Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Camp Fire

Painted Gorge

Randy survived 30 miles

Of dirt! On his touring bike!

Salvation Mountain

Morning at the Salton Sea

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tea Party T-Shirts




http://www.cafepress.com/mcsteedteaparty

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Haynes Canyon on My Mule

I rode Haynes Canyon/Grizzly Flats from Big Tujunga to the 2 on sunday.

From Haynes Canyon Ride


Google's directions gave me a bum steer by telling me to take Camp 15 Rd. That turned out to be a Youth Probation Camp. Appearently there used to be access to the fire road. I found another route through a private horse ranch. One of the ranch hands let me cross the 200 yards from where I was to the road. He said not to do it again though.

There were a lot of hikers and mountain bikers so I rode slow. Above the Haynes Debris Basis I came across a barrier. There was a burm on the hill that mountain bikers were using to get over the gate so I followed them. After that view started getting really nice. You could see all the way to Long Beach.

From Haynes Canyon Ride

From Haynes Canyon Ride


Surprisingly, most of the hikers waved at me. I expected some hateful stares.

At the top where all the raido towers where I ran into three 50 year plus women who had hiked from La Canada. Pretty impressive.

From Haynes Canyon Ride

From Haynes Canyon Ride

From Haynes Canyon Ride


Anyone know what these things are? They have names; Sister Elsie and Hoyt.
From Haynes Canyon Ride

From Haynes Canyon Ride

From Haynes Canyon Ride


Then it was down Grizly Flats. This is where I came across two Forest Ranges on Mountain Bikes, one dude, one dame. They didn't wave me down or anything but I stopped to talk to them anyway. The dude was cool. He asked me to take it easy because of the hikers. I told him that I was riding slower than I would on my mountain bike. Then the dame said in a somewhat terse voice "Do you have a Green Sticker?" I told her that I had just bought my mule and the Sticker was in the mail, but I had the receipt. That was settled so I started chatting again. "You're lucky" Ranger Dame interupts, "Its a $10,000 fine if you don't have it." She didn't seem to want to drop it.

I rode on.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Bought a DRZ 400 S

Renting an Adventure (a KTM 950 Adventure)

I tend to chase my whims – I’m a slave to them really – so after a 22 year absence from motorcycling I’m back. With the ink still wet on my temporary M1 I headed down to Eagle Rider in Santa Monica, CA. Back then it was an ’84 Honda CR 80, this weekend it was a KTM 950 Adventure. I wanted to test ride the bike for real not just get a 20 mph cruise around the block. In a couple of weeks I’ll rent a 1200 GS Adventure. By Summer I hope to erase some of the boundaries to my wanderlust.

From KTM_ADV


With the big orange beast packed up I headed out at 0700. I stopped for my now traditional travel breakfast; a Breakfast Jack and a Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit. My old tradition was Burger King (the folly of youth, what can I say).
From KTM_ADV


My first stop was to be Stage Coach Trails in Shelter Valley. Stage Coach Trails is an RV park that my mom runs so I was stopping by just to tell her that I’d be stopping by tomorrow (there’s no cell service down there).
From KTM_ADV

From KTM_ADV


That my mom leaning against the rail.
From KTM_ADV


From Shelter Valley I headed for Blu-Inn along Highway 78 to battle all the kids on dirt bikes and Rhino’s for fuel. Then it was back 15 miles to find the trailhead. I went up Mine Wash, the wrong trail, for about 3 miles (Although later research showed it would have got me to my trail). Pinyon Wash was my planned route but it sucked. The sand was deep. I took an exhausting 60+ minutes to go three or four miles. I feel over once but forgot to take a picture.
From KTM_ADV

From KTM_ADV


I didn’t have a tent, the shadows were getting long and people were expecting me in Plaster City so I was forced to turn back. I got back on the 78 and headed for Split Mountain Road also known as the easy way out. Ah well, it was a rental/test ride.


The Split Mountain Road route was still fun and challenging. There was a mix of hard pack, silt and sand, with a few patches of mud and long stretched of whoops just to keep it interesting. The trail from the end of Split Mountain Road to Plaster City runs along a narrow gauge train track used to haul gypsum from the mountains down to the Drywall plant.
From KTM_ADV


It was pretty spooky at times when I’d be cruising along at about 50mph on the hard pack and it turned to sand. That big bike would start getting squirrelly and I could only get my weight so far back because my ass would hit my bed roll. The Pirelli tires were definitely on the street side of dual purpose.


Nine hours after leaving home I finally made it to Plaster City at Evan Hewes Highway and headed west to Painted Gorge to meet up with my brothers. The house was full so we camped between a couple of shipping containers. When we got ready to cook dinner I discovered the only casualty of the trip. Somewhere along the train tracks my rations made a break for it. I had packed a small cooler with some Hebrew Nationals, Balance Bars, and Enjoy Beef Jerky that are now a king’s feast for some scrawny coyote.

The KTM got secure parking.
From KTM_ADV


The next day we got up early, had a breakfast burrito, and went back to the trail, my brother Scott in his Blazer and me on the KTM. I talked my brother into plowing through a bit of muddy water. Only a little water got into his carburetor. We headed back so he could dry it out and replace the plugs.
From KTM_ADV

From KTM_ADV

From KTM_ADV

From KTM_ADV


After a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I said so long to my brothers and headed west to Sweeny Pass Rd and the Great Overland Stage Route. What a great road. I used to drive on this road when I was younger. There are many Washes and side roads to explore (another day).
From KTM_ADV


After stopping back by my mom’s in Shelter Valley for some Quattro Fromaggi Ravioli I headed back home. I didn’t enjoy my first night freeway ride until I got the carpool lane on the 210. My girlfriend was sick so I may or may not have broken the speed limit on the way home.
From KTM_ADV

From KTM_ADV


In the morning I had to give the bike back. I got up early and pressure washed that crusty Plaster City mud off the bike. With plenty of time to spare I decided to ride Mulholland Dr. That’s when the clutch started going wonky. Pulled all the way in the clutch barely cut power to the wheel. I fiddled with the adjustment and made it work for trip back to Santa Monica. All told I rode 562 miles for the trip plus about another 150-200 of other running around. Fun!


My 950 Adventure Thoughts
Great fun, plenty of power though not as much low RPM grunt as I would have thought. It all really happened above 4000 RPM’s. It’s heavy and in the sand and mud it was a handful. However I suspect that with enough riding and you get conditioned to it. I can’t really compare the long range comfort since this is the first time I’ve ever ridden that long. My caboose got sore but compared to a 100 mile bicycle ride it felt like an easy chair. I’ll tell you after the BMW Adventure. It’s on my short list definitely. My choices are limited because even in my slimmest form I’m a 220 lbs 6 foot 3 inch chunk of dude.

http://picasaweb.google.com/McSteeds/KTM_ADV
http://picasaweb.google.com/SNewhan/DesertTripNov2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Perpetual Mid-Life Crisis

I've always said I try to live in a state of perpetual mid-life crisis. This means that I try to stay young; always see life as an exploration. I like to re-experience things. When I fly my Grumman AA5-B Tiger I often have a moment where I think, "Holy Shit, I'm flying an airplane!" The newness returns instantly.

I'm adding a new re-experience this weekend. Motorcycling. When I was a teenager I had a Honda CT70. Even though it was a non-exciting bike that newness was there. My CR80 was more fun but the CT70 memories are just as strong.

I'm getting my motorcycle license this week. Let the exploration begin.