Solo in the Valley of Death

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by hanksmybuddy, May 17, 2011.

  1. hanksmybuddy

    hanksmybuddy Been here awhile

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    Tacoma, Washington
    Did a ride back in early April in Death Valley. Sitting here with nothing to do so I thought I'd post up report that I posted on a local forum here. Anyway, it's not like you haven't read a million other reports on Death Valley but thought I'd post up anyway. I live in Bend, Oregon and decided I had to get out of the cold and Death Valley would do. Plan was to trailer the bike down to Bishop, Ca., find a place to leave the rig and do a 5 day loop to the south end up back in Bishop. Left Bend in the snow and encountered more on the way down. Damn....this isn't looking too good...

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    After 12 hours rolled into Bishop and found a dump of a motel for the night. Walked into town and stuffed myself on Sushi. Back to the room for some route checking, packing and prepping for the ride tomorrow. Temps were suppose to be below freezing first thing in the morning so I figured I wouldn't be in much of a hurry. Plan for day one was to camp in Saline Valley at the the hot springs.

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    Up the next morning for some chow at McDonalds, gas and then the visitor center south of Bishop. Wanted to check on the status of North Pass as I heard that it was closed. Visitors center stated that they weren't sure of the condition and they recommended I take an alternate route. Screw that, I'm going. Damn government always errs on the side of total safety. Road was perfect, no problems whatsover. Finally started warming up around 10 so I just crept along enjoying the sites. Stopped wherever and just screwed around all day. Had plenty of time to get to the hot springs. Even found a nice warm flat rock and napped for over an hour.


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    I'm the type that likes to stop and screw around. I spent almost an hour poking around this old mining site. Kicking rocks, looking in holes, taking a piss, pictures and more pictures, picking my nose, scratching my ass, whatever I feel like doing. Not sure what it is but when I get out there I can just do nothing and it doens't seem to bother me. When working, no way. Always thinking of the job and what I need to do next. When camping off the bike I don't care where I end up or when I decide to stop.

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    Road leading down from North Pass that was suppose to be in really bad shape. WTF?

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    Arrived at the hot springs mid afternoon. After stopping at the lower springs decided I needed a little more solitude as I hadn't seen anybody since leaving Bishop so I skipped the lower springs which had a couple of hairy hippy chicks soaking. Neither was hot so I headed to the upper springs for a two hour soak (solo...oh yea).

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    After the soak found a campsite. Some burro's were roaming around the area.

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    Got back on the bike and rode up towards Steel Pass and the dunes for about an hour. Got back right around dusk went for one more soak at the springs. Stars were out and the constellations were incredible. Slept like a baby.....

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    Early morning view of the lower springs from my campsite. If you haven't been here you've got to check this place out. An oasis in the middle of the desert.

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    More to come.......
    #1
  2. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Ain't nothing like a nice nap on the side of the road!!
    #2
  3. redog1

    redog1 KLR650-2009

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    Location:
    Magalia, CA./ Butte & Siskiyou C.
    Was there the weekend of April 15th, had a blast, I think I'll be back one day with more time and a slower pace. Covered a lot of ground in three days with lionsroaar and surfrider26, great times and more great memories:clap
    #3
  4. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

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    Most excellent Hank. For some reason as I get older, I seem to seek more solitude in my rides. It must have been awesome being out under the stars, and the hot springs are a bonus! This was funny... had a couple of hairy hippy chicks soaking. Neither was hot so I...
    Nice truck by the way!
    Cheers!
    #4
  5. yellowbirdrs

    yellowbirdrs Been here awhile

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    nice!!
    which Rd. did you take?
    any GPS file to share?
    #5
  6. StarFleet

    StarFleet Been here awhile

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    Would be really pumped if you had a GPS file.
    #6
  7. hanksmybuddy

    hanksmybuddy Been here awhile

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    Sorry, no GPS file. I had it with me but ended up just using Tom Harrison's map of Death Valley. Excellent map for anyone putting together a trip. Basically entered Death Valley by means of Big Pine Road heading south to North Pass then dropping down into Saline Valley to the hot springs. Saline valley road through Grapevine Canyon to Hwy 191, east Panamint Springs. Kept working my way south to Goler Wash. Once thru there and Stripe Butte Valley then started working north by means of Beatty, Titus Canyon, Teakettle Junction, Racetrack, Lippencott Pass then back over North Pass. Lots of little side trips you can do from these roads as well. Lippencott is way too much fun with great views.
    #7
  8. hanksmybuddy

    hanksmybuddy Been here awhile

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    Concur. I like the solo rides myself. One or two people is fine but not into the big group rides. Great bunch of guys that ride out this way but just can't get into the larger group rides.
    #8
  9. hanksmybuddy

    hanksmybuddy Been here awhile

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    Up early the next morning for one final soak with some hairy hippies. Talking with this group was fun. They were out there. I guess I'm too much of a conservative in the political realm. They seemed to think that our government owed them something. I never did quite understand how they figured they were owed something. After a good soak headed back to Saline Valley Road to head over South Pass enroute to Panamint Springs. After few miles I started smelling something. Stopped and found this shit. Like an idiot I didn't stop and check the straps after a few minutes like I normally do. Tent came off and was rubbing on the chain. Friggin ruined it. Hope I didn't get any rain over the next four nights or I'd be getting my ass wet. Strapped it back on as I didn't want to trash the desert. Figured I'd get rid of it in Panamint.

    $200 tent trashed.......:baldy

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    Burro's. Tried to get close to these guys but they're pretty skittish. A group of them at the hot springs could give two shits less about people. You can walk right up on them.

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    Looking north from the road leading to South Pass

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    View from top of South Pass looking south...

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    Ran into this guy on top of the pass. He was character and had driven this non-plated rig up from Arizona. Stated he was taking backroads as much as possible and staying off pavement so he wouldn't get busted. Sat around and shot the shit awhile and then started dropping down to Hwy 190 for some gas and EXPENSIVE food.

    Some shots on the way down..

    Non plated dude from Arizona..

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    More to come......
    #9
  10. AZ_ADV_RIDER

    AZ_ADV_RIDER Demons In My Helmet

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    Looks like a blast! How do you like your XRL - Pros and cons and what mods have you done to it?
    #10
  11. hanksmybuddy

    hanksmybuddy Been here awhile

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    Resprung it front & rear. Clarke 4.7 tank. Oversize pegs. Dave's mods, rejetted and opened up airbox. Fork brace. New Renthal high rise bars. Ram mirror mounts. Dunlop 606's (front/rear). XR Only rotor and front sprocket guard.

    I like the bike for what I do. I get a lot of grief from some of the guys around here who ride the 650R. All good natured but grief none the less! I'm not some hotshot rider by any means and the L gets the job done for me. I'm not out jumping shit, hauling ass or pulling wheelies with it. I'm out poking around on fire roads, quad trails and simple singletrack when I run across it. With the Giant Loop Great Basin bag it makes a good set-up for camping off the bike. I've put about 8000 miles on it with no problems. Thing is pretty simple with it being air cooled. I change the oil, clean the filter and flog it. I'd buy it again. Got it used for a good deal with only 400 miles on it in stock condition. I think the XR650 has built up a good reputation seeing as how long it's been out there.
    #11
  12. hanksmybuddy

    hanksmybuddy Been here awhile

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    Came across this young lady in Panamint. Riding this Honda 250 and she had it loaded. Was out for 2 months just touring the SW and camping. I was impressed. Wished her well and took off for Ballart.

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    Cactus outside Ballart.

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    On the way to Goler Wash came across these guys out camping. Super nice guys who had plenty of guns, beer and steak and were willing to share if I wanted to camp there for the night. Had a cold soft drink with them and headed south for Goler Wash.

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    Old abandoned mining area in Goler Wash

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    #12
  13. WaywardSon

    WaywardSon Long timer

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    My kind of ride....and report! Enjoying your style. I pretty much ride the same way, just putzing around on back roads, stopping constantly to take pictures and just dick around:-) It works for me, but is not conducive to group rides:evil That works for me too.

    Nice job...and thanks for taking the time:deal
    #13
  14. ramjet

    ramjet Long timer

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    Thanks for sharing. Looked like a fortunate blend of life, nature and meeting interesting people.
    #14
  15. F.P.

    F.P. Clown who is sick

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    San Josey, CA
    2 hairy hippy chicks and a dude from Ore-gun sitting nekkid in a hot tub discussing politics......must have a been quite the discussion!
    Enjoying your report.
    #15
  16. hanksmybuddy

    hanksmybuddy Been here awhile

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    After doing the Goler Wash Step (which is way overrated in terms of difficulty IMO) topped out on Mengle Pass. Fun and scenic ride over the pass. Had hoped to stay in one of the cabins down in Stripe Butte valley but they were both occupied. Couple in the Geologist cabin invited me to stay but didn't want to impose so I kept moving. Light was fading fast and I didn't want to set up in the dark so started looking for some flat ground. Really scenic ride through the valley. Found a spot and set up for the night. Perfect weather, no chance of rain (which was good since I had no tent now), no wind and the stars were spectacular during the night.

    Mengle Pass

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    Washed out side road I went exploring in

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    Headed east towards Stripe Butte Valley

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    Camp spot for the night..

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    Dinner for the night...

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    Night sky was spectacular ......

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    #16
  17. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Nice report and pics.

    You would think REI would make more abrasion resistant tents.:lol3
    #17
  18. Baja Ho

    Baja Ho Been here awhile

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    Great report and pics. Was just out there a few weeks ago and road over some of the same roads. To bad about the tent, interesting looking sleeping pad or cot, what is it?
    #18
  19. DSM8

    DSM8 Where fun goes to die....

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    +1

    :ear
    #19
  20. AZ_ADV_RIDER

    AZ_ADV_RIDER Demons In My Helmet

    Joined:
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    Well said and +1 on your insight! Just sold my Dakar and was looking for something with a little more oomph than my KLX but lighter than that damn heavy BMW and something easier to work on. You might have sold me on the XRL. :thumb
    #20