The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Me and the DRZ

Me and the DRZ
 A funny thing happened this last year as I re-work to some extent what and where I/we ride.

Oh no fear, we haven't stopped our trips to Europe, no-sir-ree. But I had discovered that in comparison riding the highways of western Canada and the States to be boring and dangerous, too many egos, texting, cell phone use, and inattention by other drivers.

Then there are a few warning signs that really mean something if you are driving. First, I'd love to get the green symbol "N".
It appears that anyone with this symbol on the rear of their vehicle is allowed to drive over the speed limit, avoid stopping at stop signs, and can wave the middle finger (flipping the bird) at anyone they like with impunity.

Then there is the Poppy symbol on licence plates.
While I have always associated the poppy with Remembrance Day, and those who fought for our country, the new licence plate seems to be issued to those who are bent on increasing the 'fallen' by their inattention and lack of driving skill. Now, the Poppy takes on a warning to stay clear for fear of some calamitous action.

But I have digressed from the intent of this post which is to introduce a new motorcycle to love in my stable, the DRZ-400SM. No the SM doesn't stand for S&M, it stands for Super Motard, a niche design that pairs the frame/engine of a motocross bike with the street wheels and tires and accessories of a street bike. Suzuki pulls this off really well with the popular DRZ400, a 40 hp. 300 lb. rocketship.

I purchased this bike in early April and rode this summer on the island on all the back highways and trails with the street slicks that came with the bike. Then in preparation for taking the bike to southern California to ride with friends down there the bike had Kenda Knobbies installed front and rear.  Sandra has commented that every time I come back from a ride on the DRZ I have an ear to ear grin. It's true, I haven't met a bike that makes me smile more.

Combining in this case a mild case of boondocking in Coach-whip Canyon, an area of the Anza Borrego State Park south of Palm Springs and you can't believe you can get this far away from it all 2 hrs east of Los Angeles.

Coach Whip canyon
In this case we have taken our travel rig, an 07 GMC 4X4, coupled with our custom  8'6" camper, and gone off-road into Coach Whip canyon to get away from it all. When we were there the daytime temperatures were around 32-33 C, overnight it would cool into the low 20's, and you could find shade by camping close to the canyon rock walls.

After a ride up both legs of the coach whip I decided I'd get back on asphalt and head for Font's Point, a view point outside Borrego Springs about 4 miles back in through deep sand in the middle of the desert. On my way in I saw an abandoned Toyota Forerunner headed south. In the heat of the day I stopped, shut the bike off and called out in case someone was around and needed help. No answer. So I rode in to the canyon view point took some pictures and then headed back out. When I got near the Forerunner again I noticed it was now parked headed the opposite direction. Then on approaching I saw there was another vehicle hooking up to it, and a guy with an extreme sunburn. I mean extreme!!!!
Fonts Point (Click to enlarge)

His vehicle had blown a rad hose and left him stranded 3 miles into the viewpoint. And I was the only other person he saw all day, and vice versa. He had to walk out to the highway with no sun cover, and get cell phone reception, then get into Borrego Springs where he picked up his tow vehicle to pull the Fore runner back out. 
To Mexico

I had a much better day by comparison.

Sandra thought these were hikers until I used the zoom