The Garage

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LA Barstow to Vegas

( For day one CLICK HERE )

Location: Barstow

  • Time: 630am
  • Weather 55` Clear skys
LA Barstow to Vegas Day 2 morning XR650L
LA Barstow to Vegas Day 2 morning XR650L

I pick up the XR650L up at the boy scout impound lot. Get the big red pig fried up and warmed up. Head over to the Ramada Inn for the sweep crew meeting. Just as the meeting is getting started someone comes in and says a rider wrecked right at the start line. Turns out a rider parked in front of a wall started his bike, the bike was in gear and went full throttle into the wall.😲 The sweep leader took care of the incident. We get our sweep routes, our team is going to run end sweep on the easy route. Gather our team and we are off the line just before 8am. Winding our way through old Barstow we get passed by a couple fire trucks heading the same direction as our route. As we get to the turnoff to start the dirt on the hard section there is a group of emergency vehicles and the sweep leader. The team and I ride over to the sweep leader and ask if he needs us to change our planned route.

He asked us to ride the hard route because the sweep team sweeping the hard route was with a downed rider hence all the emergency vehicles. We tell the sweep leader we are on it and hit the trail doing the hard route out of Barstow heading toward Calico. Coming up to the downed rider he is being well taken care of with ample emergency personnel on scene. The trail is nice single lane sandy desert trail with the occasional washouts. Dropping in to a soft sandy wash before we hit a short run of the highway. Heading of the highway making our way to Calico Ghost Town.

I spot 2 dual sport riders going the opposite direction, I see they have LA B To V riders numbers. I stop them and ask if they are ok. Turns out they were lost one of the riders had GPS ended up his was stuck on a waypoint not on his cursor. I fixed his GPs told him to follow us till the hard route turn off they would take the easy route. This wasn’t the last I saw of the rider with the GPS.

LA Barstow to Vegas Day 2 start
LA Barstow to Vegas Day 2 start vintage bikes

Taking the hard route the trail has big rolling whoops for a couple miles. Then we make a turn into Mule Canyon and Calico Camp Grounds. Making our way through the canyon being courteous of the holiday campers we get to the fun part the Calico waterfall. This is a 2 step red Rock waterfall. We find a couple riders having trouble and one with a leaking radiator. The rider with the leaking radiator went down earlier landing on a rock just the wrong way. Helping the riders with running bikes make there way up the waterfall without major incident.

Dennis our elders state men on our team on his XR650R clears the waterfall first shot and makes it look easy. I go next having a little bobble on the second step but made it up without a full lay-down. We raz the guys on the smaller bikes having trouble, that just watched us do it on our big bikes. Helping the rest of the riders over the waterfall.  Another sweep crew showed up and helped the rider with the leaking radiator patch up his back enough for him to get back to Barstow.

Calico waterfall LAB2V day 2
Calico waterfall LAB2V day 2


Calico waterfall LAB2V day 2 top
Calico waterfall LAB2V day 2 top

We got back on the trail making our way up the rocky trail weaving through the Canyon. The route has us go up and over a couple hills then back into a wash heading toward the 15. We reach the 15 near Harvard road. Spotting some riders at the gas station we head over to tell them to get a move on, because we are running rear sweep and they won’t make the checkpoint if they don’t get ahead of us.

Crossing over the 15 we see our sweep lead. We check in with him making sure which route he wanted us to take. The sweep lead has us stay on route heading to Baker. Catching a power line road with fast sweeping corners and the occasional silt bed. Making quick work of the power line road we hit a short section pavement section going back over the 15, merging on to the long sandy freeway size power line road.

Ticking off the miles I spot a sweep truck flagging us down into a wash. They were with an injured rider, the driver of the sweep truck has the situation covered and tells us there is another rider that rode off course is hard to see and is injured. We take off heading to the injured rider. Scanning the course as we make our way cautiously at speed. About 5 miles down the course we come across a rider on a KTM 1190 at the bottom of a sandy hill. The rider burned up his clutch he was under injured. So I went up course and my 2 partners stayed to see if they could help the KTM rider.

About an ⅛ of a mile up the course, I come to the downed rider. Another sweep crew with medics was with the rider stabilizing the injured rider. The rider had swerved off course and into a 8 foot deep culvert straight down.  The rider looks familiar, he is the rider I helped fix his GPS earlier. By now we have 4 motorcycle sweep teams with the rider. My phone has service so I make a call to the sweep lead explaining the situation.

The rider is out of the whole with an injured ankle, he will need a ride out in a truck. I also told him there is about the KTM 1190 that will need a ride out. After I get off the phone a rider on a BMW GS clutch goes out . I get together with the other sweep crews we decided the other sweep crews will head to Baker on course to sweep the rest of the ride. One of the other sweep rider found out his brother broke down 7 miles up course and his chase crew was heading on course to pick him up and the injured rider.

My sweep crew and myself would stay with the injured and stranded riders because we had good cell service. I call the lead sweep and relay the plan which he approves and thanks us for handling the situation.

LAB2V downed rider
LAB2V downed rider


Now we wait. We make the injured rider as comfortable as we can. The KTM 1190 rider hikes his way up to where we are waiting with the injured rider. The GS rider is also waiting with us. Find out the GS rider is a Doctor from Canada and the injured rider is a Lawyer from Canada. You never know who you will meet on the LA Barstow to Vegas dual sport ride. About 3 hours later the Chase truck makes it to us . They head down and load up the KTM and as they are loading up the 4 wheel sweep crew shows up.

We load up the injured rider and the GS. The triumph rider ended up riding the injured riders husky into the Baker checkpoint. We pack up and get back on course. As we are about to leave we find out there is another rider stopped down the course. Winding our way through the sandy hills we drop down to a long straight deep sand power line road. Six miles from where we were with the injured rider is the stopped rider. He was exhausted riding a big BMW GS in the sand he wanted to stop worrying he would crash and injure himself if he kept riding. We wait with him for about 10 minutes for the sweep truck to catch up to load him up.

Continuing on we get to the highway and head into Baker to the world’s biggest thermometer to the checkpoint. Where my amazing and supportive  wife and daughter have been waiting for me. They are my chase crew. Checking in eating a sandwich and unloading the injured rider and broken bikes. We contact the sweep lead he has us load our bikes on our Chase truck and go to Sandy Valley as the course between Baker and Sandy Valley was already swept. It’s dark as we pull into Sandy Valley and the school is deserted. We unload the bikes get them fired up and head out into the dark void of the desert at night. I take the lead having the best lights with my KC Hi-lights flex lights setup.

The route has us on a wide gravel road then on to a fun single lane dirt road with fun roller the road is fast. I blow through a rutted silt bed. Then realize the other 3 riders in my sweep crew might not see it with the dust and there stock lights. I stop flashing my brake light trying to worn the other riders. They bobble a little and make it through. I let them know I will stop to let them know of any dangers which turned out to be a very wise thing to do. Eight miles up the road there was a washout with logs dragged across the road. If you came through at night in the dust and hit one you were going down. We come up to 2 more washes I mark and wait for the crew to make it through. The ride to the highway was a blast.

The dirt ends and we turn on to the pavement. Cruising down the highway we make our way into Las Vegas and to the Orleans hotel and casino. Where we reach the final checkpoint being the final sweep crew to come in. We are presented with some cold barley sodas which taste amazing. Hug my wife and daughter, load up the bikes and gear.

LA Barstow to Vegas Day 2 finish
LA Barstow to Vegas Day 2 finish

Head to the hotel, checked in and slept for a few hours. We left  Vegas at 3:30am to beat the holiday traffic heading back to California. If you ride motorcycles this needs to be a Bucket List ride.

You also need to be prepared physically, mentally and your equipment. Know your limits, if you don’t like sand this is not the ride for you.

We can’t wait for 2018’s ride!

LAB2V early morning drive home
LAB2V early morning drive home
Will Drummond
Dual Sport and Adventure rides is what I do. Riding with friends and exploring the backcountry on his XR650 is life.