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LA to Barstow to Vegas Dual Sport Ride

November 26-27, 2010

The LA to Barstow to Vegas Dual Sport Ride is a legendary event for the southwest US off-road riding community. This Dual Sport Ride first began after the Barstow to Vegas District 37 Hare and Hound Race was ended in the early 1980's. Since then, the LA2B2V Dual Sport ride has become one of the most famous and longest Dual Sport rides in the world.

I had raced the original Barstow to Vegas many, many years ago on my trusted DKW 125. After a crash at the start, and wasting about 1/2 hour making repairs, I joined back in the race, passing hundreds of riders, and ended up finishing 7th in my class. Unfortunately I hadn't had a chance since then to participate in the Dual Sport Ride which replaced the race in the early 80's. I had wanted to make this ride in 2009, but my work schedule didn't allow me enough time to ride my 1200GS down south from Washington to make the ride. So for 2010, I was going to solve that problem. I decided to buy another bike (my Husky TE310 - smaller, and better suited for desert riding) and keep it at my Mom's house in Vegas. Then I wouldn't have to worry about the weather or anything else interfering with trying to ride down and make this event.

The ride is always on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. The 2010 event started early in the morning on Friday in Palmdale, and covered some 200 miles of desert riding before the intermediate finish in Barstow. After a night's sleep in Barstow, the ride continues on Saturday morning, with another 200 miles or so of desert before finishing at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

November 25 - Getting to Palmdale

Through the AdvRider forum, I was contacted by Matt Snook (Snooker). He was driving (through some pretty serious snow and weather) from Colorado to Las Vegas with his BMW 650 on the back of his SUV for the event. I offered to give him a lift down to Palmdale (with our bikes in the back of a rented pickup) on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day). My Mom and daughter came along as well so they could drive the pickup back to Las Vegas.

We had a nice, uneventful drive to Palmdale; got our bikes and gear unloaded and checked into the hotel. We made some final adjustments on the bikes, had dinner in the hotel, met up with some of the other AdvRider inmates participating in the ride, and made it a pretty early night.

November 26 - Palmdale (Los Angeles County) to Barstow

It was a cold morning! Had to wake up before sunrise, get some breakfast, get my gear packed up, and get the bike over to the start of the event at Palmdale Cycle. There's over 400 riders getting signed up, loading up their rollcharts (directions) for the day, and getting ready for the day's ride. Matt and I get all set and start on our ride just after 6:30am.

Tim Barstow, Matt and I at the start of Day 1

Luckily, Matt had a new GPS and he became the navigator for the day.

The early riding was extremely cold, and my hands were numb for about the first hour. It got better as the sun rose in the sky, and the temps warmed up some. The morning involved at lot of dirt fire roads, and then a long stretch of a deep, sandy wash before the 1st gas stop in Lake Los Angeles.

Here's some pics taken during our morning ride...

The route ran us by Kramer's junction for lunch; and then in the afternoon we made a side trip to the Husky Memorial before finishing up the day's ride in Barstow.

The Husky Memorial

Matt in Barstow at the finish of Day 1

What a great day of riding! Matt and I had a great time, along with the 400+ others!!!


November 27 - Barstow to Vegas

Saturday morning turned out to be even colder than on Friday; it was a very cool 24 degrees.

The fountain in the courtyard of my hotel in Barstow froze during the night!

Here is a pic of some of the riders leaving early Saturday morning - Vegas or Bust!

Matt and I headed out for Day 2 soon after this.

Here's the pics for Day 2...

Shortly after this last pic, we were heading down a long powerline road, and I decided to take the lead and see how fast by TE310 could go (about 90mph BTW). Just after I passed Matt, he discovered he had left his sunglasses at this last stop and turned around to go get them. I didn't know this and kept riding for several miles to the next corner, where I waited for Matt to show up. Several riders came and went, and I didn't see Matt so I backtracked down the powerline for a few miles and checking with riders to see if they had seen Matt. After checking with a few riders that had not seen Matt, I figured he must have passed by me back at the corner and I must not have noticed. So I turned around and hauled a$$ to the lunch stop figuring I would catch up to Matt there.

Well, there was no sign of Matt at the lunch stop. I ate lunch and then started checking with riders that were checking in. I was just about to backtrack again, when a rider showed up with news that Matt had broken his swingarm back on the powerline road. Apparently Matt was OK (he didn't even fall when the swingarm broke - he just skidded to a stop), and he had told the rider to tell me to carry on. So I hooked up with a couple of other riders to finish the day's ride.

This is the misfortune that stopped Matt from completing Day 2.

Matt was able to call another AdvRider inmate (Tim) that unfortunately had broken his shift shaft lever on Day 1, and was driving a chase truck back to Vegas. So Tim was able to meet Matt and pick up his bike to drive on to Vegas. Tim had cold beer with him, which helped just a little bit to ease the disappointment that Matt felt at not being able to complete Day 2.

I finished the day's ride, and met up with Matt, Tim, our friend Jim and other AdvRiders in Vegas for the traditional LA2B2V celebration at the Orleans Hotel.

What a ride!