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Adventurous Twists And Turns..
“GET THE CAMERA!”……..MOVE FAST ----HE is going to get away! Steve detected the urgency in derek’s voice and struggled to find the camera…..M3 heard it to and increased his efforts to get out from under his sr500 explorer vehicle! Derek had him “trapped”…….m3 was grateful for derek’s quick moves to get him out from under the beached thumper UNTIL he realized that Derek was NOT there to help him but was instead trying to keep him stuck until steve could get a good black mail pic….
Lucky for me …steve was in the wrong pocket of the tank bag and would be unsuccessful in his attempt to get that “Kodak” moment.
Personally, I refuse to acknowledge that the “incident” ever took place……
This is just one of the things that happens way out THERE IN the coastal outback of the holly shelter game lands…
Why were we out there? We took a wrong turn?! Derek declared he knew a “short cut”? or the fact that there is no adventure in taking the easy way?!
“D” all of the above.
In all started last week when Derek , steve, and m3 went exploring in the croatan national forest. It was good time…steve’s klr650 and my thumper showed a strong “burrowing instinct”. Both bikes feel prey to deep sugar sand and machinery that each had compromises of sorts. Derek was conspicuous in his refusal to fall down to entertain us and his calm thoughtful “studied” approach to obstacles. It did not hurt that HE let US take turns going first..! sneaky guy!
Steve’s klr was compromised by a fuel tank “full” to the brim(7 gallons of fuel up high on the bike); and gearing that was +1 on the countershaft from stock!! The gearing kinda makes it tough to use the torque of the motor to save a “moment” as the beast turns “turtle”.
My thumper was compromised by its tire choice. Before deploying I had substituted the wheel with the bald dual sport tire on it for the wheel with the nearly bald me33 lasertec front tire….a choice of “bad “ and “worse”.
The front tire is a fine street tire but it is NOT a true dual sport …the metzler tourance barely meets the requirements of a dual sport rubber. Of course I had a continental tkc80 but it was mounted on another rim not compatiable with the sr500 front end!! Being some what lazy and possessing a well proven ability to “delude” myself; I did not invest the effort to make the swap. Besides with no traction at the rear----who needs traction at the front?!?!?!
My plan was to desperately cling to the theory the a motorcycle is nothing but a “system of gyroscopes”. Stability being altered at well by a studied careful manipulation of said “gyros”. In other words…if wheel rpm is not possible-----crankshaft rpm must be increased. Of course there are times where this exercise in applied theory gets pretty rocky..in the softer dirt with a bald tire…it was necessary to carry a lot of rpm and keep a loose loose loose relaxed grip on the bars ….! Fighting the natural instinct to grab hold which will always make the fight harder. Every one knows that to fight wobbles and such you must make a conscious attempt to lighten your grip!! Lest you grab hold strongly and consequentally attach all of your body mass to the end of a very long lever….which the bike will use to beat you senseless!!!!!!!
Generally my plan worked…and when it did not –I left some amazing creative athletic patterns in the sand!!
Steve lost the front last week but this week he drove off the submerged piece of the continental shelf and almost disappeared from sight! The water did not look that deep but the jumping fish should have given him a hint. For the life of me ; could not figure out how he got the wheels in two different canyons. I could have told him it was inevitable as he was wearing a brand new flourecent yellow adventure jacket.. just like new paint to asphalt..THAT jacket WAS GONNA GET WET!!
PISSED steve off when Derek and I just danced thru….. of course it was surely derek’s fault as HE WOULD NEVER GO FIRST! AND… I hold myself responsiable because steve’s “event” was just 45 seconds “AFTER” “I” suggested that steve lead the way…….
Our vehicle prep was” extensive” “LOL!!” . Before heading into the outback.. I relocated my tank bag to the back of the seat to help encourage the front end NOT to burrow. The tire pressures were also lowered. In the croatan I used xt500 specs 18/21. This weekend I headed for tt500 specs …no I did not set em at 12/14; instead opting for 16/16.
Stock for the klr650 is 21. Steve lowered his for the croatan and never raised em back..so he was set.
Derek defiantly and brazenly left his at HIS street settings!! AND he rode both weeks with his givi saddlebags in place!! Can you believe THAT!! Personally I was sure he had floatation devices in side them in case HE drove off into the inland ocean…… …
The bags were kinda nice .. I notice that they were great when “blazing” trail thru the thick stuff….of course that was ONLY after I out puttered him and forced him to go ahead of ME!!
THE riding was great. The croatan had much to offer and in the technical bits I could just visualize rick lee and that BETA blazing thru there at warp 10 with 2 feet of suspension travel eating up the bumps and a solid roost flying 10 feet in the air off the rear wheel of his machine…
The jeep roads were much fun and I had to consciously rein my speed in to avoid creating potentially dangerous/painful scenarios. The middle of no where is not the place to “rearrange” one’s anatomy! Speed did add much to stability and provide interesting opportunities for “experiments “ of M3.
I did notice that my bikes lack of suspension travel did put me closer to the ground to increase “paddling “ efficiency and reduce the height I had to fall to reach terra firma.. in other words my bikes shortcoming was also a blessing.
Ever the optimist..YOU know I would see it that way..!!
I had to laugh… .well you KNOW I did. On the harder pack stuff I approached corners with a strange plan….go fast enough to maintain stability…slow enough that miscalculations would hopefully not be TOO PAINFUL or expensive. I also played special attention at getting visually ahead of the bike…it is proven that maintaining a “high visual horizion” can help control. The “camber” of the jeep road was carefully scrutinized. With damn little traction at both ends I doggedly sought out all the “positive camber “ I could find.
Another thing…the riding reinforced the value of careful throttle control and how it effects weight transfer and stability. If the throttle was allowed to snap shut…the weight transfer forward quickly and totally. The resultant front wheel hunt and push can amuse your buddies but can have you talking to THE ALMIGHTY out loud!!
This care must take place on the road as well. How you close the gas is as important as how you open it.. must be always mindful of the weight transfer…ALWAYS!!
HOW you grab the throttle matters to…dirt trackers attempt to turn the throttle like you would turn a screwdriver. More precision and control…try it and see if it works for you.. “THEY” also think of the throttle in “percentages” of open /close. Positive/neutral/negative.
Any way big fun was had as my bike had a kind of vague stability to it…yes it hunted in the sand and the bars would “walk”..but it was all benign as I forced my self to do things that minimized the negative impact of my controlling /directing the bike.
Had a surprise…there in the middle of no where…at a isolated “cross roads” we ran into a kindred soul……at first I thought is was a scene out of the movie “CROSS ROADS” and we were meeting the devil himself ..dressed in b lack and riding a menacing triumph tiger. NOT THE BIG one that IS A SPORT BIKE with leverage !! but the smaller more capable one …! The one that is powered by one of the best motors in motorcycling!
When matt got his helmet off …his friendly demeanor and giant smile let me know right away….HE was one of US!! Riding in the outback by himself just for the joy of riding and the adventure…!! MATT was surely one of the “lunatic fringe”. And he could ride too…rode an expensive bike with confidance that made him not worry about pranging it…. Very confidant!
After visiting a while he confessed to having had a Harley Davidson. Harley davidson’s are nice bikes but they are severely limited. The chrome enslaves you to more time spent cleaning the chrome than riding. Matt was truly in love with his new triumph…limitless motorcycling! The world is a play ground and limits are in the mind….
Matt apparently has a big history in motocross. This means that in his heart he probably has never ever ever gone into a corner without the absolute self assuredness that some where deep deep deep in that corner is a “berm” that he will use to change direction and fire that beast onto the next straight!!!
Motocross guys work with constantly changing traction and ride bikes that are mostly sometimes normally out of control…this gives a degree of confidance that transcends the bike being ridden..
We talked a while and matt mentioned he was low on fuel. I offered that there is a reason I travel with guys who ride klr650s with their 7 gallon capacities. It is kinda like always having a limitless source of fuel. Of course this assumes that “THEY” will share with me.!!
I inquired about the direction matt had come from. He smiled an said something about some sugar sand….! He must be a master of understatement…!!
Around the corner lie my “waterloo”! I went first and crashed immediately when I hit the worst of it. Some how when I crash my left leg always ends up caught behind the front wheel in front of the motor…! Why I do not know? Derek seized the opportunity! I must have looked pretty pathetic laying there under my bike. I am surprised Derek could even help me right the bike as he was 1) standing on the right side of a bike laying on its left.2) laughing so hard he was crying!!
He did manage to yank the bike up right off of me between gasps of laughter. Thanks Derek..
After refiring my bike I then almost crashed again within 3 feet. It was funny and kinda painful as my legs were thrashing about and I seriously got “behind on my steering”. Heard a voice that sounded like mine screaming “LORD JESUS HELP ME!! LORD JESUS HELP ME!!”
IT took a lot o energy but I eventually got myself extricated and back on solid ground. Breathing heavy but relieved..
Derek sat smugly by as he once again let steve or I do the “research”.
The big question : how the hell did matt get thru that stuff on the triumph?!?!?!?! My bike is light and it is also “ugly” and “paid for”…..THIS MAKES IT HELL FOR STRONG!!
MATT’S BIKE is 400 + lbs. makes up near 100 hp and is dripping with all manner of brand new carbon fiber,magnesium, and fresh paint! Yet HE GOT THRU with out a bit of bother!!!!!!!!??? Man must be a demon! Of course he is USMC. AND confided that the triumph was a gift to himself having survived 6 IED encounters on his last deployment to Afghanistan!!! WHEW!! IF I had the money …would have bought him the triumph myself!!!
Any way it was great meeting matt. We intend to bring him along on adventures so hopefully the rest of the lunatic fringe can meet him.
If the adventure ended here it would still be one hell of a day. But it just got better and better…
Long story short we ended up at Jacksonville mx park. This was due to some concerns of mine.. I had noticed that the signs were down and replaced by a sign promoting a new neighborhood development. I wanted to see what the deal was as I feared that non stop urban development had consumed one of our fun places.
I need not have worried.. the track was there and some guys were practicing . they indicated that no races had been held yet as money pressures are catching everyone out. Had some neat conversations with the guys and learned more about the leatts device I am considering buying.
We hung out a while and watched the guys ride a bit. When they came off to take a break they suggested that maybe WE take our ADVENTURE BIKES out for a lap or two!! WOW!!! How cool is that! I immediately knew that the deep loam and sand would not be cool on my bike so started applying pressure------planting “seeds” in Derek and steve’s mind. I did every thing but twist their arms and shame them into giving it a go! I learned that Derek cannot be shamed intimidated corrupted forced encouraged to do anything he does not want to do! I believe steve had decided he had entertained us enough for one day…
It would have been great fun.. my xt500 or xr250L with some dot knobbies would have had me out there. But an sr500 with tires marginal for the challenge ..not gonna happen. Besides some one has to take the photos and write the story.
I even pointed out that in spite of not knowing him a long time…MATT would have jumped at the chance AND would have made a good showing too. Would have made a great story too.
So adventure is fantastic. Never actually turns out the way you think—this unpredictable nature is what makes it so alluring . having friends that feel the same way just makes it better and better..
Join us for the next one
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