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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.
 

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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!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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.
Yep. Helmet, safety glasses (if no visor), full fingered gloves, hard soled footwear with heel (some bases add "over the ankle" to that), long sleeve jacket/shirt of "sturdy" material, and pants. And all these apply both on and off base. A Marine can get nailed at Walmart for not having his visor down, though that would be a real @$$hole move. I usually just mention it and move on. Used to be a reflective vest too, but the MMP got that removed in exchange for stiffer requirements on safety training.

I am a Motorcycle Mentorship Program (MMP) President and must be up to date at all times. This makes me getting a ticket even worse. It also means I get first crack at all the training they offer. Had the California Superbike School, Yamaha race team coaches, and free trackdays sent my way (avatar pic). Even rode with 5 states Hwy patrols, and they don't go as slow as you would think. A ton of Marines complain, but you tell me to get out of work for a day or three to ride a motorcycle? Let me think about it.
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.
View attachment 175729
View attachment 175737
View attachment 175745
View attachment 175753
Ok, added to my have to find list. I will be through AZ next month, but up by I40.
 

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Yay - Pepsis Wasp ......
i never knew that name for a tarantula hawk. learn something new every day...

pleading aged rubber, wouldn't be a lie... if that is the original 22yr old tire i wouldn't want to spin 60+ mph on it. YYMV.
 

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Those prickly pears are good eating.:D
When I had a crew installing ornamentals they would wrap the cactus in newspaper before handling, makes a surprisingly effective spine guard.
 

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Quite the day. Thanks for sharing. Great pics.

I have to ask...how do you have the older rear tread version? Shouldn't it be worn out or cracked by now? Must have been stored well. Wrapped up or treated with tire conditioner. I think it looks way more capable off road then the newer stock rear tire. Enjoy it while it lasts.
 

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Great riding. Very similar to Southern Arizona.
If the snakes and sun don't get you, the cacti will... I love it.

Fellow Mentor here, not the big cheese, just the Off-Road mentor for Ft Huachuca.
 

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Quite the day. Thanks for sharing. Great pics.

I have to ask...how do you have the older rear tread version? Shouldn't it be worn out or cracked by now? Must have been stored well. Wrapped up or treated with tire conditioner. I think it looks way more capable off road then the newer stock rear tire. Enjoy it while it lasts.
I have looked for rot and cracking and found none. They aren't out of round or cupping or anything odd. Just old.

I am trying to wear them out so the financial manager (wifey) will approve new rubber. I just dumped $2k into a truck and the daughter's jeep is having fuel issues so for now the funding is tied up in other things.
 
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