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Washington Black Friday - Day after Thanksgiving ride report

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It started out like any other ride we do on the Green Dot road system. Most of us showed up at the Restaurant in Vantage for breakfast before the ride. Breakfast was great, specially cause Tony bought mine. Here we are at the cash register full of food and ready for a great day of riding.

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We drove up to the staging area as we planned on riding the lower desert area on this day. There was snow up high on the forest roads so we planned on staying low for the day.

Staging area, that is my dual sported KX500 next to my truck:

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Matt pulled in with his truck and trailer shortly after we did:

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As you can see the sun was shining and looks like a beautiful day for a ride. What you can't see is that the wind was blowing pretty steady and hard which made it rather cold at the staging area. But we knew this would not be much of a factor in the ravines after we started riding.

The first omen that it was a Black Friday happened shortly after I aired up my KX500's tires. The KX would not start. It always starts rather easily even in cold weather. Fuel was not getting into the carb bowl so I was unable to tickle it with a prime.

I told everyone to leave without me and I would try to get the fuel flowing into the carb. If I could not I would go home and if I did I would catch up with them. After laying the bike on its side and lightly tapping on the carb bowl for about 5 minutes, I got the fuel to flow. I started the bike and by now I was about 15 to 30 minutes behind everyone else. Since no one thought I would get it running we did not talk about what route they would take on the ride. The ground was hard and there was no tracks indicating which turns they had taken. I took the wrong one. No big deal cause sooner or later you have to cross the same tracks when your riding to the Military road.

There is one long loose rocky climb just before the Military Road and when I got to the top of the climb my clutch was gone. No real warning it just disappeared and the motor would rev but the bike would not go anywhere. I figured it was the auto-clutch gone bad but it didn't make sense. The bike was not hot and it did not boil over. Never the less I could not go anywhere. I pushed the bike to the side of the road and began to walk. I know the area and knew it would be a 15 to 20 mile walk out. It was still early but I have one bad knee and figured it would be iffy that I would make it out. I had only walked 100 yards and heard the deep notes of a thumper. I saw no signs of anyone riding except us so I hoped it would be the guys. It was Tony. He motioned for me to come to them since he was far enough away not to realize I was not on my bike. It only took him a couple seconds to see I was walking toward them and he rode to where I was. I explained what happened and we talked about the options. It was suggested we set the KX on fire and leave it as a reminder for others. That did not set too well and I told the guys I carry a buddy towing strap in my back pack.

It was decided that Tony's bike would be the first to start the tow. Well he was all over the place and eventually went down softly. We knew there were some long uphill rocky section ahead of us but going back the way we came would be even worse. Tony and I decided the Parke Creek road would be the best way out if we could get to it. One of the guys suggested we take Tony's seat off of his KTM 450EXC and run the seat bolt through the tow strap when we bolt the seat back on. What are the odds of having someone present who had seen this done with a KTM as the tow bike. It centered the strap dead center over the KTM's rear fender. This idea alone prevented my KX from becoming a burned out monument to warn other riders of the ever present danger of being stranded :). We then wrapped the tow strap around both KX500 forks which centered the strap over the front fender/wheel. Next we needed a different rider on my KX cause I was too heavy. So I rode Matts KTM 525EXC and since I own a 525EXC, I was at home from the get go. Those two guys were extremely talented riders. You would have to see the uphill rocky sections that these two towed my 500 up (for about 10 miles). They were simply amazing. They pulled my bike all the way to the beginning of the Parke Creek road over snow and ice on the higher forest roads. From here I rode my KX500 and Tony rode his 450 and towed me another 10 miles through snow/ice and eventually mudd to the Old Vantage Hwy. I was covered with mudd from Tony's rear tire but was not complaining. Thankful is what I was. Thankful to everyone of my riding partners that day.

All I can say is my riding partners saved my life and my bike that Black Friday. I somewhat ruined everyones ride but I guess you could say it was an adventure. No rider left behind has real meaning with these guys. Think about it, that was a 20 mile pull.

Here we are at the Old Vantage hwy. after pulling the KX for 20 miles. The other guys had to ride the hwy another 10 or 12 miles back to the trucks.

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Matt brought his rig back and we loaded my KX onto his trailer. Rather than unload my KX and reload it onto my Truck Matt followed me home to Quincy. He lives in Ephrata and Quincy was right on the path to his place. When we were unloading my KX from his trailer it was in gear and the motor was turning over as we pushed it off the trailer. That surely indicated there was now engagement to the gearing. So Matt asked if possibly my Magura hydrolic clutch could have held the clutch in a pulled position not allowing gear engagement. And now the hydrolic slave piston may have released the clutch. I didn't think so explaining I had an auto-clutch. But when I went into the house I immediately went online to see what kind of Magura hydrolic clutch failures had happened to others. It seems most failures resulted in the opposite condition - as if a clutch cable had snapped. But there were a few who complained about slow release and clutch slippage due to slow release of the hydrolics. Appearantly the hydrolic fluid can leak behind the piston and if the oher seals hold the hydrolic slave cylinder will not allow the clutch to release. If this condition is severe enough it can prevent the clutch engaging the gears. The effect of having the clutch pulled in all the time.

I still have not gone out and started the KX to test this theory but I have a sick feeling that is what happened and after the bike sat all the way back home the hydrolic slave cylinder released the clutch. Thus when Matt and I were taking the bike off the truck the gears engaged and the bike turned over. I will get back with you on this issue when I know for sure.

I plan on taking my saviors out to dinner some time when we can arrange it. I am so thankful guys. Thank you.

That's all folks. :lol:

Edited by Old_Man_Time

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Great trip report...I still had fun! It's always good riding with you even if we have an adventure.

TONY

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Wow. Look what I missed. Maybe next time...

But you had your adventure in training debut today. I had a great time and enjoyed seeing all the new stuff Bill found. :)

OMT, glad you made it out alive with your bike. :lol:

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Wow. Look what I missed. Maybe next time...

That big KLX would have made a great tow machine. Look what you missed. :lol:

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Wow, well at least you got a good story out of it! I'm very curious about your bike's problem as I had the exact same thing happen to me at a race recently, I also have an auto-clutch and an aftermarket magura hydro clutch... I have been trying to figure out what went wrong with the auto clutch for a while now but perhaps I've been looking in the wrong place. You should post up when/if you find the problem!

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