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Old 11-09-2009, 10:39 PM   #41
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Jim gets it squared away and we ride on up to Fandango Canyon road for the rally to Christmas Valley for lunch and fuel.

Mmmmmmmm, good spot for a break prior to heading up the heated canyon.

There’s lots of water in the desert if you know where to look.

Anticipating a high-speed crossing of this mildly challenging, rocky track, I look back and only see one bike coming?

Colin and I wait for Jim who’s always either right there or ahead but no dust. We rode back a few miles to see the Honda dead in the road.

WTF? It’s about 90 degrees and we are still 30 miles from Christmas Valley dang it. Jim says the thing just flamed out and now has zero compression. We check out everything and determine it’s either rings or a sucked valve. Very unusual for a Honda I think.

Nothing can be done at this point, it’s very hot so I take the bag off my bike and we stash it and the Honda in the sage. Colin and I are considerably smaller than Jim so we double up and Jim rides Colin’s 525.

Colin got the foot pegs and I put my heals on the motor. A few times we were able to get into 3rd gear but mostly it’s a special test stage to miss all the rocks. Even the sandy portions require concentration and we have our butts pounded to the pavement. We had to stop 5 or 6 times just to get off the punisher. We made a few calls when we got to cell service and H.O. has agreed to drive Jim’s truck the 120 miles to meet us in Christmas Valley.

Whew! We made it to the shade.

By the time H.O. arrives we have hatched a plan to rip the forest over Newberry Crater and into town from the south. We got all tangled up by private property, fences and winding tracks that were not getting us home efficiently. Sorry about that one Colin. The sun is going down and we are still 100 miles from town so we opt for the direct route.

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Old 11-09-2009, 10:40 PM   #42
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It’s still fun but now that we are down to 2 bikes kind of sad too.

I had big plans for our entrance to town, a stop at a brew pub for one icy cold beer, etc..

Colin and I are making really good time, riding abreast with no wrong turns from this point on.

This is all open range cattle country and this is the time of day when the wildlife start moving around too. We saw some deer, one huge cow elk and were aware of the potential but when a large, black calf jumped out onto the road in Colin’s lane, it gave us quite a scare. I locked up both brakes, the front tire was bouncing hard and Colin rode right on that calve’s butt for a good 50 feet before he got the bike stopped and the calf jumped off the road.

Back in all that dust was where the ‘close encounter’ happened.

Scared the crap out of both of us. I could clearly see the calf running an bucking trying to get away from the snarling dirt bike. Asked Colin if he got kicked but nobody got hurt so we continued on with a heightened awareness in the trees.

Eyes open? Check!

Vents open? Check!

At the last break bore the dirt ends, I realize my headlight and tail light are no longer functioning. Great, that’s what I need is a ticket to top off the butt-breaking day we’ve had. We slip through town and out to the barn for showers, an icy cold Sierra Nevada and Mexican food with Cadillac margaritas.

We made it!

Meanwhile Jim and H.O. have recoverd the Honda and my kit. It took them 2 hours, one-way on the dirt to get where the Honda was stashed.

By the time they had returned to fuel up at Christmas Valley, everything was closed. They had made some arrangements for diesel though and Jim re-fuels his righteous rig for the drive back to my place.

So, the KTM odometer will only display 3 digits left of the tenths numeral but trust me, we really did put 1765 miles on my new motor!

Colin’s 525 was still sporting the mud douching I’d given it several days ago but made it home safely.

I needed a new plate before the ride started but that doubled up section finished it off.

That is the end of my version of this magnificent ride. Great riding/camping partners and in spite of the mechanicals a total success in my book!

Thanks for all your help prior to our departure Colin, Jim, John, H.O., Ken and Jason. Could not have put this together without ya’all. As usual, Pat and Scott, thanks for hauling our junk out to the desert, your generous sharing of tools and parts, etc.. Always fun to ride with you guys too.

Thanks to Cascade Motorsports for robbing that Brembo master, my leak-free forks and cushy new rear suspension. It’s like the brand new bike I remembered!

Thanks to Gresham KTM for the quick parts deliveries too!

Looking forward to the September version fellas!


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Old 11-10-2009, 04:33 AM   #43
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That was an incredible ride, Sir. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:58 AM   #44
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Maybe Honda should spend less time on fit and finish and more time on the valves and rings. Hondas blowing valves is a lot more common than most people think.
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:25 AM   #45
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Amazing to read this. Sounds and looks like you guys had a blast! Thanks for sharing this!
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:33 AM   #46
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Great post!
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:48 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by seruzawa View Post
Maybe Honda should spend less time on fit and finish and more time on the valves and rings. Hondas blowing valves is a lot more common than most people think.
The big XRR actually broke the timing chain. Of course this particular bike had raced Baja and Jim is a mountain of a man!

And thanks for all the kudos on the report!
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