....prize. Well, back to that in a few minutes, but as far as the 2 day ride went, awesome conditions and 382 miles covered. Just got back on Monday night. The ride: I parked the truck in Big Pine, unloaded the bike and headed off solo at 8 am. East on Hwy 168 (Death valley Rd), up the hill towards the north edge of the park and after 30 mile of pavement, I finally hit dirt. I dropped into the park and onto So. Eureka Rd, past the Eureka Dunes where my first scare of the day occurred. A bit of over-exuberence got the best of me as I began speeding things up and got the huge 40 mph tank-slapper in the sand. Time to crank up the Scotts damper. Over the ridge there were a few challenges, only one tip-over followed by a long ride down until I reach the Warm Springs. After a short ride around the campground, I realized it was time to go. I'm not into older, overweight people sitting around their campsites naked. Onto Saline Valley Rd and down to Ubehebe Rd where I turn left and immediatley start a steep and rocky climb to Lippencott's Pass. Down the road I reach the Racetracks, Teakettle Junction where I turn right and head up Hidden Valley. Eventually this leads to a highlight of the trip, Hunter Mountain. Simply beautiful ride up the mountain into the pines where the air is fresh and cool, the roads are smooth and the smile couldn't be removed. I didn't bring a camera, only my iPhone and didn't take pictures until later. This was a fast-paced trip and I rarely stopped, I just couldn't get enough, I wanted to keep going. Down Hunter Mountain to Saline Valley Rd, turned left towards my destination for the day, Panamint Springs campground. Back to the pavement onto Hwy 190 and pulled into the campground at 2 pm and done for the day. 177 miles down. After a good nights rest, I was back on the bike at 8 am. Last year, myself and a couple of buddies covered the east half of the park, so this ride was to cover the west half. The north loop was yesterday, the south loop today. I headed south on Panamint Valley Rd and made a left into Ballarat. No time spent there but headed straight up Pleasant Canyon Rd, past a very cool cabin and up to Rogers Pass. I hiked a short climb up to the left to take in the views and a short break, then back on the bike. I rode down Middle Park, back up to the top to the lookout above Striped Butte, then started down South Park Rd. Another highlight of the trip. This is a bit gnarly and I was glad I was going down, not up the canyon. At about the 4,200 ft level, I come upon the Briggs Mine Cabin and I am forced to take a break to check this out. It looks like a small resort oasis in the middle of nowhere and it is quite awesome, very clean and well kept. This is one of those first-come, first-served shared cabins and no one was there, definitely a destination ride for the future. Here's my first picture of the trip: I left Briggs Cabin and made it 100 yds down the road when I came upon this: A 2 1/2 ft Western Diamondback Rattler. It was very docile and just lying in the sun, until I dismounted to take a picture, then it coiled up and started rattling. I didn't want to get too close and have to test out the SOS function on my new Spot Connect, so a quick picture and I was on my way. Back down the canyon and I came into this slot-canyon where I had to stop and take another picture. Now this is what you've all been waiting for; the Playboy magazine and what this all means. To the right of my bike, out of the picture frame, are some large rocks that had fallen off the cliff overhang. When I got off my bike to take the picture, something caught my eye down in the rocks. I plucked it out from the gap and believe it or not, it was a very old Playboy magazine in excellent condition. Now this was close to 20 years old and one thing I can say for sure, the grooming standard back then is not what it is today. Anyway, after a quick review of times past, I placed it back in the rocks where I found it and continued on my way down the canyon. So then I started thinking, it would be cool if someone else could find it, so here's the deal: Sort of a contest or treasure hunt if you will....Find it, PM me the month, year and who's on the cover and I'll send you a $20 Starbucks gift card. I know, kinda lame, but what the hell. I wouldn't make a special trip or anything, but if you happen to be up there, spend a few minutes looking and it might be worth your while. So you have a picture of where it is, so it shouldn't be too tough Down at the bottom, I turn left onto Wingate Rd and head south towards Goler Wash, my next destination. Now, I have a very good map of the park and a GPS, so getting lost was not really on my mind, but that's where things went wrong. I was blasting down Wingate Rd, fast, because it is smooth and wide, not really looking at the GPS when I passed a barrel on the left side of the road at a small intersection. Those of you familiar with it know the one. Well it says 'Goler Wash 1 1/4 miles'. But because I was going so fast, I thought it was saying to turn there, so I slowed and cut left across and headed up that road without actually looking at what the barrel said. It gets very rocky and gnarly as it heads up the wash. Well then the road disappeared off my GPS (I learned to never trust GPS outright), and it gets way gnarly, at least for my 400 lb beast, but I thought "this has to be the right way", so I kept plugging along. Then a swap to left, right, and left again and "wham", right into a boulder parked on the left side of the road. I didn't go down but it smashed and ripped the GB Racing cover right off the alternator and bent my shifter. The shifter was still able to shift, so I didn't even attempt to straighten it for fear of it snapping off, but the cover no doubt saved me from a broken case. (After returning home, I found the shifter was also cracked at shift shaft). I continued up the wash until basically the road ended at an abandoned mine, so I finally realized I went the wrong way. BTW, anyone going up that wash will see my cover hanging on that rock, I left it behind for a reminder. Back out onto Wingate Rd and heading south, I came to Goler Wash and began my ascent up to Mengel Pass. This was a fun ride up and not too difficult as I've heard it to be, checking out Barker Ranch on the way up. That place is very secluded, no wonder it was a hideout but I'm surprised anyone ever found them there. At the top of Mengel Pass, a photo looking n/e at Striped Butte: After a short break, I headed back to Panamint Springs campground to load up my camping gear and left there at 3:30 pm after a great day of riding. But not quite done yet, as I have the long ride back to the truck. I went north up Saline Valley Rd all the way back to Death Vally Rd and Hwy 168 where I began, arriving at Big Pine at 6 pm. Another 205 miles in the books and a shredded set of Dunlops. Anyway, a great 2 days of solitude and 382 miles traveled, most of them off-road, no injuries and only a minor tattered bike.