WARPED VIII: An Odyssey – Day One

AKA: Wet, Cold, Buzzed, and Happy as Hell

Day One: Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday morning begins with the sky pouring rain like piss out of a boot. Dressed up like the Michelin Man and way over packed, I man up and tear off in the downpour for my first ever motorcycle rally, to my first ever ADV event, on my first real trip on a new bike to meet some FFs for the first time for the ride down. What could possibly go wrong?

Cyath (Mike) and SenorPeligro (Andy), stand up guys that they are, have offered to let this n00b ride along with them to WARPED VIII (That would be the 8th annual Western Adventure Riders Party and Endurance Drinking event for those of you not in the know.) and we are to meet at 9:30 in Livermore at the Panama Red Coffee Co. Forgetting to ask and not knowing if they intend to meet at 9:30 or leave at 9:30, I arrive at 9 AM. The rain pauses just long enough for a dry dismount. I show up just moments after they do and we quaff down a coffee and some breakfast. Then it is off to WARPED!

SenorPeligro (Everyone has a handle on the ADVRider forum) leads the way and we angle out Patterson Pass Road to 120 and then pick up 99 South. Lunch in Tulare at the Black Bear Diner provides me the opportunity to try their Chicken Fried Steak and the massive 4x4x4 inch biscuit. Excellent and too much food is the report. Should have taken a photo of that biscuit.

It rained off and on for the whole trip, but nothing too serious. Looking at the weather report lead to us avoiding any route other than the 178. Luckily we had a dry and spirited trip through the canyon. Just short of camp and with my Contours turned off, SenorPeligro sees a hawk try to remove my Contours from my helmet. I ducked just in time and it missed. Sure wish I had video of that.

We arrived at camp under cloud cover and a brief break in the rain. Gerg (the HDIC of the event – real name Greg), not quite sure what to make of my overloaded Connie, kindly checked us in and DaFool (my friend Mike from Fairfield) pointed the way to the keg (good call on the Blonde Gerg!). And, half a beer later we were sitting up camp. I set up two tents, one for me and one for TheDonPuccio who had been delayed by work until Friday. Yes, the Pete Puccio is scheduled to come down tomorrow on his Harley.

Mike and Andy get set up before puzzling about where to find the keg

Mike (DaFool) was a little incredulous as I dragged out the tent, cot, air mattress, sleeping bag, cooler, chair, tarp, and tarp poles. He quickly recovered and quit giving me grief when the cigars came out. Clearly a man who has his priorities straight.

The rain abated long enough to get a few pictures.

Dragon M getting a lesson in something – probably illegal.

Distant Thunder enjoying a smoke.

JStory playing bartender.

It of course started raining again as soon as I got both tents set up.

Conestogaman and GoinPostal did the favor of bringing tacos and JStory brought the grass-fed organic burgers (and the fully stocked mini-bar). Seriously killer contributions to the event – from the bottom of my stomach, thank you!

Details from here will remain generally vague, but we had a great time around the campfire trying to stay dry, warm, and laughing. Meet a lot of great peeps. Someone started the rumor that the keg was empty which was ingenious since those at our campsite clearly knew how to use the pump and kept drinking till we turned in around 10 PM. Morale of the story is never believe a drunk ADV’er.

Today’s Route: 321 Miles

WARPED VIII: An Odyssey – Day Two

Friday, April 13, 2012

Woke up Friday with rain and low-and-behold there was no water in the restrooms. The well had collapsed to the property. Not a good start to the day.

Everyone stood around waiting on Gerg’s next pot of coffee to perk and trying to stay warm for awhile. And being resourceful, a ride in the deluge into town for breakfast and a bathroom was deemed the best course of action.

Chicken Fried steak for breakfast again:

Back at camp, while the erstwhile Eagle Scout NappyG (AKA Ben Carufel ) dried his gear in sopascat ‘s dryer, (don’t ask) while she knocked out a couple of batches of brownies for everyone – what a doll!, we decided to live up to the name of the event and started the Endurance Drinking about 10 AM. The keg still had plenty of beer.

The agenda for the rest of the day boiled down to drinking, eating, bitching, trading insults, telling lies and trying to stay dry. There were a few breaks in the rain and then it started snowing. Snowing for crying out loud!

DaFool defying the weather gods!

The Connie’s first snow.

Lucky for us and the restaurant patrons, along about 3 PM the camp owner got our water back on and it lasted till about noon on Sunday.

Some folks couldn’t handle the pressure and disappeared (or perhaps more likely they were just off for more beer).

Cell reception was not great for AT&T in camp, but txt messages seemed to get through okay and Pete, TheDonPuccio, was keeping me abreast of his trip down from Sac. Mid-afternoon I got the message his bike wouldn’t start in Fresno after gassing up. About an hour later the next message was that it was his starter clutch. He arranged to get it started and turned around and headed home. Another participant out. Next year Pete – I’m going to need some minions.

Sometime in the afternoon Gerg brought by a sample of the most righteous stout I might have ever touched lips too. THANKYOU CONESTOGAMAN! Nice to know you’ll be bringing some of that back next year!

DaFool cooked up some amazing ribs, the beer flowed, the lies got bigger, the insults sharper, and the night colder.

That is the official ADV salute Mike (DaFool) is flashing in response to the question of when dinner is going to be ready.

Dragon M trying to stay warm in his mesh gear.

Auggie_Doggie and JStory waiting patiently on dinner.

Lasherman and his brother Memnok enjoying a pre-dinner cigar.

YetiGS, former HDIC for WARPED VI and VII, never misses a salute opportunity.

Now those are coming along nicely.

I’m sure I’ll miss some, but I had a great time with DaFool, Yeti, Darien, Nappy G (aka:Ben Carufel), JStory, Gerg, Cyath, sopascat , SenorPeligro, Lasherman, Memnok, Bonerov, Augie_Dogie, Roger and a whole bunch of other FF’s who’s names and or ADV handles I didn’t catch. Apparently even Petefromberkely and RAZR were at our fire and I never made the connection. Next time gents!

By the time we went to bed we could see stars. Disappointed that Pete won’t be joining us, but hopeful we’ll have riding weather tomorrow!

Today’s Route: 5.9 Miles

WARPED VIII: An Odyssey – Day Three

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday dawned dryer but still overcast and Mike, Andy and I decided to ride Death Valley. First stop was Ridgecrest for breakfast at Kristy’s Family Restaurant. Much better Chicken Fried Steak here than yesterday’s stop. And the rest of the day we spent running into the same usual FF’s at all the gas stops.

The temps rose about 20 degrees from camp to Ridgecrest and we saw a lot more blue sky. Peeling off a layer before going into Kristy’s.

They wanted to make a run to “the pinnacles” and so I, being on a 100% certified street bike, demurred and spent a half hour taking photos instead. Off they peel for some dirt.

Not exactly a thriving metropolis here. Lot of abandoned buildings to shoot. Here are a few shots from the next hour or so.

We reconnected after their excursion and Andy offered to let me ride his BMW F800 GS. I took it out for a quick spin and may well have found my next bike. Still doing research though.

Later, along some lonely stretch of highway I saw Mark ahead of me signaling. And here is where the confusion set in. When I make, or see that same signal with my regular riding buddies it means “go on – let it rip.” And so I did.

Unfortunately, he was waving me up to let me know his bike was dying on him. Typical n00b mistake I suppose. They were both relaxed about the whole deal. My kind of riders. I did get a nice run out of the Connie in the process however. Next investment clearly needs to be a radar detector. Luckily when he caught up, he was still running and we made it back to camp in time for dinner and the raffle. It was nice to be dry and warm again, if even for a few hours.

It was looking better and getting colder – dropped another 20 degrees again in about 10 minutes of climbing toward the new front.

With the cloud cover gone, it turned off COLD. Good thing there was food, beer and a couple of fires. Not sure who ordered the ice cream for dessert, but I’ll bet there was plenty left over. Dinner was excellent as was the beer. Although no one started the rumor in time and we ran out before all the prizes were awarded.

Getting close the grand prize, GillaFunk pipes up and says “Whoever wins the Klim prize has to run next year’s WARPED.”

And I thought to myself – “Awe shit, I’m going to win that damn gift certificate.” BOOM. Gerg claimed that the drawing was rigged. I think that was just his way of sinking the hook.

Beerless again as the keg of red was emptied during dinner and the raffle, we took up a collection and Gerg and sopascat, and perhaps some others made a beer run. God bless his fur-covered head.

Anyway, later, around the fire I committed to being the HDIC of WARPED IX if Gerg and Yeti would support me and keep me from making any n00b mistakes. Of course they agreed, no skin off their nose, and so next year I’ll be heading up this bunch of misfits, degenerates, and adventurers. And the best part of this deal is that GillaFunk is already on the hook for WARPED X.

Lots of ideas were offered around the fire and the general consensus was that the theme should be “Post Apocalypse” based on the Mayan calendar running out this year. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to the various sub-themes that were submitted.

One thing I can say for DaFool and YetiGS: they can build a fire

Today’s Route: 302 Miles

WARPED VIII: An Odyssey – Day Four

Sunday, April 14, 2012

Sunday dawned mostly clear and cold with plenty of thick frost.

Some hung out in camp waiting for the tents to dry and saying their farewells. Mike, Andy and I decide to eat breakfast in town while everything thawed out.

Afterward, Mike and Andy patiently waited while I struggled to get everything back on the bike. Didn’t think to take a photo until I was home, but here it is:

I followed Andy and Mike out over the mountian via Twin Oaks. Wow. Not the best route on a top heavy street tires bike. Need to get some video up on that.

We get out to the 58 about the same time as another group of FF’s and while Andy, who is in the lead is talking to them, I took the opportunity to root through my tank bag for my SPOT, which I had neglected to turn on when we left. I was just a minute behind them in pulling out but somehow, to make a long story short, we all got separated coming out. I did catch up to Andy, so we stop and wait. And txt. And call. And wait. And then decide to go on into Bakersfield and gas up until we can connect. By the time we did connect and make sure everyone was safe, Mike was so far ahead that we decided to call it a day and let everyone take their own ride home. I chased Mike up 99 the remainder of the afternoon never actually catching up with him and Andy headed west for a route with more twisties.

Today’s Route: 347 Miles

WARPED VIII: An Odyssey – Epilogue:


Home safe with a filthy bike and gear still strewn across the garage I’m already looking forward to my next mix up with these guys. Maybe I’ll just repack for next weekend’s Mayday Melee IV.

I had a great time despite the weather (the right gear is 99% of the solution to that), met some great people that love riding and got a good start to an education on the dual-sport side of motorcycling. I’m honored to have been asked to lead WARPED IX and am looking forward to making sure it is as much fun next year as it was this year. Hopefully with better weather and more riding.

Until next time!

Total Trip: 1002 Miles