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September 14th, 2008, 09:40 AM   #1
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Joined: Oct 2002
From: Sunland, CA

Posts: 3,117
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I Ride:
Kennedy Meadows trip August 2008

Greetings all,

As many of you have noticed I have been away for a bit, thanks for your pm's asking what was up!!

I had gone riding up at Kennedy Meadows several weeks ago, and it was, "interesting" to say the least. So here's little ride report to tell you about my trip.

I left the house on Monday packed for 8 days with my return scheduled for a week from the following Tuesday.

Several of my friends were to meet me there on Tuesday noon, with on friend already there, and the friends were to leave Friday, with another retired friend of mine driving up Friday morning to visit with me for the day.

The drive up was going super smooth until........... I got into some high cross wind, left to right, and that was not so much of a problem, the rig was handling fine. However, I blew a right rear tire on the toyhauler without warning. Kind of felt like someone kicked the back of my seat. I looked in the mirror to see pieces of tire going every which way, and tons of smoke. People traveling behind me were slowing rapidly to get away from what appeared to be the disintegrating travel trailer. Luckily, the crown on the side of the road was not too bad, and I just eased on over.

Well the entire tread had delaminated from the carcass, and had, wrapped itself nicely around the axle, overlapping itself, and was wedged between the backing plate and the shock absorber. Cool! To make a long painful story short, I had tried just unwrapping the tread, but, at first was unsuccessful, then tried cutting through the only place I could get to the tread easily, where it was folded over on itself, with a pair of wire cutters. Well, after about 45 minutes of this I had made it half way through, and my forearms looked, or at least felt like Popeye's!! LOL!

I thought there is no way I can get through this tire. So I went back to trying to unwrap it from the axle. I thought for sure it had vulcanized itself together, but, a ray of hope emerged. As it turns out, I was able to just twist part of the tread and get it free from itself at one point, and with a lot more elbow grease, twisting and pulling, was able to free the tread from the axle. I flung the now free tread out into the desert as one would cast off the chains of bondage!!! I got the spare on and was ready to roll, but, really wanted a replacement before heading up the mountain.

As luck would have it, I this all happened a 1/2 mile from the turn off to Ridgecrest. I called the tire company I bought the tires from and they did not have a store in Ridgecrest, but, looked up on several different tire stores for me to check out and told me to bring back what was left of the tire and the receipt for the one I bought, and they would reimburse me since I had a warranty on those tires. Okay, Cool!

I called ahead and talked to A&L tire co. and they had the tire I was looking for and I managed to get to A&L tire company 15 minutes before they closed, and they had my tire changed out, before I even finished paying for it. They treated me like gold!

So, I got back to highway and started my climb up the mountain on 9 mile canyon road. For those of you unfamiliar with this road, it starts out at around 2400' and climbs to almost 7000' in a little less than 9 miles, is one lane with few guard rails.

I managed to get to Troy Meadows camp ground with enough daylight to get the trailer set up, and unloaded bikes and gear in the dark.

My one friend was already there, a man named Cliff, who is 71. So I walked down and chatted with him for several hours, and caught up on everything we hadn't kept with in emails over the last two years since I met him there at Kennedy Meadows.

Tuesday dawned beautiful and clear. My buddies brother Gary, showed up at 9 and I was still in my south park pj's. He got quite a kick out of the pj's, but, it is cold at night there, in the high 30's. I know that doesn't sound like too cold, but, when you've been living in 100 degree weather, and the tire change occurred at 100 degree's the day before 38 was a little brisk. Gary and I had some coffee and a little breakfast and he helped finish get set up. Within a few hours his brother Jeff showed up with a young friend Alex and now the troop was complete.

We ended up just shooting the breeze most of the day. I spent a few hours getting Alex's 07 300 exc. I changed the jetting to a mechanics suggestion, who's brother rides the same bike, at the same place, and we also changed the exhaust valve spring to the "red" one which is supposed to produce more torque. His bike also needed some TLC, Alex was fine with everything, but, as many years of riding has taught me, an ounce of prevention is worth, several hours on the trail!!

Wednesday, we headed out for our first ride, with age of Gary 68, and Cliff 71 in mind, as well as the 8500' elevation.

We had a great ride that day, with the "old" guys having just a bit of trouble in one or two sections that were unavoidable. Unfortunately that 40 mile ride did them both in for anymore riding. In fact Gary was up in the middle of the night tending his back side with desitin and prep H. Poor guy.

That night we had a great bench racing session around the campfire after a big dinner of venison steaks, backed potato’s and pasta salad.

I rode Alex's 300 for a while that first day. Cool bike with great clean, low end power, but, other than the small stuff, the suspension was like a rock on the bigger hits. When we got back I found that it had about 25mm too much free sag. I reset the free or static sag to 33mm, and loosened up all the clickers by at least two.

The next day, Jeff 48, Alex 20, and I headed out for a ride. Alex was whining a bit about being tired but, we shamed him to going since I have 25 years on him and Jeff 28. We went on a pretty long ride, and Alex was really impressed how much better his bike was working, and asked us to try two more clicks softer on the low speed on the shock, and after that he was a happy camper. Couldn't believe the difference those changes had made.

We had a great ride that day, and I had made a clip adjustment before I left,on my needle to clean up a rich condition that was surfacing when the bike got hot. The bike was running flawlessly, and I was grinning from ear to ear! Late in the ride as we reached the top of a mountain, my bike started running kind of crappy, kind like before, but, worse. No ps adjustment seemed to help and I took off down the trail. As the bike cooled down a bit, it was running great again, and although I have no where near the talent of the man, as Rossi would say, "I finda my rhythm and I go". I was riding pretty aggressively through the tree's and hootin' and hollerin' all the way!

I got to the bottom of the trail which is across from a camp ground, and just cruised over to the connector trail between this campground and the one we were staying at. On the way over, my bike just quit. Hit the electric start and no compression!

My friends arrived and they went and fetched my truck and hauled it back to camp. I'll make another post about what happened to it later. Luckily I had brought my 2001 501 so I had back up!

That night back at camp we had a nice fire again, with a nice meal of burgers and baked beans, and later in the evening I set up at TV and VCR and we all watched the Moto GP race from Laguna Seca this year, a great race indeed.

The next day, Friday, everyone left for home except me. My friend Richard who retired a few years back from the utility that I work for drove up from Kernville and we spent the day catching up and talking about life. Richard is one of those guys who has a lot of life experience, and has a great perspective on life. I find that talking with most people, like Richard, who was a Vietnam Vet, who have spent time in a shooting war have a really good perspective on life, and makes any troubles you have seem easily solvable.

Saturday, I went riding with my friend, Glen, who is a seasonal worker for the national forest service, and another guy, Roger, who I had met before and had arrived Friday. We took some pretty hard trails that descended about 5000’ feet so that we could catch the Rincon trail and then double back north up to the wilderness boundary and the south fork of the Kern River. Riding the 01 501 was a big change from the 04 550 to say the least, and the gearing was a bit too high as well. The ride was going well, but, when we got to the bottom of Cedar Canyon trail, the one that descends 5000’, I noticed that my clutch line was starting leak at the compression fitting at the slave cylinder. Luckily, Roger had a small bottle of yamalube in his pack and I topped off the clutch reservoir with it and we continued our ride. Well, the leak got worse, and I did not want to get caught down there without a clutch and the too high gearing so we started heading back, but, not back up Cedar Canyon. We went another 20 miles down the Rincon to where it hit the highway, this direction was all downhill, so I wouldn’t need my clutch as much going that way, and once I got to the highway I wouldn’t need it anymore. This wasn’t a problem as all our bikes were plated. I did have to top off the reservoir a few more times along the way to the highway though.

We got to the highway without incident. It was so much warmer at this elevation, but, heading back up the mountain made me glad I had brought along my riding jacket! It was about a 25 mile ride back to camp from where the trail met the highway, and the trip back to camp was a great ride up the small forest road.

Glen came over for dinner that night and we watched the Moto GP race from Brno that I had not watched yet and it did not disappoint, as Rossi was giving chase, and poor Stoner threw it away after coming under increasing pressure from “The Doctorâ€
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