Sunday, April 9, 2017

Day 2 - Mikes Sky Rancho to San Quintin 100ish miles

Day 2
Mikes Sky Rancho to San Quintin
100ish miles

The Tecates flowed like the rio the night before as we shared stories with some other riders from Bend, Oregon. A bit of frost on the roof that morning had us like WTF! this feels like Montucky. We knew the cooler temps would be short lived. We exchanged some map info with the Oregonians and we shoved off south, with the idea of hitting their recommended trail out of Rancho Coyote. The trail out of Mikes was a work out for the ole KLR, with the other boys making short work of it. The baby heads were enough to keep my fully loaded bike on it toes.

Some awesome looking blooms as we headed out.

 We passed a entourage of Mexican 4 wheelers heading the same way. That must have been some slow going.

We stopped in at Rancho Meling for a few cold ones, the cervezas were mucho refreshing and we enjoyed the rancho porch.

We back tracked to Rancho Coyote and took the trail that takes off to the west just as you come into the ranch from Mikes (before the cattleguard). I was feeling some trepidation about the trail, as the riders who suggested it were obviously better and had 690's with a lot less gear. I agreed to give'r a try. We encountered some sand for the first bit and then got into a few rocky dry creekbed sections. While the KLR did handle it, it was at the upper limits of my skills and teetering on possible bike damage if I tipped er over. After 5 or so miles, we hit a junction and hung more to the south.

This overgrown and little used road was more manageable, just lots of rock. It spit us out at goat ranch, where we eventually encountered a locked gate. We reluctantly tipped the bikes over and dragged them under the gate, just thankful that the folks working in the nearby fields didn't seem to be concerned with us. We also took a few minutes to refurb my buddies drybag set up on 450. It was bouncing all over place and had already worked through one of his NRS straps.

We soon dumped onto the pavement and flowed through some nice looking ag land. There were a chitload of bees on that section, several times riding through what felt like someone tossing a handful of gravel in the air. Only one rider picked up a sting to the face.

We crossed Hwy 1 and headed out for the coast. This riding along here was some of my favorite, beautiful views and smooth. It was crazy to see how many folks were working along this section, bagging up rocks for what I assume was destined for landscaping purposes. And you thought your job sucked!

 We pulled into Molino Viejo right at dusk, ready for some good food and drinks. The boys ordered a couple of bubbling cauldrons of goodness

There were several moto groups hanging out at the hotel's bar area. A few cool guys from Colorado on 990's (advriders?) and a big possee of SoCal riders on smaller bikes. The hotel was great and the food even better. One guy commented on it being like the Claim Jumper of Mexico.....jajajaa

This dude was tearing it up in the bar. Good, but one of the more aggressive serenaders I've seen in Mexico. Are you having a conversation? Don't worry mi amigo.....I'll get a little closer and a little louder :-).

Here's a 60 second highlight of the day

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Day 1 - Mexicali to Mikes

Day 1
Mexicali to Mikes
175ish miles

Just like Christmas eve, I slept like shit in the HoJo of Calexico. Rousting the boyz, we enjoyed a super continental brekkie and set out to find a place to park the truck and trailer for 2 weeks. We settled on Parking Del Valle - Parking Lot, Forklift Service & Storage Yard. Pulling it to the yard, my gut churned a little bit. The lot was full of wrecked cars and parted out cars. We spoke with el Jefe and he set our mind at ease, 24 hour watchman, razor wire....the works. The only thing he suggested was we remove the license plate....okay....when in Rome. We geared up and set out. Give this place a look, we had no issues and it was only $4/day. He even moved some junkers with the forklift to give our rig a front row parking place.

Had to include the obligatory entrance shot

Followed by the turn right after entering and following the non existent WALL! 

It was a great first look for Bombearo and J, as they were Mexico newbs. We followed the wall for 5 or so miles and then weaved through the ghettos of Mexicali. I purposely and maybe stupidly thought it would more interesting to fumble through the west side of Mexicali. The sights and the smell for the 2 newbs was eye opening.

We beat feet for La Rumorosa and then turned off for Laguna Hanson. Grabbing fuel just at the Pemex, just before the turn. Only 2 miles onto the dirt and we had our first mechanical. I had added a tool tube to my bike, on the opposite of the exhaust. 

Well, I think the first good bump caused the swingarm to come up and contact the tube. This resulted in the black KLR chain guard wrapping it self up in my wheel. After dicking around for an hour to remove the shit show and reinstalling it, I pitched the tube off the side of the road. Braaap. 

Pulling the mess out of the wheel

Cruising the road to Laguna Hanson.....braaap! 

                                                              Valle de Trinidad

Minute highlight of the first day....make sure to turn Quality on to 1080p HD

Baja 2017 - 13 days and 1900 miles

This thread is somewhat of a dream that started to form over 5 years ago when I figured out that I need to buy a motorcycle. I don't remember exactly what the spark was, but something to do with the cliche stuff of Dusk to Glory and The Long Way Round. I was at a point in my life that I needed something new. So I bought an 06 KLR650 with the goal of riding somewhere in Mexico for more than a week.

  Let it be known, the name is tongue in cheek, joking and hopefully translates into a cheesy meant The Smoke Eaters.

During those 5 or so years, I farkled too much like all KLRistas do. And I putzed around Montana and Idaho doing mostly on day trips. And then I spent an shit ton of time in here reading and reading. I saved and bookmarked an enormous amount of information. The years passed and I still had yet to put dates to my Mexican adventure. Then finally a year and half ago, my lovely wife Mrs. Snirt said, " You just need to pick a date and then things will fall into place." So as any good husband does, I obeyed and announced to all my potentially riding mates that it was going down in March of 2017. I immediately had one bite from a co-worker, Bombearo. He brought the skillz, mechanical prowess and fun factor that would be perfect. Digging into the details of my plan, at times I thought he may bail. We picked up a 3rd rider (not on advrider....yet) and stuff fell into place. Working at FD, there were numerous other bomberos that were on the fringes, but couldn't commit. Enough with the background.....We left Montana at 0400 hours with the trailer and 3 bikes - KLR650, WR450 and a KTM350. We hauled ballz all day, pounding a case of redbullz and dreaming of cold Tecate. 1200 miles and 20 hours later we arrived in Calexico. This trip is very close copy of BigDogAdventures route. He was awesome, helping me with questions and sharing the ultimate GPS track. We would follow it and became more confident in it's delivery as the days progressed. Big Dog is the man!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Missoula - Snowiest winter since 1996

The official snow depth at the Missoula airport stood at 15 inches this week, marking the first time since 1996 the city had that much snow on the ground at any given point.
Corby Dickerson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Missoula has recorded 39.9 inches of snow this season – two inches above average for an entire winter.
“We’re already 2 inches above normal for an entire winter, and we aren’t even halfway through January,” Dickerson said Friday. “We’re ahead of normal and will have an above-normal winter.”
The average snowfall for December is typically around 11 inches, though Missoula received just shy of 28 inches this December. Snowfall from January through May generally averages 21 inches.
If the rest of the winter is average, Dickerson said, Missoula stands to record nearly 60 inches of snow this season, or roughly five feet.
“It’s been 20 years since Missoula has seen this much snow in the city itself,” Dickerson said. “It’s the first time we had a snow depth of 15 inches or greater since 1996.”
The cold temperatures – subzero at times – has kept the valley snowpack in place. The average temperature in December was 5 degrees below normal. So far this January, Dickerson said, the average temperature in Missoula is 16 degrees below normal.
Snowfall records also are being tested in other categories this winter. From Dec. 9 to Jan 9., Missoula recorded nine days with snowfall over 1 inch.
“The last time we had that amount was 2008 when we had eight days with snowfall over an inch,” Dickerson said. “In 1996, we had 11 days over an inch. It wasn’t one storm in 1996, but it felt like it because it snowed for 5 days in a row. This is the snowiest it has been since 1996.”
Back in early December, Nick Silverman with the Montana Climate Office at the University of Montana forecast near normal temperatures in western Montana with a slight increase in precipitation.

The snow is piled high just about everywhere in Missoula. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

His winter forecast was based on a weak La Nina setting up in the Pacific Ocean. The phenomena remains in place, and Dickerson said predictions suggest it will linger for a little longer.
“We expect La Nina to remain in place,” said Dickerson. “The Climate Prediction Center just released their latest findings. It will be designated as a weak La Nina, but La Nina nonetheless.”
While the Missoula Valley is above average in snowpack, the mountains surrounding the valley are running at around 80 percent of normal. Dickerson attributed that to the recent arctic air that has sapped moisture from the snow.
The cold temperatures should ease as the wet weather returns.
“We anticipate more wetter winter storms than what we’ve seen,” Dickerson said. “It could be mixed with some rain. We’re evaluating what areas might be susceptible for that.”
Flooding or ponding remains a concern.
“There’s no prolonged areas of warm temperatures or precipitation,” Dickerson suggested. “The biggest concern in the next seven to 10 days with any rain potentially causing issues is that a lot of the storm drains are covered up with snow right now.”
Contact reporter Martin Kidston at

Monday, May 16, 2016

Makes you proud to be a Montanan

A great episode about Montana. Bourdain does it well just like he always does. He manages to interview/share food & drink with some of the great people of Montana. Not to mention shedding some light on the ever growing important topic of public land access.

Watch it, you'll be glad.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December 2015

El Nino? Things have been snowy in the Missoula Valley and a decent start to skiing beginning last week. Ran across this in the Missoulian:

Jeff Kitsmiller, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Missoula, said the city met the definition of a “sunny day” twice in December. Two sunny days are predicted in January while fog dominates the weather headlines. But that’s winter living in a valley bottom.

Unfortunately, I may miss a bit of Montana January. We'll see what ol El Nino does! Laters.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hunt Right Montana

I just happened to run across this and thought it was great to see an organization promoting solid hunting ethics. Just as they state, a few can ruin it for the many.

Hunt Right link here

I took the girls out hunting this weekend, staying in a FS cabin and really immersing ourselves in the activity at much as possible. Both were as excited as I've seen them in a long time. They had a great time and the laughs were a plenty. While we didn't lay eyes on any legal elk or deer, we did manage to harvest a large ruffed grouse. I shared my views on hunting and some mistakes I've made over the year, touching on ethics.

We all walked away with some great memories and Mama had a little quiet house for the two days :-).

Not sure what was going here, maybe a pissed off neighbor?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Where ya been?

Been a while since there's been a post on the old kneetopia. Life's been busy and I've fell off the writing habit. The Campbell clan had a busy summer and fall. I spent 3 weeks in the woods on fire in August, greatly accelerating summer. It always goes by too fast. Summer was hot as Hades. But fall has been awesome, if not unseasonably warm. But you gotta enjoy the Indian Summer. I had 2 great archery hunting trips, one down towards SW MT and one over in the Missouri Breaks. Both were awesome, lots of bugling bulls but just 20 yards short.

Quick ride up Blue Mtn

William and I's first bow hunt

Will and I saw these elk on our first hunt together

Bear skull that I found on a hunt

The Missouri Breaks!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A break from the brutal heat

We woke up to some much needed rain this morning in Missoula. Its been hotter than hell for what seems like the last 4 to 6 weeks. The weather Office reported that April May and June were the second driest on record. So far no real big fires in Montana. Canada on the other hand is burning up and sending smoke signals down this way, could be a message? ;-)
The temps have been in the 90s consistently for weeks. The rivers are record low and fire restrictions are pushing close to stage 2 soon. The rain feels nice.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Magruder Corridor motorcycle ride

Let me start by saying how much I love my wife! She is the best and is willing to put up with my sometimes impulsive hobbies.

As of late the adventure touring on my KLR 650 has haunted my brain. I had been wanting to do the Magruder Corridor road for the last few years. Each year there had been excuses, fires, life etc. A three day window opened up and I seized the moment. Leaving the house I felt somewhat rushed, having packed just the night before. But I knew I had a operational moto, fuel, food, shelter and anything else could be dealt with a long the way. It was nice to be rolling towards the wilderness with such a minimal amount of gear (compared to what is required for camping with 3 kids).

I busted south from Missoula, following hwy 93 to Conner, MT, then up the West Fork of Bitterroot. The Magruder road was in good shape and was approximately 110 miles from end to end, the majority of it being dirt. Finding nothing too exciting to camp at along the way, I continued onto to Red River Hotsprings. What a great find, if you are ever in that area, you should go. I overnighted at the campground just down the road.


The next day I continued on into Elk City and had a big breakfast and got fuel. I was having an issue with my radiator fan (bike almost overheating at low speeds) so I decided to detour to Grangeville to see if it could be fixed. No such luck, both mechanics said....well could get to it next week...thanks buddy. So I bagged out on the remaining planned route (Lolo Motorway) and headed for Missoula. A ice cold beer at the Lochsa Lodge refreshed me and I hit up the Elk Meadows road back to Hwy 12.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Forest Service Chief predictions on wildfire season

Clear your brush, pack  your bags and hope you don't have asthma!

Link article

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell presented the Forest Service forecast on the upcoming 2015 fire season in testimony today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Forest Service researchers expect 2015 to continue the trend of above average fire activity.

"Above normal wildland fire potential exists across the north central United States and above normal wildland fire potential will threaten many parts of the West this summer," said Chief Tidwell. "We anticipate another active fire year, underscoring the need to reform our wildfire funding."

The forecast indicates there is a 90 percent chance that this year's Forest Service fire suppression costs will be between $794 million and $1.657 billion, with a median estimate of $1.225 billion, potentially forcing the diversion of funding from other vital programs to support suppression operations. Any costs above the median is greater than the "10 year average" and would force the Forest Service to leverage funding from other land management programs. Diverting funds to cover the cost of wildfire suppression affects other critical Forest Service programs and services, said Tidwell, including efforts to reduce wildfire risk through mechanical thinning, prescribed fires, and other means.

Wildfire suppression costs have increased as fire seasons have grown longer and the frequency, size, and severity of wildfires has increased due to changing climatic conditions, drought, hazardous fuel buildups, insect and disease infestations, nonnative invasive species, and other factors. Funding has not kept pace with the cost of fighting fire. Over the last 10 years, adjusting for inflation, the Forest Service has spent an average of almost $1.13 billion on suppression operations annually.

The President's Fiscal Year 2016 budget includes a proposal to reform the way that wildfire suppression is funded. Aligned with the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, these reforms are necessary to ensure the Forest Service continues to deliver the full scope of its mission.

Chief Tidwell said the Forest Service has the capability and responsibility to protect life, property, and natural resources. The responsibility to respond to wildfire is not isolated to the Forest Service. It works extensively with partners within the Department of Interior (DOI) as well as State, tribal and local firefighting organizations to support wildland fire management operations. These cooperators are essential to ensuring that every wildfire receives an appropriate, risk informed, and effective response regardless of the jurisdiction.

Within the Fiscal Year (FY) 15 appropriation for Wildland Fire Management, the Forest Service will be able to mobilize approximately 10,000 firefighters for the upcoming fire season, as well as up to 21 airtankers available for operations on exclusive use contracts, additional air tankers available through "Call When Needed" contracts, and the capability to mobilize cooperator air tankers, if available, through agreements with the State of Alaska and Canada. In coordination with the military there are also eightMobile Airborne Firefighting System-capable C-130's available to meet surge requirements, as well as an extensive fleet of more than 100 helicopters available to support operations.

The Forest Service has worked collaboratively with its partners to develop the National Cohesive Wildland Fire ManagementStrategy, of which fuel treatment is an essential component. In 2015, $32 million of the Hazardous Fuels appropriation was allocated to 50 projects in areas with a likelihood of high intensity fire within populated areas or near important watersheds for municipal water supply.

The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program also assists in the agency's work with partners to conduct hazardous fuel treatments and ecosystem restoration that encourages economic and social sustainability, leverages local resources with national and private resources, reduces wildfire management costs, and addresses the utilization of forest restoration byproducts to offset treatment costs and benefit local economies.

The mission of the Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.
Tavis Campbell
IAFF Local 271
406.546.2956 :
Stepping Up: A Guide to The Ridge at Bridger Bowl