After Titus Canyon I went back to Panamint springs for the Thanksgiving dinner. Every year they serve a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. My last Thanksgiving dinner in Death Valley involved eating cold spam in the dark. The dinner was pretty good. It was more like a home cooked meal than a restaurant meal. No pics because I forgot my camera.
Later I brought my DR350 over to O'Hooligan's camp site so we could swap parts and figure out what went wrong on his DR. It turned out to be the CDI box which meant there was no hope for fixing it over the weekend. Must be a bummer driving out so far just to get half a ride in.
I met Dave (DSM8) and Marty (mwolff), a few other riders, and lots of other nice people that evening. A lot of people came by an talked about motorcycles, Death Valley, and photography. Thanksgiving campers seem to bring a different atmosphere than the typical summer campers. I think going to a national park on Thanksgiving is really outside the normal box that most people live in. I wonder what Christmas is like.
Dave found out Friday morning that a riding buddy was not going to make it up so Dave, Marty and I got into a group to go to hunter mountain. I did get a few pictures on the ride.
Dave at Hunter cabin
Not much inside hunter cabin, but a neat rest stop anyways.
Outside the cabin one of the guys noticed that my license plate came loose and was hanging by one bolt. We removed it and zip tied it to the tool bag on the back. No taillight now.
Some good vistas on the road between Hunter Cabin and Hidden Valley.
We were going to take the short side road to Lost Burro Mine but we apparently missed it. We were moving through hidden valley fairly fast. Stopped at Teakettle Junction. There wee only two teakettles hanging off the sign there, apparently the ranger remove them every now and then. I wonder what they do with them? I picture a warehouse full of teakettles somewhere.
Marty spotted an expensive looking flashlight that fell out of a passing car. Dave caught up to them easy enough in the 990 and returned it to them. Good deed for the day. We made a brief stop at the racetrack then went to Lippencot.
Top of Lippencot.
Marty at just before the hardest part.
Most of lippencot looked a lot like the photo above, babyhead rocks and a few bigger ones. The hard part is a 100 yard or so long steep section that has a lot of rocks and holes dug out be jeeps spinning their tires. Really it is not to bad going down on a small dual sport but it was probably a handful for Dave on the 990. We got through there without major incident.
We knew south pass was washed out but we had conflicting reports on how bad it was. Dave had hurt the back of his leg on his passenger peg and I didn't have a tail light, so we wanted to get back to camp before dark. We took off toward south pass and I was last. Before long I heard and awful sound coming from my rear tire.
Broken chain guard
The chain guard must have been hit by a rock or something. I removed it and tied it to the back of my bike and was back trying to catch up in less than 5 minutes.
As we got into south pass there were many washouts on the road. Mostly, these were perpendicular to the road and just had to be crossed. Most amounted to riding down a small step crossing some sand and a few baby-heads then a small dirt step back up to the road on the other side. No Problem if you keep up some momentum. After crossing one of these washouts there was a short climb up a section of very washed out road. This time the washed out was to the right side of the road. The left side was the obvious choice of line since it was mostly dirt and the right side was mostly rocks. The problem was that the left half of the road was cambered down into the rocks. At about halfway up my rear tire slid down toward the rocks and manged to overtake my front, leaving the me on the ground and the tires pointing uphill. Fortunately DR350s are fairly light and I got it picked up easy. I regret not taking a picture here but i didn't think of it. Mostly I wanted to catch back up to the others. It took a few minutes to get the bike up to a good enough place to get it going again.
After a few minutes I saw Marty and Dave riding back to look for me.
Last pic of the day was from south pass.
So that was my group ride. Dave was heading out due to hurting his knee and Marty was moving to Furnace creek for a few days. One more solo ride day for me.