First ride report... Well, the plan was to time the ride from SF to Death Valley for a long weekend to coincide with perfect late summer weather in the Sierras and 'cooler' weather in DV...we were off by a week as a huge storm hit NorCal the weekend before. We cursed and bitched about the prospect of having to I-5 it via Bakersfield in both directions (a huge detour for those not familiar), but things improved just enough by the day we left to allow us to sneek over the mountains, leaving SF Thursday afternoon. The posse consisted of yours truly, Grounded (who did not disappoint in that arena, but more of that later) and Craig (shame on you, lurker). Lots of snow on the roadside as we climbed the Sierras, cold temperatures, but dry roads. We reached South Lake Tahoe just before dusk and dropped down to camp near Lake Topaz, on SR-395. By 9pm it was in the high 30s, so we were in for a cold one. The following morning And this was after we'd thawed out sufficiently to venture outside... We let the sun do its thang and hit the road south towards Bodie and eventually Lone Pine. God freekin' bless Mr. Widder and Mrs. Heated Grips!!! Near Devils's Gate We headed up the road to Bodie, but only as far as the end of the slab, as the dirt road was well snowed in and we didn't like our chances on what looked like a skating link. Looking south towards Mono Lake and the Sierras just east of Yosemite...where we had originally planned to spend the first night before the closure of Tioga Pass forced us further north. Just north of Independence, looking towards the almost 15k ft Mount Whitney. My beatch. Best jerky in the state...pepper steak, habenero, honey turkey, elk and more. No moose jerky, tho' the 3-toothed babe who served us fair resembled one!!! If you're on the SR395, this is in Independence. Well worth the stop. Our diet for the next couple of days! We gased up in Lone Pine, bought a few provisions and headed into DV. The plan was to take Saline Valley Road to the infamous Lippincott Mine Road and camp at the Racetrack. Looking down from Saline Valley Road to the Panamint Dunes and Panamint Mountains beyond in the north of DV National Park. Some quick running repairs to a loose mudguard, right before the turn onto Lippincott Mine Road. Half way up 2/3rds done, looking back towards Inyo Mountains The final few turns. Road was steep (which pictures don't show at all) and knarly in sections with big drop offs, but generally not as hardcore as we'd thought it would be. Grounded did just that a couple of times (sorry no pics) but otherwise we made it without incident. The following morning, camped on the edge of the Racetrack. Ubehebe Peak in the background Racetrack and Grandstand Floor of the dry lake bed And the famous 'moving' rocks ADV Rider salute! This noob is learning fast!! All ready to move on and my rear tire is totally flat. I hand pump the tire and we move on, checking every few miles and hoping to make it to Beatty, NV before looking at repairing it. Ubehebe Crater and back on the slab. Just started to hand pump my tire again when fellow ADV Rider shows up on his Dakar 650 and lends me his 12v air compressor. Forgot his name, but huge thank you. Air compressor is now top of my 'Please Santa' list! We made it to Beatty, where we run into another ADVer, Johnny. What are the odds of meeting a NYC ADVer in one horse town Beatty?! He's on a 3 month US jaunt. You better sign on Johnny and post your awesome sounding ride here. In the meantime, safe journey back to NYC. I bust open the tool kit without a lot of confidence that the shit it contains will plug the hole in my tire wall that 40 psi soon exposed. Fuck me but it worked a treat, I reinflate it and we hightail it to Titus Canyon. Grounded Johnny Craig Mine shaft at Leadfield The Charcoal Kilns, close to Wildrose. It's now totally clouded over and we're wondering what's happening over the Sierras, which we'll have to cross again tomorrow. Final camp They're looking dejected as you know who won the Texas hold 'em...not that 75 stones buys more than a bag of rocks!! The night was clear and mild but we're now in the SW corner of the park and ain't gonna chance headed north back up SR395 only to meet foul weather and a then massive detour. Instead we play it safe and head south to the Trona Pinnacles, scene of many movies, for obvious reason. From here it was the long ride home, via Lake Isabella, Central Valley and Coalinga to the 25, to Hollister and the 101 to SF. Just over 8 hours total...not bad considering we were on freeway for about 25 miles only, until the 101. Anything to avoid freekin' I-5!! Grounded added some adventure to the ride home when he argued with some gravel on the twisties above Lake Isabella, but I'll let him tell that story. All in all an awesome weekend. Too short, but that's a weekly problem, right!?! Hope to maybe see some of you back there in DV in January.