Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mecca Beach / Sand Storm

We made a quick run over to the Salton Sea / Mecca Beach on Saturday. Since I was riding the solo /5 BMW, Darian followed up in her "chase" car. Was easy to throw all the camping gear in the trunk, rather than pack a bike.
We joined up with a few dozen fellow "Airheads" who were attending the yearly event. Great to see friends and catch up on "BS". We attended the same campout back in 2008, that was the last time we were in the area for the gathering.
 The old /5 ran without a hitch and worked well. Used 2.8 gallons to achieve the 130 miles to Niland CA.The "new" bar backs I installed made for a much better riding position. Also the small "S" Style fairing made for less wind blast on my chest.

 The Mecca Beach camping area is nice. Lots of sandy beach to set up on if one wishes. We set up across the lot next to a picnic table. A lot of close friends showed up. B. Jan Hoffman, the Airheads founder, was in attendance. B. Jan is always a "hoot" to camp with. He has always been a gracious guy and always has some good stories to tell.

A typical Salton Sea sunset. Numerous waterfowl always around. I was awoken by a massive wind in the night. At one point it was completely still outside but I could hear the roar of the wind approaching. When it arrived it was ferocious.  The large tent we were using has an 8' height so it was a good test for its' endurance. It fared well, only pulled up a couple side pegs while dancing in the wind. Packing up the tent in the 40+ MPH wind was a chore...eventually I chose to roughly roll it up and stuff it in the car trunk ...and deal with properly storing it when we got home in less windy conditions.
 Part of the ride home was with a tail wind, but turning east/west brought me into a "crosswind" which was massive. Approaching the Glamis Dunes I expected some blowing sand...but what was found was much more than that. Topping a hill, I saw a Ca. Highway Patrol car sitting with the lights flashing. I slowed down and came across a 8" sand drift across the road, probably 80 feet long. Plowing through the sand was a bit squirrely. Passing through that drift I then encountered numerous more on the road.
                                           Beautiful Downtown Calipatria CA.

 The blowing sand was brutal.....unfortunately I had my 3/4 helmet on so got a face full of sand along the way. Meeting RV's was another experience. Some of the morons were traveling at 50+ MPH and plowing into the drifts on the road. I met a couple at a "drift" and was pelted mercilessly by the flying sand.
Luckily the "dunes" area is only about 10 miles long. After passing the dunes area, the crosswinds were the next challenge. Leaning a 30* or so to keep upright. All in all there were no problems but by the time we arrived home I was worn out....the longest 150 mile ride in recent memory. Part of the Adventure!
The "lightness" of the R75/5 is not an asset in high crosswinds. My old Gold Wing would have fared much better in the wind, but not too well crossing the sand drifts in the road.

1 comment:

Richard M said...

Scary sounding crosswinds and drifts across the road. 8" is pretty substantial especially on a bike. I used to go camping and fishing at Salton Sea back in the late 70s. A beautiful area in the winter.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.