo needs a parent. So I waited. Rescheduled, waited.
Finally, I carved out a 6-ish days for myself. Arranged for the after-school pickups and the mom days. But where to go? Colorado was calling, but if I went solo, that's nearly four days of just driving. So I poured over ride reports and kept returning to the Crawdaddy and Strega Circle of the Big Ditch. I contacted Strega asking if he a) thought it'd be doable solo and b) be interested in going along.
Strega's opinion was that it COULD be done solo, but he's registered for another ride and was unavailable. So I began to plan.
A day or so later, I got and email from Jim, asking if I'd be interested in a ride buddy, and explaining he was interested in the identical ride on the same days had planned.
Perfect! Planning began in earnest. Jim's an amazing planner, and took the lead. Navajo permits, hotel reservations, fuel range calculations, etc. I began bike prep, installing a rebuilt motor and shaking the bugs out, new tire, etc.
Two days before liftoff, Strega emails with an engine issue that puts him off schedule for his previous plans. After some begging and pleading on our parts, he joined the gang. What was the problem there, Strega?
Strega: "Issue with the bike was an odd one, while removing the drain plug, the wrist pin keeper was attached to the magnet on the end of the plug...time to pull the motor apart "
And in advance, we owe a lot of this ride to Crawdaddy for the advance tracks and the pre-run he and Strega kindly did for us last year on the same dates. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=514330 I'd have never seen some of these places without the tracks for Strega to follow. And, without Strega, I'd still be on the trail somewhere huddled under the metal/mylar space blanket, desperately pressing buttons on my Spot.
WARNING: I've been hassled on the subject of photography before, most commonly "Take more pictures" or "Why won't Fakey take pictures?" So I've changed that for this trip- there are LOTS of pics. If you don't want to see LOTS of pics, stop right here. OK?
And off we go:
Day One Vegas to Fredonia
We left San Diego on September 29th, loaded up and driving to Vegas. Here's Jim in Strega's truck pulling a trailer of bikes:
We checked into that off-road cheap room haven, the Orleans, had a quick buffet dinner and hit the hay. Next morning came early- we packed and left.
I'd made a decision to force myself to stop and take more pictures, and despite the slab of the first morning, I kept my promise.
Hit some road construction along the way. Fresh tar and 100+ temps were lighting over-temp indicators on Strega and Jim's bike- mine does not have a light, and was therefore not overheating.
We finally arrive at Mesquite and stop for burritos and sopes and hit the dirt there. After 45 or so minutes, I once again force myself to stop for pictures. I hate it. I like to ride, and it's like drinking to an alcoholic- once I get started, I don't like to stop. But stop we did, and I asked Strega to hold further down the trail so I could shoot him riding by. I hear a clunk behind me and see the portent of things to come:
But I got the shots I was after:
We got back on the bikes and headed down the trail. Shortly thereafter I heard Strega on the radio:
See Strega's mic is in an odd place with that particular helmet and that's all I could hear. But it sounded important- and I asked him to repeat.
He said "glurgherarah!!"
Strega: He heard, "glurgherarah!!" cuz not only does he have his radio piped into his helmet, he has an iPod and XM radio (Yes I said XM Radio), probably blaring the Jonas Brothers...
Aw, The Jonas Brothers? You wound me, my friend. 5 days, no Jonas Brothers that I know of. I'm not sure I'd know them if I heard them. Are they a Funk Band like Tower of Power?
I stop and ask again- Strega: "Jim's down, you'd better come back", at which I circle back, tip over, flood the bike and kick (more on that later) kickkicK 'Til Monday get it started and head back. It's not good.
I helped fix the shifter, but there was little we could do for the leg.
Jim: I was starting my biggest ride yet, a loop of the Grand Canyon with Fakey and Strega. Everything started well and the ride was going great until about 25 miles south of Mesquite, on a simple left hand turn of the trail, I was going a little faster than I wanted for the turn, rear wheel locked and the tail end slid around until it was too far out to keep the bike up. Basically fell over on my leg. My ankle hurt, but I could put weight on it, wiggle the toes, foot didn't hurt, etc.
Shift lever was broken, and Paul and Roger replaced it with my spare. Knew then that my loop was over. Couldn't really move the ankle up and down too well, so we turned back toward Mesquite. I was shifting with my heel, taking it easy, etc.
I ended up at the Nellis AFB hospital. Left the boot on the whole time until xrays to keep it from swelling even more than it did. They told me the fibula was fractured and I had a torn ligament. Put a splint on it and sent me back to my Navy docs.
Wife was already on the way up to Vegas from home, and she picked me up from the ER and we spent the night in Vegas. Got up early Fri morning and drove to Balboa Naval Hospital ER. Went through the whole drill again, with the orthopod telling me I was scheduled for surgery on Thur (today). Went in for the pre-op yesterday, and found out it was still too swollen to operate on, and as they say in the NFL, upon further review, found out that they may be able to fix it with just a cast. Clinical results say you get about the same results with both options. It all depends on how it goes as far as how the tibia stays aligned on the foot bone. Xrays every week. If it doesn't stay aligned, surgery.
So, while I thought I was doomed for surgery, the fibula and ligament may heal with a cast, so that is the good news from this whole thing. But.....I am going to miss the GC loop, a ride to Cabo and back, Cdaddy's Barstow to Laughlin and finally, LABV!
Think of all the money I will save not doing those rides!
With Jim out and safely escorted to the main road, Strega and I had to make up some time. It was HOT that day:
and hydration was key:
We made it to Trumbull Schoolhouse as the sun was beginning to settle down.
We know Toroweap, while in the plan, would put us so far behind we'd be arriving in Fredonia well after dark. And it had been a long day. So we hit the dirt road- with one minor navigation error- what was that Strega?
Strega: "The error was in the Zumo, it decided to take a 'shortcut' which I decided was a bad choice after about 10 miles, so I suggested we back track to the route I was familiar with, which meant we need to haul a** to Fredonia!"
Well, in the defense of the Zumo, it was a track that showed up on YOUR 60csx as well. But the trail eventually started to look like Ranger trail from Corral Canyon, so we doubled back. I'm quite sure however, if we'd just kept riding a little bit further, it would have cleared up and been the perfect shortcut.
Our motel for the night:
This place was terrific, especially if you enjoy smoking and cats. The main courtyard was like a cat zoo- there must have been 20, and of course, where there's cats, there's cat piss. Ugh. But at that point, nobody is being fussy. Got some grub:
And headed for bed.
Here's the first day:
Creativist - Dual Sport Moto