On Saturday Dwayne and I got up bright and early, around the time we are usually going to bed (ah, that 2nd/3rd shift life), and we hit the road at 8am to go meet up with over 80 other adventure riders at the Stony Lonesome Motorcycle Club for the Riders For Striders Adventure Ride. The proceeds from this ride go to buy Strider bikes for the kids at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.
Other than talking with some of the riders on the ADVrider forum, we didn’t know anyone who would be there, but that’s the great thing about adventure riding, everyone is always inviting and eager to make new friends to ride and share the fun with. I was also the only female rider, on International Female Ride Day no less, unless you count the two little girls who were riding with their dad’s, which was totally awesome to see.
*side note* I apologize to literally everyone I met, I am really awful with names, so while I’ll remember your faces and most likely what bike you ride, I have forgotten a lot of the names, so I’ll just refer to everyone by their bikes.
We talked to a few people while we waited for the ride to begin, and when the time came for groups to start forming and leaving, we decided to jump right in with the first group out. Our group consisted of Dwayne and I on our Tiger 800’s, two Yamaha WR250R’s, one of which was our group leader, a KTM 1190, a BMW 1200GS, a Kawasaki Super Sherpa, and (I think) a DR650.
As we left out of camp, Dwayne and I were towards the back, with only the Super Sherpa behind us.
Within a few miles we were at the creek crossing that I’ve posted a couple of times before, the same one I did my REV’IT! announcement photos at. It was a bit deeper this time than it was then. Most people took the far left, most direct route, but I chose to stay to the right where the crossing is widest, because the wider it is, the more fun it is, right?! This was the same line I had taken for my pictures too, but this time there were two large rocks I had to navigate between, which made it slightly more challenging, and even more fun. Have I mentioned that creek crossings are my favorite? Yes? Okay then.
The WR’s were setting the pace perhaps a bit brisker than the bigger bikes were used to, and the rider on the GS chose to fall to the back of the group as we started hitting the dirt and gravel roads. He was running road tires, so it wasn’t a safe pace for him to try to keep up with. The group leader would stop at each turn to wait for the rest of us to catch up.
It had rained some on Friday and the first dirt road we hit had some sections that were still a little wet. We had pre-ridden these roads on Tuesday when they were totally dry, and I had felt really good on them and was really getting into standing up and shifting my weight on the pegs in the curves. I was a little less comfortable on the still wet dirt, it would have helped to lower the tire pressure a bit, but you can’t exactly do that on a group ride that is 50/50 dirt to pavement. We came into a corner a little hot and the guy in front of Dwayne checked up, and then Dwayne did, and when I did I accidentally locked up the back brake. I was able to release it after a bit of a skid, but when I went to lean into the curve my front tire slipped out and down I went. My first ever crash on a motorcycle. It didn’t hurt at all, and I was already up trying to pick Tora up when the Super Sherpa and GS came around the corner. The Sherpa rider had a GoPro on, but he was too far back to catch it on camera. Tora lost her turn signal cover (but the bulb didn’t break and it still works), her fog light bracket got bent, and I cracked and scraped her tank plastics. Her engine guard also got scratched up, but it did its job! This picture was taken later at home, but you can see the minor damage.
I’ve picked her up by myself fully loaded on a trip before, but this time she was on an incline so the wheels were higher than the seat and I wasn’t able to get any leverage with the usual leg lift, so the guys who were behind me stopped and helped me pick her up, and on we went. I stayed calm and laughed it off, so it didn’t take me too long to get back into my groove. I was bummed that I didn’t think to have someone take a picture while she was still taking her dirt nap, though.
We continued on, alternating between gravel and paved roads as we went. At one point our group leader took us on a short detour to show us a cool set of dirt bike trails so we could mark the location on our GPS for future use. The WRR’s and the DR decided to make a quick lap while those of us on the big bikes took a break. While we were there I had Dwayne take a picture of Tora and I to post on Instagram so I could announce our first crash together, subsequently it has gotten the most likes of anything I’ve ever posted, apparently people like that I crash, Lol!
Unfortunately the dirtbike trail was a bit more than the DR rider bargained for, and he followed my lead on the whole dirt nap thing. The group leader rode his bike back out for him, but he had tweaked the bars a bit, as well as his ankle. A couple of the guys were able to get the bars fixed, though, so he was able to continue riding with us to the scheduled lunch stop.
The lunch stop was at Hayco Farms, which is the property of one of the forum members. He has a great setup with trails for dirtbikes and trials bikes, and I believe there was a big bike route set up too, but I didn’t get around to trying it out. A local BBQ joint named Johnson’s BBQ had volunteered to cater lunch for everyone, and it was just what we needed after working up an appetite riding all morning. It was a nice break that lasted probably 45 minutes or so in which we all ate and stood around talking for a bit while some of the riders hit the trails.
After lunch, the DR rider had to cut out on us and head home, so that dropped our group down to 7 bikes from 8.
On Tuesday when we rode part of the route, we had come up on a section that was extremely flooded due to Lake Monroe being out of its banks. We had been riding the route backwards that day, so we had been on the other side of it, but we couldn’t tell how deep it was or exactly where the road went, so we decided to skip it. On Saturday, we came in from the other side, and everyone parked the bikes to see how deep it appeared to be.
Our group leader went wading out with a long stick until the water started to come in over the top of his boots. We assumed it was probably deeper further out, and most of us weren’t too keen on the idea of trying to cross and risk hydro-locking our bikes. For Dwayne and I, we were an hour from home and had ridden the bikes to the event, so we would be screwed if that were to happen. After 5 or 10 minutes, the 1190 rider decided he would be the brave soul to try and go first. He started off slowly, and the water gradually got deeper until it was right at the opening on his exhaust. At the deepest part, it was also muddy and the bike wanted to slide around. He made it about 2/3 of the way across when the bike died. He was unable to get it to start, so he was forced to get off and walk it the rest of the way across. While this was happening, another group caught up to us, and one of their riders decided he was going to give it a shot as well. He had an even trickier time with the deep, muddy section, and almost got off the road, but managed to avoid it. He only made it about halfway before his bike died as well.
At this point, the rest of us decided to backtrack, and go around to get to the other side. When we got to them, they already had the plastics off of the 1190 and they were attempting to get the water out of the bike. Unfortunately no one had the correct tool to remove the spark plugs, and nothing they tried would free the bike up. The only option was for someone to try to get a call out for someone to come pick the bike up with a truck. Most of us didn’t have signal, but one guy had a carrier that had service where we were, so he was able to call for help.
As they were working on the 1190, another group pulled up on the other side of the water. Of course, they could see us on the other side, but we were too far away to let them know how we’d gotten there, and they assumed we had made it across. Shortly after they’d pulled up, we saw two bikes start into the water, heading our way. Both were KTM’s, one was a 950 and the other was a 690. They sounded so awesome coming across there, and although the 950 stalled at one point, he was able to keep it going and they were lucky enough to make it all the way across. After they’d gotten past the muddy section they got on the throttle and by the time they made it across they were both slinging water twice as high as their bikes. It was awesome to witness. Of course, the rest of their group realized how lucky they were to have made it across, and they chose to go the long way around like we had.
After standing around for 30 minutes or more and realizing there was no hope for the 1190, we got the call out for help, and he told us to continue on without him, so we did, our group now down to 6.
Shortly after that we came to what is probably my new favorite road. It is hardpacked dirt with no gravel, and it is an absolute blast to ride. Dwayne and I were chasing after the leader on his WRR, getting up to 60 mph on some of the straighter sections, and rarely getting below 30 on the curves. When we turned off this road, the leader stopped to count and make sure he had everyone before going on. The problem was, what he had thought was the GS coming around the corner, was actually a couple of dual sports from another group, who ended up passing us and going on. When we got to the next turn, we realized the GS was no longer with us. Dwayne and I were concerned, because we knew he was on street tires, and we were going at way too fast of a pace for him to have tried to keep up. We were worried that he may have crashed without anyone realizing it, so one of the WRR’s went to look for him. While we waited, another group passed us, and we knew they would have had to have seen him if something had happened, and eventually the WRR came back and said he hadn’t seen any sign of him. We realized he must have missed when we made the turn and kept going straight because we had went on without him, thinking that those other riders were him. Dwayne and I were still worried for the remainder of the ride though, and we were anxious to get back to camp to see if he turned up there.
When we first got back, he wasn’t there, and I became even more worried. Dwayne and I had decided that if he didn’t show up shortly, then he and I were going to go back and double check for any sign that he may have went off the road where he may not have been seen by the other group. Luckily, a short while later, he rolled up and confirmed that he’d missed the turn and had to find his own way back. He appreciated that we were concerned and were planning to go back to look for him, and we appreciated that he made sure to come back to camp to let us know he was okay instead of just heading home.
We stuck around for a little bit and talked with people a while, but Dwayne had only taken half the night off work, so we weren’t able to stick around for dinner before we had to head back.
As we started heading South, we saw that the skies were dark ahead of us, and I looked at the radar map on my phone. It appeared it was going to be awfully close on rather or not we’d be getting wet. I was wearing my waterproof Horizon 2 pants, but I had on my mesh Tornado 2 jacket with no liner in, and it was only 67 degrees, so I was really hoping we didn’t hit rain, because I would have been cold. Luckily we made it home without encountering any rain, but the roads near the house and our driveway were wet when we got there, so we must have just missed it.
All-in-all, this was the perfect event for us to attend our first adventure ride. It was a laid back atmosphere in an area we are familiar with, and everyone was welcoming. I look forward to riding with them again next year. The final count showed there were over 80 bikes, and we raised over $4,300 for the kids, so it was definitely a successful event.