Day 1 – Time to ride

After all the last minute packing and adjusting, we rolled out at 9 am. As mentioned earlier, the start of the trail looked promising and not too tough.

But, then, things got serious quick. At about the 2 mile mark we encountered the most difficult section of the trail – a steep, rutted, rocky class 4 section. Smiley was leading, riding his KTM 525, and with his excellent riding skills bounded to the top, dismounted, and then urged us to follow suite. I was next in line and I was skeered. I was pretty sure I didn’t have the talent or skill to make it to the top so before my courage deserted me, I picked a line, popped my clutch, and gave it the ‘ol college try…

…and then promptly fell over, breaking my clutch lever. Of course, where I fell was an area where the ground sloped away steeply to the side. Falling the 2000 feet to the ground below me gave me ample time to reflect on the folly of my actions. I executed a perfect parachute landing fall (PLF) combined with a combat roll that my old Ranger School Instructor would have been mightily proud of and jumped to my feet, amazed that nothing on my body was broken.

The first casualty of the day – I broke my clutch lever

“Well, expletive, expletive, expletive!” I thought to myself as I saw my green DRZ lying nearly upside down on the rocks. With a mighty surge of strength I laid my hands on the bike and hoisted it half way up. That was all I could muster. A moment later Milton came over and helped me lift it the rest of the way.

The view from the top – as always, pictures don’t do it justice. It is both steeper and rockier than this picture shows. Really.

What I had failed to notice in all the anxiety and adrenaline was the class 2 bypass off to the right of the main trail. After seeing my dismal failure the rest of the group opted for the bypass and easily rode to the top. Leaving Milton and I alone at the bottom. With JT’s help, we turned my bike around and I worked my way over to the bypass. A few moments later I was standing on the top of the hill. Now it was Milton’s turn.

Unfortunately, he had expended so much energy saving me that he was too winded to make it up the bypass. Down he went.

 Luckily, he too was uninjured. We righted his bike and a few minutes later we were on our way.

While that was definitely the single most difficult section of the entire trail there were still lots of difficult class 3 sections we had to navigate. At this point we had our game faces on and managed the remainder of this section with only a little more drama.

 Don’t take what I’ve written the wrong way – it wasn’t all grim faces and cramping hands. We were having a great time.

Taylor was amazed at the size of Jack’s mighty bicep.

Three Amigos
The views were very nice

The Last Resort

I didn’t keep track of exact mileage but somewhere around 10 miles or so we came upon The Last Resort School Bus.

Somebody wanted to get away from it all, drop off the grid, and get out of the matrix. So they drug an old school bus up here, into the middle of all this wilderness, and set up their ultimate hide-out. We took a picture or two but otherwise left it just like we found it.

A short distance later we encountered more civilization. This fellow pulled an RV up here and then built a nice deck to admire the views from.

The view from his front door. I see why he chose this spot.


Lunch time

All that hard work makes a man hungry. We had ridden all of about 15 miles in 3 hours so when we arrived at the intersection of the K Trail and the Indian Hwy we decided to ride north into Talihina and eat lunch. Pam’s Hateful Hussy Diner did the trick.

 Parking on the street in front of Pam’s. There were lots of motorcyclists in town enjoying lunch at Pam’s.


Mmm…sweet tea

Afterwards we wanted to take a nap… …but we had miles to ride and couldn’t stop to rest. We said goodbye to Talihina and continued on our way.

Side Note: Did Pam give her diner the right name? Are they Hateful Hussies? I’m not sure but during our meal Jack made a comment to the waitress that she thought was a little dumb so she says to him, “You ain’t too bright, are you?” Gosh, that was a little mean. Even if Jack isn’t all that bright you don’t have to insult him to his face.

Just kidding. About the part about Jack not being that bright. He’s actually really smart.

And the waitress had a smile on her face when she said it. She was just being sassy. And you know what happens to sassy girls.

Okay, enough of that. Back to the report.

After our glorious lunch we debated wheeling off into the sunset but there were three problems. First, it wasn’t sunset. Second. we were riding east. And third, we had another 75 miles or so to ride. Well at least we got to practice our wheelies. Just in case we needed them later.

Wheelieing, just not into the sunset

Water

Oklahoma had some deadly storms in the weeks before our trip. However, the worst of the storms had not reached southern OK so the only thing we had to deal with was some water on the trail. Nothing serious, mostly just a bunch of small puddles that we could mostly ride around or easily ride through.
 But, of course, there was this one lake on the trail…There always seems to be one…And we found it. Smiley was leading when we arrived and he never hesitated – just plunged right in. He nearly made it across too. But a hidden boulder deflected his front tire causing him and his bike to separate.


Jon said technically it was not a fall since a) he never let go of the bike and b) the bike never fully hit the ground. So, let’s call it a near miss. I did manage to get a picture as he returned the bike to its fully upright position.

After Smiley made it across, Taylor decided to give it a try.

Success! Safely on the other side.
 As was becoming our habit, the rest of us found a bypass, which was less wet than the big puddle.  Jack was wearing a bit of mud afterwards.

The trail gets easier

As we expected (and I told you earlier) the trail got progressively easier as we rode east. The middle section of the trail – say from 15 miles to about 50 miles – was mostly class 2, meaning we were able to ride at a faster pace.

     There were also numerous elevation changes.

 I think this was my favorite section of the trail. While I enjoyed the earlier class 3, I enjoyed the class 2 more. It gave me a little more time to sight-see plus I felt like we were making good time. But, the truth is that even though we were riding faster, we didn’t stop any less. It seemed that every so often we had to stop for something. At least it gave me time to get some good pictures.

Trailside repairs underway

Milton was having problems with one of his saddlebags getting into his rear tire…

 …which a beer can shim partially fixed.


I never did figure out where we got the empty beer can from. I didn’t drink it and didn’t see anyone else drink it. Hmmm…now that I think about it, I wonder if those fellows were enjoying a beer mid-ride and didn’t invite me to join in?

With the repairs complete, we continued on our way.

Camera Geek Stuff

I bought a new Panasonic G3 camera prior to this trip and this was its maiden voyage as my ride camera.  All of the pics in this thread are from the G3, shot in RAW and processed with Lightroom 5.  In addition to the many single shots I took I also decided to test the motor drive.  I zoomed ahead, jumped off the bike, and patiently waited in ambush, camera at the ready.

I’m pleased with the quality of the RAW files and the motor drive worked just fine for my needs.

Day 1 continued – The Road to Certain Death

 


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