Saline Valley Warm Springs, Death Valley National Park
I had a few days free after Christmas so I decided to make the run to Saline Valley, where I've been going for about 10 years via 4x4 but never before on the bike. Winter conditions weren't exactly ideal for two wheels, but they weren't bad enough to turn me back. Either that or I just wasn't smart enough. A lot of the ride was what my brother and I called "Class III Fun" back in our mountaineering days -- hateful and regretful while you're doing it, but once you're home and warm you can't wait to start planning the next time. :rofl
The trip was about 550 miles round trip, pretty much exactly 80% pavement and 20% off road. My 80/20 tires should have been perfect then, right? Not by a mile (not that I thought they would be). Next time I'll be wearing TKC-80s or similar.
The 55 miles of dirt, rocks, sand, and silt (and this time of year, snow and ice) to get to the springs made for an incredible ride.
About 15 miles outside of Olancha, CA, overlooking Owens Lake and the east side of the Sierra Nevada range
Death Valley National Park boundary
Lee Flat -- Joshua Trees as far as the eye can see
South Pass, about 6000' of elevation, overlooking the famous Racetrack Playa
The sketchy part of the trip where I probably should have turned back. I don't know what tire would have been OK here, but it sure wasn't these.
Taking the ditch turned out to be the ticket. That innocuous-looking pile of rocks just ahead hung me up pretty bad on the way back up though and cost about 15 minutes.
High centered. Took a while to dig out.
The descent into Saline Valley
Mile after mile of grievous washboards
A fun rocky stretch -- it was steeper and rockier than it looks.
Soft, powdery silt. Also bad with these tires.
Made it to the springs!
Just enough time to set up camp before the sun dips below the mountains
The view from the tent
The intersection with Lippincott Mine Road on the way out. The weather is rolling in.
Lee Flat again on the way out
Overall it was an awesome trip. I spent two nights at the springs. Before I make the trip again I need to figure out how to carry additional fuel, as I had just enough to get in and out, and I would have loved to have been able to spend a day on some side trips.
I'll be heading back in the spring when things warm up with better tires and more fuel!
Great pics! :clap
Thanks for sharing reenmachine.
DV looks so beautiful in winter. I bet the springs were great!
Enjoyed your story! You have cajones, doing that alone.
What time was sundown? I thought about making the trip down from Idaho, but heck, it gets dark so darned early, and then what ... :eek1
Nice camp Crocs.
Thanks for the report! Hope to get out into DV on the F8 sometime this spring...TKCs or K60s for sure :D
I like the Fat Tire sticker. Good stuff...
Very nice pictures. I'm thinking about doing DV in the spring myself.
I'm reading through the Sertao and G650GS forums, and after clicking on your link on Post 612 and viewing this thread I was very impressed with what you did with the bike.
I know you had a rough morning before getting started. I'm glad the trip went well. Good to see the fuel tank got the damn job done.
I was very impressed with how the bike rode away without any injuries even though she did not have a bash plate. Very interesting.
For my needs, I'm fairly commited to the 2011 + base model over the Sertao. This thread helps out a lot. :ear
This is quite unique to take on roads like that and I shiver just reading about it. You have lots of nerve that's for sure! About the only way that I would try that one road would be if I had snow tires with really big big spikes! :-)
Gary "Oldone" :gerg
Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride
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