This is a place where I post thoughts and information about riding again after all these years and the KLR 650 that I have for that purpose.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Good to Know

It seems that this curve on the highway south of Markleville is one that takes quite a few motorcycle riders down. I'll try to remember that and have past by it a number of times now without knowing.

Top spot for crashes?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mono Basin Adventure 2006

I left home last Friday afternoon and headed to the east side via highways 50, 16, 49, 88, 89, and finally 395. To get to my camp site I crossed Carson & Monitor passes on a very warm afternoon not realizing just how much things were going to heat up for me.

The reason for this trip was a 30 year reunion with the group of undergrads out of Stanford & Davis that I had been part of back in the beginning. Our focus then had been what was the ecological health and trends for Mono Lake, that briny inland sea, with years of water export to LA. I provided support to the main group while living up at Tioga Pass that summer and co-leading another research project focused on chipmunks. What a summer that was!

The entire group was to return this weekend. Some hadn't been back since 1976 or seen the lake since that fateful summer. The results of this research was widely distributed and led to the formation of the Mono Lake Committee by David Gaines and others. Now, 30 years later, the lake looks much better off as vegetation is coming back, fresh water is flowing into it and the millions of birds that rely on it for summer breeding and/or fall migration continue to dot the horizon there.

I was the only motorcycle rider and many of the group now had young children or teens in tow. We camped at our old site under aspens and a small creek in a sea of sagebrush. Just like old times except for one thing. As I wheeled in and was not recognized, my leg was either numb from the long hot ride or slipped in the soft sand. The result was the heavily loaded bike crashing between my legs and a sharp pain in the back of one of them for me. I got some help up and realized that I was injured.

I spent the rest of the weekend camping out and taking it easy on the swollen and sore leg. It felt like a hamstring but I just couldn't miss this event. The good energy I got from seeing and reconnecting with some very special people and a few close friends was too much to leave behind. When Sunday rolled around, I had to test the leg by riding and quickly decided I would be able to get home but not stay over for the solo hiking and exploring I'd planned. I rode into Lee Vining to do some business at the visitor's center. Parking in front of the old ice house and having lunch there brought back more old memories. Soon all the pictures and past will be added to the MLC website to remind us of how it all began. Hopefully some of these connections will lead to new adventures as some of us discussed over campfires and while scanning the horizon.

The ride back had a few challenges too. I worked to give the leg frequent rests but the short under the seat meant I'd have to unpack and tear things down to get started again as the heat rose higher. I drank quarts of water often and took my time as the KLR never missed a beat on this 450 plus mile ride into the past and future. When I arrived in Jackson at 5:30 pm it was 108. The temperature didn't drop lower but I got back without further delay or hassle.

I have finally located the cause of my continual shorts finally, a stripped battery connection, and intend to fix it while I hobble about on one leg this week. I have two huge bruises now on the back of the leg that was rebuilt from a previous motorcycle mishap. My hamstring seems to be healing slowly. This week will be above 100 every day and that and my swollen leg give me pause but no regrets on this incredible trip!

Footnote: Several days later my doc confirmed that the two huge bruises on the back of my upper leg result from a partially torn hamstring. Ouch!

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