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-   -   Saline Valley Warm Springs, Death Valley National Park (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=851956)

reenmachine 12-30-2012 12:03 PM

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
http://i.imgur.com/pHD0yh.jpg


Death Valley National Park boundary
http://i.imgur.com/5SQOJ.jpg


Lee Flat -- Joshua Trees as far as the eye can see
http://i.imgur.com/nf4gBh.jpg


South Pass, about 6000' of elevation, overlooking the famous Racetrack Playa
http://i.imgur.com/VhyLXh.jpg


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.
http://i.imgur.com/KzEos.jpg

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.
http://i.imgur.com/SlSWX.jpg


High centered. Took a while to dig out.
http://i.imgur.com/mMLyLh.jpg


The descent into Saline Valley
http://i.imgur.com/HTy3Ah.jpg


Mile after mile of grievous washboards
http://i.imgur.com/aw81S.jpg


A fun rocky stretch -- it was steeper and rockier than it looks.
http://i.imgur.com/luPTO.jpg


Soft, powdery silt. Also bad with these tires.
http://i.imgur.com/Dzqy2h.jpg


Made it to the springs!
http://i.imgur.com/s2bGBh.jpg


Just enough time to set up camp before the sun dips below the mountains
http://i.imgur.com/cLaQOh.jpg


Sunrise
http://i.imgur.com/9rDyXh.jpg


The view from the tent
http://i.imgur.com/SF3QX.jpg


The intersection with Lippincott Mine Road on the way out. The weather is rolling in.
http://i.imgur.com/SntaEh.jpg


Lee Flat again on the way out
http://i.imgur.com/SCj97h.jpg

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!

Adventure MotoX 12-30-2012 12:11 PM

Nice!

Denser NL 12-30-2012 02:42 PM

Great pics! :clap

PinkPillion 12-31-2012 04:32 PM

Thanks for sharing reenmachine.
DV looks so beautiful in winter. I bet the springs were great!
:thumb

byways 12-31-2012 04:56 PM

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

gogogordy 12-31-2012 05:09 PM

Nice camp Crocs.

UpST8 12-31-2012 05:19 PM

Thanks for the report! Hope to get out into DV on the F8 sometime this spring...TKCs or K60s for sure :D

reenmachine 12-31-2012 07:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gogogordy (Post 20367313)
Nice camp Crocs.

Ha. Not the manliest I'll admit, but they're light and they make good cushions in the bottom of the cases for other gear!

Quote:

Originally Posted by PinkPillion (Post 20367074)
Thanks for sharing reenmachine.
DV looks so beautiful in winter. I bet the springs were great!
:thumb

They were, and felt better than ever having come in on two wheels.

Quote:

Originally Posted by byways (Post 20367221)
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

Sundown was around 5:30 I think. Early.

Quote:

Originally Posted by UpST8 (Post 20367375)
Thanks for the report! Hope to get out into DV on the F8 sometime this spring...TKCs or K60s for sure :D

Yes! Aggressive tires are a must. I'll never go back in on 80/20s.

Ron_Ces 01-01-2013 05:07 PM

I like the Fat Tire sticker. Good stuff...
Ron

henderdogg 01-01-2013 07:32 PM

Sweet!
 
Very nice pictures. I'm thinking about doing DV in the spring myself.

The_Precious_Juice 06-21-2013 09:06 PM

Great report!
 
Greetings.

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

Oldone 06-22-2013 03:19 AM

Very unique....
 
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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