Alone in Death Valley - The Story

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by frickinjim, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. frickinjim

    frickinjim Cheap bikes <3

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    Hello everyone!



    I'm reserving this thread to post what I experienced while I took my plated CRF230F from Las Vegas through Death Valley. It was quite an adventure. I'll be posting a more in-depth story shortly but, for now, some quick snapshots:





    Passing an overheated 510 shortly after starting the ride...
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    The place with the most endemic species in the United States. That's pretty much what happens when there's a puddle in the middle of the desert!

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    The hottest place on Earth, and the lowest ground in the United States.

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    Rocks that move on their own [​IMG]

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    The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, home of the highest ground in the United States. Wasn't I just at the lowest ground?!?

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    This happened. This happened multiple times.

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    From the hottest place on Earth... To mid-summer snow storm. Makes sense?

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    And then the engine was apart due to a very STUPID mistake on my part... More on that later..

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    I'm also putting together the videos from the ride. Here's the preview video!

    #1
    lucertola, lvscrvs, Chillis and 8 others like this.
  2. frickinjim

    frickinjim Cheap bikes <3

    Joined:
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    More in-depth story:

    Part 1... Henderson, NV, to Lovell Canyon.



    So I loaded all of my junk onto the bike at midnight, before leaving in the morning. I actually packed way too heavy. I brought 4 pairs of clothing... totally unnecessary... Ended up wearing the same nasty crap for the whole ride! I packed all my clothing, personal hygiene kit, food and camping gear into 3 Alps Mountaineering compression bags ( http://amzn.to/2kEnY2H ), a sack that lets you pack a large volume and then smash it down to a small volume. My camping setup was pretty simple; weatherproof sleeping bag cover ( http://amzn.to/2ke6eOU ), Small but effective sleeping bag ( http://amzn.to/2kek9o7 ), and a hammock with tree straps ( http://amzn.to/2ke6nlq ). It all fit into two medium sized and one small alps bag. I also had an extra gallon of fuel in my Fandango Tank Bag ( http://amzn.to/2kEmqFB ) which I did end up needing! All of my tools were stuffed into the Mojavi soft bags ( http://amzn.to/2kEn1aA ). I also brought a 2.5" hard drive and portable charger ( http://amzn.to/2jgBKMz ) to keep my camera going the whole trip. Definitely ended up needing that stuff too.



    The bike ended up looking like this:

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    The windscreen is known as "The Trashcan." It works well and anyone can make one for $0-$12








    The next day I left at about 7:00AM, not even very early because with this ride I wanted to care about timing as little as possible... Just wanted some freedom! I hopped on the 215 Beltway (A freeway that wraps around Las Vegas) from Henderson, NV, after fueling up. Yes, the 230 can still do freeway when weighed down by a bunch of adventure crap! In the picture below Vegas is off to the left, faintly visible in the distance.

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    I headed west out of Las Vegas to get to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This is where I first met up with Mr. Jay and his Husky 510. There's a toll stop, but government employees get in free (Woohoo!).



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    This is a beautiful, protected area with huge sandstone cliffs of a deep red-orange color. The road I was on is called the Scenic Loop, and goes to various trail heads where people park and go hiking.


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    The Rainbow Mountains, the first mountains I'd pass through on this trip!

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    One of the trail heads continues on to Rocky Gap Road, a road in unmaintained condition (the way I like it) which passes through the mountains to get to Lovell Canyon.



    Here's some Rocky Gap Road:

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    Rocky Gap has some pretty neat cliffs as well:

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    The uphill portion of Rocky Gap is where I ran into Mr. Jay again... This time with a spewing bike :(



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    This is where Rocky Gap starts to live up to its name:

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    But it quickly turns back into a normal road... Heading towards Lovell Canyon:

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    Made it through to Lovell Canyon with some morning still left. It no longer looked like a morning though. It was becoming overcast pretty quickly.

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    And that's all I've got for now. Here's the video of Part 1!
    #2
  3. RuffnReadyXJ

    RuffnReadyXJ Strait 250 adventure'n...

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    Looks awesome! I've seen pictures of that road and maybe some video clips as well, I think thats the same road some guys on big BMW's went on when they did the LA-Barstow-Vegas run...and now I know the name, ROCKY GAP! I'll have to put that on my riding bucket list!

    Keep posting up more pics!
    #3
  4. frickinjim

    frickinjim Cheap bikes <3

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    Yup that's the same road!

    Stay tuned :)
    #4
  5. Kamu

    Kamu Been here awhile

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    LOVE the Rocks! That's what we deal with here in Nevada ALL the time!
    #5
  6. AZ TOM

    AZ TOM Long timer

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    As a previous CR230F owner this bike is the best kept secret in the motorcycle world. Best all around bike I ever owned.
    #6
  7. polishadam82

    polishadam82 black sheep

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    very nice dude!!!
    #7
  8. frickinjim

    frickinjim Cheap bikes <3

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    Part Two – Lovell Canyon, Pahrump, Ash Meadows


    At the end of Rocky Gap, there’s a pleasant, forested valley. Lovell Canyon Road follows this valley for several miles. It is a simple paved road and a beautiful ride. It’s always nice and cool in this valley so this is my favorite place to escape at the end of a long day. Plenty of nice spots to just chill out, and not too many people come over this way during the week.

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    Lovell Canyon Road terminates at a split with two options; Lovell Summit Road, or STOP, PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING, FUUUUUUUUU. So far I’ve always chosen Lovell Summit Road (left).

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    Lovell Summit winds right up the mountains to the West of Lovell Canyon Road. This is a really pleasant ride and it’s even cooler in temperature than Lovell Canyon. The temperature was perfect at this point in my ride. It was overcast and looked like it was probably raining in some areas, but it was dry for my route. Forecast for that day was “Thunderstorms!” on my phone.

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    The highest part of Lovell Summit Road.

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    Heading down!

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    Who ever thought the desert could be so green…

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    Pahrump in the distance:

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    At the intersection of Lovell Summit Road and Trout Canyon Road. Trout Canyon Road heads West to the highway going through Pahrump.

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    I had a short sprint on the highway heading North to Pahrump.

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    The damage from this trip so far… As ADVrider inmate AZ TOM stated “this bike is the best kept secret in the motorcycle world.” My wallet completely agrees.

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    Going through Pahrump just before stopping to eat some lunch. Spent $3.50 on food. This is when I realized I am more expensive to run than the bike, darn. Sadly, if I leaned out my intake any more I would probably cause damage :(

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    Heading west out of Pahrump to Ash Meadows Road. The hills visible in the distance are the Nopah Range of California.

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    I could have kept heading West to get to Death Valley, but I was dying to see the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge after watching a documentary about it, so I turned onto Ash Meadows Road and headed North. The road dips into California for just a second.

    In California here:

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    Back in Nevada seconds later:

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    At the border of Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge:

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    This place was actually very humid and HOT, but much more alive than most desert valleys.

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    It kinda felt like I was going through the Central Valley of California for a second!

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    Ash Meadows is a unique little place for sure. It is internationally famous for the unique life there and the unique conditions that isolated that life from the rest of the world. Definitely a cool place to read about if you’re interested.

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    And this concludes Part Two…


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    The Part Two video will be available here as soon as YouTube is finished processing it!

    #8
  9. AZ TOM

    AZ TOM Long timer

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    Lovin this! My kind of ride, my kind of guy on my kind of bike. Keep it going.
    #9
  10. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    :lurk
    #10
  11. Esker01420

    Esker01420 Ich will einen taco.

    Joined:
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    Mayberry, SoCal
    Great ride report. Look forward to more videos. I really enjoy how you edit them as well.

    I have wanted to go to Red Rocks but thought it was just a paved loop. Now I know better !
    #11
  12. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Been here awhile

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    where elephants roam
    Awesome! What are those tires you are running, and how did they do?? you said a couple punctures??
    #12
  13. frickinjim

    frickinjim Cheap bikes <3

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    They are Shinko 244 tires. I love 'em! Inexpensive, long lasting on the little bike, and they get me anywhere. They did fine on this ride. Actually, they had no punctures. I was using a previously-patched tube, and my patches kept melting off.
    #13
  14. frickinjim

    frickinjim Cheap bikes <3

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    Part 3 – Death Valley Junction, West Side Road, Devil’s Golf Course

    After exiting Ash Meadows, I got onto Bell Vista Road / State Line Road heading west. I was looking for the “Welcome to California” sign. I was almost sure that there would be one since this is a maintained highway entering California, but I never saw one. Too bad… But I did see a band of feral horses! I’ve seen feral horses in the Vegas area before, but never a full mob of them with little ones. Awesome sight.


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    At Death Valley Junction, I swung on by the parking lot of the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel but I did not check out the inside. I want to check that place out and stay there some time, getting the full experience in one day. It’s apparently VERY haunted, creepy, run down, and not a recommended stay for people wanting to get any sleep… So it sounds like my perfect weekend getaway. I’ll be returning some day! Read up about the place if you’re curious; it might just draw you in!


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    The Amargosa Café was closed. Not sure if that meant out of business or just closed for the day. Apparently the place can be decent when opened.

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    A bit outside of DV Junction I ran across a small graveyard. Must be from the locals of Death Valley Junction?

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    I shot on down to Shoshone on the paved road for my second gas fill. That’s 0.949 gallons at $5.599 a gallon. I saw some RVs in the area. Bless your soul if you bring an RV through here!
    I also had to fill my gallon camelback here. I had already finished it off. I packed an extra liter of water for an emergency in my Giant Loop bags, but if a gallon only got me through a few hours I think a liter might be on the small side for an emergency reserve out here. Yikes.

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    Heading north out of Shoshone. Notice the DV on the hill to the left.

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    And here it is, the nice welcoming sign to Death Valley. No big deal, it’s just a valley named after the fact that it has a tendency to KILL PEOPLE. My kind of place!

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    Salsbury Pass. After this corner, the road drops into the valley.

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    Down we go…

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    I’m sure some people would see this place as ugly and a place to avoid. I see it as the perfect escape. Those menacing hills are just pure beauty to me.

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    A quick stop at the Ashford Mill ruins.

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    It’s nice that the park provides an outhouse to give you some privacy from all the ZERO people around!

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    The Ashford Mill ruins.

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    The entrance to West Side Road, complete with a sign telling you all of the reasons you should not enter!

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    I proceeded in. It really was scorching hot in this valley. The wind burned as it went across my skin, the direct opposite of wind chill. This is known as the hottest place on Earth, and it doesn’t disappoint. It was intense. It was awesome.

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    I found this sign highly entertaining. Not the story, but the typos. Looks like a pretty expensive sign and structure, and they didn’t even bother to double check their grammar. If you ever go by, read it for a good “wtf” moment.

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    Crossing Lake Manly, also known as The Devil’s Golf Course. The ground here seems to be mostly salt. It looks muddy, or at least moist, but the ground is perfectly solid.

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    Some spots on the lake are more “flakey” than others, like this area. I saw several places where people had driven out onto the flakey areas. I wouldn’t advise this, as there is apparently random breaks in the ground which open up to deep water. Some people probably wouldn’t believe that. Well, there actually is an aquifer under this stuff and there’s picture evidence here: http://lastadventurer.com/last-adve...s-of-the-devils-golf-course-death-valley.html

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    See how in the camera, it looks like the road just vanishes about 100 meters out? That’s the same “mirage” illusion you get in person due to the heat. It’s trippy. Catch the right angle and you get the classic “water in the distance” illusion. Death Valley plays games with you.

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    Here’s a particularly salty and flakey area:

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    Free salt, anyone?

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    Back on the main road after crossing the lake, heading South for a second to get to Artist’s Drive. The heat produced an amazing display when looking across the valley from one side to the other. You can’t really tell in the picture, but in person the hills were shimmering and blurry because of the heat.

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    I had just turned into Artist’s Drive, and was on the uphill to get in there when my bike overheated. It started detonating angrily as I chugged up the hill. I’d never had this bike overheat before so the sound was completely foreign and I didn’t know exactly what it was at first. I got back on and tried going again, but the detonation was back seconds later… So there I sat.

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    To be continued!

    Video Part 3 available here when youtube has processed it:
    #14
  15. RuffnReadyXJ

    RuffnReadyXJ Strait 250 adventure'n...

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    :lurk
    #15
  16. BadDogMax

    BadDogMax Been here awhile

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    Awesome!
    #16
  17. StG

    StG Been here awhile

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    Nice! Have always wanted to ride from vegas to pahrump the back way - will have to try that someday!
    #17
  18. CKutzGO

    CKutzGO Been here awhile

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    Great report and videos so far! really enjoying them!
    #18
  19. JLRzr

    JLRzr Been here awhile

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    love it, the trip is on my list!
    #19
  20. FAW3

    FAW3 Old wanderer

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    Great report and photos!

    I've only been in severe desert conditions twice...but your comment about how far a liter of water goes...is spot on. I was amazed just how fast I dehydrated just basically "being there", much less actually doing physical activity. Easy to see how so many folks get into distress (or worse) so quickly.
    #20