los-angeles-barstow-vegas-2013

As a two time veteran of the LA B2 Vegas ride I wanted to bring my wife along for the experience.  It's not an easy trip and riders should be comfortable riding sun up to sun down through all sorts of conditions namely sand, deep sand, and more sand.  

Many think of the 15 to Las Vegas as just a fast interstate cutting through the desert and will never know how much empty wide open land there is out there.  Valley after valley, mountains, sand washes and spots so remote you'll be very thankful that your bike pulls through.

 
For those not comfortable in deep sand this ride is for you because after 300 miles you'll get better.
 
First up was prep on the bikes:


XR440 needed fresh tires, grips, oil, filter, plus an extreme suspension make-over.
Cost $235
 
CRF150 needed a new stator, rectifier/regulator, tires, oil, filter, and minor suspension work.
Cost $375
 
A hastily constructed roll chart with a chess piece knob was constructed for the CRF to pass tech inspection.  It was a waste of time because that bike has no odometer anyway.
Cost $0


The XR was fitted with a custom construction bag on the rear fender rack -- filled with goodies it didn’t budge the entire trip.  And it was loaded: tools, tubes, food, rum, Buck knife, splint, tow strap, but no firearm. (strangely enough)
 
Both bikes were in dire need of some spoke tightening, come to think of it so does yours.
 
Logistics and chase - lucky for us James (MMC historian and past president) volunteered early on maybe 3 months prior to the ride.  We were set with maintenance, tech, lodging, and vehicle support. 
 
Day 1 
 
Arrived at the start a little around 6 a.m., cloudy and cool, some raindrops and epic dirt.  There was no dust at all on day 1 and in fact my air cleaner was cleaner at the end of the day than it was from the morning.  Check in was a little hectic with 500+ riders but went quickly.


The route took us towards the Angeles forest and up in the hills looking down on Palmdale Lake, the 14, and Frank's house - our long time friend who let us crash his Turkey Day as our pre-staging spot.


After a tour of several illegal trash dumping grounds we dropped into a fun cobble stone sand wash and headed towards Littlerock.  We met up with the chase truck for some breakfast tamales.  (tamales courtesy of MMC member Angel and his family)


 
Next up we ended up in another sand wash that went for miles but not before talking with someone looking for a missing fender bag.


 

At the last stretch we bailed out early and found this place for rent and let our googles un-fog.  The rum worked wonders like a good electrolyte replacement.


Met up with James again and he said some caballerangos were out walking a horse when several MC riders got it pretty badly spooked to the point of almost jumping in back of the chase truck.
 
Out across the desert headed for El Mirage we'd often come across paved roads.  I've learned from experience to not blow through these roads because cars and trucks can be flying down them at the same time.  Nevertheless, there were some close calls, not by us.  We're cruising and taking in the sights, snapping pictures, seeing the landscape over this way for the first time.
 
One of the close calls I posted up on the D37 website and it was promptly erased.  It wasn't anything over the top and went like this:
 
"Some guy just tried to commit suicide in front of me", told to my wife.
 
We were at one of the paved intersections maybe 250th street west and I took a break waiting for her to show up.  A rider comes in not too fast and at the same time a car is barreling down the street.  Both appear that they'll meet at the exact same time so I put my hands up repeatedly and signal the mc rider to stop (just in case).  Instead he guns it in an effort to jump over the street, the car is doing maybe 50-60 mph in the last seconds I turn my head because I can't look. 
 
He makes it, the car slams on the brakes and leans on the horn.  The rider made it, but doesn't stop, look back, or even register that something horrific was eminent.  He could have missed the whole thing - or whatever. 
 
Anyhow, if you are reading this and in for the long haul you know not to blow through intersections paved or not.  Later in the ride some washes intersected and those you have to watch out for too.  Interestingly enough, D37 allowed someone else to post up a video similar to what I typed up.  In the video someone isn't paying attention and they almost get creamed, watch it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9063gToJz8s&feature=youtu.be
 
Next up is more sand, fine and reddish.  Along the way is a big bike on it's side, we stop and help lift it up.  The rider sounds desperate, we show him how to skirt the sand.  Being so far behind many riders ahead of us have created miles of fresh singletrack which we are very happy to follow.  Another sand wash and we are out near the 395 meeting James for lunch.  Joining us for a pep talk (and roll chart maintenance) is Rabbit and another member of the D37 chase team.  Because we are far behind we take the bail-out to Glen Helen and continue on for out last leg to Barstow.  The CRF cruises comfortably around 52 mph on the pavement.
 
We come across the first bad crash shortly after lunch, one of the cafe racers hit a gully at speed and got ejected into the hillside.  Sporting pretty good ass scrapes and wind knocked out but he was still good to go.  More washes, sand, sandy crashes, and now rain too as we cross over the 15.  The utility corridor was memorable because of all the open lines under the wires.  From one valley to the next we rode and saw a BLM employee with binoculars checking out the various users out and about - we gave him a wave and he looked happy to be there.
 
Made it in to Barstow around 4:30 p.m. just as the sun was setting.  Mileage for the day, 132.
 
Dinner at the Teriyaki Grill, best food around.
 
Day 2
 
Calculating that the CRF150 can do 150 miles a day (at wife speed), we got up early and jumped ahead to Baker via the chase truck.  Knowing now what we didn't then, we would have been better suited to do the first leg and then bail out right after Sandy Valley.  Manix wash, Afton, and Razor are all awesome sections that we skipped. 

Leaving Baker, Isabel was riding strong through the power line road that gets you out of that valley.  Once in a while someone would pass us at 80 mph - wasn't worried about them because they were the top riders who left early from Barstow and way out ahead of everyone. Speaking of which, roosting slower riders seems to be a fun past-time of many participants. No big deal though, plenty of people passed with caution too.

Joining up with the power line road we made quick work to Sandy Valley except for a few extra sandy sections.  I got a kick out of some big bikes passing us real fast only to catch up with them and some rather large divots when they went down leaving bomb holes and broken plastics.


Sandy Valley for lunch around 11:30, gassed up and washed we headed out towards Pahrump through Sandy Valley.  Picked up the 160 and headed up Trout Canyon to Lovell Pass road.  Started to cool off when we hit the snow line, little icy but easy.  The snow got me thinking to how it could be slick in the Rocky Gap trail over to Red Rock, little did we know.


The rocky gap trail was busy so we pulled off in a side wash and I took the 150 up to scout.  The main rocky wash wasn’t bad and the little 150 was easy to maneuver around.  Folks were flailing about, traffic seemed to be an issue, but the biggest obstacle was the mile + of icy snow past the rocks.  Little progress was being made, and since I was responsible for getting my wife to Vegas in one piece it was an easy call, turn back around.

 

Plenty of great photos were taken by the guy standing on the boulder, check them out here: my favorite is the 'smoking ktm' three-quarters down page 1.

http://www.district37ama.org/forums/showthread.php?61157-How-was-LA-B-to-V


We slabbed it back to the other side of red rock just as the sun was setting, and to my surprise quite a few bike riders had made it through including another smoking ktm that was also puking heavily.


Finished up at the Orleans right about 5 p.m. with a showgirls and photos. Enjoyed the after party and passed out before 10 p.m.  Meanwhile the chase extracted another MMC member from Pahrump riding from Mammoth through Death Valley on his road bike.  Thanks for the gas money Johnston!


No crashes, no breakdowns, and plenty of sight-seeing at a slower paced summed it up.    

Day 3

Rest and relaxation in Vegas, gambling, drinks, free-play, and an all you can eat seafood/sushi buffet at Makino’s on Decatur.  Perfected the crab leg extraction.


Day 4

After gassing up with some of Vegas’ finest locals we gave a quick jump to another dirt bike crew and hit the long road back to Mammoth with some ideas about riding the event next time unsupported and all off the bike starting at home.

Special thanks to all that helped out, it takes a lot of coordination!

RIP Cal Bottom.


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