Friday, March 30, 2012

On-Going San Diego Hijinks - Back Country Adventure Group Rides

Well, it looks like the San Diego dual sport guys are doing it again. We had such a great time on our last backcountry adventure (see previous post) that we are heading out for two more days of desert riding. And the usual hijinks that normally accompany men free from the constraints of chores and responsibilties and AA meetings are sure to entail.

For example, they somehow managed to name the first affair after me. (The Danscape Unlimited Inaugural Ride.) Moi? But what did I do to deserve that? Hmmm. I really do look forward to seeing these guys again. They're a lot of fun and the riding is fantastic. Photos and ride reports to follow!

So, buy the T-shirt, see the movie, read the book. Here ya go...

We had an incredible time kicking off the First-Annual No-Name Ride (aka Danscape Unlimited Inaugural Ride). This thread will serve as the on-going ride planning thread (hopefully) for years to come.

The last ride (2/11/2012) starts right

Feel free to post up suggestions for additional routes.

Check out the brand new Southern California dual-sport riding resource:

I will keep the ride info up-to-date on ADVRider, but SoCalDualSport is making easy work of keeping track of all you FFs!

No registration is required and it's a breeze to register for the ride.


Ride Details: (Charlie and Ewan haters: don't worry, this won't make the shirts or stickers)

Dates: May 5 and 6, 2012 (Contingency Dates are May 12 and 13).

Meet at Packard's Coffee Shop at 9:00 AM
680 Main Street Ramona, CA

Day 1
Start in Ramona
Ride Pine Hills to Boulder Creek
Wander back to Butterfield
Stay at Butterfield Ranch again...hopefully SPAFXER will be there to do his thing to the spa
Maybe we'll follow Caleb's lead and explore Blair Valley sans luggage after camp is set up

Day 2
Butterfield to Grapevine
Jasper to Old Montezuma Rd.
79 to Palomar Divide
Pound pavement to Anza, then head north into the forest.
End in Idyllwild

"IN" List:
1. bdarling - R1100GS
2. Afry - KLR 650
3. BMWKTM - F800GS
4. Forumless Craig - Tiger 800 XC
5. nomad5326 - F650GS Dakar
7. Uncle Champ
9. 3-Name Jeremy - XR650L
10. Jared - R1200GS
11. Shunka - 950 ADV
12. Strega (Roger) - 620 ADV
13. snglfin
14. nomilk4u - WR426
15. roundtripping - F650GS Twin
16. browneye - TE 630
17. YetiGS - R1100GS
18. Dan Diego - R1150GS
19. StupidKid - VStrom 1000
20. SoCalPhil - XR650L
21. Lonestar2112 - R1200GS
22. HuckFinn - F800GS
23. CA Stu - KLR650
24. Renner - R100ST
25. OBSteve
26. Fun_Crusher - KLR650
27. dirtdadx - F650GS Twin
28. Jim Motorad - R1150GS
29. farrington300 - KLR650
30. Haywood - XR650L
31. tvscum

San Diego Back Country Adventure, Round 2 - May 5-6, 2012:

9 Big Bike-Friendly Days in Southern Utah - May 26-June 2, 2012:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Truth about Progressive Insurance

I'm renewing my home, auto and motorcycle insurance and received the below info from a friend. The info checks out; the guy who owns Progressive is truly a progressive cretin. OK, Gecko, get me a quote...

If this kind of thing interests you, take a look at either the Snopes or the Truth or Fiction site.

PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE is owned by Peter Lewis: Who is he?


You know their TV commercials, the ones featuring the ditsy actress who portrays "Flo" all dressed in white. What you might not know is that the Chairman of Progressive is Peter Lewis, one of the major funders of leftist causes in America.

Between 2001 and 2003, Lewis funneled $15 million to the ACLU,
the group most responsible for destroying what's left of Americas Judeo-Christian heritage. (It's no secret that the ACLU's founders are known communists.)

Lewis also gave $12.5 million to and America Coming Together,
two key propaganda arms of the socialist left.

His funding for these groups was conditional on matching contributions from George Soros, the America-hating socialist who is the chief financier of the Obama political machine.

Lewis finances a progressive movement that threatens to destroy the American free enterprise system that is targeting television shows on Fox News.

Peter Lewis is making a fortune off of conservative Americans (who buy his auto insurance) that he then applies to dismantle the very system that made him wealthy. He's banking on no one finding out who he is, so STOP buying Progressive Insurance and pass this information on to all your friends.

Chairman Lewis' gift helps the ACLU promote their anti-Christmas agenda such as:

* Removing nativity scenes from public property;
* Banning songs such as "Silent Night" from schools;
* Renaming Christmas break "Winter break;""

In addition to their war on Christmas, the ACLU uses gifts like that from Chairman Lewis to:

* Sue states to force them to legalize homosexual marriage;
* Force libraries to remove porn filters from their computers;
* Sue the Boy Scouts to force them to accept homosexuals as scout leaders;
* Help legalize child pornography;
* Protect the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) whose motto is, "sex by eight or it is too late?"
* Censor student-led prayer at graduation;
* Remove "under God" from our Pledge of Allegiance;
* Remove "In God We Trust" from our currency.

All of a sudden I don't care for their funny commercials.

You can verify this info at:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Real vs Fake Biker and Old School Cycle Bum

You decide. Real or faux bike enthusiast?
And this guy...a true cycle bum kickin' it old school.

Two-up Touring: How to do it correctly

From our friends at RoadRunner Magazine -- a very cool little publication that I've enjoyed for a few years now -- comes this useful gem: Touring Tip: Touring Two-Up.

See that and more on their site: I highly recommend a subscription if you enjoy motorcycle touring.

Part of the enjoyment of motorcycle travel is sharing the experience with others, particularly doing so with non-riding passengers who are experiencing the exhilaration of motorcycling for the first time. Whether it’s a trip around the block or a journey cross-country, it’s important for a rider to properly prepare their passenger, their motorcycle and themselves before departure. The following are the three most essential areas to plan for when touring two-up.

Passenger: Unlike riding in an automobile, the passenger on a bike should be an active participant. Passengers should:
(1) wear protective gear;
(2) understand how to lean with the motorcycle on turns;
(3) be tall enough to reach the passenger pegs;
(4) hold on to the rider’s waist or handholds on the bike;
(5) avoid sudden movements;
(6) keep hands and feet clear of moving and hot components;
(7) avoid banging helmets with the rider when stopping and
(8) stay relaxed and supple with the bike’s movements.

Motorcycle: Because the bike will be carrying more weight with a passenger, weight distribution, center of gravity, suspension, performance and handling characteristics of the motorcycle all will be affected. Considering these factors, the rider should ensure that:
(1) the rear suspension preload is adjusted appropriately for the additional weight;
(2) tire pressure also is adjusted for additional weight and
(3) the gross vehicle weight limitations specified in the owners manual are not exceeded.

And, of course, it goes without saying that the motorcycle should be designed to accommodate a passenger.

Rider: The motorcycle rider must appropriately modify his or her riding technique when touring with the extra weight of a passenger, because:
(1) stopping distances will increase;
(2) handling will not be as crisp as riding solo;
(3) passing distances will increase;
(4) cornering clearances may decrease;
(5) pressure on the tire’s contact patch will increase and likely reduce traction on wet or loose surfaces;
(6) additional weight over the rear tire will likely increase the effectiveness of the rear brake;
(7) gusty crosswinds will have more surface area to grab onto;
(8) throttle and clutch response will be altered and
(9) last, but certainly not least, it’s important to make sure that the passenger is comfortable with the riding pace and that their biological needs are being met.

Riders generally should have at least one year of solo riding experience before transporting a passenger. They also must ensure compliance with legal requirements for passengers in the states they will be touring in, such as minimum age and necessary safety gear.

Seeing the country two-up on a motorcycle, with a special someone, can be a wonderful touring experience, but riders must make sure that the proper safety precautions are followed to provide a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My new SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger

Find me (my last location) here:

Well, I bought a SPOT.
As a guy who gets lost (an awful lot).
This little gadget is what I got.
For the crazy motorcycle rides I plot.

This gizmo tracks the unit's whereabouts on a website or Google Earth almost anywhere (virtually full coverage) in North America, Europe and Australia and covers portions of South America, northern Africa and northeastern Asia, along with thousands of miles of offshore areas. It has messaging and SOS functions to tell others I'm OK, as well as to dispatch emergency responders to my exact location.

Here's some info (from

The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger provides a vital line of communication with friends and family when you want it, and emergency assistance when you need it. Using 100% satellite technology, SPOT works virtually anywhere in the world, even where cell phones don’t – all with the push of a button.

Fifty bucks at Best Buy, I gave it a shot.
For long-distance bike rides, with a group or not.
You say, "What's a SPOT?"
Just a GPS? That's what I thought!
Some cool functions:

SOS: Use this function In the event of a life threatening or other critical emergency to notify emergency services of your GPS location and that you need assistance. The GEOS International Emergency Response Center alerts the appropriate agencies worldwide – for example contacting 9-1-1 responders in North America and 1-1-2 responders in Europe.

How it works: Once activated, SPOT will acquire its exact coordinates from the GPS network, and send that location along with a distress message to the GEOS International Emergency Response Center every five minutes until cancelled or until the batteries are depleted. The Emergency Response Center notifies the appropriate emergency responders based on your GPS location and personal information – which may include local police, highway patrol, the Coast Guard, our country’s embassy or consulate, or other emergency search and rescue teams – as well as notifying your emergency contacts about the receipt of a distress signal.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Even if SPOT cannot acquire its location from the GPS network it will still attempt to send a distress signal – without exact location – to GEOS, which will still notify your contacts of the signal and continue to monitor the network for further messages.


Help: In the event of a non-life threatening emergency, you can use this function to notify your personal contacts that you need assistance. Additional SPOT Assist services can be purchased and programmed to your Help button as well. When activated with SPOT Assist, the Help button will notify professional services either on the land or water. SPOT has partnered with national service providers to offer non-life threatening assistance.

Check-in/OK: This feature allows you to let your friends and family know that all is OK with a pre-programmed message along with your GPS location. With a push of a button a message is sent via email or SMS to up to 10 pre-determined contacts and your waypoint is stored in your SPOT account for later reference. Your stored waypoints can be easily integrated into a SPOT Shared Page or SPOT Adventure account.

Custom Message: This feature allows you to let your friends and family now receive a custom message along with your GPS location with a push of a button. Use this feature as a secondary OK message or transfer your personal help alert to this message function if you are using a SPOT Assist service on your Help button.

The Custom Message functions exactly like your Check-in/OK message You can also have access to your waypoints in your SPOT account so you can review your route at a later date. Or link your SPOT account to SPOT Adventures and save a map of your adventures using your SPOT waypoints, and enhance the story with photos and a blog.

All apologies to my poetic friends who suffered though my pathetic attempts to rhyme with SPOT.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why I enjoy ADV Rider so much: Example #1

Here's a great illustration of why I enjoy ADV Rider so much. This is just a one-page selected portion of a 52-page write-up titled, "Angola; it's not like they said." To say it's epic might be an understatement...

You can find this adventure article in its entirety here ADV LINK ( but this little sampler will get you hooked. Enjoy.

"Angola; it's not like they said" begins like this: This trip was going to be different.

I for one, have never updated my will before any other trip. And I wasn't alone. Out of the five of us that were going, three updated their wills and/or life insurance policies in the weeks before we left.

Where were we going?


Here's the thing.

There's a section today renowned for taking vehicles. The reason is that the waves break straight onto a dune face. There is no beach to ride on. It's about 80km long with here and there a place where there is a break in the dune. About 40 km of it though, has no break. Just waves and dune. It is referred to as the "doodsakker". I don't know what the translation is but it is a term used when you are lying in ambush. It refers to the area where the enemy has to be before you open fire.

You cannot go around. As the waves break straight onto the dune, the only way to get through is to use the intertidal area at low tide. It is sloped, soft and not very wide. You have to be quick or get caught. Have a look.

T4A has this to say:
"Do not drive on this beach track between Baia DosTigres and Tombua, not even with 'experienced' tour guides. It is extremely dangerous and you stand a good chance of being trapped by the tide."

We have always taken "very dangerous" and "not recommended" as indicators of where some good riding was to be had. This would be the first time we were wrong and 'they' were right.

So you learn.

It's still dark as we break camp. We need to be ready as soon as dawn breaks. It will be low tide then.

My bike is not co-operating. When you kick it over, the dash lights dim and sometimes dissapears. It's getting worse. I kick with the left foot until I can no more. Then I get off and kick with the right foot until the leg gives out.

Then it's Hennie's turn, then Michnus (no patience, that boy), then Nardus.

Eventually the flippin bike fires up. I now know that I have to keep it running until we stop for the night. Freak'n excellent way to start a morning, sweating like a pig and some mental shit to carry with you all day.

We camped right at the start of this dune section. Immediately the riding is a lot more challenging. The sand is soft and the bikes labour. Some riders labour too. A 950 showing off the kak side of gravity.

I remember a TV ad for a Subaru where the car is driven through the shallows on a beach with water being sprayed all over the bonnet. I used to have a conniption every time I saw it. We quickly find that there is no place for squeamishness about the bikes getting salt water all over them. You have to ride in the wet left by receding waves to get traction.

Have a look at the last two bikes; they are less than 2 metres apart, yet one has traction and one is digging.

The sea mist is also fouling your goggles, every 200m you have to let go of the bars and wipe them.

There are lots of seals and seal carcasses. Also jackal that feed off them, but they don't pose for pictures.

The riding progressively gets worse and worse. The soft sand is un-ridable. In places your front wheel throws up a bow wave that you can see flying past you. The bikes are just sucking, sucking fuel. Even before we enter the doodsakker, I am forced to leave the others behind. I cannot afford the rest stops because it wastes fuel. I feel like shit because I'm useless to the others.

This gives you an idea of where the tide goes to.

Fourty kilometres can be as long as life itself. When you think you've had enough you look back to the horizon and see this.

You look forward to the horizon and see this.

The immense drag on your front wheel, and the fact that you cannot back off the throttle, makes the back wheel step out and try to overtake you now and then. I ride out two successfully, but the third ends in a mini-highside. I land on my back but my left hand still has the clutch lever in a deathgrip. So the engine doesn't stall and I am saved.

The longer we ride the more intense it gets. The sand is so thick and waterlogged it's hard to believe. At one point the drag pulls me down until I'm in 1st gear with the throttle wound to the stop. The motor don't rev out though. It sits in the fat part of the torque curve. The bike bellows like a wounded animal and it kills me.

It just kills me.

No motor should be abused like this. It goes on for a good hundred metres. And there's nothing you can do. I'm on the pegs, murdering the bike and moving at just above walking pace. If I tap off for just a second I'll be stuck, with no way to get going again. And if I get stuck I get screwed. It turns into a refrain in my head that I can't control: "If you get stuck here, you get screwed here".

It get's worse and worse. No pics were taken when things got wild but this will give you an idea.

We are forced to power down into the wave area after a receding wave in the hope that we'll reach traction before the next wave chases us up into the soft sand again. You have no choice. You plow down into the wet, get traction, pick up speed, and then try and outrun the next wave. If you don't get traction before the next wave hits, you are history. The waves down at the bottom is breaking about a metre and a half high. And in my head it's going: "if you get stuck here you get screwed here" on and on and on and on!

There's no way to avoid it. When you're racing the waves, sometimes you are going to lose. You get surf that just rushes in at a speed greater than the limits of grip in turning. So you crash through it. And everytime that you hit that wave at speed you know you're screwing with chance, or fate, call it what you will. And everytime you make it, it's not even a relief, because it's gonna happen again, and how lucky can 5 guys expect to be? We're working like our lives depend on it. Which it does.

When you get traction you gun it. You're gonna need the speed soon. I'll be flying at 75 km/h and feel the sand make a grab at my front wheel. Immediately I'll bang down on the seat and lock my arms straight. The next soft patch is bound to be worse and you have no way of visually identifying it, or with what tenacity it's going to grip your front wheel. Flying over the front wheel is staring you in the face (like that ugly stranger you see in the mirror when taking a piss some very late, very drunk night at some dive that you never thought you'll be caught dead in). Yeah, like that.

Whatever mistake you make has the potential to be really serious. Whether you fall, stall, get stuck, misjudge, whatever. I have never ridden like this. It scares me shitless.

And in the end it's fear. Naked fear, but no choice. I'm riding at a risk level that's totally unacceptable. And I try to be liberal about that kind of thing.

But if you stop, you are screwed. so you keep riding, racing, shouting obscenities at fate, knowing you're gonna get the short end of the stick. Turning like the worm being trod upon. Let no-one ever tell you that the worm does't turn. He turns........ he knows.

There are limits. Always and to everything. And behind me the limits are being reached. There's a limit to how long our luck was going to hold out.

There's a limit as to how deep water a Dakar can crash into and hope to punch through.

Fred is the unlucky one that draws the short stick. As he hits the wave, the bike starts it's cartwheel. Fred does not get thrown clear. His soft bags wrap around his foot and he becomes an active participant in this unnatural, ugly, vertical carousel.

Like I said, there are limits to everything, and swinging a grown man around by his foot is going to reach some limit. His ankle accordingly fractures. As Fred and his android bike finally comes to rest, he has the presence of mind to hit the kill switch befire the first wave breaks over his head. Respect!

There's no-one on the scene yet. The second wave breaks over his head. He realises that this may be some serious shit. His screwed-up leg is wrapped up under the bike and he can't fix this. The third wave does not break over his head but fills his helmet. He rips off his goggles gasping for air. Yes, this is serious.

In the mean time Nardus comes upon this scene. Firstly he has his own demons to deal with. He's got a fat pig that's not happy in sand. He knows that if he gets stuck, he cannot fix it. What he sees when he arrives on the scene is a Dakar lying in the surf ..... and the rider too. This is serious shit. If you ain't dead, your'e supposed to stand up. Nardus have known Fred and his family intimately for many years. He invited Fred on this trip. This is not the kind of news he should be expected to break to the family. He gets a bit of a loose bowel feeling until he sees Fred raise his head. Relief! And anger! He cannot stop here, wtf man, why me? He'll be stuck. So he shouts something useless at Fred and rides past to some place where he can stop.

Hennie in the mean time is not absolved from demons. He stopped to help Nardus where he got stuck. As soon as Nardus got traction he just wrung that throttle. He was rattled. "You get stuck here, you get screwed here". Hennie takes some time to extricate his own bike and races off after Nardus. He is last in line and no-one is going to assist him. He has been on reserve for some time already. And like everybody else , he still has to chase the receding waves. If he runs out of fuel while down below, he is screwed. Screwed! He races at over 100km/h where-ever he gets grip. Either he catches up or he donates his bike to Poseidon.

When he catches up, it's where Nardus is trying to get Fred disentangled from his bike. Hennie doesn't help. He doesn't take a picture (very, very unlike Hennie), he rips the fuel from Nardus's bike and starts filling his tank.

It's new to me, I haven't ever seen the both of them lose it like this.

Out front (and none the wiser) I reach the end of the doodsakker. I'm freaking dilly. The first jackal that doesn't dissapear but just stands there watching me go by, has me waving at him like he's a friendly local. I have to shout at myself in my helmet to get real.

I pull up at the first place where I can get above the high water mark.

Not too long and Michnus joins me. We seriously underestimated the doodsakker. He sucks on his tripper like his life depends on it.

I'm a bit in shock. On every trip you have one or two moments when you overcook things and miss a turn or race into a flock of sheep at breakneck speed; this was like that, except that it continued for for 3 hours with no let up.

Nobody else arrives. My God, how did we screw this up so badly?

If it makes you happy, how can it be that bad?