MIDDLE CREEK OUTING REPORT: by Chas Moser
Super riding conditions but only a small TBSA turnout, with Chas, George Smith and his friend Wayne, plus Larry for a day ride on Friday. George and Wayne were riding '09 and '08 KTM 450 EXC's; Larry was on his Honda 230, while Chas was riding his '08 HTR 350 XCF-W. This was the first time that either George or Wayne had been to Middle Creek. Unfortunately, George had forgotten to put his large duffel bag (containing all his riding gear including armor, boots, helmet, gloves, etc.) into his trailer. George borrowed Chas' extra pair of boots and gloves and a neighbor's extra helmet. All three local OHV campgrounds (Middle Creek, Penny Pines and Deer Valley) were basically overflowing with RV's by early Saturday.
On the 43-mile Friday ride, since this was the first ride on Larry's freshly rebuilt Honda 230, the first part of the rigorous Sled Ridge trail was bypassed to avoid overheating the new engine by taking the pavement up to Lower Deer Valley Road and then riding the upper portion of Sled Ridge, which wasn't quite as stressful. After going through the Deer Valley campground we decided to take Trail 6, which goes through Crabtree Hot Springs. Crabtree Hot Springs is on private property and as such there are gates at both ends, which have always been open in years past. Well, this time the gates were locked with no way to get through so the group was forced to turn around and ride Trail 6 back out. On the way back to camp, we took a very fun single-track loop (Trail 5) off of Lower Deer Valley Road. About half-way through the ride, the clutch in Larry's bike gave out and started slipping. Turns out that the folks that rebuilt the engine had set up the clutch adjustment way too tight, leading to an overheated slipping clutch. Larry avoided a tow back to camp with a quick trailside clutch repair/adjustment.
Chas took George and Wayne on a very nice 46-mile ride on Saturday, starting with pavement and trails to the Penny Pine campground; then they took several trails above Penny Pines, eventually hitting Trail 37, which is a very long and scenic single-track. About half-way through this trail, Chas' bike started backfiring, stalling and idling erratically, sounding almost like the symptoms of a clogged pilot jet. After Chas drained some mirky stuff out of the float bowl, the engine ran perfectly thereafter - probably due to an ETOH/water sludge at the bottom of the float bowl. A little while later, we met two other very large groups of riders resting and attempting a creek crossing. The crossing wasn't actually all that difficult but it was quite a show watching several of the riders drown out their bikes. From there, we finished Trail 37, then hit M10 which went back towards Penny Pines. After a few more trails and logging roads, we decided that enough was enough, especially after Chas got everyone lost on some high elevation dead-end logging roads south of Penny Pines. Chas provided taxi service into the casino at Upper Lake Saturday evening for superb prime rib dinners. George and Wayne also rode on Sunday, while Chas left for home early Sunday morning in order to attend Neal Surrey's memorial service on Sunday afternoon.
MIDDLE CREEK OUTING PHOTOS: by Chas Moser