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Local dirt riding update (part II)

posted Jan 13, 2012, 3:18 PM by Tony Burgess   [ updated Jan 13, 2012, 7:39 PM ]
Well, there is a chance of snow for next week. 

I guess it worked.  Maybe.

Anyhow before moving on to the next ride report and fresh powder I was thinking about an unrelated meeting I had with the local Mammoth district ranger a few months ago.  He told me one day he'd like to own an OHV but the costs seemed way to expensive.  I think he was looking at brand new Rhinos or something and saw the price tags around $10,000.  Although it wasn't my place to let him know how inexpensive motorcycling can be, I've been thinking about it ever since.

Take the TW200 (1999 model) for example, it was bought from a mammoth mountain mechanic for $1008 and came with a shiny red DOT half-hat.  Mileage was around 8,000.  Two thousand miles later it still runs like a champ with only a couple oil changes and little else.  76 mpg can't be beat, even by an enviro driving a $20K Prius.   And I'm not knocking the Prius, just can't afford one.

The point is the for about $1008 someone can get started with dual sport riding - for me it almost happened for $1000 but that mechanic wanted every last dollar out of my wallet. (he even suggested that I go to the ATM and bring back more money -- unfortunately I don't carry an ATM card)

So off for another ride, the TW200 and XR440...

This one begins at the Crowley Lake store for gas and coffee.  It the perfect hub for dirt trails radiating out North, East, and West.  Southerly is our massive eastern sierra escarpment and yes there are a few noteworthy trails up there too.  We decide to head westerly on a pole line road to the Long Valley neighborhood and jump on a secret single track connector that is slowly being blown out by local UTV operators.  I guess they want the same doorstep-to-trail experience afforded to dual sport riders, and who can blame them?

The next 50 miles are spent exploring the Crowley Lake shoreline and trail network on DWP lands.  Came across large flocks of plump grouse, deer a-plenty, hot springs (no nudity this time), and all sorts of LADWP constructed fences and barricades designed to keep boats and trailers out.  At one end of the lake the ice looked thick enough to motor across but we weren't interested in the chance of swimming with boots and helmets on, not to mention that the impression from my most recently read book, Convict Lake: a true account of the Convict Lake rescue, was first and foremost on my mind.

Later we considered rolling up on the airport for a quick snack but headed home instead to have a little extra time to run the dog.  On the way back we took a look at a recent BLM sponsored closure on the flank of Doe Ridge.  Prior to closure the road had a couple steep sections on it that were being widened and moguled, but it was an important through trail and access point to the Doe Ridge mesa.  The road is still there (and viewable from miles away) only the top and bottom were blocked so people now ride mountain bikes on it - several sets of tracks were obvious.  This road, although closed to motorized isn't going anywhere in our lifetimes.

Many miles away a similar trail was closed completely off from top to bottom and no trace of it remains.  We wonder why some closures are done better and some worse.  The better ones stay closed, the worse ones invite use, just saying.  And the better closures offer a reasonable alternative.  Perhaps a re-aligned trail accessing Doe Ridge is something the club can focus efforts on.

1-6-2012 -- Not much snow around, Crowley thawed at this end.