Cactus hunting? Why not
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  1. #1
    Member Gdcpony's Avatar
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    Cactus hunting? Why not

    Yesterday I took the DL650 out and logged over 450 miles on some of the toughest roads in CA. I got in CA243, CA74, The Palomar Loop, and braved the wind tunnel area near Palm Springs.

    Today I woke up and decided it was the TW's turn to play. I wanted to take some cacti back to the wife when I return to NC and it is Mother's Day so I went hunting! Now Just so you know, I knew where I could get some, but I wanted to find new spots and see new area anyways.

    First, first I checked out a local area here in 29 Palms popular to off road riders. It is near a water tank for the town and is over run with trails for four wheelers and dirt bikes. I found myself- a dirt riding newbie- climbing some of the trails I never thought I would try. I got a quick self taught lesson on hill climbing too. Don't know if its right but it works. Stand up, lean forward, throttle till you get there. I had a ton of fun just going from ridge to ridge out there. I swear I was looking for cacti .





    Then I took some dirt roads, and invented others that ran even with 29 Palms Hwy (62). It is a 65mph road more often traveled at 70 and I didn't like the idea of being road pizza. I found zero cacti along this route, but did remember how much I hate sand. I really hate sand, at the beach, on deployment, in a sand box, I hate it. Ok venting done.


    I ended up on Shelton Road which runs across 62 towards Joshua Tree National Park, but doesn't enter it. I had never been this way, so I figured to try it out. The name "road" might make you think this is a maintained route. Umm... nope. I was crossing through sand filled draws, and rock covered desert with only the lines from what must have been four wheelers as a guide. I actually ended up past the end of the marked right of way a bit, in a VERY sandy draw.



    Still no cacti of interest. hmm... Low on water now I turned around and somehow ended up off the trail on the way back. I found that I liked how the TW handled getting in and out of the small channels in a draw that tend to be built of rocks.


    However, I did lose the poor thing once in some sand.

    Finally, all sorted out and back where I wanted to be, I walked a bit while letting the poor bike cool. Wouldn't you know I would trip and put both hands on a Beavertail Cactus. They have some hair like spines that are like little unseen splinters.


    I could see all the ones in my gloves and feel all the ones that made it through. Well, they do have pretty deep pink flowers each spring so I brought back the pieces broken off by my fall.Kind of a type of revenge since my wife has a brown thumb with any plant.

    Success! Pain! Well, not really pain so much as that annoying feeling of the tiny little splinters any wood worker hates- times a few hundred.

    I decided that was enough for today and started back briskly. I took 62 for a bit, but the traffic blowing by me in my lane was too much. I pulled unto a dirt road and kept on going. By now the gloves were generously passing on more spines to my fingers. Why not take them off? I had to get back on base and Marine Corps order is gloves at all times on a bike. Tickets on base can be worse than the spines. They have since been thrown away though which sucks since they were only a couple weeks old.

    Back at my room, I set to removing spines with tweezers. It took a while.

    I felt the little TW deserved a reward for it's hard work. So I went outside and spliced in the diode kit and relay and installed the LED turn bulbs. I had already done the head light and tail light a week or so ago. Hopefully, it feels justly compensated. After the next trip, I will get it an oil change and adjust the valves. Don't know if they need it, but can't hurt to check.
    Tweaker, Fred, Purple and 9 others like this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mountain yawp's Avatar
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    Nice ride report. Thanks for sharing. Cactus sure are pretty sometimes, but not when stuck in your hands.
    admiral, Gdcpony and Ken like this.

  3. #3
    Member Alberta Darrel's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed coming along.

    Sent from my SM-T700 using Tapatalk
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  5. #4
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Nice pictures and write up.
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    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  6. #5
    Senior Member Gulfrider's Avatar
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    Nice, those one's with the small needles are the worse. I have hundreds of cactus. Some are in bloom right now. I have a variegated padded cactus the rabbits keep eating. Don't have very many needles.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member joeband's Avatar
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    i got those spines in my lips once... a little too enthused eating a prickly pear. ouch!

    thanks for your service and thanks for the report, that's a really clean bike for over 20 yrs old.
    think of swapping out that front tire, you'll find sand a bit less of a nasty day.

    ride on!
    Last edited by joeband; 05-29-2018 at 12:04 AM.
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  8. #7
    Member Gdcpony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeband View Post
    i got those spines in my lips once... a little to enthused eating a prickly pear. ouch!

    thanks for your service and thanks for the report, that's a really clean bike for over 20 yrs old.
    think of swapping out that front tire, you'll find sand a bit less of a nasty day.

    ride on!
    I had to stop myself like 50 times from rubbing my face, scratching my nose, etc. That would have bad a much worse day.

    Per the financial manager and part of the deal letting me pick up the bike (or any vehicle) is I can't replace/upgrade any part until it is worn out. So I am riding the snot out of it (already almost doubled its mileage from when I bought it) on and off road to do so.
    JerseyJeeper and Ken like this.

  9. #8
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Plead "age of rubber" on that front tire .....
    Donzo, Ken, Dryden-Tdub and 1 others like this.
    (Warning - Forum may contain nuts) ...... Hidden Content

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  10. #9
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    Real nice write up. Thanks for having us along.
    I didn't know that there were base rules for private vehicles that went beyond wearing a helmet? Gloves, that a new one to me but not a bad rule.
    Ken and Dryden-Tdub like this.

  11. #10
    Senior Member SportsterDoc's Avatar
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    Enjoyed the photos and ride report.
    Attached are photos of some of the cactus on our Arizona ranch...and a critter seen skimming the ground when wife and I are looking for arrowheads, pottery shards, fossils and petrified wood.
    cactus bloom.JPG
    prickly blooms.JPG
    Prickly buds.JPG
    tarantula wasp.JPG
    Ken likes this.
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