the Eel

Sep 23, 2000
We arrived out there on Thursday instead of Wednesday night since my parts were held up a day (wrong zip code on the order !!). :yell: I guess it's cool we got to go at all since we were coming up with plans B, C and D on Wednesday (Gorman, Cahuilla, El Mirage) - but it worked out. Anyway, ride up was uneventful - got to KM around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, ran into surfallday straightaway, then found a good camping spot at Fish Creek (#32 - with a nice view of the creek, which was going pretty good and provided a soothing backdrop), and started setting up. Kelso showed just a little later and we got the busywork done so we could go for a quick ride before dark. We rode JAckass Creek and JAckass PEak up and back - a nice 16 mile jaunt.

The 300 was working fine. Turns out the waterpump seal failed during the 4th of July ride. The coolant and oil mixed and the bike overheated, then the head gasket blew. When I drained the tranny oil and coolant after the 4th the fluids came out like something from outer space - grey fuzz. Anyway, a new waterpump seal and head gaskets did the trick. Abracadabra, homes !! The 3-hunny worked awesome this time - never overheated or protested even a little - not even on Cedar Canyon, but more on that in a bit (anticipation builds).

We had tried to get surfallday (Jesse) to come along on the Jackass ride but he was tapped out from a ride earlier in the day. He's a youngster (26) compared to us and has been riding for only a few months. We figured Rattlesnake would be the perfect way to welcome him into the Crew the next day. :boss: That night we hung around our sometimes smoky fire, drank beer and shot the sh&t. Kelso forgot his camp stove so we cooked right over the fire, which worked out fine. 1st night we had filet mignon medallions and salad. On tap were Molson and Reaper ales. I slept terribly even thought the sound of the creek was nice in the background.

The next day's ride was already planned out: the connector to Troy, fireroad, Mahogany, Rattlesnake Creek, Rattlesnake to the end, and then turn around and come back. Jesse was in.

Breakfast was slow-cooked oatmeal with sugar, sausages, and egg sandwiches. OJ and coffee. We suited up, gassed up, and hit the trail by about 10 AM. The weather was fantastic on Friday. Low 80's I'd guess. Rattlesnake was amazing - I think it's the best trail there. There were at least half a dozen creek crossings - some 2 to 3 feet deep. It's pretty technical - I'm pretty sure I'd never ridden it all the way to the end before. Thumbs and I rode about half of it years ago when we were given questionable directions by one of Kiwi's buddies. "Just go that away - you can't miss it !" Yeah, right. Thanks. :debil:

But yeah Rattlesnake is technical in spots and that makes it fun - you're on your toes with some consistency and the scenery is awesome. Watercrossings, rockpiles, gullies with no run-up over roots on loose hills, greasy uphills trickling with water, and more rockpiles. It was more difficult coming back since it was mostly uphill. Highlights included: Kelso almost going over the edge but saving it like an acrobat, balancing just on the edge of disaster, and my highlight was a face first tip over in one of the water crossings. I was in front and had slowed down at the crossing - the guys were waiting for me to cross and watched with delight as I lost the front wheel and very quickly completely laid it over in a foot and a half of icy mountain creek water - I basically fell off the bike and did a belly flop in the creek. Face down. You can imagine how much the other 2 enjoyed the spectacle. I got up real quick hoping no one would see what happned. Not a chance. I wish we had it on helmet cam 'cause they were laughing so hard I wanted to see it so I could laugh, too. It drowned my bike out and we had to drain the float bowl on the trail. I kicked it over about 50 times before it finally roared to life and water blew out the tailpipe ! For someone who's only been on the bike for 4 months, and who was riding a bone stock YZ 250 no less, Surfallday rode really, really well on Rattlesnake. He was definitely worked, but he's got talent.

The scenery and trail were magnificent. If you haven't ridden Rattlesnake, do so the next time you have a chance. It's a tight, rocky, technical trail. But the scenery - and the challenge - make this a great. Technical trail. :)

The Rattlesnake ride wound up being about 44 miles, and though I had been talking about an afternoon ride all day, it was pretty obvious that we were all done for the day. We had roast beef and swiss cheese sandwiches for lunch, finished off with watermelon. Surfallday left that evening to get back to reality. Kelso and I hung around for one more epic day of trailriding. Dinner was carne asada tacos and cheesecake. Simple fare.

The next day we planned out two possible rides - either the Cannell Meadow ride or the Cedar Canyon to Rincon ride. We decided to check out Cedar Canyon, and if it was too much, then we'd loop back onto the Trout Creek trail and hook into Cannell Meadow from there. We headed out at 11 AM - loaded to the gills with extra gas, sandwiches, etc. Scott's backpack weighed about 40 lbs., plus he had on a ton of gear. We made our way out to Schaeffer trail and rode it to Cedar Canyon. Schaeffer is a great ride. Glad I got to finish it this time.

As we headed down Cedar Canyon we recalled what 2stroke4fun had said about it being impassable. We figured we'd ride it as far as we could. Cedar Canyon is black diamond and it's almost entirely downhill on the way to the Rincon. This means it's almost entirely uphill on the way back. Every so often I'd stop, point out a tricky spot, and mention to Kelso that maybe we should turn back, that this or that was gonna be difficult on the way back. "No, it's fine" he would say each time, and I'd move on. About 2 or 3 miles in, after we hit some sketchy off camber stuff which had both of us spooked a little, Scott mentions he wasn't feeling to well but we should continue. After a little more of this it was plain that Kelso was not alirght and needed to cool down quick. After about 3.5 miles Cedar Canyon kinda just ended and we were a little lost for awhile roiding around in a big wide open flat. We headed toward the crack in the canyon and luckily found a creek. There was a waterhole at the bottom of a small waterfall and we jumped in and stayed in for about a 1/2 hour. Freezing cold but just what Scott needed luckily. After suiting back up we wandered around some more trying to figure out where we were and Scott noticed a trail split with 2 signs - turns out we were at the spot where Rincon and Cedar Canyon meet. We decided we better head back and so we followed Cedar Canyon back, but soon found it blocked by a downed tree and a lot of brush. We had mentally sighted the spot where we had lost the trail earlier but it took some time for Scott to find it, no thanks to me and my bad sense of direction.

We finally headed back up and immediately we hit a loose hillclimb that Kelso did not get along with. He got it on the 3rd try but now was starting to regret that we came down this trail at all. "It's gonna be a long day" he said. On the way up we had to stop several times to catch our breath, let our bikes cool off, or both. Scott' s was overheating pretty badly and every so often he would say things like "I hate this trail" or "this is hell".

It was a long 4 miles back up Cedar Canyon but we made it. Along the way back to camp we had to stop several more times - to cool the bikes, clean Scott's clogged spark arrestor, or just to rest. After 50 miles on the nose we arrived back at Fish Creek. We had left at 11 AM and it was now 6:30 PM.

These are memorable times when you taste defeat but spit it out. You face uncertainty but keep on going. You have your skills tested and come out on top - on open class 2-strokes ! It doesn't get any better.

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Jan 30, 2000
Excellent report Mr Eel! Your ride down to Durwood Creek sounds lovely! Did you see the trailhead for Rincon on the other side of the pool you were in - it sometimes gets washed out and is hard to spot?

This story would be soooo much better with pics......

the Eel

Sep 23, 2000
Hey there KIWI ! ... we actually did see the trail on the far side of the creek. Thanks for naming it - didn't know it was Durwood. We were gonna follow the trail a little further but it seemed like high time to turn around !! The waterhole was like something out of Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn. Awesome spot. Unfortunately, no pics were taken.

P.S. Check out my "bike(s)" signature line ... it just arrived yesterday !


Aug 6, 2006
I'm glad I didn't stay

Holy crap, you guys are gluttons for punishment. I woke up the next day after the ride and the drive home just worked. I can't believe you guys did that horrendous sounding ride after a very taxing day previous.

Thanks for showing me around and being patient with me, towards the end my hand didn't even want to squeeze the clutch anymore.

Eel your washout in the creek was amusing to say the very least, I keep thinking about how quick you popped up and I laugh out loud to myself, it must have been a little chilly in there. The way you fell it looked like you wanted to take a nap in there or something. One second you were up the next second prone. :laugh:

Kelsorat, coming around that corner and seeing your legs dangling over that rock ledge, and you holding on to that bush was pretty nuts. :yikes: Glad you guys made it out and all the equipment held up.

I heard that the fire up there started to work on Saturday, did you guys have to deal with that?

i'm sure you guys are working, but I am doing about a 40 mile LPNF loop on Thursday that includes all of Piru, if you guys can make it give me a call.

Thanks again

dirt bike dave

Sponsoring Member
May 3, 2000
Thanks for the report!

I staged solo at the Rincon trailhead in early July and rode up Cedar Canyon on a hot hot day. My bike almost never spits coolant, but I lost about 30 ounces of coolant on that uphill. Having a 1 tooth smaller than stock rear sprocket did not help. Probably the toughest marked trail I've been on. Not maintained at all - many downed trees. Yeah, the intersection with Rincon is hard to find around that little meadow at the base - looks like it may have been fenced off for awhile.

I actually enjoyed the challenge going up Cedar Canyon. It reminded me of riding unmarked trails with some of my sadistic friends at Clear Creek or Stonyford. It is not a trail for everyone, that's for sure. Also, once you go down it, there is no other way back except for taking Rincon Trail to Sherman Pass Road. But you would need a plate to ride the road.

If you had continued on Rincon Trail, you would get spectacular views of The Needles, a rock formation that looks like it belongs in Yosemite. Very cool stuff.


Mar 27, 2004
What a great report and the food descriptions sounded pretty good as well!! I'll have to check into Kennedy for a future trip. It sounds like you guys had a ton of fun!


the Eel

Sep 23, 2000
The fire was getting worse and we started to see the smoke pretty clearly from camp. It seemed still pretty far away from us though - and we had no problems driving out the way we came in.

I'm out for a Thursday ride .. gotta work. Have fun but be safe !

Petra - the food was better than I made it sound !


Apr 6, 2002
Great report! :cool:

Sounds like fun, another KM trip for me is unlikly this year, but ya never know.

I just got back from a week up in Mammoth trailer camping and fishing with my family, had a great time. There seems to be a bunch of fire road/trail network up there that could be fun dual sportin when my boys get bigger.
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