KLR650 Greased Owl Shit Adventure

My uncle is quite a bit older than I am and has always had the “fire” expressions, like “it was slicker than greased owl shit out there” when talking about going out in first practice at the track.  So knowing most of my life what constitutes “greased owl shit” I went out on a dual sport ride in the early spring shoulder season with my uncle to shotgun creek.  I was on an older KLR and he was on a slightly newer xr650 Scott Summers get you to the tip of Baja and back edition he had just bought.

A little background about shotgun creek and the term “greased owl shit”(known as GOS from here on out).  Shotgun Creek is where the term GOS came from, and my uncle did not come up with the term on his own, his father came up with the term and it was handed down to him from his father as this place, shotgun creek, when laced with even a splash of your own urine as you piss on a tree becomes so slick that downhill ski jumpers could use the substrate of moist red/brown clay as the runway to break world records.

Have you ever put a drop of black dye in water?  That’s how this dirt works, if you dump a gallon of water anywhere on the mountain, within minutes all trails connected immediately darken in color and become the dreaded GOS.

So there we were smashing down the asphalt at about 65-70 heading out there both dealing with the inevitable headshake that happens at those speeds with all dual sport bikes for some reason.  Turned onto shotgun creek rd to some slightly moist mossy asphalt, no problem at all.  Then we reached the parking area and trailhead.

“This one looks easy, it’s a green and a small loop” Richard says as we turn off the asphalt onto some fresh looking 3/4 minus.

“Not bad” I exclaim as we round the first corner and turn up the first hill.

Then as we begin to head up the hill the fresh gravel disappears, the rear wheel starts spinning, the front end starts washing out and I realize where I am, what time of year it is, and what kind of bike I’m on.

“WHAT DO YOU THINK?” Richard yells out from up ahead

“I DONT KNOW THIS KIND OF SUCKS!” I exclaim as I question if I should round the next turn or turn around

“SOUNDS GOOD!” Richard says as he peels off to complete the loop your mom did last summer on a power wheels, drunk, smoking a pall mall

Knowing I am better than giving up and turning around, I powered through it, through the .23 miles of GOS where we came to some rocks blocking the exit back to a true paved road.  This is where Richard was stopped and I had to re-claim the pride I had just lost on “grandmas trail”.

Side note, Richard and my Dad both suffer from a bit of a condition called “muffin boy syndrome” which without explaining the entire story basically means that they follow all the rules, all 105 percent of them, so if there is a sign that says “trail closed to(picture of a CZ from the 70s)” I say well my bike has a mono shock and looks more like the picture of the mountain bike that doesn’t have an X through it, and so I proceed, whereas they will freeze like a deer during hunting season and contemplate a different approach.

Side note on the side note please respect all signs for open and closed trails when you see a forest service rig in the area, and know that mountain bikers jacked trails from the motorcycles that originally built them and sharing is caring, so if you have to borrow their precious trail for a few miles to reach your destination please, be my guest.

Back to me reclaiming my pride I rode right through the rocks blocking the exit to the road and Richard followed behind me, this was to be the one and only time during the trip I would be riding in front of him.  Tip to any forest service people out there, blocking the exit to a trail is like plugging someone’s asshole without telling them they can’t eat, the foods coming in, give it a place to go out, because if it can’t go out the main exit it will blow a hole through the side somewhere you don’t want it to.

“This one here on the left goes up the hill, it sssshhhooouullldddnnntt be too bad but I’m not sure lol, looks good here though there’s rock on the road”. Richard says as I slowly nod in apprehensive agreement.

The road had some jumps on it yay!  Despite how slick it was no moto rider can ever resist some sick air.  1 jump, 2 jump, 3 jump, ditch.  Like the Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal my trusty steed started heading for the ditch and was not planning on going anywhere else.  If traction were a scale of 1-10 at this moment we were seeing -2 or so, momentum is your only friend with traction being a close second.

After getting out of the ditch I started heading up the hill, where the puddles got deeper and the terrain got steeper.  Scott Summers was nowhere to be seen, even his cries for “how’s it going” landed on deaf ears.  I then slid out again, you know one of those where the front steering hits the locks and you’re still moving forward at the same speed with your front tire at a 45 degree angle and your rear wheel locked up.

This was a stupid tip over when my leg got caught on the rear rack.


Then I figured since my bike was now pointed the other direction that I would just sit there and enjoy the scenery until Scott Summers realizes the KLR paired with an overweight 39 year old man was not the best combo for the day.

I sat there for a minute and he then came back down and asked me how it was going.

“It’s slicker than greased owl shit!” I said as he tried to explain that just a mile ahead it gets better, after getting worse for a mile.  So we headed back down to the asphalt and decided to head up the hill on the actual road.

We stopped at the top and admired the view, took a few pictures to make it feel like we accomplished something, then headed back down the hill a different way.  We turned off to the left and down a trail that was a bit dryer probably from being in the sun but still was laced with shady wet off camber turns, puddles, and jumps.  I managed alright, by now I was pretty good at anticipating a washout, getting in a very good quick reflex workout as I balance this pig on ice skates through the unpredictable forest.

At this point I did something I rarely do, switch bikes with someone to see what their bike is like, and I must tell you, his factory XR did not disappoint.

We then came upon a bottomless puddle.  Johnny Campbell is sitting there on my pig waiting to see if I am going to want to attempt it, we threw in some rocks poked it with sticks and decided it wasn’t too deep, made sure our snorkels were up high, and went across.  I’m pretty sure at this point we switched bikes and I tried out the factory XR.

It definitely handled better and had way more traction than the KLR on the GOS.  We made our way down the hill and switched back, hit a couple more dead end gravel roads and then called it a day.

It had been probably over 20 years since I had last been to Shotgun Creek and I was reminded of why it had been 20 years, it’s just not my cup of coffee.  It would be fun for beginners or quads in the summer time but other than that it is a very small trail system that is always at least 50 percent closed for logging and is pretty much unridable in the fall/winter/spring.  If I ever want to try a bike on greased owl shit though I definitely know where to take it, and it’s right up the road.

As for my uncle Richard, Scott Summers, Johnny Campbell…he wheelied off doing the hang loose thing with his left hand heading south into the sunset and hasn’t been seen since, might have something to do with the sun setting in the South that day, we may never know.

About the author

Born in the early 80’s, I have been riding since motorcycles had kickstarters on them. I put in a fairly solid young motocrosser “career” of taking racing seriously from about the ages of 11-21. After realizing making a living in motocross would be near impossible I hung up the helmet and tried my hand at music. Somehow that actually worked and led to 15 years of being able to play music almost every day.