A new tank and new handguards on the Honda. Unfortunately I didn't try the bike out *before* the ride. The throttle was sticking and the clutch was releasing way too late for my taste. After some last minute adjustment and lots of sweating trying to get the bike started, we were off! And I mean OFF. The folks I was riding with were both much better riders than I was. They took off and I could only follow their tracks through the desert.
It was a nice day though there was still some water on the tracks from rain the previous day. We started on service roads for the powerlines through the desert, on well packed dirt. I was getting the feel for the way the bike handled with the large tank - it sure was top-heavy! I managed to drop it when I biffed on a huge pile of sand that had been pushed into our path by a road grader. I dumped the bike and couldn't pick it up since it now had a larger gas tank and weighed more. Too heavy! I finally received some help when Tanya came back and finally the two of us got the bike upright. (thank you!) and was off again.
We rode through the mountains each turn bringing a better view in sight. What a perfect day!
We followed a service road for a while and then took some dirt trails through the mountains. I had a little trouble getting up the hills and we lost the route a few times. This bike is hard to turn around! I was getting better at leaning uphill when climbing and leaning back when going downhill. I managed to keep the bike upright.
We stopped at a small bar/cafe in the desert and waited for Dave to catch up with us. He had gone off on the difficult route and was still out there. I bought a soft drink because I was thirsty and hungry. It's a lot of work for me to ride the Honda off-road.
It was a nice day, sunny and warm. I managed to stop and get a few photos. We rode through the hills and along washes. I dropped the bike a few times at low/no speed in the sand. At least now I could pick it up again.
After our stop (and a chance for me to clean muck off my engine) we continued on the tour. Now we travelled along washes. I hate sand. I haven't figured out how to sit back and keep the throttle open when the front tire is going every which way! I nearly crashed several times and did crash twice. At least I could pick the bike up in the sand. But it was frustrating and tiring.
We were getting close to Barstow. I could see it off in the distance. Somehow we had gotten off the route and were now traversing our own lines through the hills. I was not too keen on this. The downhills were steep for me and we were riding over vegetation. This is real off-road riding. Just keep the rubber side down.
After lunch in Barstow, I returned via Route 66. I had ridden my bicycle along this stretch of road and was happy to see it again from the vantage point of a motorcycle. There was very little traffic and I stopped a few times to enjoy the view. It was pretty cold moving along at 55 mph! I was getting a bit chilled - something that doesn't happen when you are riding trails.
Back at the starting point, I had several hours to kill before my ride I talked to Paul and John and learned more about what got other people interested in the sport. It was very cold though, just sitting there after having ridden back on the highway. I was freezing, even with all my gear on. We munched on snacks and waited for the last riders to arrive. They were picking up the ribbons that had been used to mark the course, so they were behind the other riders.