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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello together,
after a longer time without any cool bike tours, last week I had the chance to ride an epic daytrip again (12 hours, 350miles/560Km).

Because of all the crazy Halloweenparties here in Vegas my sleep routine was totally off and I woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning. Usually I would directly walk to my desk then and start working, but at this day I said to myself "Today I will only do what I really want". Well, and I really wanted to do another motorcycle trip again. Well and for all other people with sleeping problems, I wrote this travel report extra long ;)

Mostly I ride with my buddy who also has an Africa Twin. He is a former super fast desert racer, while I am normally only in the middle or end of the field in events like that. So, for me it is sometimes a bit stressful to keep up the speed those guys can go. For this reason I thought about not to call my buddies to ride with me today, just do my own thing at my own pace which is much safer than riding above my personal limit.

Also compared to my regular trips I decided, to just go out and ride without any real destination. The way is the goal. I simply wanted to ride from one place to wherever I wanted to go. Even in the middle of the desert I never used a GPS or maps. Sure I know the area a bit, but the reality is after a while there always is a street somewhere, even in remote areas like Nevada. And while for average (non-ADV riders) this sounds maybe a bit scary, I have to say I never felt more free in my whole life. My words can't describe how wonderful that feeling was, not to see any civilization in every direction of the horizon. I love having people around me, but for the first time I could really understand why people do this kind of trips.

To make this adventure a bit more secure I always had enough water with me, lots of tools, satellite emergency beacon and when I got some cell phone service I sent my wife a message where I am and in what direction I am riding. Think for the future I should get a GPS tracker, so that my wife can see where I am.... well this could mean trouble for me when I visit my girlfriend :grin2: (just kidding)

Until the bike was ready, luggage packed and fueled up, it was already 6:30am in the morning. In always sunny Las Vegas I thought, it was warm enough and decided to just wear a t-shirt under my motorcycle jacket (without inner jacket or wind-stopper). Well, after a few minutes I really regretted this, but turning around to get a jacket is nothing for "real men"... so I was freezing at 50F (10C) on the one hour ride on the interstate to get to my first fun offroad place.
So after a while, “Frosty the Snowman” arrived at the back side of the Valley of Fire statepark. This is an area where you are allowed to have fun with Jeeps or motorcycles.

I first started in a more rocky area of the park. A lot of clutch work was needed, because I only have the stock gears/sprocket on my bike. Suddenly it smelled like burned clutch and I noticed some smoke. Oh sh** :eek:, I thought, that was an early end of my adventure . When I stopped to check the bike, I figured out why I made this mistake (normally I have an excellent clutch control). Because of the longer interstate trip, I still had earplugs in, so I didn't hear the engine real good. Luckily the clutch was still OK and without earplugs everything was fine again. Wow, so glad that the clutch is still good !!!
Because I only have the stock skid plate on my bike (very thin alu), I had to be extremely careful with the bikes ground clearance. Especially in those rocks the engine side covers can easily break when you crash the bike. This was exactly what happened to me close to the finish line at a desert race I attended with my CRF450. So, this time I was much more careful after this experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
After a while in this rocky terrain, I simply wanted to feel like a kid again and play in the sand :)
The trails got softer and softer, after a while I made a short break to air down the tire pressure.
My rear tire already had 3000+ miles on it, I had way too much luggage and a nearly full gas tank on the bike. Not really perfect for this kind of terrain. I needed quiet some good speed until the tires started floating on the sand. Also I noticed that compared to last time, I gained some bodyweight. Note to myself: Also that 10lbs DSLR equipment which I didn’t used once on this tour should stay at home next time :nerd:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
However, after a while I got more and more used riding in the sand again. 90 minutes later I decided to travel on. So first thing I had to do was to increase the tire pressure again (must say I love my Motopump, awesome product). Then I rode back closer to Las Vegas. When I could see the gambling capital of the world on the horizon again, one of this super long trains appeared beside me. I love those and thought it would be cool to take a picture of my bike beside a train bridge in the middle of the desert. After I was ahead of the train, I left the streets again and rode on a pretty bad path into the desert. After a while I could see the rails somewhere in the desert, while suddenly I heard a super loud noise above me. Two Airforce fighter jets where flying super low above me... and if all this wasn't already enough, I suddenly noticed that the big rock in front of me was moving right into my direction lol. I stopped my bike and directly left the path, because even after all the years living here, I have only seen a desert tortoise twice :)

Because of the noise of the jets and the vibrations of the motorcycle the desert tortoise quickly went into "protection mode". So I parked my bike, switched off the engine and sat on the ground a couple of feet away from it. For all who don’t know, these animals are protected by the Endangered Species Act. When you see one, do not pick it up or something like that. I heard that in this case or when they get scared they might empty their bladder and this is quite bad for them, because they need all their fluids to survive in the harsh desert.
After a while the tortoise wasn't so scared any more, and it peaked out it’s head to pose for a few pictures I noticed that it won't start to walk again as long as I am there. Maybe I looked already like a hungry bear. So I said goodbye to my little friend and after a tank stop, I kept riding west.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After a while I was close to Creech Air Force Base and a Predator drone was flying beside me, which was pretty cool to see. Next stop was the Area 51 Alien Center, no gas for me to keep the bike light. However, I had a healthy lunch (Twix and Almond Joy), bought lots of water and was looking for a happy ending of my trip in the brothel next door >:)

This place (and the gas station) was owned by Dennis Hof, the famous brothel owner who died last month, but still won the election for the district. So whenever you have a shitty day, think about that. At least you didn't lose an election against a dead person :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, enough of this local Nevada village gossip. Back to riding. Soon after the gas station I arrived at the sign "Big Dunes". And yes the dunes in Amargosa really live up to their name: They are BIG !

Must say for me it was a strange feeling to ride into this dunes. It was my first ride there after I had a really really bad motorcycle accident here 7 years ago. And now I am here alone …
However, I was so focused on riding that I didn't had any time to think about it anymore.

After a while I stopped to air down the tire pressure again. Must say it wasn't as easy as I thought, because shortly after the Halloween weekend there were so many deep tracks from all kind of dune buggies or Jeeps. Luckily riding in sand is what I am best at, in this kind of terrain I often can even keep up with much better riders than I am. So I managed to wrestle that heavy pig though the dunes :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All you sand riders out there know, that the faster you go, the easier it gets when the tires start to float on top of the sand. However, when riding up a dune I noticed how cruel gravity can be when riding on such a heavy bike.

While with my CRF450 I could always climb even the highest dunes there, this wasn't possible (at least for me) with the big 1000cc bike. Also I have to say that I didn't want to see how much luck I have by trying that. I knew the whole time, that when I am alone that it is much smarter not to get stuck or let the bike fall to the side, because this will suck out my energy quickly. So no "hold my beer" action on this trip, but when you are alone nobody will see this anyways.

Temperatures were already close to 90+F (30+C) and there was zero shade.
I started to feel that I haven't been in the gym during the last months and my energy level got quite low. And my experience told me, to better leave as soon as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was already a bit weaker and struggling more with those deep tracks in the sand. So, I decided to leave all these tracks and find my own way out through the desert. No tracks, no GPS or compass I just had a rough idea about the direction. After about 30-40 minutes surprisingly I arrived on a street super close to the place I wanted to go.

That was a very satisfying feeling, for a second I thought even Stéphane Peterhansel couldn't have done this navigation job any better. Well, but it wouldn't take him 40 minutes to get here. lol

However, what really counts was that I had an awesome offroad ride. And yes I was proud that on this day, I never put the bike down, never stalled the engine and didn't get stuck !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
However, it is really amazing when you ride through the mountains back to the lights of fabulous Las Vegas with all the neon and bling-bling. So I choose to ride down the Las Vegas Strip back to my place :cool:

I really hope you enjoyed this travel report and the pictures :)

Ride safe,
Swen
 

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Thanks Swen! You're a lucky man having terrain like that at your doorstep. Do you take an EPIRB or something similar with you when you go into the desert. I'd hate to get stuck out there with a broken femur! Nice pictures too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mostly I do not ride alone (this was more an exception). But I always have my phone, a satellite emergency location beacon, lots of water and tools with me. Also after a while I always get to an area with cell phone service. Then I write my wife a message in which area I am riding right now and in which direction I will ride next. So just in case I get lost, she can post on social media and let my buddies get out there to look for me.
Also I try always to know where I am and in which direction the next street or village is. We have some remote desert areas here in Nevada, but it is usually not as extreme like in Australia or Africa where you won't find other people for the next couple of hundred miles. However, I plan to do more tours alone in future and I maybe should get a live GPS tracker so that my friends always can see more accurate where I am.
 
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