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bigtodd 02-12-2013 05:10 PM

Bradshaw Trail, Mojave Rd, DV-Mengel Pass Big Bike Weekend
John (Catalina38) and I have been talking about a real "big bike" adventure weekend, especially after he installed his massive Safari tank. He now has a good 120 mile range on me now. Anyway when some of the boys started talking about doing a Bradshaw Trail weekend we looked at a map and thought why not a Bradshaw east and Mojave west weekend. It looked like some others were thinking this would be fun as well, then weather reports, vactaion days, already sore buts and a crazy sounding, soon to be ex-wife put the kibash on everyone but me and John.

We got rolling at 6 am under dark, cloudy skies but we were both confident the low desert was going to be sunny and warm. Cresting the Banning Pass we had a little "oh crap' moment when the entire freeway was snow, slush and ice. Several cars and trucks stacked up on the side of the I-10 while the west bound lanes were shut down. That was about 3 miles of sketchy riding between cars and big rigs throwing frozen slush in all directions. Once we hit the desert floor though it was warm and bright blue skies the rest of the day.

We grabbed some sandwiches and headed off towards the Salton Sea, it always reminds me of Baja

We made great time and quickly hit the trail, well kind of quickly

Yep this is it, time to take all the layers off

On our way, I love these messages "discover your public lands"

Perfect conditions

With John riding in front I stopped to get a pic of him going under the trestle, camera wasn't on and I misssed him, but then I really missed him.

At a fork after the trestles, he went left and I went right ... we didn't see each other again for about 45 minutes. Put all the trail sepatation drills to work, stoppig wating, riding ahead and stopping and waiting again. We still had cell service and texted our way back together. We stayed real close afer that.

The only other people around the whole day were the Navy boys chasing each other around. You can see a little speck above the cloud to John's left, those guys were no more than a few hundred feet off the ground dog fighting with each other.

Shortly afterward we came across the boat mold left for trash. Kinda disturbing that someone thought to label it as a GSA ... what are they implying here?

Other than our brief separation and our stop for lunch, we were hauling ass. It was only a little after 2:00 when we hit the farms.

It was early enough that we decided to jump on 95 and head for Avi Casio, spend the night and start the Mojave Rd from there. The whole day on the trail it was blue skies, then that changed. We only caught a few drops. We were riding at 70-75 and those clouds were moving almost as fast.

We were at Avi by 4, showered and sitting down for steaks at 5:30. Big next day coming.

bigtodd 02-12-2013 05:12 PM

Day 2

We were both up early and in no hurry to get going. The plan all along was to camp somewhere on the Mojave so we took our time getting up and going. We had a big breakfast at the coffee shop and jumped on the Mojave Rd. right out of the casino.

After about 30 minutes of really fun windy jeep track we came to the edge of the Mojave Reserve.

Getting to this point on the trail we had only seen a couple in a jeep and had not seen one person at all on the Bradshaw. We decided to snap and post a pic for he "lost riders" flyer just in case before heading into the reserve.

A view looking east from the first main summit we crossed

Looking west it could be interesting, foothills are covered in snow

The valleys and meadows were just spectacular, from the previous rains, everything was lush and green

We stopped at the penny can and we threw in some change ... all I had were some 5 peso coins left over from Baja

The old railroad monument

the riding conditions were perfect, warm without being hot and gritty, compactetd sand

The rumors are true, lots of deep sand on the Mojave Rd. but the previous rains had made it very managable.

Here was the first sign of what was ahead of us

As we continued climbing, the snow got heavier, it was like powder skiing everytime we hit a bush on the trail, powdery snow would fly everywhere.

At the summit here it was just over 30 degrees and my camera stopped working, it was so amazing ... it was like somehing out of an old western painting. Along the trail there was a large tree that was completely white and frozen that looked like a post card. Through this range our track took us through a very large sand river bed. The top crust was frozen, underneath was compacted and overall about 10" or more deep. It was interesting going about 4500 rpm in 4th gear and rolling at about 15 mph.

We came out of the snow and the camera fired up again. Warmed up a lot.

Right before we got to Kelebaker Rd we stopped for a little break. Found a bunch of little pumpkin looking thngs all over the place here.

We decided to roll to Baker from here and grab some lunch. It was 2:00 and we started thinking, well no camping on the Mojave so where to now. Plans took hold and we got on the bikes and headed for DV.

bigtodd 02-12-2013 05:13 PM

Day 2 continued

As we rolled out of Baker, I was laughing at how lucky we had been. We were way ahead of our plan, the riding had been pretty easy on the big bikes and now we're heading for Death Valley and a rough idea of going to Furnace Creek and bumming a camp site.

We jumped on Harry Wade and really started hauling ass. This was the first time we had any dust issues on the trip. We just kept a good distance between us and opened up the big bikes.

The road is much narrower from recent storms and sand than last Feb when I rode it. Check out all the grader cuts along the side.

When we hit the pavement, it was just passing the "golden hour" of light

The sun heading for the Pacific

We made a quick stop at Badwater, first time for me.

check out the reflection of the mountain in the water

We rolled into Furnace Creek CG in the dark and found a nice spot in the back. We had a nice fire and watched a parade of cars and people walking, going out to the airport. No idea what was going on out there. We enjoyed a liquid dinner and jumped into out tents.

bigtodd 02-12-2013 05:14 PM

Day 3

Over the fire the night before we talked through a couple of ideas for how to head home. Neither one of us was too interested in slabbing home and wanted to really make it a worth while day. Well we accomplished that and more. After how smooth our last 2 days had been, we made the ambitious decision to take the Westside Rd to Warm Springs Canyon, across Butte Valley, down Goler Wash, through Balarat and then ride home through Trona and the 395. Piece of cake ... my dad used to tell me, "do the hard work first so it always gets easier." Let's just say we had a long day.

Just before breaking camp and Furnace Creek

We had breakfast at the coffee shop and John fielded his 100th queston about his gas tank

With the long ride ahead, topping off the tanks seemed wise. Finally get the gas price pic into the ride report

Westside Road

Turning for Warm Spring Canyon, I started thinking this is where we really take this trip to the next level

Starting at the base of the mountain the road is big loose gravel and stays that way all the way up to Warm Spring Camp. I really don't like riding in that stuff ... would rather ride in deep sand.

The camp site appeared to have a new roof, but the pool still needs some work

The ride from Warm Srping to Butte Valley was pretty easy, lots of big rocks everywhere. I caught a large boulder on the side of the trail with the engine guard that knocked me over into the other track, for sure would have been a GS head buster without the guard.

I have seen lots of pics of this area but had never been there. Pretty amazing!

Coming out of Butte Valley and starting up to Mengel we were making great time working our way up the mountain. Then we hit our first major obstacle of the whole ride. Maybe 100' of huge boulders and wash outs that we had to push and pull the big bikes up and over just below the crest of Mengel Pass.

We made it though, celebrated with a couple of oranges at the peak. This is one of my favorite pics of the trip at the top of Mengel ... doesn't matter if you ride a BMW or KTM. As it says on John's bike


We rolled on down to Panamint Valley and Ballarat. I was following John waiting for him to signal the dreaded Goler Wash steps. When he did finally roll to a stop we were out of the canyon and looking at the valley. I asked, where was the menacing Goler Wash beemer killer ... guess we got lucky or unlucky depending.

From there rolled out on Ballart Rd and hit the pavement. Stopped in Trona for gas and didn't stop again till we were both home a little before 6:30 and whipped. Was hoping we hit 1,000 mles but came up a little short. All in all, it was an amazing 3 days.

SFMCjohn 02-12-2013 05:31 PM


Originally Posted by bigtodd (Post 20711611)

... well no camping on the Mojave so where to now. Plans took hold and we got on the bikes and headed for DV.

Hi bigtodd,

Great ride report and pics, thanks for posting! :ricky

Never been to Bradshaw Trail or Mojave Road ... looks very pretty ...

Did you simply not find a camping spot you liked in Mojave, or is there no camping allowed except at established, pay, campsites?

see you around the campfire,
-- SFMCjohn

bigtodd 02-12-2013 05:35 PM


Originally Posted by SFMCjohn (Post 20711751)
Hi bigtodd,

Great ride report and pics, thanks for posting! :ricky

Never been to Bradshaw Trail or Mojave Road ... looks very pretty ...

Did you simply not find a camping spot you liked in Mojave, or is there no camping allowed except at established, pay, campsites?

see you around the campfire,
-- SFMCjohn

There were/are lots of great camping spots on or close by the Mojave Rd. we just figured we still had half a day to burn and kept riding ... ending up at Furnace Creek.

CA Stu 02-12-2013 05:50 PM

Nice report, but it's "Panamint" Valley. :thumb

And what F'ing broke on your GS now?

TCal 02-12-2013 07:27 PM

Great RR Todd, I'm exhausted and cold just reading it...

So fuel wasn't too much of a concern between you guys?

Other Todd

catalina38 02-12-2013 07:32 PM

We shut down the gas station in Baker when we filled our tanks and emptied theirs:rofl

bigtodd 02-12-2013 09:34 PM


Originally Posted by CA Stu (Post 20711893)
Nice report, but it's "Panamint" Valley. :thumb

And what F'ing broke on your GS now?

corrected, thanks teach

didn't break anything this time, decided to ride the big red beast like a gentleman on this trip :D

DannyG 02-12-2013 10:38 PM

Looks like gr8 ride...

NSFW 02-12-2013 11:10 PM

that is one long ass ride and great loop just on 1 full tank.....:lol3.

good job john and todd. you guys are putting those big bikes for what they were made for.

that adv gas tank is nice to have. looks good too john.

i just bought a 5.3 gal acerbis tank for the small ktm. excited to see how far that will take me.

spafxer 02-13-2013 10:20 AM

Great job guys...

I had to read the headline a couple of times..." Death Valley too??" :clap

The escape route to Trona has at least 2 "loose and steep" climbs that have to be done. Probably a good call that you didn't attempt it with how tired you must have been..


Vinbowie 02-17-2013 12:16 PM

DV is very far away for me.
It's on my bucket list though.

1994klr250 02-17-2013 07:42 PM


Originally Posted by bigtodd (Post 20711617)
Day 2 continued

We made a quick stop at Badwater, first time for me.

What where the temperatures like at Badwater Basin during this trip? When I was there in Aug 2011 it was already 100 degrees by 9 am. I rode for about half the day in DV before escaping up 395 towards Yosemite for the cooler temps.

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