Mammoth Big Loop
[ Wednesday -
July 11, 2007 ]
It sucks eggs! Big big eggs! Correct that. It sucks
But enough of that. This has nothing to do with work. Oh,
thank the chaotic heavens above our heads that is going to fall on top
of us one of these days!
OK. It's July 11 and we're approximately one month out from our
Mammoth Big Loop trip. It's called the Mammoth Big Loop because
we're heading up to Mammoth, over to Yosemite, down to Fresno, and then
back home. The trip is scheduled to take place in the middle of
August and was originally set for 5 days. However, due to folks
in the group squandering their vacation time on other family
activities, vacation time is short at hand so a reduction of one day
was necessary. As for me, I have plenty of vacation and should
take more, but that's my personal problem and has nothing to do with
this write up. The fifth day was suppose to be Monterey Bay but
it was scrubbed for obvious reasons (mentioned earlier).
On the other hand, there is talk of a Central Coast trip early next
year so not going to Monterey Bay is not a big deal. We might end
up in Monterey Bay for the central coast trip. Then again it
might just be Big Sur. Who cares. That's next year.
Back to Mammoth.
I was concerned that the hotels in Mammoth are being booked left and
right, and we're going to end up sleeping in the woods where we'll end
up being eaten by big hungry/angry grizzly bears. Brown bears
would work too. As for Minh, he snores so loud that the bears
wouldn't come close to him from fear of rupturing their eardrums.
I should give the bears some earplugs. Anyway, I called the AAA
travel services today. I spoke with Ed. He's the nicest guy
you could possibly talk to. If you read this Ed...
Thanks for all your help. It was
great working with you. I've had a AAA membership service all
these years and this is the first time I used it to arrange
accommodations. You make the task so friendly and easy that I
want to come back to AAA for future arrangements. Thanks again.
Ed came up with several options for hotel rooms in Mammoth. The
first attempt failed because the hotel only had one room left and we
needed two rooms with separate beds for four stinky guys, after 10+
hours of riding, to prevent them from smelling one another. The
second attempt succeeded and we're going to end up in the Shiloh Inn at
Mammoth Lakes. I asked Ed to find us a hotel with a jacuzzi to
help relax those flabby rear muscles after hours of exposure to hot
vinyl. he did it! Not only does the Shiloh Inn have a
jacuzzi, it also has an indoor pool. Now how cool is that?
Priced at approximately $70 per person per night, with these and other
amenities, I'm not complaining.
It's been years since I've been in Mammoth so I look forward to
returning to that wondrous place. Knowing me, we'll skip the
complementary continental breakfast and head over to "The Good Life"
restaurant for breakfast. Assuming that they're still
there. I've been to Mammoth plenty of times in the past for
mountain biking trips. This is the first time I'm doing it on a
motorbike. I'm also planning on taking the guys to "The
restaurant at the end of Paradise". I just love the sound of
that. Actually, it has a name but I can never remember the
name. All I can remember is the restaurant is at the end of the
town called Paradise. Oh the so many many places we can go.
I have to slap myself back to reality.
Now it's just a matter of stemming the tide of anxiety. We have
to forget this for the next 3 or so weeks before we're all allowed to
have butterflies in our bellies from anticipation. I also hope
the fourth amigo will fix his front shocks way before it's time to
go. Get back on that R1 of your Russ!
August 5, 2007]
hassles upon hassles. It looks like there is no choice but to
push the Mammoth trip back to the end of September. Hopefully it
isn't snowing by then and the 120 Highway is still open.
If it does, there won't be a Mammoth trip. It'll be something
else. However, there a good probability that it won't snow at
time if the heat keeps up.
Why is the trip delayed? Well, several things happened to cause
the push back. The minor reason is Minh receiving a court summons
for jury duty around the end of August, but the big reason is Eugene
getting into a motorcycle accident while splitting lanes. He
managed to smack a car's mirror with his handle bar and went down for
the count. He was originally going home on the 210 freeway
(heading west) when a forest fire in the hills caused a massive back up
on the freeway. Having been in similar situations, I can
understand that car drivers hate motorcycles splitting lanes.
This is because they think it's dangerous or because they think
motorcycles has no right to go on ahead when they have to sit there in
traffic. Whatever the reason for a cager's road rage, if you're
on two wheels, you're the one that will lose. Hence I will only
split if it's absolutely necessary. In Eugene's case the car
driver didn't care that Eugene went down. I can see the driver
thinking, "Sweet justice has been served." She merely re-adjust
her mirror and kept on going. The other unfortunately part
to this is Eugene ran into a Mercedes SUV in front of him and broke one
of the car's
rear tail light assembly. The good news is, Eugene is perfectly
fine. He's all achy the next day but didn't suffer any real
Regardless of whether the car driver should be criticized or not, it is
Eugene's fault that this accident happened. Why? Because he
misjudged the opening and went for it when he should have hang back and
assess the situation. Admittedly the driver could have
purposefully/non-purposefully closed the gap. Any which way you
might say it, the problem is that it happened. The bad
deal is Eugene high sided. He was in endo heaven (not that
I'm implying endo-ing is any type of heavenly pursuit). Because
that, Eugene shattered his front
windshield. He also managed to break his clutch lever, bench his
foot peg, damage one
of his hand guards, bent his bar end weight, and malformed one of his
guards. All this at a mere 20-25 MPH. If you ask me,
is ever so unforgiving. The fact that...
doesn't help anything. Fortunately, Being the good boy that
Eugene is, he was
in full gear when he went down. As a result, there's not even a
scratch on him. He did sprain his hand and bruised himself right
below the collar bone due to the windshield event. Other than
that, not a scratch. Upon
inspection of his Rally 2 suit, there are some minor scuff marks but
that's it. Oh, there was one stitch that was broken. Truly,
no damage whatsoever. Denier 600 is cool stuff. This is
also proof positive of BMW's decisions regarding with their clothing
line and its protective capabilities.
Anyway, I came over to Eugene's place on the weekend and inspected his
bike (the reason for knowing about all this). Suffice to say, I
can't believe some people out there in the world. Eugene told me
the guy with the Mercedes SUV was asking $1.5K for the light
assembly. WOW! Talk about highway robbery. That's
ridiculous! Because he drives a Mercedes SUV that entitles him to
fleece others on the freeway? If you tell me that the light
assembly does cost that much and that Mercedes SUVs cost between
$75K-$90K, then I say to you, "your an idiot to buy something like
that". If you're smart you'd put that money into something (a
house) that would give you a return instead of a stupid vehicle that
will depreciate the minute you drive it off the lot.
In a sense this is all good since Eugene has been contemplating
swapping his F650GS for either a R12R or a F800ST. I guess this
is a good of an opportunity as any. So the trip has to wait for a
while until everything resolves itself.
August 8, 2007]
So the saga continues. When it appears that all should be
resolved and Eugene's bike should get its needed service, the Ventura
BMW service people decides to pull a fast one. Here's the odd
thing. Eugene had received a quote from Ventura BMW for the
complete fix of his bike. The overall estimate is around
$4.5K. Not seeing the need to fix every little minute scratch on
every possible plastic panel of his bike, Eugene wanted to just fix
critical items and get the bike ready for selling. When he
approached the service guy to let him know that he only wanted 4 items
repaired out of the 4-5 pages worth of work listed in the initial
estimate, the service person said that they have to prepare a new quote
since it involves a lot more work. Wait a minute! Did I
hear that right? It requires more work to do less things?
Now that just doesn't make sense. If there are fewer items to do,
then there should be less work hence less cost. I don't know what
planet these people are from but their math doesn't add up.
Suffice to say, poor Eugene left the dealership disappointed because
he's being given the run around. When I caught wind of this, I
told Eugene this is unacceptable and he should just get his bike
back. Minh and I can perform the repairs once he gets all the
necessary replacement components order and in. The only possible
heart burn is Eugene has to find his Service Manual CD-ROM. We
need the torque values. Ultimately he finds the Rep-ROM once he
cleaned up his office at work. I guess Ventura BMW is so bent on
getting all that money that they drove away a customer. Great way
to do business morons. From other stories I have heard from
Eugene regarding Ventura BMW, I don't recommend that dealer if my life
depended on it. I rather watch my bike go up in smoke before I
haul it there for service.
September 11, 2007]
It was suppose to be the end of this month, 28th, that we start the
trip. However, it looks like we're being set back once
more. Minh has finished his jury duty but now Eugene has to serve
is military duty. Not only that Russell's friend and younger
brother is crashing his place at the end of September. Hey,
that's not fair. What is all this business about? All we
want is a simple motorcycle ride but it looks like fate is deciding
against us. So what are we going to do? We're going to
delay it again. Hopefully this is the last time. It appears
we're going to head out in the middle of October. The hotel has
once again been rescheduled. Ah! Life can be so
complicated. However, in a sense it's good that things are
delayed. Russell needs to get his R1's valves adjusted, and
Eugene needs to get his hand guards installed. In the meanwhile
we're making a lot of curry runs to stem the anguish of not being able
to go on a long ride. It's working ... sort of.
October 5, 2007]
Could it be possible? Slighted by mother nature? Only 14
days until the trip happens and I get the news from Minh, "It's snowing
in Mammoth right now." Agony... agony... It's over even
before it started. That's just wrong.
Actually, I was concerned about this the entire time we were pushing
the trip further and further into the fall. Encroaching into
October for a Mammoth ride is like riding the Paris-Dakar without
suspension, it's extremely hard to do. Of what little knowledge I
have about the Mammoth region, I know that Mammoth has its own micro
climate. I also know enough about Mammoth's weather this time of
year that pushing the trip this far towards the end of the year would
result in planning for another trip to somewhere else. Minh has
hope that the weather will clear up. As for me, I think once it
starts snowing, it's skiing season. The probability of warm
weather returning won't happen until spring or summer of next
year. We'll wait and see.
October 10, 2007]
Yup. All hope is lost regard Mammoth for this year. It's
too late and too cold. According to the Western US NOAA weather
forecasts the Mammoth region is about high 40s to low 20s. That's
no place for a motorcycle. Unfortunate but that's how the cookie
crumbles. I now get to finally call the hotel and cancel our
The good news, we found our winter ride. Arizona here we come...
Written on: July 11, 2007
Last modified: October 10, 2007