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dirt dame

A day at KM 06/27/21

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 A riding buddy that lives north of me, called me up last Wednesday and asked if I wanted to go to Kennedy Meadows with him for a day ride on Sunday.  He came south to help a family member with a siding project on his house in Mojave, so he brought his trail bike with him.  It was very short notice for me, and the only bike that I had prepped and ready for a ride was the....FE501.  Mr. 501 had just had a valve adjust and oil change.  He needed a new rear tire, but time was short and so was tire money....soooo.....well, he'd been a very good bike for Big Bear and McCain valley singletrack, so I thought he'd do in a pinch at KM.  Besides, all my other machines were due for, or in the process of various service projects.  So Mr. 501 it was.

I loaded up the bike, gear and a few supplies on Saturday afternoon and headed up to Mojave to spend the night.  The weather was quite brutal up there when I arrived in the early evening.  The wind kicked up, along with the dust and the temperature was still well over 105.  The guys wrapped up their work, so Greg and I drove over to Rosamond for some Mexican dinner cuisine.  Then there was bit of socializing all around before we all hit the sack.  The morning came, still and tranquil, as well as warm.  It was 84 degrees at 5:00 a.m..  The truck was loaded and ready to go, so we made haste to get underway, stopping along the way for a fast food breakfast.  Egg McMuffin breakfasts have really gotten out of hand, price  wise.  I gasped at $8.19 for a little wad of deep fried hashbrowns, tiny sammich and kid's sized milk.

The drive was uneventful, for us anyway.  When we got onto Sherman Pass road, we ended up stuck behind a fancy travel van that was pulling a saggy 3 rail trailer with two bikes on it.  Greg said "what's splashing out of that bike on the left....gasoline?"  I couldn't tell, but noticed that the gas cap appeared to missing on that bike, so it probably was gasoline.  I hoped that the gas cap was dangling from its vent hose, off to the side on that bike, or else there was going to be a whole bunch of unhappiness for those people when they set up camp and went to unload their machines.

We staged at Troy Meadows campground.  The overflow area has been permanently closed for quite some time now, sadly.  But I guess the USFS wants to make sure that they  get as many guests as possible in their pay-to-camp sites.  We paid (senior discount) just to park for the day, although we could have found SOME spot for free, somewhere along the road.  Fish Creek overflow is still open. 

The mountain was pretty dry, and the Kern river wasn't anything more that some stagnant puddles amongst the rocks.  Most creeks were completely dry.  Trail conditions were dusty, silty and have been whooped out in a lot of areas for years.  The temperature seemed nice, around 82 when we arrived.  It was breezy and there were some scattered clouds.  I was hoping that maybe a summer thunderstorm might pop up, but as it turned out, all we got was some overcast here and there.

We hit the frontage trail around ten in the morning, and I soon found Mr. 501 not nearly as much to my liking as I was hoping for, as soon as we began to hit any rock terrain.  Between the altitude, somewhat higher than practical gearing and the balding rear tire, I soon found myself fighting the bike.  Jackass was our first leg of the route, and the big bike kicked around.  I struggled along on it until we were about 3/4 of the way to Jackass peak, when the radiator started to blow and the clutch overheated and went bye bye.  I was parked on a switchback, and just wanted to call a taxi by then, but had to wait for the bike to cool down, and hope that the clutch would come back.  After all, it had already blown the stock Magura slave, and was sporting the Oberon.  Luckily, the pressure came back after 15 minutes or so.  In the meantime, I decided to back off the compression on the forks and high speed compression on the shock, because I was taking such a beating in the rock piles.  Continuing towards the summit, the bike now tracked over the sharp, abrupt stuff much better....but by now I was all worn out.  Oh well, live and learn....to make sure the the machine is properly set up before heading out.

We decided to take Albanita trail after we reached the peak.  The sun went away for a while, leaving us with cooler conditions for at least a little bit.  The trail was fast and flowy heading down, and the forest was so beautiful.  But I was tired.  At least we were riding stuff that the big machine was easy to navigate on.  Right where Albanita turns into Beach Ridge, there was a lot of energy sapping rocky, cobbled stuff, and I finally felt spent.  I didn't want to deal with some of Beach Ridge after the intersection near Black Rock station,  so I didn't bother with it.  We were only 3 miles from camp, via blacktop, so erring on the side of caution, I rode road that last 3 miles, instead of the trail.  It was about a 24 mile loop, all in all, pretty close to half of what routes in the past were.  But I'm certainly not young anymore, and the bike as it was set up, wasn't optimal.  And so it went.  Note to self: make sure the Beta Xtrainer is ready for the next Sierra adventure.

By the time we rolled back to the truck and loaded up, it was a quarter past three.  The temperature had gone up noticeably since our arrival.  As we headed out, Greg suggested we stop at the general store for ice cream.  He said he saw a sign on the way in advertising soft serve.  That would certainly hit the spot after the day's adventure.  When we pulled in at the store, the digital thermometer read 90 degrees.  The place was jumping, with lots of people eating burgers out on the side deck.  Sure enough, they had vanilla soft serve, and we each got a cone.  By the way, the store now also has some bulky gasoline storage and pumps.  It's really expensive, but if people are going to run out, they should expect to pay for the convenience of being able to buy fuel up there.

We headed down 9 Mile road, and south, back to Mojave.  By the time I was ready to leave there it was almost 7 o clock.  I made it home to North County before ten.  Man, what a crazy weekend for a few hours of trail riding.  I'd do it again, though.

5 a.m. in Mojave.


Roadside scenery on the way up the 14.


Getting ready to gear up and head out.


Somewhere out on Jackass....


Snow flower.






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Love that Italian Varese Husky (Cagiva)  97-00 era, yes?

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54 minutes ago, robertaccio said:

Love that Italian Varese Husky (Cagiva)  97-00 era, yes?

Yes.  1998 model....last year of the "rightside up" 50 mm forks.

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