By Tom Niemela
(click on thumbnails for larger picture)
I had been pestering Stevie Ray Branstetter to ride the Moonshine Scrambles with me at Brothers, OR on Saturday, but last-minute commitments had him bowing out. Since I don't like to drive places to ride by myself, I opted out too, unfortunately. Stevie DID have Sunday off, so it was a go - to go riding at Cedar Creek in the Trask Area. There were countless others that we should've also invited, but it was short notice.
Stevie Ray showed up around 7:30am, Sunday rarin' to go. After a few minutes of modifying my Bark Busters, we were off. Once we got to the Cedar Creek Staging Area, we donned our gear and bikes and were off. On the day prior I had regreased my linkage on the YZF and it was working good. I had also installed some new Windham-bend bars, an aluminum throttle housing, a quiet-core insert for the muffler and cleaned the air filter. All around good guy, hero and fast rider Gunny Claypoole had also laced up a new 18-inch rear rim onto my stock rear hub, so I was finally able to drop kick the dumb, stock 19 incher. Sometimes I wonder about those moto heads. The difference the rear rim made over rocks was pronounced! The extra sidewall really gave added cushion over the nasty stuff.
Along the way we came upon our old friends Leroy White and Ron "Moose" Collins. They were both busier than a one-legged fanny kicker clearing some new trail. We just had to stop and yap awhile, plus help with some of their clearing. Was really great to see those boys again!
From there we motored along at a killer pace, and that's when I took my first lipskid. We were rolling down a steep, greasy trail, rounded a turn and I noticed there was a huge limb across the trail. I quickly ducked and grabbed the front brake a bit, however the limb caught my right hand and pushed it into the front brake lever, therefore locking the front wheel and sending me over the bars, rolling down the hill. Doh! No problem. Mine was now over for the day. The mighty YZF was idling upside down without missing a beat. This bike just amazes me...
The rest of the day we cruised through a kazillion trails throughout Hollywood Camp, Blue Bus and rode assorted trails like One-A-Day Trail, Seven Ruts Trail, NORA Trail, Autobahn Trail, Braille Trail and many more that I can't remember (and Stevie Ray knows by heart). Stevie Ray waited until the end of the day to perform his bail. I promptly informed him that he should've done it earlier in the morning and just get it over with.
All in all we had done about 65 miles, came close to running out of gas on both scoots, had an incredible workout, the trails were awesome (albeit slick in some spots) and the weather gods had smiled on us (a bizarre situation in Oregon).
Stevie Ray getting his boots on.
Crossing same creek. The mighty YZF426 was running good today.