The ride started off innocently enough. Just before leaving, plugged my destination into Waze, which is another pseudo Google product. I say pseudo as Google maps sometimes lists waze user updates as part of the navigation experience when using Google Maps as your GPS. However, Waze closed down on me, not once, but twice. It normally closes down once, which then restart, but once it closed down a second time switched to Google maps.
When I did switch, this is similar to the route I had (using random start address).
.However, when I turned into the gas station, the road to the stoplight was closed due to paving. Not a big deal I thought as had recalled seeing an alternative road if I headed south again, which is essentially the route shown above.
So, I went south a couple miles, pulled over, and opened up Google maps...Much to my chagrin it didn't give me the route I expected, it gave me the following, so I went with it, mistakenly.
|Courtesy of Google Maps (on the phone, replicated on PC)|
Doesn't look too bad, right?? right?? RIGHT?!?!?!?!
This still gets me worked up, even though made it out of there safely and in one piece. Did I mention a "Thank You" for this "experience" to Google Maps (insert passive aggressiveness here)
Well, turns out I rode past the two brothels in town, pictured below. After these two establishments the paved road ended.. At this point I was questioning the almighty Google, but still had faith, though this faith didn't last long.
The initial road, right after the pavement ended was hard packed gravel stuff with bits of sand patches here and there. Not bad I thought, somewhat fun it seems. And it was for a little while, but the hard packed stuff gave way to softer stuff, then even more softer stuff, until finally loooong stretches of sand. Loose sand where you sink into, like fine powdery snow, but nothing like snow, think sand dunes type sand.
This soft squishy sand had a benefit.. When I was tossed from the bike, twice, it was nice and soft to land on. I knew picked out the Scott's jacket for a reason. I can't find the link on the web, though this was given to me by a very dear friend from Tacoma, WA. I feel somewhat bad about getting it all covered in sand and who knows what, but am sure he'll understand.. I hope anyways...
As the hard packed gravel gave way to the long stretches of squishy sand, it was difficult to maintain speed, which I tried to. As i found out the sand reacts in mysterious and unpredictable ways.
I made mistakes and probably didn't learn all the lessons I needed to learn about sand riding, but it was still quite the learning experience. My main problem was going too fast, even though was only doing about 15 miles an hour, or less. Should have downshifted into first and kept the rpm's somewhat low, while still maintaining enough speed to keep from sinking in too deep.
At this point I was very happy to have somewhat aggressive off road / street tires, such as this Metzeler one that came with it. Metzeler is among the best tires out there (for wet riding at least), and always highly rated from what I know. Originally researched them for when lived in Seattle area full time, and they're particularly great in wet weather! Grippy as all get out.
Back to the "road".. For a long stretch it was all sand, but then started alternating a little from some gravelly area to hard packed sand, then back to that soft squishy sand. There was one stretch that I passed through, where it was straight as an arrow, and hard pack / gravel for about 1/3 to 1/2 a mile. That was pure heaven.
It just so happened, on this stretch, couple dune buggies came blowing through there, hot footing it to who knows where. I kinda envied them in a way, with four wheels in sand, sooo much more stable. The ruts is what got me, and the sand moving every which way.
After the two drops, and ejections, and a good 30-60 minutes (time was a weird thing), finally made it to hard pack, then the asphalt road!!! At this point I just opened up the throttle, trying to make up for lost time. Felt really good to be back on the road. But, there was this Escapade looking SUV type thing that came up behind me, and just stayed behind me till I turned off, not tailgating, but kept a respectable distance.
I did lose that SUV though when we got to the twisties, but it caught back up with me... Now, think I took the twisties a bit too fast, for I leaned the bike over pretty strongly, without a care in the world. I downshifted, goosed the throttle, downshifted again, goosed it again, and my, was it wonderfully pleasing!
Here is where the twisties were, not long twisties, but was the right amount at the right time. On one side of the road it falls off and there wasn't much in the way of a guardrail.
After these twisties it was a pretty straight shot to the China Ranch Date Farm. In the map below, if scroll up a little will see additional twisties. This longish road was mostly all loose gravel, going around some hairpin turns. Had to take it slow and easy and was in first gear most of the time.
While here, had a date shake, along with a chocolate chip date cookie, and also met my RV park neighbors, and friends, that have met in years past. They were out for a stroll and they were also right behind me in the park, hence the neighbor things.
Return trip was uneventful. Left and followed the road (like normal cars do) all the way back. Did leave the GPS (Google Maps) completely off as didn't want it to mistakenly guide me down an unknown path yet again.
As promised, cat picture, on a leash.... Good kitty, good kitty.