Dirt Bike Road Trip to Kernville!

I had been looking forward to the Keysville camping and riding trip for weeks and the date was soon approaching. I prepped all my gear and my bike thoroughly. I went trail riding twice. I jogged. I was ready. 

Or so I thought.

With just a few days to go, the weather picture for St. Patrick's Day weekend was looking grim; 100% chance of rain or snow with snow levels approaching 3000'. Planning to camp in Keysville area at 2600', something had to give and Dan made an executive decision to relocate base camp to the Kernville Lodge for the weekend. I mean riding in the cold rain and snow was tough enough, to do it while camping is just plain torture. You NEED a hot shower after that kind of punishment and suffering.

We left Friday morning to get a day's worth of riding in before the storm hit. Our destination was Remington Ridge on the east side of the Kern River canyon and the trail head is right above Remington Hot Springs.

The weather was perfect. The team was ready. The bikes were topped off with gas. The ride was on.

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Into the Canyon

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House of Stones

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Entering the Forest

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Fucking Tourists

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Fucking Teenagers

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WTF? Tree of Doom I Should've Known

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Do Not Challenge to a Dirt Bike Race

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Do Not Challenge to a Dirt Bike Fight

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Two's Company...

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...Three's a Crowd

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Local Youth Feared for Their Safety and Soon Left

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Better than Perfect!

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Mothership Spotted on the Way to Kernville

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Suspicious Behavior Imminent

We retreated to the hotel after re-grouping and before long, Special Ed had a batch of carne asada on the BBQ and we were in full-tilt relax mode. Booher showed us how to drink cowboy whiskey and sang along with Dan's guitar to everyone's delight.

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Preparing for Battle Saturday Morning.

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Dax Prepares Mentally. Something I Need to Learn

Mag 5 blog

for Dan's recap of that day. Looked like fun. Not.

Saturday night was time to go out. All the warriors that survived the day needed to blow off some steam. Not to mention it was St. Patty's Day and if there was ever a reason to knock one back, that's a good one. The luck of the Irish was with me and though I know had several drinks very quickly, I managed to stay on my feet despite the type of shenanigans picture below.

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Charger Dave Lines them up for the Team!

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And One for You!

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Dan Started the Dance Revolution with his patented 'Mountain Rider' Move

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Slicer Has Appropriate Response to "FreeBird" by CroMag and the Boys

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Wayne Contemplates Human Social Interaction Dynamics. To the Nth Degree.

I heard later that we might not get invited back to the Kernville Lodge due to the actions of some, but no one was hurt or arrested and I think everyone had a pretty good time. The locals were extremely tolerant of us this weekend, as well, though some probably wished we were fishing instead of riding dirt bikes.

But then we wouldn't have been half as fun as we were!

Next morning, Sunday, the snow had reached the hotel and our main concern was to get the hell out of Dodge before we got snowed in to Kernville, but mainly to get through the Tejon Pass at the Grapevine before, or in case, they closed it due to the snow.

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My Bike Hated Me

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Rain Fog Snow Clouds Rocks

Driving out of the canyon and looking at the white and green mountains, I knew I'd be back, and I will. Just as soon as

 I prep all my gear and my bike thoroughly. And go trail riding twice. And jog. I'll be ready.

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Branches Roots Ruts Logs Mud

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Virgin Hills in Tejon Pass Area

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Almost back to LA (Check the Snow Cover up in the Back Country)

If you're still reading, I'd like to extend thanks BIGTIME to Dan Hallada, 

Dax, Rick, Ed, Mark, Tyler, Wayne, Dave, Bret, Dave, Tim, Greg, Greg, Mike, Phil, and Chris. Thanks for everyone who drove a great distance to add to this awesome party weekend. See you next time, MK.

Cave Mountain



A while back, I had it in my mind that I was gonna climb this moutain I found, well, actually "found" isn't quite the right word... "saw" is probably more correct, I suppose, but I saw it and decided I was gonna climb it. It lies really close to the freeway, the 15, between Barstow and Baker so it's really easy to get a long, hard look at it. Gully there. Ridge over there. Steep there, not so steep there. I even drove up close to the base of it. Got off the freeway and scouted it. Take the Afton turnoff and just a little ways off the road on the left is the powerline road. Sometimes the when they grade the Afton road, it's hidden, no tire tracks, but you can look for the turnoff where the powerlines cross. Anyway. Looked totally achievable.

Time went by and it slipped in and out of my consciousness for a couple of years. I even went so far as to get a USGS 3-D topo map of the area, y'know, I think they call them 7-1/2 minute maps. Bunch of squiggly lines and there it is. That's what it's called, Cave Mountain. No real caves, apparently, but there some eroded limestone pockets on the South side that look like caves. Got that info from the internet, but no way was I climbing up that way, the back way. There's no road on that side. I thought a good route up would be a prominent ridge on the NW flank. No trail, I'd find my own way up. Couple of Powerbars, some jerky, and I'd be set.

And then I got distracted for a while.

By the time I thought about it again, I had already asked Jessica to marry me and plans for the near future were being made quite furiously. Let's do this! Let's do that! All the stuff you liked doing before, now you want to do it again as a married couple... it's so much fun! When the timing was right, the plan was laid again, with JJ as my climbing partner! Which is perfect, 'cause now neither of us has to worry about the other one if something goes wrong... not that anything's gonna go wrong, of course! Wouldn't do it if it were dangerous!

And off we went. Left the house one Saturday morning about5:30-ish and headed East, no traffic, sky just beginning to lighten when we neared San Berdardino. Long drive into the daybreak and weather is perfect.

For JJ, it's completely new, I suppose, I'm sure she trusts I know what I'm doing. That's what I hope she's thinking, anyway. For me, I'm recognizing the feeling of getting ready to venture into the unknown, not really dangerous, but not necessarily safe, either. It's just stuff that gets my spider sense tingling.

As I drove on the powerline road, I got to my farthest scouting point from before and still it seemed such a long way away. I drove on, down a steep, winding hill (where'd this come from?) and then over a small rise and before I knew it we were in the middle of a super-soft sand wash and I could feel the tires squirming around and sinking even as I picked up the power to get us across the wash. At the far end was a 3-ft sand bank leading back up to the harder part of the road. With a huge bounce up and down we were back on solid ground. Whew. I'd hoped JJ had not seen my nervousness, but I have a fear of driving in the sand. I'm certain I'll get stuck. It's not an irrational fear, I've been stuck a couple of times. I hate it.


We parked in the shadow of a 100-foot tall power tower and got out in the cool shade. Just kidding, those things offer zero shade! We were still kind of far off from the base, but there was a deep gully so we had to park and hike it from there. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, right? Uphill. The whole way, you better believe it.





Cave Mountain is not that tall, y'know, I don't know, maybe 4800 feet, I think? But it comes out of the ground where its, like, 1500 feet, so it's pretty prominent. It's the tallest thing around for miles, that's for sure. By definition, if it comes up out of the surrounding terrain more than 1000 feet, then it's a mountain. Otherwise, it's a hill. I'm just saying, 'cause I know you've never heard of Cave Mountain. It's just some mountain out in the desert on the way to Las Vegas. Right before you go down the hill to the world's largest thermometer.




That's the one we climbed. Which the climb itself wasn't that hard. We made it to the top in 4 hours, only stopped for a little while a couple of times. It was a cool hike. If you looked ahead in the distance while you were climbing, it looked really steep, but by the time you got there, it was just as steep as before. The truck got smaller and smaller. We saw a snake, too, so watch it if you go and you don't like snakes. It wasn't poisonous, but there were some places where you're basically climing up some steep, rocky steps, and he was sunning himself, so there you go.






Wandering around on top we found the summit pyramid, which was quite nice, actually, though I think it's a false summit, just it was the best place to build one. The highest point was on an exposed boulder, which a summit cairn would've just blown down in the wind. We also found the Geologic Marker, and the summit log. The summit log was found near the highest point under some rocks, in a can, in a jar. There was a pen that worked, and a small notepad. We counted it up and we were the 83rd and 84th people on the summit. IN the logbook anyway, which was from the early 80's, it appeared, but there probably hasn't been more than double that up there, just based on the fact that the freeway hadn't always been there. That place used to be pretty damned hard to get to. Remote, and in an area with very little water. Which reminds me. Bring plenty of water for you and anyone in your party better have some, too. If it's not too hot, you could get by with 3 litres each, we did, but bring more if the temperature is high, because you'll lose more fluids.

If you go.





The way down is fun, 'cause, well, it was all downhill! Still took 3 hours! Just head west off the summit until you get to the sadde at the top of the prominent gully on the north side between the bigger and smaller shoulders. Pick your way through on the south side of the steep area and and you'll get to to the saddle. Then, take your time and drop carefully down the gully. It's a fun and scary little hike. About a 1/3 of the way down you feel very walled in and you certainly don't feel like making any noise. The cliffs look packed with loose rocks just waiting for an excuse to fall off. I mean, where do you think the loose rocks you're walking on came from? Outer space? Right above your head.





Thankfully it gets less steep as you come down to the foot of the mountain, but the truck still looked a ways off. Keep your eyes peeled for animal tracks in the sand by the gully. We saw lots. Probably coyotes, but could've been bobcats or something, too. Keep your eyes peeled and you might get lucky. Back to the truck, maybe some cold ones of your choice if you plan ahead and a feeling of satisfying accomplishment is your reward for a day's adventure! Who knew you could go out and just climb a mountain? Trail? Guide book? Bah! Don't need it. Not this time, anyway.





After a white knuckle dash back through the sand wash (I've got to get over this fear... or get a 4-wheel drive!), and two attempts at getting up the rocky, windy hill, we finally made our... wait for it... ESCAPE FROM CAVE MOUNTAIN. I was dying to write that. The first attempt resulted in a wheel-spinning, rock-throwing cacophony of horsepower overcome by gravity, followed by the off-roader's version of your tail between your legs; backing down the hill with your elbow out the window and your head looking back in disgust. A second attempt, leaving the truck in drive without dropping the hammer on the V-6, yielded much better results. I recommend leaving your vehicle at the top of the hill and hiking over to the base (it's not that far in the scheme of things, an easy 1/2 mile), unless you have the aforementioned 4-wheel drive. Or a combination of stupidity and courage that forces you to see what it is you can't do before you realize you can't do it. Like me.

Your mileage may vary.

Celebrate your summit with a burger in Barstow. After a day like that, even McDonald's can taste pretty damn good.





By the way, if you want to camp and avoid having to leave LA that early to get it all done, just stay straight on the Afton turnoff road and there's a campground down on the left. No shade, no water, vault toilets.

Hope you enjoyed this post, see you next time.

MK

Disneyland!

Hate to say I was forced to go to Disneyland, but in a way, that's what it was, as the expiration date was rapidly approaching on the passes that were given to me as a (very generous) going-away present from my friend, Peter Carris and his wife. Not to say that Disneyland isn't a really fun place to go, but theme parks just haven't been our cup of tea these past few years, what with the lines and the crowds and the feeling of, "I've got to go to the chiropractor now." after extracting yourself from the vehicle that just put you upside down and sideways at 50 mph. That's like escaping a car wreck with no injury. The food is expensive and you will get what they serve. Where you gonna go? McDonalds? Hmmmm, they might have one there. The sun beats down and your feet start to ache. Blood sugar goes up. Blood sugar goes down. Up. Down. Jessica said she once went on a hotdog rampage there as a kid. Ate, like, 12 of 'em.


But I used to love theme parks. Maybe a theme park story in the future sometime. Or the story about going on the Zipper at the LA County fair and wishing we hadn't.

Anyway, Jessica and I finally scheduled a day, mid-week, a Wednesday, to get our Disney on. It was a beautiful Spring day and not all the schools were out yet and we had a great time! Don't get me wrong, it was crowded. But it could have been A LOT more crowded. The snaky line thingys that you stand in were only half full and sometimes less and it was fun to go back and forth hurrying to get to the end of the line. Always the hope of just runnig and getting straight on the ride. A very rare occurrennce but not unheard of.

The short story is, Disneyland is really fun. We did both parks, California Adventure and Disneyland in one day and we didn't go on every ride in the park, but we hit most of the highlights and definitely all the new rides we thought adults would want to go on. Planning out route on the park maps, we rarely backtracked and Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage have been updated. P. o.t. C. has Jack Sparrow lurking about rather realistically (real Johnny Depp voice!) and Finding Nemo has, well, Nemo, naturally. An amazing cartoon video projected underwater (sorry, no video).
Real submarine. Real Tiki idol. Real diver. One is true.

We skipped the Haunted Mansion, but had already had our share of ghosts, I guess, with the Hollywood Tower of Terror. Creepy, fun, and scary, too, with some surprises. No spoilers here if you haven't been on it. Anyway, we didn't think the Haunted Mansion had been updated.



We bought fudge and popcorn and had a blast. People-watching is great there because, let's face it, everyone wants to go to Disneyland and they'll let anybody in that's got $100.00. Well, almost anybody dressed in clothes. No costumes over 9 years old, thank you. It's in the rulebook.



The most amazing of the Disneygoers are the addicts. Usually wearing something red or something black, or both. With, possibly, red suspenders covered in Pins from their trips to Disneyland, any of their favorite Disney characters (I won't name 'em here in case it's illegal... infringement or whatever. Why risk it with Disney? They're huge, right?) or movie paraphernalia, castles, caves, spaceships, islands, etc. I loved them, children for a day, we all were there. We were in line for an AWESOME 3D shooting game/ride and one fellow had placed a cell phone call and was updating the recipient on all of the changes that had happened in the park.. for, like, 10 minutes! Talking to another Mousketeer, no doubt.

There are a lot of these people at the park on any given day. Their hobby is Disney. Gotta love it.

Goes to show, I guess, how HUGE Disney is, all the movies, merchandising, hospitality... unbelievable. And the place runs like a Swiss watch. Everything stocked up in all bathrooms. No trash. FastPass for the rides. Everybody smiling. Except the emo kids running the Tower of Terror. They weren't smiling. But they might've been in character, who knows?

So, if you are looking for something to do on a weekday (don't go on the weekend!) while you're in Southern California, Disneyland is not a bad way to spend a few hundred dollars. Glad we didn't have to (special thanks again to Peter Carris and his wife!).

Enjoy the pictures, see you next time!

Trixie...

Think you want a dog? Think again. You NEED a dog. Everybody does. With a dog, you're never lonely as it wants nothing more than to be by your side and protect, love and be loved by it's very own pack leader, you.

I never understood this until we got our dog, Trixie, a rescue from Pomona, CA, about 2 1/2 years ago. She is incredible. Sometimes she's a bit belligerent, but more recently she's really mellowed out nicely... Listening to commands and not acting up on walks. Which leaves us with an energetic, loving companion who is always right by our sides. Always. I love them, don't get me wrong, but cats do not do this. Cats are generally independent and its been my experience that even though they love you, sometimes cats don't even know you've been gone for a couple of days if you leave them enough food.

Trixie can hear Jessica's car drive up through a closed door (wait, I don't mean she drove through the door, I mean Trixie can hear her through the door) and she (Trixie) comes running to tell me excitedly that Jessica's home!

It's pretty damned amazing. Something special. I always felt there could be a connection for us with "man's best friend," but what Trixie has become is part of the family.

Thinking about getting a dog? Run to you nearest shelter and make a connection that will enrich your life, and your dog's, immeasurably. Go on, do it now.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Waiting...

Here I am at Verizon...waiting for tech service. Normally I like waiting but it seems that this might end in confrontation...you know I hate conflict, so this wait is making me edgy.

Fears are unfounded, they're replacing the phone no questions asked! Thanks, Verizon, for doing the right thing.

You know, people are so attached to their phones that this is a good place to come to hear people complain. I mean people start yelling!

Waiting at the airport is my favorite...when you're at the gate, there isn't anyplace else you're supposed to be... So you can just BE.

That's all for now, back to the bike!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry