(edit: more pics to come shortly)
I'm not the best ride report writer. I'm known more for the first one to post pics and video, or for stupid comments.
I'll just start by mentioning a few things that really stand out the most for me.
: 920 miles for me. 440 were there and back so that leaves 480 of fun. The GSA handled all that very well.
fudgypup 2.0 Got the Klim Dakar pants with what turned out to be the wrong pullover. Thought I was getting the one that breathed.
: Unbelievable weather (aside from the high winds on Saturday). It was tshirt weather at night and got only to about 92 on the valley floors.
plush accommodations at camp PSR
The stars never cease to amaze me. You can clearly see the milky way as well as the planets. At sunset the bats came out and kept us pretty much bug-free. If you looked really hard at the night sky, you could even see fireworks!
If only that PSR guy was as passionate about providing us with hot water showers as he was fireworks, PSR would have been perfect. Can't forget the fighter jets buzzing the valley either. I'm glad that everyone I spoke to thought that was cool and not an annoyance. 60% of the time they give me goose bumps every time.
: The iPhone continues to amaze. Even with the spotty wi-fi, I was able to locate Macadamia
on Thu night once Spafxer
told me he and the other two were missing. We went straight there. Well, by "we" I mean other people actually. That was really cool to see fellow inmates muster a search operation. Many continued thanks and extra point to you guys for stepping up. It won't be forgotten.
. It's really impossible to describe, let alone capture in a photo or video. The sense of scale is incredible. You see valleys that stretch off into the distance for 40-50 miles; moutain ranges lit up by the late afternoon or early morning light, vast stretches of untouched desert. We took Hunter Mountain over to Teakettle, etc... and once we turned right onto that trail it was like stepping into another magical world. And to think just over a year ago I thought "why the hell would ANYONE ever want to visit a place called Death Valley?" One of my fellow riders said that on two occaisions the scenery brought him to tears. I was blown away at hearing that not just because he'd admit it (it's okay), but that I too had done the same thing last year at the moment I realized I was about to see the Grand Canyon for the first time.
: The riding terrain was so nice. A huge diversity that makes you glad you went. I'm starting to even get bored of the same old stuff, which makes going to DV such a great experience. There were some sucky sections but those were just boring or tedious than super difficult. The ride we started Thur (and finished Saturday) from PSR to Darwin was really not that exciting. A good warm up maybe. The road from Teakettle Junction to Ubehebe would have been awesome for a big bike like mine if it weren't so washboarded. Other than that, it was all good. Even Sunday's ride that was supposed to be an easy and short ride through Panamint Valley turned out to have the most fun terrain. We had these fun small washouts that were fun for me to practice lofting my front wheel over. There were great high speed graded roads. Really fun single track with not too many whoops. And of course, SAND. This new suspension and 21" front wheel has really made a world of difference. I only fell once all weekend and that was the deep sand Sunday that had the turn it. I had to slow down and that's when I lost it.
: Brought my own growlers and that seemed to go over well. PSR has probably the best beer selection I've ever seen. It's notable really for the QUALITY of beers they have available. Hard to find in a more populated area let alone Death Valley. This was just their bottled beer. Their tap handles was where the really good stuff was.
ms. fudgypup tagged along and did her own tour of the sights w/Mrs. TheRider and Mini-Me TheRider. Word has it there was a bit of leg-humping going on when I was gone. Easy guys, she's taken. :)
: My gf, who's never been camping before IN HER LIFE chose to come with me. She was a trooper and had her own adventures. At times it was a bit much, but she was committed and had a great attitude. She said she met a lot of great people and enjoyed herself. She got to see more of DV with Mrs. TheRider and Mini-Me TheRider. They went to Scotty's Castle, Stovepipe, Furnace Creek, Dante's View, Badwater, etc... Having someone like that want to come be a part of a weekend like this is priceless. Tell your significant others that they should come to more of these things.
Perro from Hell
: Diego and I rode up together and did most of the same rides. He's getting a lot more capable on that KTM very quickly. After a particularly good section, wait for him to give his signature Colombian exclamation.
At one point I looked back at him and saw the biggest grin on his face. I think he was having a really good time.
: This was Prakash's second time on the dirt on his brand new Suzuki 650. These trails can seem like quite a lot to handle for a n00b, and unfortunately one of them turned out that way for his foot.
We turned right off Chloride Cliff Rd or something and had this 5 mile long stretch of medium to deep sand. I had to stop about half way simply because I was exhausted. I looked back and saw that he had fallen. We got him off to the ER and they fixed him up. HUGE thanks again to GalacticGS
for getting Prakash and his bike back to camp and Jnyrav
for hauling him home. I hope we see you back again soon. We'll have to get you out to see Jimmy Lewis. Key lesson here I think is don't wear street boots offroad. You really need that foot/ankle protection.
I met a lot of other really great inmates. Josh, Surferbum
, etc... Too many to count.
: Got there Thur around lunch time. Set up camp then went for a short ride from PSR up the Old Toll Rd headed to Darwin. We took a right instead of a left at the sand wash and ended up at a dead end at a place called China Gardens Spring.
Friday was GalacticGS's ride to Chloride Cliffs, Beatty, Rhyolite, Titus Canyon. Our injury delay had us cut out a section but it was still great.
ride fizzled out (not sure why?) so Perro from Hell, Josh and I planned our own ride. We all wanted to see the Racetrack Playa but we cut out the Cerro Gordo part. We went up 190 to Saline Valley Rd, then Hunter Mountain and down to Teakettle, then Racetrack and back past Teakettle up to Ubehebe Crater. We slabbed it back to Stovepipe because the others were low on gas. I gassed up in December, so I was still good.
See, that's funny because I ride a GSA... that has an 8.7 gallon tank... that I don't need to fill up as much. (ha ha, nevermind)
Sunday's ride was led by LostRider and IzzyBlue. Went down 190 east just past the dry lake bed of Panamint Valley and headed down that two track towards Ballarat. Ron was on his KTM and had a bad get off after hitting a washout the wrong way. He hurt his wrist so LostRider did some field dressing and we sent him back with MNCherryinCA, who had a worsening clutch situation. Ron, please let us know what ended up with the wrist.
I posted above is of our stop at Ballarat.
I didn't take a whole lot of pics this time because my camera typically is tethered to my jacket and I ended up riding with the vest this time instead. I ended up taking more video so here it is.
Disclaimer: this image on the intro is not the official DV n00bs logo. I don't want to undermine John's hard work and artistic talent. Diego's a graphic artist too and I just liked the look of it for my own sake. It's not like this is some copyrighted for-profit enterprise; just a bunch of amateurs who like to ride. Down here in OC you can't pass a street sign that doesn't have some guy's sticker on it with is cool design he wants to show off.