Xt250 vs Death Valley

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Socalstrom, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    I have ridden out to Death Valley a few times a year for the last few years but only on street bikes. It’s great on a street bike, but I knew the good stuff was out in the dirt. In November I bought BEAST, a 2016 XT250 under the auspices of riding around with my kid on his crf70 while he learns to ride and to have something my wife could put around on. After riding beast around town, out in the dirt, and a few 60 mile commutes, I realized that I had all the bike I needed for an inaugural off road trip to DV.
    #1
  2. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    I got beast used with 4,000 miles on it in very good condition. It came with Heindau K60 tires, top rack, happy trail side racks, skid plate, fmf pipe, and aluminum bars. I added wider foot pegs, a parabellum windscreen, bark buster jet hand guards, and a connector for my heated jacket and gloves. I also put a 16 tooth counter shaft sprocket on since I anticipated around 300 miles of freeway riding.
    #2
  3. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    Here’s beast, locked and loaded in all 17hp of her glory. I left at 7:45am headed 140 miles via the 15 to the 395 to Trona Rd out to the Trona Pinnacles. I had always wanted to check the Pinnacles out, but wasn’t going to ride the 12 miles round trip in the dirt on my Road King or my Vstrom with street tires.
    #3
  4. BillUA

    BillUA Las Vegas, NV

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    Right on. 666, have fun! THAT'S and Iron Maiden reference.........
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  5. MattLikeyBikey

    MattLikeyBikey Been here awhile

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    The 15 on a 250cc already sounds like an adventure. Looking forward to how it goes.
    #5
  6. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    You can see the pinnacles out in the distance. This side trip was totally worth it. There are trails that allow you to ride around them which is pretty cool. The Searles Valley and Trona area is west of the west set of mountains that form Death Valley. There is a lot of minerals mined from the dry lakebed and the whole area has a sulfur smell, but in a good way.
    #6
  7. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Good start, looking forward to the rest of your report...
    #7
  8. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    I always stop at the shell station in Trona since it’s the last place to get gas for a while and I was calculating around 130 miles until I got to my next gas stop. Also, the lady that works here is a sweet person, she usually has her dog there with her, and she makes awesome breakfast burritos with homemade salsa! After my burrito and Red Bull breakfast, I continued north toward Ballarat ghost town. The road goes up some small hills and is super twisty and fun before it drops down and becomes Trona Wildrose Rd.
    #8
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  9. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    The beast handled the 15 and 395 with no issues. It will cruise between 61-65 mph pretty easily and only slows to the high 50 mph on the really steep hills. On sections of the 395 the speed limit is 65, but the shoulder is wide so I just moved over to let faster traffic pass. Out on regular two lane 55 mph roads the lack of power was a non issue. I was able to ride all the way to Trona without taking a rest and while I’m sensitive to vibration ( I had body parts go to sleep on 600cc 4 cylinders) I was fairly comfortable.
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  10. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    I took a right turn onto the dirt road out to Ballarat. It was kind of unimpressive, but this truck was cool and was designed around the same time the original XT250 was. I then headed north on Indian Ranch Rd which is dirt and follows the western slope of the mountains. There are a number of canyons off the road you can ride up into, one of which leads to Panamint City, a very remote ghost town that requires a seven mile hike/scramble to get to. Maybe another time.
    #10
  11. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    Indian Ranch Rd has a mailbox where you can send correspondence to aliens. It’s pretty much in the middle of no where. This was a fun and pretty well maintained road. There were a few rivlettes that crossed the road but the beasts modern long travel suspension beat them into submission. For the next 100 miles I only saw two other people. I took Indian Ranch to where it intersects with Wildrose Rd.
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  12. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    Wildrose Rd takes you up into the park and into the high country on the west side of the valley. It’s paved-ish with lots of wash outs. The canyon walls are a gorgeous mix of colors and the road is twisty and narrow. Once I reached Wildrose campground I took a right and headed toward the charcoal kilns. Riding up in the high desert valleys was so serene and quiet and beautiful it was almost overwhelming. As the road climbed it becomes a pretty rough dirt road and there was snow on hillsides. The park service has done a good job of getting stuff squared away after the shutdown ended. An outhouse near the kilns was immaculate. The kilns are beautiful and show amazing craftsmanship in their construction.
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  13. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    63189CD5-A1B7-47BB-8599-07F2D6B3B4EB.jpeg I headed back north and onto Emmigrant Canyon Rd. This road is narrow and twisty as it winds its way north east. I turned off onto the dirt and headed up to Aguereberry Point. From here there is an amazing view down into Badwater to the lowest point in the US.
    #13
  14. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    68FF1357-8DEC-43A9-9DC6-5BF5FAA0F6CA.jpeg 283AD6A5-A1EA-47C3-B4CA-11AA07ADD37F.jpeg FB1BC5D3-AFD0-43FA-B552-8A0C96D1081E.jpeg 43589468-88F4-4B95-8D3A-6DF53BC8E360.jpeg On the way down the dirt road to Emmigrant Rd I turned off onto a side dirt road to this cool mine and the Cashier Mill. It was really well preserved and easy to climb around. I still think it’s amazing these miners got all this stuff out to the middle of nowhere in the 1800s and early 1900s
    #14
  15. alex4515

    alex4515 Adventurer

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    Wow, great report so far - in for more!
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  16. Chillis

    Chillis Long timer Supporter

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    Was that mine open?

    I had been through there but thought it was fenced off or blocked.

    If it is open I'll go check it out.
    #16
  17. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    No unfortunately. I stuck my camera through the grate.
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  18. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    I made my way back to Emmigrant Rd then turned off on a dirt road and headed out to Skidoo ghost town. The town is pretty much leveled but this huge mill on the side of the hill is still there. If you zoom in you can see how big it is. I would have liked to stay longer, but wanted to get settled at Panamint Springs before the sun went down. I made it down to the 190 and headed west to Panamint Springs resort around 5pm.
    #18
  19. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    My humble abode at Panamint Springs cost $35. I ate a surprisingly good mini pizza at the restaurant. Once the sun west down, I looked at the stars for a while and was in bed by 7pm. It was in the 30s at night but I was toasty warm in my Wiggys sleeping bag and a thermarest pad on top of the cot. The employees here were really cool and it was overall a great place to stay. I did realize that I hate camping, even in a tent cabin, and should have just spent the extra $60 and stayed in one of their hotel rooms.
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  20. Socalstrom

    Socalstrom Adventurer

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    I was up around 7 am and off into the brisk desert morning. I had a Klim gore tex jacket with a down puffer jacket and my warm and safe heated base layer and tourmaster heated gloves. I wasn’t sure if the beast could run all my heated stuff so I left the base layer off and just ran the gloves and I was fine. I headed over a big hill and dropped into Death Valley proper and stoped at Stovepipe Wells to buy my park pass. The ranger office was closed so I paid at the kiosk but didn’t get my official park map. I’ll continue to use my 4 year old one I printed off the website.
    #20
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