richard310's Moto Adventure to 2020 Desert Rendezvous

richard310

Adventurist
Moderator
Author
#1
...With the DRV site nailed down, and the planning and coordinating completed, it was all down to how we were going to get there. For myself, I decided to take on a slightly different adventure for most adventurists here, and that is to get to DRV by motorcycle. I had coordinated with another member and friend here at American Adventurist, Tim @hardhat and we had decided to take a portion of the Nevada Backcountry Discovery Route from Pahrump, NV to Oatman, AZ and from there we’d hard slab it down the Quartzsite, AZ. Now, this would be my first trip on a motorcycle, and not only that, but the longest on the saddle, my first time on dirt, and on a BDR… this would truly be an adventure for me!


DAY 1: Tuesday, 18 Feb

My trip began on the Tuesday of, and with the 2018 Honda CB500X finally packed up and ready to go, I was ready to depart the house. It was a great start until I closed the garage door on the bike and destroyed my windscreen… Slightly emotionless but with comfort from my wife, I took my OEM screen and replaced that with the broken Givi. I’d just have to deal with the extra wind hitting my helmet and chest. She picked up my spirits as I geared up, we said our goodbyes, and off I went.

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One photo by the wife before I head off to the 2020 DRV to meet up with Tim near Pahrump, NV

The plan was for myself to ride up to the Nopah Wilderness to meet with Tim at the predesignated campsite around evening, but I was running late from the shenanigans with the garage door. It really was time to tuck-in, throttle twisted, and hunker down for the 270 mile ride. With a quick stop in Barstow, CA to fill-up, I finally arrived at the turn-off road. I had just passed it, and needed to turn around on the two-way road. Mid turn, I dropped it in the middle of the road. This would be the first of a handful of falls. Getting to the actual campsite required a bit of dirt, and with no experience on dirt, I fell again about 1/3 of the way up. With Tim’s help in the dark, we uprighted my over weighted beast, and got me up to camp and setup for the night.


DAY 2: Wednesday, 19 Feb

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Morning of the first night's camp

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We woke to a great sunrise and wonderful weather, so it was a great sign to the real start of this adventure. We headed into Pahrump to top off our fuel, where Tim needed to take a work call and we hit the lower section of the NVBDR around noon time. Just as we touched the dirt, about a mile in, I ate it. After picking it up, Tim decided that I need to air down to about 24psi so I can get more traction in the soft stuff. I carried on with no problems as we stopped a few times just to take a break. My average speed was about 25mph while Tim’s was a bit quicker on his properly setup Husqvarna 701. We were not in any rush and I knew I shouldn't be riding fast anyways with how I was setup.

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Stopped for a lunch break

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Tim ready to break for lunch

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One for the books of a rare photo of myself

As we paced along the BDR, we decided to have lunch just coming down a pass as there was a great view. While we were eating, two other riders passing through and we had a nice chat about BDR’s and life. Once lunch was packed up, we hit the dirt again and were coming up to Primm, NV. We missed the turn off and had to turn around, where I dropped the bike twice in the same turn around. The bike, uprighted again, trudged on down where we hit a powerline road. After breezing through, I came across a slightly technical gravel-y section where my front end washed out and I went down hard around 25-30mph. Helmet hit the ground, and I took a good roll. The right side KC Flex HiLight had shifted and the bracket was bent. Also after further assessment, the dash had stopped working, and the skid plate had taken a few rather large hits, but saving my engine from destruction. Considering I was riding on stock suspension, the bike was riding low to the ground and isn’t tuned or valved for such endeavors… and I wasn’t taking it as slow as I should have. I had bottomed out numerous times, hit large rocks throughout the day, and with all that extra laden weight, didn’t help the cause.

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Just stopped after reaching Primm and Tim on the phone booking a room for the night

Tim and I decided to call it and make Primm our final stop for the day. We rolled in and decided to book a room for the night. We stayed at the Primm Valley Resort and Casino, showered, had steak and beers for dinner and called it a night. It was a blessing that we did because it was a very tiring day for us, especially myself.

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Tim smiling that we're booking a room for this night.


DAY 3: Thursday, 20 Feb

After a hearty omelet breakfast and coffee, I grabbed a few tools and decided to troubleshoot the bike and do a full damage assessment, while Tim headed up to pack and take care of a few work things. Oddly enough, it turns out that I had blown a fuse for the turn/brake lights and that had killed the dash. Once that was taken care of, I took off the broken KC Flex light, and remounted the working left light inboard as to take it out of harm’s way in the event of another spill. With both our affairs wrapped up, we packed up and headed east of Primm to continue on the BDR.

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Replacing the broken fuse and removing the broken light bracket, and more importantly doing a once-over

We rolled onto the dirt with a projected stop in Nipton. About near half-way there, again, my front end washed out and down I went, and actually a lot harder than the last. I rolled down hard, left foot under the bike, and bruised my left leg badly as I needed to stay on the ground for a few minutes. Tim rolled on back and after a few minutes, we righted the bike and re-assessed the situation. Considering that we had a ton of miles to cover in order to get to our final destination of Quartzsite, we regathered our bearings and made a call to turn back to Primm and take the hardball down to Oatman, AZ for the night. If we continued onwards on the BDR, we didn’t know the conditions of the roads nor didn’t know how much longer it would take to get there. But we knew what we just rolled through so we double backed and took the I-15 south to Highway 164 to Searchlight, NV.

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A stop to take in the view of Primm and the Solar Farm right before the turn-off to continue on the NVBDR

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A quick break to enjoy the view of the Solar Farm off in the distance

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After turning around, here's Tim airing up my tires after my compressor broke from being crushed from the repeated falls.

Arriving in Searchlight, we pulled aside for lunch and a break off the bikes. It was much needed as we still have a number of miles to go, so we strategized on what was reality in terms of mileage and destination. Ideally I was hoping that we’d arrive at DRV that evening, but that definitely was not going to happen. It really didn’t make sense, but what did was to enjoy ourselves while we were out on the road on this adventure. The plan now was to head over to Oatman, AZ to check out some sights and see where we’d end up for camp that night.

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Searchlight, NV for lunch break

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Hardball was to be had for the ride to Oatman, AZ. I’ve never been here and it was a sight to see. Oatman is pretty much an old western town with many burro’s roaming around. We arrived there in the evening so most of the shops were closed, but it was quite a tourist stop. Lot’s of foot traffic, vehicles and motorcycles come visit this area for it’s history, not only from the gold mining camp, but the number of movies that had been filmed here as well. It’s a cool little town but I wish we’d gotten there earlier when it was more alive.

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The cool little western town of Oatman, AZ

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A must visit, but be weary of all the burro poop...


Unfortunately with the sun setting, we needed to find camp. A decision was made to hop onto Route 66 and find a site between Oatman and Lake Havasu. And boy did we find a cherry spot not far off from the intersection of Oatman Road and the Oatman Highway...

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A view of the path to Mordor...


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Pano shot with the sun setting behind me.


I dropped the bike turning off onto the dirt road as there was a patch of gravel I was trying to avoid, but as Tim had returned from scouting the area, he reassured me it was worth picking up this last drop. And boy oh boy were we in for a surprise. Tim and I rolled in just about a quarter mile off Route 66 and found a secluded site with an epic view of Mohave Valley. The cities of Laughlin, Bullhead, Mesquite Creek, Needles, Topock, and even the lights of Lake Havasu were all visible from our campsite. And with the sun setting on the valley, made for a spectacular and wonderful evening. We both were beside ourselves in what a cherry site we stumbled upon. After soaking in the views and taking some photos, we quickly setup camp and cooked dinner while the sky lit up with vivid colors and dimmed to a partly cloudy star speckled night sky.

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Before the sun set behind the mountains.

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Tim setting up camp with the little bit of light left in the day


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A cherry campsite with an epic 360degree view


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A great way to cook a canned meal with a Jetboil so you don't have to clean anything! Marbles are the key...


DAY 4: Friday, 21 Feb

We awoke a little earlier than the previous days so we could get an early start as we still had about 140 miles left to tackle. We rode off as the sun began to crest the mountain range behind us with Havasu in our sights and we arrived just around noon time. Tim and I stopped here for a break from all the blacktop and Tim mentioned that we should ride across and stop to check out the London Bridge, which I had no idea about.

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The old bridge itself in London, England, built in the 1830’s, was actually kind of sort of sinking as the song dictated but was more importantly not up to the task of the more modern and heavy traffic of the coming era. So a decision was made to salvage the bridge for $2.46m and contracts were made to bring it to Lake Havasu by it’s founder Robert P McCulloch. Brick by brick was numbered, stored and shipped overseas to Arizona, and the move was successfully made. It is a pretty cool sight to see if you ever get a chance to roll in to Lake Havasu, tourist attraction as it is.

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While Tim had to take a work call, I explored the bridge and visitor center, and walked about the area. Once his call was completed, we spotted an In & Out Burger across the street so we decided to have lunch there before we set off for the last leg of the trip. It really is amazing how many people come up to you when you’re on a fully laden bike. A number of conversations were had before and after our meals with folks interested where we came from and where we were going and it was great to talk to them. It really is a more socially welcoming method to travel, as I’ve experienced more folks come up to talk to me on this trip alone than all my other travels in my Xterra combined.

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With lunch finished and the bikes ready to roll, we mounted up and hit the black top hard to get to Quartzsite, AZ. We rolled down Highway 95 and arrived at Quartzsite a few hours later to top off our fuel and water. Finding the actual location of DRV was easier than expected as I was expecting a few miles of dirt to travel on and a few washed out section. We successfully arrived to the 10th Annual Desert Rendezvous on Friday afternoon with a few hours of sunlight left in the day to setup camp, and decompress before dinner…

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Camp setup for the next three days

Many lessons were learned on this one trip alone, which included packing properly, overweight/unbalanced load, along with the proper sized wheels and real proper tires. It was really an eye opener to not get carried away with what you really need vs what you think you need. We both actually over packed in the food department since both Tim and I actually had to bring food home. Anyways, a great trip was had an I'm looking forward to more moto adventures on the bike! She's got many proper battle scars now!
 

Herbie

Adventurist
#2
Great write-up Richard!

Adventure is the word. We've all had trips with a lot of learning points. I'm sorry that so many of yours came via laydowns and I hope you heal up.
 

richard310

Adventurist
Moderator
Author
#3
Great write-up Richard!

Adventure is the word. We've all had trips with a lot of learning points. I'm sorry that so many of yours came via laydowns and I hope you heal up.
Thanks! Even with all the bike naps, I was still mentally good to continue on. I really didn't feel the physical repercussions until I got home though... I had to take an extra two days off from work to heal up as it was difficult to walk/sit/stand, plus my sprained right wrist.

I am really eager to get the bike properly setup and get more saddle time though!
 

Doug

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#4
Good for you, Richard and a great read. Perhaps your goal was a bit out of reach for a first trip but you made the best of it, and endured the ribbing along the way. None of us even tried this.
 
#5
Nice report! You're very humble to admit that your bike was so lazy taking all those naps! I've had a trip or two where my bike got lazy like that and have found a good way to cure it is to post pics of her while she's napping..... At least my friends did :).
 

Greg

Adventurist
Senior Staff
#8
Great story and dropping the bike is part of the adventure. Don't worry about it. You're not really pushing yourself if you don't drop the bike.

I've been thinking of taking Jim Hyde's class. There's one out in CA if you're interested.

Topics Discussed: Courtesy Jim Hyde
  • “fear” of dropping
  • what usually happens when you “drop” an adventure bike?
  • minor issues of a drop
  • major issues of a drop
  • injury implications of fighting a drop
  • where does ego and pride fit into this?
  • WHY did you buy an adventure bike if you don’t want to risk a drop?
  • GET OVER it…. Enjoy the ride… drop the bike…pick it up… its no big deal!
 

hardhat

Adventurist
#9
Great write up Rich. And what a great trip. Certainly best documented trip I've ever been on! Looking forward to the next one.

With respect to training, take a look at dirt riding courses if you dont have a lot of experience off the hardtop. American Supercamp has a great 2 day course they teach on Honda 125's. You get to focus on the dirt stuff- slipping and sliding- without worry about the weight. The Hyde courses are generally focused on the bigger bikes and the weight gets in the way of learning the right skills. Juat a thought.
 

richard310

Adventurist
Moderator
Author
#10
Good for you, Richard and a great read. Perhaps your goal was a bit out of reach for a first trip but you made the best of it, and endured the ribbing along the way. None of us even tried this.
Thanks Doug. It wouldnt have been fun without all the jabbing along the way from you guys lol. I appreciated the numerous separate text messages and the phone calls too.

Nice report! You're very humble to admit that your bike was so lazy taking all those naps! I've had a trip or two where my bike got lazy like that and have found a good way to cure it is to post pics of her while she's napping..... At least my friends did :).
I should have taken photos while the bike was napping.. Prime opportunity missed. Next time Lol. But I did get better at tight u-turns than before.


Fantastic write up Richard, thanks for taking us all along on the adventure! Sleepy bikes are all part of the game.
Thanks! That was definitely one of the experiences of an offroad ride I did not miss out on!

Great tale nicely told sir! Well done!
Thanks Mark!

Great story and dropping the bike is part of the adventure. Don't worry about it. You're not really pushing yourself if you don't drop the bike.

I've been thinking of taking Jim Hyde's class. There's one out in CA if you're interested.

Topics Discussed: Courtesy Jim Hyde
  • “fear” of dropping
  • what usually happens when you “drop” an adventure bike?
  • minor issues of a drop
  • major issues of a drop
  • injury implications of fighting a drop
  • where does ego and pride fit into this?
  • WHY did you buy an adventure bike if you don’t want to risk a drop?
  • GET OVER it…. Enjoy the ride… drop the bike…pick it up… its no big deal!
Thanks Greg. There definitely was that "fear" of dropping the bike but I believe I was dreading more so the fact that I could not pick it up myself (without completely unloading the bike) and needed to wait for Tim to circle back around to help me. It was the inconveneince that was more the "fear."

I am interested in taking a class to better my skills in a more controlled environment. But also get my bike more properly setup to tackle the tougher terrain.

But I am very proud of the bike's battle scars. I did get home and while unloading the bike thought to myself, it's not dirty enough...


Great write up Rich. And what a great trip. Certainly best documented trip I've ever been on! Looking forward to the next one.

With respect to training, take a look at dirt riding courses if you dont have a lot of experience off the hardtop. American Supercamp has a great 2 day course they teach on Honda 125's. You get to focus on the dirt stuff- slipping and sliding- without worry about the weight. The Hyde courses are generally focused on the bigger bikes and the weight gets in the way of learning the right skills. Juat a thought.
Thanks Tim. I did try to document it but I didnt want it to get in the way of just getting out and experiencing the ride, which i felt we did a good thing of. And considering my n00bness i needed to soak up as much information as I could. We all need the right amount of photos to retain the memory of trips like these though.

I'll take a look at both the American Supercamp and Hyde courses and see what fits in my busy life, but i do like the idea of learning on the smaller lighter bikes, and then moving up to the larger classed courses.

And btw, with her completely unloaded, the Honda feels like a feather now... I'm packing MUCH lighter on the next trip.
 

Greg

Adventurist
Senior Staff
#11
Thanks Greg. There definitely was that "fear" of dropping the bike but I believe I was dreading more so the fact that I could not pick it up myself (without completely unloading the bike) and needed to wait for Tim to circle back around to help me. It was the inconveneince that was more the "fear."

I am interested in taking a class to better my skills in a more controlled environment. But also get my bike more properly setup to tackle the tougher terrain.

But I am very proud of the bike's battle scars. I did get home and while unloading the bike thought to myself, it's not dirty enough...
Awesome! Practice falling to keep body parts out from under the bike. PDF covers how.
 

Attachments

#13
Awesome! Practice falling to keep body parts out from under the bike. PDF covers how.
That's good stuff right there, although I don't know that I'd practice in the garage using moving blankets as he suggests. Cracking a cylinder head on a GS or an engine case on another bike because I fell over in the garage would ruin my day.
 

Greg

Adventurist
Senior Staff
#14
That's good stuff right there, although I don't know that I'd practice in the garage using moving blankets as he suggests. Cracking a cylinder head on a GS or an engine case on another bike because I fell over in the garage would ruin my day.
I'd impale myself on a garden tool hanging on the wall of the garage. In a field or on the lawn cleared of any sprinklers, etc..
 
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