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Old 04-05-2015, 02:20 PM   #1
Jenn OP
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*Jenn's *2015 Death Valley Noobs Rally *RR*

A good adventure seems to start over a good meal, may be fueled by memories and promises of good meals, and good meals are definitely the place where hardships are forgotten and stories of adventure are forged.

This adventure started with preparation, as one does, of chocolate almond frangipane tarts to reward the friends who were planning to care for my kitties:



And by a trip to the local vegan grocery to stock up on less fragile snacks and supplies. I also upgraded my cat stickers for extra good luck (having already replaced my front and rear brake pads, changed oil & filter, cleaned spark plugs etc)


And then I packed up the motorcycle and filled the tank:



The plan was to go from Oakland to Bishop on Saturday, maybe do some bouldering and then head into Saline Valley for a couple nights, heading to Panamint Springs Resort on Wednesday to meet with the Adobe crew at the ADVRider Noobs Rally -- and then home on Sunday.

A friend's birthday delayed my start to Sunday morning - and I decided to head up via Carson Pass (Hwy 4 > Hwys 88/89) over Monitor Pass. Stopped in Stockton at a farm stand for a snack and made a new friend:



Lots of great views were created by the storm clouds that were chasing me east:




And the vistas were even better up at elevation:








As you can see - there was SNOW! It was kind of chilly up above 7000' -- so I pulled into a little cafe at Hope Valley and warmed up with a very delicious decaf soy latte.

After about 40 minutes of coffee and chatting with a nice vacationing computer science genius from Livermore Labs, I headed back out to the motorcycle. My turn to Monitor Pass was like - RIGHT THERE - and I missed it. However, the views ahead of me were stunning - and I was torn: would I get chilled again going over Monitor Pass? How could I pass up these views?

To my right - I noticed an SUV pulled over on the shoulder. I did not see any lights on -- looked at my speedometer (60 mph). As I approached, I realized it was a CHP.

Speedometer still said 60 mph. I looked around at the amazing view. Still amazing. Looked in my mirror -- CHP pulled out onto the road.

Speedometer sill said 60 mph. Looked around at the amazing view - again - and contemplating pulling over to take photos. Checked mirror to see if it was safe -- and that CHP turned on all his lights. My speedometer still said 60, when he got on the PA and said "PULL OVER TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!"

So, being on a wee DR650. I stopped RIGHT there.

Then the CHP used the PA again: "Pull up there where the road is wider!"

OK, fine. Not my fault that you ordered me to stop at the wrong place, sheesh!

I pulled over but the surface was uneven, so I stayed on my bike. The CHP approached me and I asked him to wait a minute so I could pull off my helmet and hear him, which I did.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"

[TO BE CONTINUED]
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Old 04-05-2015, 02:49 PM   #2
GSequoia
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What a cliffhanger!

Should we all make bets now?
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Old 04-05-2015, 02:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn View Post
"Do you know why I pulled you over?"
Overloaded? Poor little Suzi loaded down like a pack mule.
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Old 04-05-2015, 02:58 PM   #4
GSequoia
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Originally Posted by bluestar View Post
Overloaded? Poor little Suzi loaded down like a pack mule.
It's cool man, it's a foru stroke.

1 I
2 Think
3 I
4 Can
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2005 KLR 650 A bit beat up but works just fine. Powered by really angry canaries. - Actually it's a bit dead right now.
1990 DR350S Smaller. Lighter. Slower.
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Old 04-05-2015, 03:02 PM   #5
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Old 04-05-2015, 05:59 PM   #6
browneye
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Hmmm...you didn't like the noob rally RR already going? http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1051999
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Old 04-05-2015, 06:17 PM   #7
Jenn OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by browneye View Post
Hmmm...you didn't like the noob rally RR already going? http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1051999

I didn't want to clog it up ... My ride reports tend to be much longer. :)

I should have differentiated the title more but I forgot!!
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Old 04-05-2015, 06:30 PM   #8
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Ok Im in ...?
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Old 04-05-2015, 07:09 PM   #9
spafxer
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This is the "Naked News" ride report !


In


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Old 04-05-2015, 08:16 PM   #10
Jenn OP
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Part 2

Actually, before he got to the"Do you know why I pulled him over" - I confess, I stalled (not the motorcycle, but with chit chat!).

I made him wait a minute so I could take off my helmet, and then asked "Do you know if Monitor Pass is open? I think I missed that turn back there. I was so cold I stopped for coffee to warm up -- do I have to go back up in elevation if I go that way?"

He said, "yes, it is open and it does go up in elevation, if you are cold you are better off going down to Gardnerville."

Pause. "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

I just said, "No, officer - why?"

He said, "You were going 75 in a 55 zone!"

I honestly did not expect that and responded with disbelief, said, "No way, I wasn't going that fast."

He said, "I have the radar, do you want to see it?"

I said "You bet I do! I was looking at my speedometer and it only said 60" (and every time I go by one of those "YOUR SPEED IS" signs, it always shows me 5-8mph slower than my speedometer).

Then he shifts his body weight back, looks at me and asks "Where are you coming from? Where are you headed?"

I said I had left Oakland at 10AM, and it was way colder on Carson Pass than I expected, and "I'm trying to get to Bishop before it gets dark and avoid hypothermia."

He asked for my license -- not proof of insurance and registration, and said "Wait there!"

I started texting a CHP buddy near Yosemite -- asking if he knew this officer (who was very cute young guy with a blonde moustache). It was pretty quiet back there but the officer returned and announced, "I'm going to let you off with a warning, so hurry and get down the hill but DON'T SPEED!"

Well, good, because I wasn't speeding anyway.. not that time. I think that he also was not actually doing radar, either.

I think I just was "suspicious" looking -- and because I'm clearly "not doing it right" -- I'm not on a proper touring motorcycle with expensive matching bags that cost nearly as much as the bike. I guess my duffel bag could hold a lot of pot from Lake County but if I was illegally transporting across state lines, but I probably wouldn't be doing it with a personalized plate that bears my surname -- right?

More than once on long road trips, I have had men advise me to "get the right kind of motorcycle for this kind of travel" and express incredulity that I could spend more than 100 miles on the stock seat (I guess my sit bones are narrower?). I just smile and say "thanks for the advice, I'll be sure to do that next time."

Now, back to the gorgeous skies as I went downhill toward 395 -- where I stopped in Gardnerville and paid $2.50/gallon for gas just because I could:




Riding up Carson Pass was an interesting experience in another respect -- earlier in the week I was hit with massive allergy attack (bad news in a helmet!) and hoped it would clear up as I got away from the blooming eucalyptus and acacia trees in the Bay Area. I don't usually have hay fever but this year has been brutal -- and going UP Carson Pass just around 7,000' -- I heard this crazy noise like when you are tuning in an AM station and you get a high pitched squeak -- except it was coming from inside my sinus under my left cheekbone.

So, when I got to Gardnerville - I broke down and bought Nasonex & Allegra (which I still haven't opened). Sneezing in a helmet is NOT fun. Neither is painful pressure changes in sinuses!

It was nearly sunset when I got close to Bridgeport -- still quite a few miles outside Bishop, and the views were still pretty awesome:



That Sierra is HELLA Nevada!



Apparently going through Stockton is SLOWER, and all the stops for snacks, gas, coffee, chit chat with CHP and pharmaceuticals (plus leaving at 11am instead of 8am) put me way behind schedule getting to Bishop before o'hypothermia-thirty -- so a bit after 6, I pulled up to Rhino's for a snack and to make a decision:



The helpful bartender (bearing a striking resemblance to the CHP officer in youth, height and blonde moustache) said it would be windier at Conway Pass -- and 90 miles was still another 90 minutes or more to get to Bishop. Chilly -- especially with these clouds following me from the west:





Bridgeport is charming but short on restaurant options if you don't want to eat some previously frozen dead animal -- or poor bar food. After settling in at Walker River Lodge, a mere $99 for a cushy king bed, fridge, coffee maker and parking right outside the door (that room was SO clean), I had a grapefruit, some jelly bellies and some Pringles and headed back to Rhino's for more beer.

Did you know that jukeboxes now are connected to smart phone apps and you can play music remotely? And now that they are all digital - it's amazing how much Spanish language alt-rock you can find on them!

Back at my room - I had the rest of the Pringles (I swear, I never eat this crap!), jelly bellys, a protein bar and a quart of electrolyte. And then I felt the onset of some weird jitters -- like my heart was racing -- is that from all the salt in the damned Pringles? Remind me NOT to do that again.

In the morning, Bridgeport - still cute and lacking in food options - had a protein shake, decaf coffee with powdered coconut milk, two grapefruits and a couple protein bars and headed south.

I totally took a pass on soaking at Travertine Hot Springs because every time I have soaked there, I end up with my legs covered in red itchy bumps. I did not go to Buckeye -- well, that would have been backtracking!




Conway Pass was as windy as heck -- and I finally made it to view Mono Lake:


Even made a little pull out to get a selfie with Tioga Pass:


Thought briefly about hitting the hot springs off Barton Crossing Rd just south of Mammoth but changed my mind... I said hi to some pups at the Animal Shelter and got to Bishop well before lunch time.

I thought I would check out Owens Gorge -- I have been climbing indoors 3x/week for the last two years -- but despite there being about 80 cars parked there, and folks were friendly to a point -- nobody was going to trade belays for a few pitches, it was pretty much "Well, have a nice hike back to the parking lot!"

Much sport climbing to be had here -- bolted routes all over the place:


Look at the bigger version - there are about 3-4 climbers and all the shiny bits are the bolts and quickdraws:



Looks fun, doesn't it? I won't find out on this trip - I talked to a guy by his truck, he seemed to be a guide of some sort. He said that "If you don't have any expectations and make some friends, you might be able to trade belays for a few pitches" and then quickly turned his shoulder to me. I saw his truck painted with his number and services as a guide -- so thought it strange that he didn't say "Hey, I'm a guide, here's my card -- call me another time -- I'm booked today but I can take you out." Right? Weird.

It was just outside Bishop that I realized my rear tire was wearing faster than expected -- so I texted Lior and asked if I could order one through him and whether he could bring it -- "Sure, no problem - I'll order it and get it tomorrow." I sent him a Paypal payment and then had to consider whether the tire was really roadworthy for 100+ mi of dirt/sand with a load:



I tootled down the road to Bishop, mentally tallying up what I needed to bring in for two days camping at Saline. Water, for sure -- and maybe lunch before I headed in. I found Manor Market on Yelp. This grocery store was AWESOME! Way better than that enormous Von's on the north end of town -- they even had Tofurky hickory smoked deli slices.

I grabbed a few items and a gallon of water, and then sat down to enjoy lunch -- some steamed artichokes with backyard lemons, hummus, bread, tofurky slices, red onion and avocado. I pondered the tire situation. If I stayed in Bishop, I could be ignored by countless climbers -- or I could go south on 395 and check out Alabama Hills and get to PSR early or... fuckit, what would I do if I didn't go? Warm springs were calling my name!

As I loaded up and my gallon of water hit the ground and split open. DOH! Ok, no problem -- just pour it into my CamelBak -- but -- DOH!! NO NIPPLE!!

Headed back to 395 to Wilson's Eastside Sports and bought a damned nipple but also saw this awesome dromedary from MSR so bought that and filled it up at the sink in the sporting goods shop before heading down to Big Pine for one last fuel stop and off to Saline Valley Rd.

Folks, I gotta tell you -- North Pass was so smooth and easy. It was like someone's driveway. Maybe it's the DR's cush steering damping and shocks (it sure wasn't the worn Avon Gripster!) but... it was sweet. I was maintaining 25-30mph relaxed pace -- conditions were excellent.







I paused to get a drink of water from my new dromedary (mmm! tastes plasticky!) and an SUV came up behind me. The couple introduced themselves as Debbie & Marc, also heading back to Saline Warm Springs after towing someone out and asked if I was traveling alone. They seemed surprised and then brightly offered that they would be right behind me if anything happened or if I needed anything.

I started up again and they dropped back. I was having a heck of a time keeping that dromedary in place though - it kept sliding around under my bungee net and was distracting. I stopped one more time as I hit the valley floor, and Marc and Debbie (and their dog Summer) caught up with me.

"If we don't see you at camp in an hour, we're coming back to look for you," they promised.

Just 3 miles later at the turn off -- there they were, waiting for me: "We decided we should take your heavy bag and stuff for you!"

Well, ok! Sag support! They were so nice and I have to say - it was a lot more fun without the big duffel on the back (the panniers stayed on) and they followed me up to the Palm Springs, brought my gear and gave me beer!

I spent two nights camping at Saline -- I had a really nice time talking with Dennis & Peggy, Marc & Debbie, and Major Tom (a retired science teacher and photographer -- he let me put my few perishables in his fridge!), and there were quite a lot of single women camping at Palm Springs -- we all had fun hanging out, drinking beer, soaking and making the rounds.

Yes. Everyone was pretty much naked all the time, including me. Sometimes I wore a tank top and panties but mostly it's just not a big deal.

[Insert your own mental images of nudity here.]

Nutrition on Monday through Wednesday consisted of: protein shake every morning, candy bars, protein bars, a can of dolmas, the rest of the hummus, backyard avocados & lemons with red onion on garlic dill sourdough my friend Jimmy made for me before the trip and a packet of olive oil flatbread, lots of electrolyte, more Jelly Bellys, nuts and vegan jerky. I was ready for some kind of meal at this point as everything felt like secondary grazing.

Beers provided by Ken, Debbie & Marc, Dennis & Peggy and the Napa Cowboys kept me hydrated. *hic*

When Wednesday rolled around, I was reluctant to pack up and head to PSR -- I needed more hot springs soaking!!





I thought people would be looking for me Wednesday night, so packed up and headed out... and just before the turn to Lippincott, I saw another blue and white DR650 with a big duffel bag coming at me. We stopped.

"Nice bike!"

"Yeah, you too!'

The other motorcyclists introduced himself as Pablo (aka Espi) and told me he had a radio -- I nearly turned around for one more night at the hot springs if I thought I could phone in an excuse! Shortly behind him was Jim -- so I said HI! And then up on the pass, I met John heading into the hot springs (HI!!).











Turns out - South Pass was in pretty good shape, too!





And, hey! There's cell service here! I got to the hard road around 4:40pm --


Checked some messages, pulled up some pages from the official event discussion to cache on my phone (didn't print campsite assignments before leaving) and headed down the hill (or mountain, whatever, it's banked for RVs anyway) eager to see who had arrived and especially if Arnie was there with my knobby mounted wheels I bought from TrophyHunter... I was ready for something a bit more suitable for rocks and dirt!

Jenn screwed with this post 04-06-2015 at 11:51 AM
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Old 04-05-2015, 08:29 PM   #11
NSFW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by browneye View Post
Hmmm...you didn't like the noob rally RR already going? http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1051999



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn View Post
I didn't want to clog it up ... My ride reports tend to be much longer. :)

I should have differentiated the title more but I forgot!!

nice rr jenn. no you can't clog up the official RR...never...

keep this one since it has a personality of it's own. however, no one will stop you to do a ctrl C here and ctrl V there.

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Old 04-05-2015, 08:42 PM   #12
Jenn OP
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I did post a teaser in the official thread, Joel!

Last year, when I did this - I thought the official RR was just where people linked to their RRs! :)

We're almost at the infamous flat fixing photo... Espi did a great job documenting this project!
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:17 AM   #13
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Cool pics! Did you get pulled over for failure to move to the left lane?


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Old 04-06-2015, 11:54 AM   #14
Jenn OP
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Originally Posted by TomAZ1983 View Post
Cool pics! Did you get pulled over for failure to move to the left lane?
Ha! there was no left lane where he wanted me to pull over -- I added the rest of the story in Part 2 -- did YOU get pulled over for failure to move to the left lane?

I'm still trying to figure out why he decided to pull me over and say it was for speeding -- when (this time at least) I really was NOT speeding. I probably just looked suspicious and when I was relaxed, casual and conversational and not acting anxious, edgy or tweaked out -- I think he decided I was okay.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:06 PM   #15
Exploron
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It appears that you were being harassed by the CHP. 75 mph? C'mon.
It's none of his damn business where you are coming from or going. Good that you didn't get testy with him, though. Better to be free and on your way, than "right". Sorry for the rant, but this makes me mad. You should be able to travel just as freely and unhindered as any other traveller.
Good ride report.
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