Mammoth Big Loop
Prep work

[ Wednesday - July 11, 2007 ]

Work sucks!

It sucks eggs!  Big big eggs!  Correct that.  It sucks OSTRICH eggs!

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!

[Sunday - 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 that 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 injuries.

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 of 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 engine guards.  All this at a mere 20-25 MPH.  If you ask me, physics 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.

[Wednesday - 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.

[Monday - 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.

[Friday - 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.

[Wednesday - 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 reservasion.

The good news, we found our winter ride.  Arizona here we come...

Written on: July 11, 2007
Last modified: October 10, 2007