Gettin’ Dirty

Every now and then while out on a ride I come across something I never could have expected. This past weekend held many of those experiences, and although I didn’t capture much on film, I am able to share with you the wide-eyed moments that made my trip to the Yosemite area a total blast.

As I loaded my truck for this adventure, I realized how I have a tendency to over-pack, yet feel under prepared. It is my hope that I’ll ultimately decide what is necessity and what is luxury, and come up with a simple packing procedure during this riding season.

Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 039.JPG

The final step of loading was to get Liv on the truck, and once she was secure I was ready to go. Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 040.JPG  I got past the Stockton area and onto Highway 4 in no time. Just past Farmington, I noticed my lucky number associated with my next way point, Copperopolis.Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 042.JPG  As I made my way towards the foothills, I pulled over to take a few photos, not knowing if I’d have time or energy to do this on my way home. Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 043Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 044Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 046.JPGYosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 047.JPG

My hotel was at Buck Meadows, just outside the Yosemite Valley. After checking into my room, I went to the restaurant next door to wait for my friends to arrive. As it turned out, they had come much earlier in the day and rode a bunch of trails before joining me for some beers and food. I was jealous ! That’s what I get for over-sleeping, over-thinking, and over-packing !Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 051

Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 050.JPG

I had a good laugh when I noticed that most of their wines came from Napa and Sonoma. They even had a few bottles from Artesa, which is just a couple miles from my home.

Saturday morning we met about 100 other dual-sport riders at a staging area for the event we had come for.

Staging area

As it turned out, due to a harsh winter, the organizers of this event were left with few options to offer us when it came to off-road riding. Many trails were washed out, but we were encouraged to go explore, and we did just that. The group of six I was a part of were well prepared, and I felt very grateful to be with such a great pack of skilled and knowledgeable riders.Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 055.JPG

Our group was the first to blast off from the staging area, as we were eager to start a full day in the saddle. We started out on a 20 mile course of county roads, both paved and unpaved. There were two great water crossings, but the rest of it was rather uneventful. We recollected in a town called Coulterville, and quickly made the decision to blow off the organized lunch stop and go find some more dirt. It wasn’t long until we were in the canyons, on small winding roads, heading for a trail near Tuolumne. Our group had two guys F800GS’, a KLR650, an African Twin, an R1200GS HP, and me, on a Husky 350. I had the smallest bike, with the most aggressive knobbies, so keeping up with the other guys on the pavement was a bit of a challenge at first. I don’t mind being last, except in the dirt. Nobody like to eat dust !

We wound our way down into a valley which seemed very desolate. But as we quickly discovered, the path we took had been the path of choice for many people, a lot of which brought rattle-cans and their artistic ability. To roll up on a bridge in the middle of nowhere that was covered in graffiti was like stepping into a time capsule. Thinking of how many people came and left their mark here over  the years just amazed me.Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 057.JPG

Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 061.JPG

Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 058.JPG

The view was spectacular.

Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 060

Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 059.JPG

Not long after this stop we hit the dirt. This was what we came for, so the camera got tucked away for most of the 50 miles of fire road, as we twisted our throttles with great enthusiasm. The terrain varied a lot, and the loose gravel sections were by far the most challenging. Proper throttle, clutch, and brake application were imperative to staying upright. I never worry too much when the back end of the bike steps out, but when the front end started sliding I had to dab a foot here and there to keep my balance. It felt great to put the Husky through it’s paces, and by the end of the day I was in the zone riding that bike. As we pulled off our helmets for a quick break trail-side, our smiles stretched ear to ear.

Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 066Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 065.JPG

Here are a couple other views we took in along the way –

Yosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 064.JPGYosemite Dual Sport Ride 2017 068

Ultimately we reached a spot where a big fallen tree blocked the trail, and although we knew we could lift the bikes over it, we paused and had some water while we assessed our options. I then walked over the tree and down the trail a small ways to find that the next section of trail had mostly fallen down the hillside. There were no tire marks to suggest a bike had been there recently, and this concerned me. After much debate we decided it was time to turn around. It’s a good thing we did, because as we found out the next day the gate at the other end of this trail was locked. Blocked

The ride back to the highway was my favorite part of the day. I was feeling confident on my new bike and we had spread out far enough on this fire road that we weren’t licking each others back tire. I was able to get a good pace going and knew that as long as I could see a little dust left in the air from the rider ahead of me, I was on course. It wasn’t long until we pulled into the hotel parking lot, and I checked the trip meter total. We did 142 miles that day, and I was dirty, tired, and hungry, but most importantly, I was HAPPY !

Husky A

Standard

The Phoenix

Rise from the ashes 

and realign your prudent sight

Shake free the burdens 

and all of which you fight 

Build upon only that 

which holds you true and strong 

Make use of the heavy tools 

you’ve carried for so long

All time that remains 

is defined by your own self 

Make it your heaven 

before it becomes your living hell 

Treat every moment 

as a place from which to start

Never give up on the dreams 

that fill your deserving heart

The day has come 

where words no longer have their way

Life is what you do 

and not just what you say

So act upon the words 

that bring you to be alive

Not just the ones 

that have allowed you to survive 

And in the end you’ll see 

you chose the better way

In the end you’ll know 

you never lead yourself astray

One with your convictions 

is who you came to be 

From there you’ll carry only 

that which has come to set you free

Standard

Working Overtime 

I’ve spent my life teaching the lessons

I myself have barely learned

It’s within this dark confession 

that I lay out my concern

My strength is born from heartache 

and from loss which I’ve obtained

I struggle just to stay the course 

and not get overstrained      

Still I slave away 

Working overtime

I never get a break

I never get to resign

I serve my beating heart

I never question why

My failed attempts to stop

Have left me out to die

I follow closely like a shadow 

behind truths that I upturn

If this life is meant for something 

maybe I still have time to learn

If my heart was never broken 

I’d never know what I know now

If all my insecurities fell like raindrops 

I’d be floating on the emptied clouds

My heart it slaves away

Working overtime 

It never wants to break

It never wants to resign

It serves a faceless queen

It never questions why

It’s failed attempts to stray

Have left it out to die

Standard

Take My Hand

I have a life I live inside your heart And I hold you the same and that’s a blissful place to start Nothing else could ever be more true for us So let’s never let it fail or let it fall apart The day should never come where we turn the other way The day should never have us with nothing more to say Take my hand and see what is most true for us Move in the same direction so we don’t have a chance to stray I know sometimes we hurt but love erases all the pain I know sometimes we fall but love helps us up again I can see you I can feel you I can hold up in your eyes I can love you I can touch you I can see through the disguise So take my hand and we can travel into another life Spread our wings and fly away from all the worldly strife Over clouds and stars I know that we can find the way Through the darkest depths where the sun can’t create the day I’ll be with you I will hold you I will forever be your man All you have to do right now is reach out for my hand…

Standard

Machines

I build machines that run on tears

shattered dreams and fucked up fears

They’re finely tuned from all the years 

of wrenching on their sharpened gears

And as you lose your self control

these machines will take their toll

They only want to grow the hole 

and empty what’s left of your soul

Building steam up as they grind 

from horrid thoughts that fill your mind

They render useless what you find

remaining strength of any kind

When all is said and it is done

you will see that you can’t run

Or hide yourself from anyone

cuz these machines have already won

If there’s a God you’d better pray

that he’ll soon take you away

Because to live another day 

lets my machines shape your decay

Standard

Where Am I Going ?

Joy can find its way into our lives at any given moment if we allow it. One way I allow it is by tapping into the child within me who is free of the heaviness of adult responsibilities. Another way I allow it is to enjoy the beauty of nature. Those two things collided for me long ago when I took up mountain biking, and then eventually dirt bike riding. For me being on two wheels has always been a source of freedom, and combined with the stunning visuals that nature offers, I experience bliss. For this reason I brought a new love into my life recently that will provide me with many pleasurable experiences for many years to come. Without further delay I introduce you to “Liv”…..

Liv, which is a Nordic name meaning “life”, is a 2016 Husqvarna FE350S, and she is the first brand new dirt bike I have ever owned. She is an amazing execution of technology, styling, and durability that surpasses the mainstream dirt bike market by a long shot. Not only is she street-legal right out of the box, but she possesses a trait shared with only one rival – FUEL INJECTION !  She weighs in at only 246 pounds and produces a delightful 46 horsepower from a liquid cooled, single cylinder, twin-overhead cam, 12.3:1 compression ratio, four-stroke motor that can rev up to an aggressive 12,000  rpm. In addition to all that, she starts with a push of a button ! 

It took me many months of research, self-negotiation, and eventually the selling of several other motorcycles I owned to manifest this beauty, and I’m not sure I’ve ever agonized more over the purchase of a motorcycle than I did with this one. After all, I had to part with three other bikes just to come up with 75% of what this one listed for. Luckily the salesman at the dealership was very patient with me, and was continually willing to share his in-depth knowledge of the product every time I called him over the 6 month period it took me to plant this seed and grow it. Finally, on Christmas Eve, I took delivery of her, and have been losing sleep ever since, thinking of all the exciting places we will go together between now and the point in time where my aging body will not take kindly to the abuse of dirt bike riding. I’m hoping that won’t be for another 20 years, and if that’s the case I’ll be going to many enjoyable locations, and quite possibly be writing about some of them here, on lifebehindbarsmoto.com . Here’s to living life to the fullest ! 🍾🎉🎈

Standard

A Day In The Dirt

To kick off the 2016 riding season, I took a day off of work to get my wheels in the dirt. I’ve spent the last few weekends doing maintenance on the Green Machine, and it was finally time to put it on the truck and take it to the hills.  

 
I arrived at the staging area about noon, and the sun was shining overhead. The temperature was about 70 and just right for the physical activity I was about to perform. I’ve been doing a lot of strength and endurance training at the gym in the last few months, and I was about to see if it paid off. Within minutes of the kickstand going up, I was in the dirt and feeling so very grateful for the experience I was having. I made up my mind right then that I would do a lot of dirt biking this year. 

I followed a jeep trail down into a ravine where there was a small campsite. Sadly, what was once a really cool spot had been abused by man. There were fire pits full of garbage, and beyond that the area had been scorched by fire. A fire that was started by a hunter that burned hundreds of thousands of acres in Lake County in 2015. It was one of the worst wildfires in California history and it was sickening to see the aftermath.  

 
I continued on, over a small bridge and up the other side of the ravine. The soil was loose, with lots of gravel and softball sized rocks. I wasn’t intimidated other than the fact that the higher I climbed, the sketchier the trail became. There were off-camber switchbacks, huge ruts, and very few, if any, good lines. Once I reached the ridge the trail got wider and offered me some amazing views. 

  
  
I looked at a map of the area and concluded that I’d done about 500 feet of elevation change in less than 10 miles. I kept climbing though, knowing that once I reached a nice peak I would break for some water and a snack. I was about 90 minutes into the ride and was sweating hard but feeling strong. It wasn’t long before I found a great spot to sit and admire the beauty of nature while I rehydrated and fueled myself. 

 
I realized I was pretty far from anything. I had no cell service, a half a tank of gas, a half a bottle of water, and hadn’t seen another person since the staging area. I decided it was time to turn around and make my way back to some pavement. I took one more pit stop on my way back because the trail looked so good I had to take a picture. 

 

It turned out to be a fantastic day of riding. I did 65 miles in about 4 hours, went through some very technical terrain, whizzed through some water crossings, and found my way back to the bridge where I’d started. I can’t wait to do it again.  

 

Standard