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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Metalcarver, Apr 2, 2019.
Just hand them a broom, shovel or paint brush. They'll drift away like dust in the wind. dd
Aforementioned millenial infestation. Aforementioned frustrations with egomaniacal toy manufacturer leading to cancellations of plans. Don't people know that it's not a good idea to walk like you're on eggshells when the one thing that pisses the dragon off more than anything else is people walking like they are on eggshells. That was the point that a little piece of stunted straw drifted down out of the ceiling and landed on the old fart's back. The seer had already been filed a little too short so a ghost whisper nudged that hammer on it's way, smacked the end of the firing pin which lit off the primer and a whole interesting series of events occured, all of which could easily be predicted by physics. Except for the ricoche...
But since it's my brain that went blooey I'd be more inclined to call it a splatter pattern.
This is my first trailering motorcycle trip. I never motocrossed or atv'd, all my motorcycle trips have begun and ended at home or in the hospital. So , diesel Colorado, and the Red Dwarf on the trailer made for a nimble little package.
After two years dealing with the PNW congestion, moves and remodels I got down toward Lakeview and into the Great Basin. I just had a tremendous sense of relief to see for twenty miles. PJ's and rabbit brush. Sigh... had to pull over. Musta been sumpin in my eye...
Blasted through Beatty on the second day (Overnite in Alturas - definitely some country around there worth investigating.) and parked at the Mesquite Springs campground.
And still had some daylight so went up the Death Valley Road a ways.
And then a quick run (paved) to Ubehebe crater.
And then back to base camp. For this trip I picked up one of those Coleman instant tents and one of their camp cots - full size. And fortuitously two sleeping bags. That night we had below freezing temps and 40 mph wind. Kinda noisy.
The wind backed way down in the AM and I headed down the road to the Racetrack
On two wheels it seems like you can usually find the right speed where you just hit the tops of stutterbumps and things smooth out. Not so with the dwarf. Every spring has a different rate and travel. You just have to ride it like a buckboard. Pretty slow, just rocking down the road watching stuff go by. Just what I needed.
Joshua trees only grow where there is real dirt. Most of Death Valley is so devoid of vegetation that there is no dirt. Dust and sand but nothing to hold them together. And the road did seem to smooth out some around them.
And then on down to the Racetrack Playa. The washboard stutterbumps are so bad and I made so many inappropriate entry speeds into washes and bumps that I am now convinced that if anything was going to break, it would have.
I guess that when the moisture in the playa and the wind are just right these rocks can move 3 feet a day. Tracks show where some @#$%^ was out flipping donuts in a utv out there. Some other dinglebutt rented an F-150 and got it stuck in the middle of the Lippencot road and left it. Still there.
It was high noon so had to crank in every bit of contrast available.
Another fellow traveler.
October 30. Another cold night but very nice morning. Split for Beatty for gas and then up the Titus Canyon road.
Met some folks in a 4X4 near the top of the canyon who said they'd take my picture. Dunno. Something about identifying marks...
The Geezer his own shrunk ass self.
The rest of the canyon is all downhill. It's a one way canyon and one of the more popular dirt roads in the park.
hm. Looks uphill... One of these statements is not like the other.
Still going up.
Bands of color all through the park.
And the canyon keeps narrowing down to a slot canyon.
And then it spits you out onto another big alluvial - Piedmont and back to Mesquite Flats campground for another cold night.
So, yes. Trying to cram two years of riding into a couple weeks. Seems to be working. Decided to move to Panamint Springs for closer access to more roads. Basically one valley to the west.
It was early afternoon so went on a little side trip to the Panamint Dunes.
I think if you chew on some resin core solder it might help keep your dental fillings in.
Dunes in the background but no, I did not walk over to them.
Then I went back to camp and watched the shadows crawl across the valley.
Got up early and headed for Darwin. It was marked as 4wd but so were others I had been on. Passed the 4wd sign. meh.
Piece of cake.
Of course this is the point that it starts to get steep and bumpy, which side hacks hate. Then there's that fine point where you have to keep going. Can't stop , can't crawl, 1wd does not equal 4wd, but my Ural would not have had enough power to get to where the Honda stopped. Abruptly. I had maintained a firm grip on the grips, which was my only contact with the outfit for a while. Which caused me to pull on the throttle even more which blasted me right over the first set of rock steps . The resultant return to earth rolled the throttle shut and I stopped cold. Below is the launch ramp. Got kinda sweaty turning it around but there is enough throw lock to lock on the front wheel I was able to turn it around in a little over it's own length.
then wandered back down and hiked up the trail to the spring.
That took me to lunch so I decided on a road trip for the afternoon. Surprise Canyon takes off of the Furnace Creek road heads back to Stovepipe Wells. I turned south toward Furnace Creek and it was almost like someone turned on Steppenwolf. Loud. Geezers are known to have flashbacks but this one was good. The entire road was mine. No traffic. Also it turns out that the silly looking long legged red dwarf is the best highway rig I have ever owned. And there I was, summer of 1970, heading alone west across Wyoming, suplus mummy bag and tarp strapped to the sissy bar of a CL450 Honda. In a world of Honda 350's with extended forks, on my 450 I was king. Mind you that was a CL man. High pipes. That's all it took to make it a scrambler. Sort of.
Kind of put the dimensions to me and motorcycles. I'm a cruiser. Just happens I like cruising wicked ass back roads. But cruising two lane black top on the nicest bike you have ever owned, and you are all alone on an empty road in the wilderness. Pretty special.
And popped the bubble and headed up the Surprise Canyon road.
It's one of those that they just stop maintaining and hope it turns to dirt. Which it mostly has.
Then charcoal kilns up by Wild Rose and Mahogany Flats Campgrounds.
And back home to Panamint Springs.
I'm so envious I love Death Valley. There is something about it that is magical to me. That Darwin road got me and the Superbug too, at those steps. Not much further to the top but those steps are a bugger. I was riding with a friend with much longer legs and he rode it up those last few yards of nastiness while I walked. I enjoyed the road until I got to the steps.
It seems like the road to the moving rocks is always full of stutter bumps.
Dang. If it got the Superbug then maybe I was just asking for it. Served me right.
Next day big store-bought breakfast and off to check out the Saline Valley road. First climb out of the Panamint Valley.
And some odd landmarks on the side of the road.
The road winds up a long arm of mountains to where youcan look back on the Panamint Valley.
And in the saddle the Lipincott Mine road takes off and the Saline Valley road drops down to the valley. There was a really tight grove of Joshua trees I had to check out.
Saline Valley Road
And poked on down into the Valley just far enough to see what it would probably be like to go the whole length. Then backtracke up the pass, and the Lippincott junction, down to the Cielo road and rode out into the Joshua forest.
There and back again every day is a lot different than just drifting across the high plains.
Skedaddle from Death Valley tomorrow.
That is some kick ass blue sky!! Thank you for taking us along!
I had planned on just moving over to Furnace Creek and riding roads from there but got a big shock... they were breeding.
So I decided to make for St. George, Utah. Close to everything and some tremendous desert routes. And I have mentioned that geezers MAY be more prone to miscalculations, but the plain truth of the matter is that I haven't been to St. George since 1971. Something in the back of my mind told me "meh. No sweat" I think Gollum lives in the back of my mind scrawling graffiti on the walls. So yes, I found the White Elephant Burial Ground. It's called St. George. It is huge. It is covered in RV parks and mansions. With minions scurrying about just like any big city. Got a Mumbai Hilton and huddled against the night.
One thing I can say for the people of the Indian subcontinent is that they can convey more meaning and emotion (and contempt) without saying a word than any other group of people I have met.
Yeah, locked myself out.
Sneaked outta there in the am before Call to Gluttony and made off east around Zion and up to Bryce and Escalante from the south. Long ride, but I'm thoroughly enjoying the Colorado, and the highway was pretty empty. Got a campground at the Petrified Forest state cg. Spendy but showers and plumbed washrooms. Nice hike up through the PJ's
Then ran down to Escalante to fill the outfit and on out the Hole in the Wall Road.
And that igit scrawling shit on the backside of my brain laughed and laughed and laughed when I stopped to take pics in the middle of a sand wash.
Sweat dries really fast in that climate.
Headed to camp.
Nov. 5 was a really good day. Headed up the Hell's Backbone road about 8am when it had warmed up into the 40's. (that's cool - this ain't Aferker)
The road winds up in altitude pretty quickly the pinyon/juniper turns into big Ponderosa. I took a short side road to Posey Lake there was a small open patch in the middle but the edges of the lake were frozen down about 1 foot. Even in Alaska it took a pretty good soak of cold to freeze a lake in a week like that. I imagine there were some pretty uncomfortable people and critters around here.
Beyond the lake heading north is the Kaibab plateau and I really need to get down and explore that. I went back down to the Hell's backbone trail. Graded dirt road to forest service standards - suv stuff. +washboard + stiffly sprung outfit + thousand foot dropoffs. meh.
And got to the bridge which is the main event and some folks needed to the record the insectoid on the red landing craft.
You need a drone to show the exposure on that bridge.
And on down to Boulder for lunch which was closed for the season <sigh>
And then toodle on down the Burr trail from Boulder. Paved until the Capitol Reef boundary. Then dirt finishing of with a couple of miles of 12% switchbackyshit.
Only real excitement was on one switchback going back up and I had already committed myself to the outside line on a right hand when a SUV came on through. I'm on the wrong side so go inside where its near vertical large stutterbumps and did my Mr. Toad thing again - death grip on bars, throttle pinned, feet far above head. Horsepower is a good thing but it might be unseemly to use it in public like that. For a elderly gentlemenace that is.
Then on back through the park to Escalante. Would have to be one of the number one cruiser roads of all time.
And, all tuckered out, snuggled up for the night.
Road trip / Ride trip. Moab was next so spent a whole day getting there. Did some serious eating when I got there.
Nov. 7 Left the camp by the river then touristy stuff to Arches. Everywhere you look...
Then turned north down the Salt Valley road.
The road runs out north to the highway, and not as many spectacular spots but completely alone. That last part gets you an extra twenty points.
And some cell phone pics back to camp and a little ride up the river.
So far the only nights above freezing were the ones in Panamint Springs. The Coleman tent was wonderful. Full size camp cot with foam mattress. Two (whole) sleeping bags. Perfectly toasty warm - If you stay right there for 12 hours.
Days start and about 8 am because that's when the sun hits and is good for an instant 15 degree warmup. The BLM camp is on the West side of the river and because it is BLM it is a very popular place with climbers.
Then downstream to the Schaffer Trail.
Aaaaand not sayin' that everyone should ride this road, and really, it's not a technical challenge as much as a pucker challenge ... but ...
(premature end-zone shit)
And looking back at all the stuff I forgot to check out from Dead Horse Point.
Then back on down to the river bottom.
And a really simple, easy to set up car camping lash-up.
You can really cover quite a few "highlights" this way, i.e. one day trips from a base camp. And I'll use this setup for far flung party crashing but it's just not like long distance cruising. After a week in the saddle things just look completely different. You're a high plains drifter. You have your ride, your grub, and a road. Just mebbe a job to do.
"To the town of Agua Fria rode a stranger one fine day
Hardly spoke to folks around him, didn't have too much to say
No one dared to ask his business, no one dared to make a slip
The stranger there among them had a big iron on his hip
Big iron on his hip"
Made it home 3 days. Moab filled up for the weekend. And I was amongst the climbers, partying, um... experimenting, and doing things I would never have done nope, not at all. So I return to lurking, and scheming. Mushrooms and moss and green shit. Foghorns at night. Weird world.
Yep, quite a contrast from the beautiful desert.
I've enjoyed every photo and text of your adventure. Thanks for sharing.