This is why we live in Arizona. While nearly everyone else in the country is putting their bikes in storage for the winter, we're able to head out on a cool Saturday and hit some unbelievably fun trails just north of Phoenix. Another member of the Advrider board (Doug, aka Radical) was visiting Phoenix from Kansas City, so we thought we'd show him one of the local trails.
Before heading out, we had to swap a rear tire on the 950 and rear sprocket on the 640. However, because someone (Zilla) forgot to bring the sprocket with him, we tested the old theory -- "can you really make a worn sprocket usable again with a Dremel tool?" Turns out you can. Huh.
About halfway into the ride, we crested a hill only to find a helicopter parked in the middle of the trail. It turns out another rider on a Kawasaki 300 had gone down an hour or so earlier and injured his back. By the time we arrived on the scene, they were just loading him into the chopper. As they were trying to fit him into the small cargo bay, we could hear the rider screaming in pain. That's a sobering sound. It was quite amazing to see the chopper take off, however. The fact that he was able to land in such a confined area is testament to the abilities of the pilot.
After the scene was cleared up, we continued on down the trail. If we were halfway intelligent, we would have taken it nice and easy after witnessing another rider writhing in pain. But we're not, so we continued with our usual pace. The way we figured, there was an EMT truck bringing up the rear, so if we did happen to go down, help wouldn't be far off. (Again, a sure sign of our enviable IQs.)
Despite the delays associated with pre-ride maintenance and the humbling scene of the air rescue, we had an outstanding day out there. Not bad for the middle of November...
Incidentally, thanks to Zilla's good graces, I was able to try a new tire on the 950 -- the Michelin Baja. It's a highly aggressive tread that is supposed to hold up extremely well. After this initial ride, I must say I'm pretty impressed with it. Excellent hook-up in the dirt and it isn't showing signs of premature wear (unlike that piece of #$@! Karoo). The only drawback is noise at highway speeds. The thing hums like, well, something that hums REALLY loudly. It's almost deafening on the highway. But as soon as you get off-road, you'll forget all about your throbbing ears. Thumbs up.