This year I gratefully got the opportunity of visiting RevZilla’s GET ON! Fest, aka GOAF, for the first time, and since Covid, this seemed like the first time it was back at a hundred percent. My cameraman and pro desert racer accompanied me, Bryce Stavron.
We entered GOAF, not knowing what to expect on our first adventure bike quest but open to the undertaking. We were welcomed by a smiling team of orange ready to make our experience and tell us how things go down on the RawHyde campsite. RevZilla adored us with swag bags and handed wristbands that opened the door to a weekend made for exploring, riding, racing, and good times.
A Place For Every Rider?
Though the notion of riding in the Mojave surrounded by sweeping hills, carved downhill berms, and twisty sand washes was not something a girl with a dirtbike needed her arm twisted for. My inexperience with how large ADV bikes fared on natural offroad terrain made me pause. Instead of a sleek dirtbike stallion, I thought I would ride a 1200 ADV bull out of the gate.
Fortunately, fate and good friends brought me together with a base model in the form of a KTM 390 Adventure. Fate being my prayers and good friends being legendary GOAF goer Jim Pruner and Kyle Bradshaw. Bryce also had his own KTM 790 for the weekend to break in. Seeing our surroundings and the many bikes and riders that didn’t make it to the standard bull fest, I thought.
The RawHyde Campground
We made our four-day home at the illustrious RawHyde Campgrounds. A revered enduro off-road training facility has been helping riders gear toward adventure since 2002. Initially, an idea was driven by founder Jim Hyde as a meetup to have a dual sport tour that evolved into an adventure camp and the country’s #1 Enduro training facility.
It had a well-organized, clean, innovative camp made from renovated shipping boxes. The facility has cargo sleeping rooms, an enclosed shower area, a massage setup with scheduled times, and a fully functional restaurant with an attached industrial barn bar beside it. It was appropriately called the Biltwell Handle BAR.
Breakfast and dinner were both served there and included in our ticket. Every morning and evening would be a different hot catered meal with open coolers at the end filled with drinks until you come back at 5 pm to take another grab at the Handle BAR.
Coffee was there, too, for those that need the black liquid of life to get their brains ready to ride. You could choose the standard drip near the catered meals or take a short walk to the Cafe on wheels by Atomic Coffee. A complimentary cup of kickass for every day at GOAF just waiting for us.
Though the facility had cabins, they were designated for vendors only, but we still faired pretty well in our RV on the outskirts of the campsite. Our AC fulfilling the real MVP this weekend due to the fueling 90+ degree weather.
Each evening, a live band played after dinner, and raffle giveaways from all our sponsors and vendors. There were also merch demos from various vendors to help keep the crowd engaged and informed on new products up for grabs.
Most of the first day, we set up our RV, gathered the bikes, and wandered around camp to get oriented with all the vendors and see what they had on display. RevZilla also had their store set up where we could use their complimentary 25$ gift card. Coincidentally Bryce needed a case for his Quadlock, and they were in stock and conveniently located.
We also checked out an “Intro to ADV riding” class with none other than RawHyde head coach Bill Langford. He covered an hour-long classroom instruction on essential ADV skills, four top things to remember while riding, and what essentials to bring on a trail—he also spoke to us about how important it is to be safe on a trail and what tools to bring in the case of emergencies.
After the class, there was also a screening of his recent ADV trip to Alaska, appropriately named “Operation Numbnuts.” We can see just from the title it must have been a hell of a ride.
That night we ate dinner at their Zakar restaurant tent as they held our orientation riders meeting, discussing the trail levels, schedule of events, and introductions to their team. There was a hum of conversations on routes and bikes to try and the excitement of seeing old friends and meeting new ones. For the most part, motorcycling events have always felt amicable, like meeting a new neighbor that happens to ride. Do you have toys? Oh, I have toys too. ADV riding was no different.
The air was easygoing from people who came far and wide and even chose to ship bikes out to experience the event. Most left bikes and gear out in the open. The unsaid rule of neighborly respect part of everyone’s smile.
We met up with our friends from KickstandsUp, a vendor, and proceeded the night with uplifting drinks and a free mini buffet of s’mores by the bonfire. Breaking in the weekend with a drink in one hand and delicious hot treats gave us a solid nod to GOAF!
Day Two: Easy to Moderate Trails and Deadly Electric Races
For our second day, we woke up with a fever to get up early, not just for breakfast but for another rider meeting to help us discern where to meet groups heading out on trails. With the help of RevZilla’s Jen Dunstan and Spurgden Dunbar, we downloaded the trail maps on our Rever apps.
Rever was a chief vendor at the event for showcasing their app and helping group rides keep track of trails designated for skill level and have them on hand in areas where the signal was scarce. GOAF included a Rever Pro membership with each ticket that helped constitute the all-inclusive price for the weekend.
Jen led us on the easy route through a 90-mile loop to Randsburg. Ransburg is a local lore ghost town that features more bikers than ghosts. We passed through some minor sand washes and went into a downhill rollercoaster of twisty turns.
The 390 felt too quiet for a girl used to hearing a dirtbike when climbing a hill. It also felt like trying to steer a shopping cart downhill and hearing every rock hit the skid plate. But shifting the weight on the pegs was easier somewhere thirty minutes in, and the increment on the throttle made the motor feel frisky when ridden hard on the road. My shopping cart turned into a bike that could handle the terrain, and I was pleasantly surprised when we reached Ransburg. Bryce seemed to have no trouble transitioning from his KTM 450EXC to the KTM 790 Adventure.
We rendezvoused with the other groups in Randsburg for midday lunch at the local brewery grill. Hotdogs and ice cream to soothe our appetites and prep us for the ride back.
After food, we passed through eyeballing the local tourist gifts that included a shirt that read “ Drunk wives matter” obviously a show on how the locals fight for everyone’s liberties.
We filled in with the other riders while conversing with the RevZilla team to see what more challenging trails had to offer or what other local sites were worth a ride. Feeling the buzz of bravery from my Häagen-Dazs®, I opted to take the moderate route back. I felt comfortable on the easy trail and was ready to see how far we could stretch this 390s legs.
We took a fifty-mile moderate trail back to camp led by Zack Courts. This trail had more rocky terrain, extensive uphill and downhills, and a small sandy wash before we made it back to the highway. We took off to a great start but didn’t seem to get the expected ride.
Though the 390 worked smooth and steadily on the easy trail, we encountered some rough patches making it up the larger uphills. The biggest problem was the Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) option turning back on during any slippery uphills.
Typically, the MTC is a standard component of KTM’s adventure series software and works by reading the motorcycle’s behavior and responding immediately if the rear wheel rotational speed is disproportionate to the front wheel or the engine speed. Any higher displacement Adventure model has options of how much or little MTC is in a dial. For the 390, it is an option for either off or on.
I set it to OFF during each ride because we were on dirt, which would be counterintuitive. However, during the uphills for this moderate ride, it would turn back ON. The continuous pattern of the MTC turning back on during my times of least traction on the dirt was a hindrance and frustrating. It felt like someone was yanking me back by my jacket whenever I needed to gain speed during unsteady sand or the silky part of an uphill.
We finished the ride and returned to camp, but the software overriding my traction selections made me think twice about this model.
After a ride with big bikes, I decided to give the small electrics a try. Super73 was a great contributor this weekend to give people a taste of what electric bicycles had to offer.
I tried their RX model with a dual suspension system and GRZLY All-Terrain Tires for a more off-road feel. It was easy to handle, lightweight, and durable even in Mojave. It gave more than I thought with its throttle operation and pedal assist. I could cruise around camp in the lowest setting (Class-1) or take her out on the terrain with the Off-road setting, comfortably going over anything in my path.
The boys also took to trying out the Super73s in a race. That evening Super73 held its own ADV world championships, and it did not disappoint. Teams competed in a group rally competition, each riding some model of Super73. Bryce and our friend Rick Ederer joined KickstandsUp’s team, taking the healthy competition to another level by combining pro racers, off-road enthusiasts, electric bikes, and alcohol made for a killer night. Ride responsibly.
Despite gnarly crashes, Bryce and Rick took the lead, winning Kickstandup’s overall title as Electic champions of the night. There were water balloons thrown in congratulations and high fives galore.
We ended the second day successfully with another night of campfires, s’mores, and movie showings. That night they were showing A Rally for Rangers, a documentary about delivering tools and motorcycles to rangers worldwide who help with conservation in areas of need.
Day Three: The Fast Ride and the Slow Race
On the third day, Jesus said, “Let there be motorcycles.” Not really, but there were for us. The whole four-day event caught up with us in longevity. One factor that would have made it more approachable for newcomers would be to offer one-day or two-day passes that included just as much as the full four-day ticket. This would help shrink the costly 500$ price tag and make it a more flexible experience.
Though today, we opted for a windmill and wildflowers ride and were excited to see the super bloom. I thought taking the flower route would be easy, but life had other plans.
The 390’s MTC started turning back on in the sand just minutes into the ride. Trapping me in a sand wash twice was enough for this day. Despite its logo, it was not ready to race. In a bat to help me continue the trail, Kyle offered to trade me his 690 Enduro for the 390. With no traction control chaining me down, I took the 690 by the horns and flew into the trail. I felt like a kid who just broke the training wheels off his bicycle riding downhill. Freedom that day tasted like this 690.
Catching back up to the group proved easy and fun wringing the throttle on this one. The engine felt smooth, and the bike leveled in the dirt, so much that picking up speed was effortless. Compared to the 390, this 690 felt like a well-trained beast ready to go at your command. MTC is still there but not dragging me down or changing adjustments when traction is lost. Instead, it did assist but subtly. The bike felt light, flickable, and a more well-rounded bike truly made for off-road.
The day was spent journeying into the hills in search of flowers. Yes, all the California stereotypes you can imagine and more. We stopped for photography along the way and made new company with Maggie Hicks and Justin Edelman, coincidentally friends that legendary Jim also had the pleasure of meeting the previous year.
Justin generously allowed Bryce to ride his Pan America and get a taste of Harley-Davidson on the road. It proved just as big as the brand itself. Its characteristics for a classic Harley design were apparent, but a rougher twist made for the paths not traveled. Bryce felt the comfort and smoothness of an engine made to glide on the dirt despite its size. A suspension and traction that isn’t exactly made to hit the whoops but is made for the graded road and a transcontinental ride for any enthusiast ready for more.
Our frolicking in the flowers was successful and was the day’s photoshoot. We got slightly lost trying to find Jen’s meadow along the way, but the high razorback turns and elevation was breathtaking. The road had a cadence that made you want to keep going hoping the destination was a long way away.
We descended back down the blooming hillside getting our eyes full of the vastness and splendor around us. A consistent reminder that being on a bike is not just something that carries you but something that moves the very spirit in the cages we call bodies. Tom Petty had it right; we belong in wildflowers, on journeys that wind our souls and free our spirits.
Demo Rides and Slow Races
We returned midday to maximize our daylight and sign up to ride blue, so we headed to the Yamaha tent. We were determined to get a chance at the Tenere 700 everyone had been raving about. I just lucked out as the last spots on the list, and me scoring some free swag for already riding blue with my dirtbike. We waited for our group to go for a short loop near camp.
The Tenere itself is already winning my approval for having two different levels of seat height to help short riders everywhere.
The initial start already threw me off with just how quiet and centered the bike was. Gliding away onto the trail left me slightly nervous. Was this a joke, or was I riding a couch on the dirt? It was fluid in two-wheel form. Easy to dance in high gear and still feel planted when going over whoops. The handlebars are appropriately leveled, but the tapered to wide frame is sometimes slippery to hold on to with your legs—things I could overlook given its lightweight steering and link suspension.
The Tenere is precisely what someone needs while out on an adventure. It’s very much the essence of Yamaha, precision, and drama-free. Its capability in precarious sand was composed entirely. The bike instills the rider’s confidence to go faster but almost at the sacrifice of character. Its only flaw, personally, is its no audible exhaust brings a sense of unnerving. It’s almost too drama-free and yearns for the aftermarket of an exhaust that tells you I’m not a blue couch; I’m a blue monster.
Nonetheless, it was a solid commuter and adventure monster ready to be supped up to the rider that wants something ready for the road.
We returned to the Yamaha tent only to wait for this night’s games. Rev’it was hosting a slow race. Each race had a displacement edition to keep things fair and a small area for riders to duke it out and see who could keep their composure the slowest before crossing the finish. Rick and Bryce also chose to participate with Kickstandsup again in an attempt to hold their winning title.
Bryce was on his KTM 790, but Rick decided to represent the local electric stallion DSRX from ZERO motorcycles. Each had their own until Rick was left in the final round during the imminent box of doom. The box of doom was the last level, where a coned-off area had riders go as slowly as possible against each other while participants shrunk the border.
His perseverance and cunning use of slow skills working their way to the finish and crowned Kickstandup the winning team again.
We celebrated the win with dinner and beers, meandering our way with new friends on the campgrounds. We could hear the complimentary music from the Mary White band, giving us a live show to match the energy of the camp. The last night here on the campground did not disappoint in flare, the sounds of engines, and the warmth of the company we kept. Through the setting indigo skies, we saw the satisfaction of faces that knew they were with people that loved what we loved and were here for the adventure that made our fingers twitch at the feel of a throttle.
Hoping to keep the sweetness of the day last just a bit longer, we headed out for a group ride of our own. Racing the setting sun and basking in the temperate dusk that gave way to an ombre of Pink and purples, I reminisced about watching the 1971 Moto documentary On Any Sunday and how right it was. There is something about riding with your friends.
The Final Day of GOAF
All fun adventures eventually meet their end, and ours was no different. Mojave felt like the weekend was a flash of light in a desert mirage. There were no solid plans for the day but to see friends, be thankful to those providing such a great weekend, and hopefully get one last ride in before shipping out.
When we say one last ride, most usually think it’s quick. But that ended with us embarking on one last rip with Jen on a 150-mile loop through the wilderness of Chimney Peak. A trek that was as high as the name suggests and as spectacular as you can imagine. Great sweeping turns spread into a view of gapping valleys filled with pine, open fields, and lush wilds. We were riding through both asphalt and dirt in twistys made to free your mind and grab your soul.
The KTM 690 pulled through on each terrain remarkably well. I didn’t feel fatigued on the road with these knobbys and just as effortlessly flew in the dirt. That solidified that this adventure bike was something I could see myself riding again.
Our odyssey through the pines advertently landed us back to the path of camp. With gas tanks empty but smiles full, we returned with camp nearly gone. Sometimes the adventures get ahead of us, and we lose ourselves in the journey. But ask anyone here at GOAF that it’s easy to do when life feels more real on a bike than on your feet. If you want the experience of riding with friends, training, tours, vendor workshops, and the surroundings of people who know what adventure bikes and off-roading are about, it’s here.
If you have any doubts about what RevZilla offers, you should make it out to the next one and Get On!
I’ll see you there,
GET ON! Adventure Fest Mojave 2023 Photo Gallery