Ok, I am not going on a rant here. I just wanted to talk about something that was near and dear to my heart as well as to many off road riders out there. That is the trails that we ride and the trash that we find. This is prompted by a recent ride I did on one of my favorite trail systems. I was just riding along getting near the end of the trail where it hits the road, when I crossed this beautiful little stream. Now recently I have decided that I was going to try to become a professional “Free Camera App iPhone Photo Taker” so I stopped to take a picture with my XR in the middle of a stream, because that would look cool. Anyway here I was taking pictures walking around my Dual Sport when I walked up the stream a little to get a more dramatic shot when I looked over and saw it, a nice little collection of trash (primarily water bottles and a few miscellaneous other things). This really made me sad, and at first I was just going to leave, after all I had nothing to carry the trash in to properly dispose of it, but at the last second before I left I decided to take a picture and post it up here, hoping to raise awareness to this problem.
A few months ago I had posted a picture of my mountain bike on a local ride I did and commented on how so many trails that had been formed by off road riders had been shut down and how if we don’t figure out how to fix it more and more will continue to get shut down. I see things like this and honestly can understand why. This area is absolutely beautiful, (as this photo hopefully shows) and if you look not too closely you can see the first bit of trash that caught my eye laying on the bank in front of my bike, a little white trash bag.
Now I said I wasn’t going to rant, and I am not. I realize that just a few days before this ride was a holiday weekend and there was a lot of campers, and maybe someone was riding out of this trail with a bag full of trash and it got caught and ripped open and they didn’t notice. Who knows, all I can say is that it was there and if we don’t take care of our trails then eventually they will get shut down, and I totally understand. Who wants their trails to look like this.
It is true that every once in awhile I do find cool things on the trail, once I found the remains of a car front seat set up so that whoever sat there got an amazing sunset view, (when I found it it was just a rusted bunch of metal but I could see the potential) and I understand that, it was right near a campsite. (If you want to read about some really neat trail finds click here http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/847470-weirdcreepy-things-youve-found-on-the-trail/) All I am trying to say is if you pack it in, pack it out. Like I learned in sixth grade Science and Conservation Camp, (yes I was that kid still kind of am) “Take only photos, leave only footprints.” Keep it safe and ride clean.
So to conclude what do you guys think we should do to keep our trails clean and open for years to come?
So today I went for a ride, the first one since our daughter was born. For the last week we have been cooped up inside the house not going much of anywhere for any length of time and I was feeling it. So today, my wife and her sister went to the park, taking my niece and our oldest daughter along with the newborn. This gave me a few precious hours to hit the trails. So I threw on my riding gear (blue Moose jersey and pants, Answer boots, and a GMAX helmet, just in case anybody wants to know what I wear) and hopped on the XR and took off.
Now from my house to where I usually ride is only about a 5-10 minute ride. Today though I had some extra time so I decided to go a little further before hitting a different trail that connected to a huge network of other trails, my first mistake. You see, after 20 minutes of twisty mountain road I came to the trail head, and BAM there was a “Road Closed” sign. Not a big deal, the road workers here have a tendency to leave the signs up even after they are done. Not this time. Next to the sign were two workers and a cop. Further down the road was a HazMat truck and some more people. That was a major bummer as I had already wasted over 20 minutes of riding time just getting to a trail. I knew where another trail was, the problem was that I have only ever exited the trail where it ran into the paved road, never started the trail from that point. Because of this I missed the trail, by a good mile or more. I had to pull over, take out my phone, and look at a Map App to see where I was and the place I wanted to be. I finally found the trail head and took off.
After 40 minutes of road riding I had finally hit dirt. This turned out to be my second mistake. You see I had ridden the trail I was now on many times, and it is actually one of my favorite local trails. The problem was that I was now riding it backwards. What was usually a slightly up hill trail with twisty left and right hand bends, was now a slightly down hill trail with twisty right and left hand bends. It is really weird for my brain to know that I was on a trail I can ride but to be doing everything backwards. So what would have taken no time at all, now took twice as long and was not very fun. To top it off, during the last rain storm the trail had become extremely muddy and the 4×4 truck guys took advantage of this to go mudding. I have absolutely nothing against that, the trail is open to all street legal vehicles so bring it on. If I had a big truck I would be out there too, the problem is the ruts are still there when the mud dries. The ground is rock hard, with ruts everywhere, and I am going the opposite direction. All in all this was not a very good trail riding day. When I got to the end of the trail I saw this:
Yes, apparently I had just ridden down an active crime scene. That might help explain all of the cops I had seen on the way up. As I stood there confused as to why the tape was only on this end of the trail as well as trying to figure out a way to get around it without breaking the tape, I saw a big white van heading down the paved road that this trail ended at. On the side of the van it said San Bernardino Fire Department. As I was mentally preparing my flight or fight response, the driver of the van looked at me, and waved, and then kept on going. I quickly got around the tape and took off going the opposite direction of the van. As I headed back I saw HazMat trucks and tankers at various places on the road and was actually kind of glad that I hadn’t spent that much time in the dirt, since I had no idea what was going on. When I got home I used good old faithful Google to find out what had happened. Turns out a tanker truck carrying over 4,600 gallons of fuel had crashed and dumped most of its payload on to the road. (http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_23139067/highway-38-reopens-cleanup-goes)
Now this totally sucks, not because my riding areas have been shrunk, but because of the environmental damage. I hope that they get it cleaned up fast and not too much gets into the Santa Ana River. In the mean time I had better get used to riding some of my favorite trails backwards.
So this morning it was a cold and windy day, the forecast was only a 30% chance of rain, plenty low enough for me to ride. So I left my warm windless house got on my XR and headed out to the Starbucks to do some work. For the first hour I was there it was fine, still cold but no rain. I figured I had plenty of time to work and so I kept at it. At that point it started to sprinkle only a little at first but enough that I decided to move my motorcycle out of the rain and under the over hang by the window I was working at. This turned out to be the smartest decision I made all day. Within a few minuets of doing this the rain decided to come down and with a fury. The wind is still going strong and the temperature has dropped, all in all it turned out to be a pretty bad day for a ride. I know not everyone minds the rain, and after living in Hawaii for 4 years I learned, by necessity, how to ride in the rain. My real problem is the wind. When a 40 mph gust picks up, and that is what they are calling for today, and you are not ready for it it is a really heart stopper. Add on top of that the cold and you got a triple whammy. The only thing that would make this worse would be snow, and now that I said that it will probably start doing that as well. Luckily for me I only live a few miles from this Starbucks, so I am not to concerned. Heres to days turned bad, may they be few and far between.
Not the best photo, but if you look real hard you can see the pools of water in the parking lot. It wasn’t like that 10 min before this photo.