2012 DV n00bs Rally Ride Report
Since I was attempting to lead a couple of rides this year I wasn't able to get as many photos as I have in the past.
Driving down on Thursday, I ran into Mootsuno and Davebro in Kettleman City while fueling up. We headed over the mountains and into DV together.
We arrived at camp in time to settle in and get a bite with Eggroll (Luke, thanks for the pizza!)
Sunrise over the Panamint Valley, not long before the F-18 jetted through the valley at extremely low altitude.
Riders lining up for their rides on Friday AM at the PSR gas station.
I was leading a small group up and over Hunter Mountain and down Lippincott Road. Here is a map of the route.
We rode out through Darwin. Here is out first stop at the China Camp Spring (I found out later that it was a Japanese cook that gave the spring its name - go figure...)
Stop at the "Y" split for Cerro Gordo and South Pass/Saline Valley
Clarence (CRW) and Gautam (stuntcrazy) on South Pass.
View back down into Panamint Valley
Ed (novos) and Andrea (Flyingsqwerl)
Up on Hunter Mountain.
Awesome conditions and weather, but a few mud puddles.
The view from our lunch spot on the was into Hidden Valley.
We headed down the hill through Hidden Valley (and across the infamous silt bed) to Teakettle Junction. Crossing paths with Johngil and Browneye (Chris) along the way.
Kicking up dust on the way to the Racetrack.
Awesome weather on Friday.
Preparing to go down Lippincott Road.
This was my first time heading down this road. I had a great time. I think that this is one of the best routes in Death Valley.
There are two riders (CRW and stuntcrazy) in this picture.
We all made it to the bottom of Lippincott safe and together as a group. We ran into other groups as the bottom. A tire change was well underway as we arrived (the last section of Lippincott across Saline Valley is really rocky!)
Charged out along Saline Valley Road and up South Pass. Two surprise water crossings (at least the first one surprised me) along the way.
The junction of Saline Valley Road (left) and Hunter Mountain (right) at South Pass
We continued on down Saline Valley Road at a good clip. Ed had been following Andrea and another whole group was behind us. I saw another rider in my rearview (who I thought might be Ed) as we headed across the broken pavement at 60+ MPH. He disappeared and I thought he had stopped to wait for Andrea to catch up. We found out later he had a flat, as we waited at the end of Saline Valley Road . News came out right after we stopped that others (Tbarstow - Tim) were helping him fix the flat. We figured all was well, and headed back to camp after waiting an hour for them to finish and come down the road. I didn't realize until we got back to camp that Ed had also crashed as a result of the flat tire. I give my thanks to Tim for helping them get the tire changed (even without the necessary 12mm allen wrench...)
Friday night was a fun time with old and new friends. Still had time to prepare for Saturday's ride up Goler Wash and Mengel Pass. Here is a map of Saturday's route.
The group was much bigger this time, with a lot of last minute adds, including all of my riders from the Friday ride. 14 to start. We headed out into Panamint Valley and into the wind. Shortly after starting, Andrea's little DR200 had some problems and she and Ed turned back to camp. We continued on along Indian Ranch Road into Ballarat and on to Goler Wash.
I managed to make it up the step with Gautam's help.
Others were able to ride it on their own.
Dave (Sgt Smoker) carrying his luggage up and over the step
Then, we pulled the GS1200 up and over the step with a tow strap. That was a group effort! It made it up and over unscathed. Shortly after, I realized that my boot had come apart and I was trying to tape my boot back together as a Mercedes came along and climbed up the step. There was a mad scramble to get on the bikes and get moving.
Shortly after, Joel (Pearlite) had a fall and hit his head. He was shaken and it took him a bit to get going again. We all met up at Mengel Pass and realized that Joel, Matthew (surferbum) and Bob (CalGser) were not with us. I looped back across the rocky section a couple of times to check in on them and sent the rest of the group on to the cabin to wait since the wind was howling in the pass.
After a rest, we separated from the small group of three, who planned to take their time to get down through the valley and head back along the paved road.
Talc Mine - Warm Springs Valley
We turned onto West Side Road (highway...?) in Death Valley, headed north towards Furnace Creek.
It was so windy on West Side Road, that the engines were getting hot since we were literally riding as fast as the wind. It was as if there was no wind blowing across the cooling fins, even though we were tearing along at highway speeds.
At the end of the road, many of us were surprised at the strength of the wind blowing through the valley. It swept a few of us across the road as we made the turn back to the paved highway.
Through Furnace Creek and back to camp through the awful wind. The group separated a bit more as some of us stopped at the Visitor's Center. I was checking the range on my XR650l and was able to complete the entire loop on one tank (although I had to switch to reserve at the top of Towne Pass, then to tip the last of the fuel into the left side of the tank a few miles from camp). Long ride, but a lot of fun. Everyone made it back to camp safely, even though we had split up along the way.
Saturday night was very windy and rather cold,. We had dinner and the awards ceremony huddled behind the trees. Not the usual party with the bonfire, but everyone had a great time, and Jimmy was hilarious as the MC.
Dave (pinocono) and a well deserved bottle of tequila after a long weekend of riding.
I was glad that the rides on both days turned out so well. I had such a great time riding with everyone. I am always amazed a the great group of people that turn out for this event. Each year it just keeps on getting better and better.
Headed out the next day. Goodbye to Death Valley, 'til next time.