West Coast MIG RALLY 2009

Lake Isabella/Kern River, California

September 11-13, 2009

Friday morning finally rolled around and we could leave for the Lake Isabella/Kern River ride.

The final count was 6 bikes. Myself, My wife Pam, Gene and His wife Maureen, my brother in law Kevin and his buddy Mike and my nephew Derrick. Pam, Derrick and I rode up Friday morning as did Gene and Maureen, Kevin and Mike came up in the afternoon. As soon as I pulled into the gravel parking lot I saw the yellow Marauder with those big old apes and I knew Gene and Maureen were there. True to his word Gene greeted us all with a big Hug! Saturday morning Kevin's wife and son drove up in the car and Terri, Kevins wife rode 2 up with Kevin on sat. The kid stayed back at the hotel. He refuses to ride double. It is not manly!! What a spud my nephew is!!

It is approximately 200 miles from my house to the Lodge at Isabella.

It was stands up at 9:00 am. Derrick got to my house at 8:30 and told me his brake lights were out. Then his bike went into limp mode. So we took a look and found out that his neg battery terminal cable was loose enough to arc the connection. We went and got a pack of 10 amp fuses replaced the blown one tightened down the battery terms and he reset his bike's electronics and all was good. We finally hit the road about 9:30, not that far off schedule considering we had to diagnose and fix a bike.

It was a hot day about 100 in OC and even hotter in Isabella.

We hit the 405 north to the 5 north to the 99 to the 178 which takes you through the canyon to Lake Isabella. The canyon section is just about 35 miles of sweepers and twisties, everything from banked right and left turns to decreasing radius turns. Fast fast sweepers. Just a great ride in.

Speed signes posted on most of the turns were 25 35 mph so you know you could take them fairly aggressive if you wanted to. If a fun section came up Pam just cruised it while Derrick and I went and had some fun. Then we would stop and wait for Pam to catch up. We have about 8 gigs of video to go through and we will put a short ride video together.

We arrived at the Paradise Cove Lodge. Nothing fancy but it was clean. The desk clerk doubles as the maid. They don't answer the phones until around 1:00 pm. Not what you would call 4 star or even 2 star but at least it was clean and we could see the bikes from the window. We also had a nice lake view as Gene showed in his post. Friday was pretty much just a hang out drink some beer and talk. Gene and Maureen are nice folks and we enjoyed their company. They did have a nice well stocked bar and the restaurant was not to bad.

Saturday morning after everyone woke up we all went to breakfast. Nothing moves fast in Lake Isabella! We decided to take a loop of the lake while we waited for my sister in law to show up. The road around the lake is in good condition and and a fast ride. We made it about 2/3's around the lake when we came up on an accident scene. They asked everyone to turn around and go back the way they came. So thats what we did.

We made it back to the Lodge and relaxed a bit and then took off for the big tree's.

Terri had forgotten her helmet so Kevin went and picked her up a skid lid for the day at a local shop. He got the wrong size so we had to go back and exchange it. While we were leaving Pam dumped her bike while leaving the parking lot and banged up her knee a bit.

Unfortunately, because this was Pam's first real try at doing a multi day mixed terrain ride , the spill caused her to loose her confidence. The rest of the day was hard on her as she was just not sure of herself and she actually made it more difficult for herself by being hesitant, but I can understand how she feels. We all have had our confidence shaken here and there. I stayed with Pam the entire way and the farther up the mountain we got the slower and more erratic her riding became. f she would not have pulled over when she did I would have stopped her regardless. I figured the group was maybe 2-3 miles a head of us. So I had her drink some water and I went to find them and tell them we were turning around and going back. They were just about a mile or so ahead of us and had stopped to wait for us to catch up. When I got back Gene and Maureen had caught up and were there with Pam. She had her helemt off and she was beet red. Got some water in her and I went to the stream to fill up a bottle so she could dump it on her head. Of course while doing so I jumped off a rock and my feet went right out from under me. Bammm! right on my ass. Only my pride was hurt.

So Gene and Maureen ,Pam and I headed back to the Lodge. The day was done. I kept the pace to about 35 the entire way back. After everyone returned we all went out to dinner at a place Maureen found, again slow service the food was good. Had a few beers that evening and hit the sack.

I wanted to leave early on sunday and beat the heat home. We left at about 9:00 am The weather was great for ridning probably in the high 70's to low 80's. Pam had put on the cool vest and about froze going over the grapevine go figure . We were home by 12:30-12:45 So we covered the 200 miles pretty quickly. We did stop for breakfast on the way home. Not bad for a 3 day weekend.

Over all Pam really enjoyed the ride. I figured she would either like it or dislike it and that would be that. But the trip was long enough for her to get a feel of being out on the road with no time table or schedule to keep to. She learned what it feels like to run the bike fast, she learned how to ride sweepers and curves. It was great trip for Pam and she is really glad she went and is looking forward to another ride soon.

Pam was tired when we got home and she forgot to put her bike in gear. It rolled backwards down the driveway10-12 feet total before it fell over breaking the turn signal, bending the bar end. Add on the front brake lever from the dump sat. She did about $200 in damage to her bike. All I can say is those Givi engine guards were worth every penny. They are just scratched but not even bent.

Time to start planning next years ride.

Scott 2031

Photos below courtesy of Gene 7522. Click on any thumbnail to see the full-size photo in a new window.

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