Newb to Noobs but not Death Valley - 3 Days of Nirvana

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by liv2day, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. Davethestick

    Davethestick Long timer

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    Great job on the trail repair guys ^^ Im glad you ddint have to go the steel stick route.
    #21
  2. BobcatSig

    BobcatSig Fresh Off The Couch Racing

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    DV looks absolutely amazing. Every time I see a RR about Death Valley, I always kick myself for not making the trip yet. I missed the 790 meet-up last October and I totally missed this event. Must go.
    #22
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  3. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    @BobcatSig - if you want tracks, let me know; you still have a couple weeks to get down there and rip around without hitting too much heat (most likely). Still be on the warm side, but doable. This was my 4th time riding around/through Death Valley and it's an experience you need to have.
    #23
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  4. BobcatSig

    BobcatSig Fresh Off The Couch Racing

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    I bet. I’ve heard DV is decent in October. We still need to get together over some whiskey and discuss similar things closer to home...
    #24
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  5. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Let me know what works on your end and we'll make it happen. Have my boys Mon-Tues, but Wed-Thur are always good (and every other weekend when I don't have 'em).

    In other news, I've been remiss in updating this report (too many things spinning around). Going to remedy that now :D
    #25
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  6. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Now where were we. Oh yeah, onto day 2 of riding.

    My original plan was to join @avejoe on the ride he scoped out - heading out Hunter Mountain to the Racetrack, Teakettle Jct, down Lippincott, then back to camp (at least, I think that was the loop). Though I really like that loop, done it before and wanted to go explore some new stuff.

    Thanks to input from @larryboy and @LittleWan, I made the decision to go check out the Nadeau Trail and explore a couple cabins I hadn't visited in previous trips. Went over to chat with @avejoe and let him know I wasn't going to join and he expressed interest in checking out Nadeau too. Sweet! Plan set.

    Woke up before the sun crested the range to the east of PSR (never remember - is that the Panamint range?) and grabbed a few shots during the good light.

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    Kick stands up and we hit asphalt for a couple miles before peeling off on what I thought was the start of the Nadeau Trail. Nope, just a random track that nearly had me eating my fender as it was deep wash and I was not ready for the front to bury/push like it did. Having never ridden with @avejoe before, I imagine the thought running through his head like "does this bozo know how to ride"...LOL.

    It didn't take long and we were on the right track, fortunately ahead of a group of 4x4s who had taken the correct exit off asphalt (doh).

    The first part of the track is solid wash riding, keep on the gas and be comfortable with the bike going where it wants. Definitely a workout to start things off, wasn't long until we pulled to the side and ditched a layer.

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    Once you're though the deep part of the wash, the road gets a bit firmer and is easier to ride. We peeled off on the track leading to Osborne Cabin and what a seriously cool cabin! It's tucked way back in the hills and I cannot imagine someone building something like this way the hell out there, but it's very well taken care of and totally cool.

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    We left Osborne Cabin and jumped back on Nadeau with the hope of finding Lookout City. First, a stop at a mine @avejoe spotted as we were making our way toward that track.

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    Watch your step!

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    It's truly beautiful out here.

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    So, the track I had plotted on my GPS to Lookout City didn't quite pan out. Not sure what I did wrong, but I couldn't figure out how to get there. I found the way up to Devastation Mine, but decided against that after listening to @hardinoki's story from the year prior (and others). So, we turned around and bombed to Minnietta Cabin.

    And I thought Osborne Cabin was cool (it is!), this was jut as amazing, but had a killer deck on the front that was absolutely perfect for our lunch stop. I could easily envision spending a couple days here as base camp. Very well taken care of with a fantastic view - what's not to like.

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    Yeah, not a bad view.

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    After a good lunch, we jumped back on Nadeau and kept riding. Though it's mostly flat and straight, you have to keep your wits about you - plenty of small washes to hit and throw you arse-over-teakettle if you're not paying attention. Good riding and a great place to get the drone out.

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    We peeled off Nadeau and bombed to Ballarat for a Coke (they don't sell beer any longer :(). Quick chat with the proprietor and we decided to take a run up Suprise Canyon. Definitely worth the short out and back - really neat canyon with water flowing down and lots of old equipment to inspect. There's a waterfall a short way back after you park, though neither of us felt like hiking in gear, so that'll have to be seen another time.

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    Bombed back to PSR in time to catch the Jimmy Lewis exhibition and had a fun time watching someone who knows how to ride ride...lol. Liquid refreshments were a must for said viewing experience, as demonstrated here by @hardinoki's full Jetboil.

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    Watching this guy get on the bike being inseam challenged was a hoot, especially after the question in the crowd about (lowering bikes or something along those lines).

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    Once the demo was over, we headed back to camp and found out our neighbor (Mike - don't know his handle) had an off and busted his leg. Talk about a crappy way to have the 2nd day of riding go. He was hauled back to PSR and we got him out of his gear so he could be transported to the hospital for X-Rays and all that un-fun crap.

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    With him sorted and off to the ER, we kicked back for a bit and then called it a night. Been a long day and with beer flowing, shut-eye came quickly.

    Now I just need to make some time to get the video crafted for day 2. Have a solid amount of drone footage to splice with the GoPro footage, should be fun.
    #26
  7. kmag

    kmag Been here awhile

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    Really great report and photos. I attended the rally Thurs-Sat so only explored DV on Friday. Looking forward to getting back to see more. Also looking forward to next year's DVNR. Great event.
    #27
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  8. SuperCape

    SuperCape "There's No Cure For It"

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    Great report @Liv2Ride. Always enjoy your fantastic reports. Great camera work and drone footage. Always enjoy your comments on other RRs. Thanks for your hard work. Keep it up.
    #28
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  9. Long Trail

    Long Trail ADV Ready

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    Hey @liv2day, enjoying the great report as always. Looks like some awesome riding. Quick gear question, what are you using to mount your Inreach on you?
    #29
  10. hardinoki

    hardinoki Adventurer

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    https://www.giantloopmoto.com/product/tracker-packer/

    I've got mine mounted on the shoulder strap of my pack, near chest level. Also comes with a length of velcro sufficient for wrapping it around the upper arm if not wearing a pack.

    Seems to be the perfect solution for keeping it on the person.

    Brad @liv2day might be using the same unit?

    The mini does come with a tiny mounting loop of sorts.
    #30
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  11. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Outstanding! I loved the cabins too.
    #31
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  12. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    Really enjoying this. I backed out of a DV ride last week as I didn’t want to rush out of Mexico. What a problem to have!

    It’s pretty high on the priority list.
    #32
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  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    @hardinoki has the best solution for keeping the mini in place. I need to get the same thing from Giant Loop, just using the D-Ring Garmin includes and the loop on the back of the unit is showing its age - will eventually wear through. I also use mine hiking and backpacking; so the d-ring is a nice option for those activities.
    #33
  14. BobcatSig

    BobcatSig Fresh Off The Couch Racing

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    +1 for the Giant Loop InReach Mini holder. I take mine on all the big bike adventures, and any time I'm riding solo on the dirt bikes. It'll likely come with me now with some of the sport bike riding as much of that is done in areas without much cell coverage.
    #34
  15. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Man, I've been a crappy contributor of late. Too much life getting in the way. Going to start the update for the third and last day of riding, might even be able to finish it in one sitting.

    The plan for the day was to go explore more new-to-me stuff, taking the route out to Ballarat, heading up Pleasant Canyon and looping back down to Panamint valley via South Park Canyon. I thought I was going to be doing this ride solo, but @SonoraDave decided to go do it again as his buddy pictured in the last shots from the night before wasn't going to be riding anything anytime soon.

    I think one of the biggest surprises (for me) as we started climbing the canyon was how much vegetation hung about! It was crazy to be riding with plants whacking my helmet, and water running down the wash we were riding up. Another not as fun surprise were the number of SxS, forgot that the first stretch is all BLM, which did work in my favor as I was able to get the drone out and not have to worry about violating park regulations.

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    Don't recall the name of the first cabin we stopped at, but it was in a bit of disrepair and also had quite the crowd hanging around. We checked it out for awhile, then jumped back on the bikes to get ahead of the SxS folks.

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    Was odd to see a relatively new water heater inside the cabin; so someone or a group must be in the process of cleaning it up or helping in restoring it.

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    We stopped at the next cabin as you make your way up the canyon and this one was in excellent shape (have to look the name up). Absolutely killer deck off the front of the canyon overlooking the valley.

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    I should take a minute and comment on the technical level of this ride. While nothing crazy, it was a solid ride going up the canyon. Rocky as hell with some sections of loose crap and it kept climbing and climbing. Dave gets huge props for flogging the XT, we stopped a few times to let both our motors chill - I know the little WR boiled over once or twice as the scent of coolant couldn't be missed when we stopped.

    One of the times stopping was to get the drone out and chase Dave and then by chance another group of riders who stopped to see if I was ok (adv riders are the best!). Coupla shots from the drone perspective.

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    Even though schlepping a drone around can be a pia, getting it to chase riders (or endure the unending frustration of attempting active track) is pretty damn fun. Had to apologize to Dave as he ended up waiting a lot longer than he anticipated since I chased the second group of riders.

    Finally caught up to him and we kept climbing. Basically, the theme of the ride was either climbing up rocky stuff or descending rocky stuff. With a few stops to check out some seriously cool cabins and sights.

    Ran into a group of 4x4s camped at the next cabin and this was before the short(ish) technical climb up to top of the pass (though not exactly the top of the pass as I discovered after getting back to camp).

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    Needs some TLC to get it back to habitable, though at the elevation, likely a good place to take shelter if needed.

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    We both made the climb after this with only one stop up to the top. Kick myself for not getting any pictures of the climb, but was too focused on not losing momentum or falling over at the one time I did choose the wrong line. Wasn't easy getting going again, it's times like this that I miss having a bike with torque.

    Cresting the top and then dropping down to the meadow between the two canyons is really neat. I should have pulled the drone out to chase the group we caught up with, but was pretty sure we were inside the park and didn't want to deal with any issues. Still managed to capture a few decent shots with the camera.

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    After enjoying the relative flat of the area between the two canyons, the descent began. And damn...what a descent! By the time we reached the bottom, my quads were on fire and I just wanted to see flat ground again...LOL.

    Amazing views along the way.

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    At one point along the way down, I encountered a bunch of 4x4s heading up and they were all stopped helping one of the riders from the group we encountered several times. Seems his axle nut had gone AWOL and they were graciously helping him get it sorted so he could make it down to the valley and back to camp without needing rescue. I think the temporary fix involved a lot of bailing wire and maybe a pipe clamp. Reminded me of my very first ride in SE Oregon where one of our group had the same thing happen, though we were lucky enough to find both the nut and washer after hunting through the sage brush.

    Didn't get any pics of that, but did stop for some shots near chicken corner. Glad I was going down and not up this stretch. Doable both ways, but making a mistake on line choice would not fare well...in either direction.

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    Hard to see, but there's a rider way down there.

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    The reward for making it down this section was stopping at Briggs cabin. Though I really liked the cabins explored off the Nadeau trail (Minnietta and Osborne), Briggs takes the cake for the cool factor. Built into the side of the mountain with part of the floor being rock, it's a gem of a spot and I could easily see spending a few nights hanging out and enjoying it.

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    This was the perfect spot to stop for a bite to eat and relax before the final descent to the valley floor. It honestly felt like the ride going down would never stop, kept rounding the corner to see more and more elevation drop...lol.

    But the views!

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    Oh yeah, back up that way is where we came from.

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    Don't take a step back.

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    Didn't stop for any more pics along the way down, so I'll wrap this up with some shots from camp and my last night hanging out in newbs.
    #35
  16. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    Wooo! Now you see why doing that massive loop (including out to geologists cabin, then osborne + minnietta) in one day is kind of a waste. Much better to break it up into 2 days.
    The nice cabin with the clown tiki is World Beater. I think the one near rogers pass (where the 4x4s were camping) was Rita's cabin.

    Next time, go the other direction - south park canyon, middle park, pleasant canyon - and it's like a whole different ride.
    BigWan likes to coast, engine off, from World Beater cabin all the way down to Ballarat. He says you have to brake gently in a couple spots, but if you do it just right you'll still have enough momentum to make it.
    I always chicken out and brake too hard (he goes over 30 mph at times) so I never make it. :lol3


    So here's the plan: For your next visit, first do south park canyon --> pleasant canyon loop in that direction (counterclockwise),
    then do the Swansea --> Salt Tram --> Cerro Gordo --> S5 (santa rosa wash) --> Darwin ride.
    Some challenging stuff at Swansea grade and then lots of steep climbs and descents. Santa rosa wash is super fun, as is the sand on the way to Darwin (centennial flat).
    3rd day - Echo Canyon and Big Dune. :thumb

    Thanks for taking pics and doing a report! :D
    LW



    p.s. You're a great dad, those are lucky boys :)
    BigWan and I love Xmas Valley! Back when we still ate pizza, we had some tasty ones at the Feed Barn.
    BBQ chicken pizza...Mmmmmmm

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    #36
  17. Davethestick

    Davethestick Long timer

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    #37
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  18. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Thanks for the post @LittleWan! I'm very glad you suggested breaking the ride up into a couple days; have to be a Graham Jarvis type to actually pull off doing the loop I had in mind :lol2 :lol2

    Have done some of what you suggested for the next rip down there; but have yet to get to the Salt Tram, Swansea, or the wash (at least, I don't think I have...lol).

    And thanks for saying that, I love getting over to Christmas Valley and thoroughly enjoyed showing my boys how cool it is on that side of the Cascades :-)
    #38
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  19. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Sat down last night with the goal of getting a short vid together from day's 2 riding. Featuring @avejoe and footage from the Nadeau Trail and Surprise Canyon; have enough footage that I'll probably put another one together :D

    #39
  20. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    Excellent! The video really captures how awesome DV is. It also captures how slow I ride.
    #40
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