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Old 12-20-2012, 03:45 PM   #71
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Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Bakersfield
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Originally Posted by 2on2off View Post
Day Two from PSR to Beatty:

South Pass:
I have ridden over the Saline Valley South Pass many times on a variety of bikes including a fully loaded BMW R1200GS Adventure without a problem.

This trip the conditions of South Pass were very different. The road is still signed "closed" as it has been for years. The road was in good condition up until the Hunter Mtn turn off but then as we headed down the north slope of South Pass, we saw the road had been washed out in many places.

Some equipment has done some repairs and has pushed bolders into some of the washed out sections where there used to be water crossings. Once again, a lighter dual sport, we were on a KTM 525EXC, KTM 500EXC and a plated XR600. I consider all of these bikes light weight dual sports.

Based on what I saw, anyone rideing a fully loaded KLR650 or heavier adventure bike will need to have outstanding skills to navigate South Pass. Larryboy is one of those kind of riders who could probably ride an adventure bike on South Pass.

A good rider on a light dual sport (less than 400 lbs. and preferably a 300 lb or less bike, with experience riding rocks, will do fine. Again, I think it is a bad idea to ride alone. With all the rocks that have to be navigated, you could easily tip a bike over and find yourself pinned under your bike with no one to get you out for hours or days.

South Pass got worse and there was a 100 yard long section with a deep rut and large rocks to navigate near the bottom of the north slope of South Pass. This picture does not give a good idea of how hard this section was to ride:

I wanted to share our experience in response to your comments on the dreaded south pass into Saline Valley
Let me start by saying My Husband is my Hero. He takes me to greater, more exciting heights in this life than I ever dreamed of going.
With that said, here's our "South Pass" experience: We geared up our '08 BMW1200GS with about 185-190 lbs. of camping supplies, heated wear, and hot spring skivvies to enjoy the few vacation days I had left for 2012, totaling about 520 lbs on top of the bike. We left Bakersfield on Dec. 7 for a leisurely ride to Lone Pine. We camped at Lone Pine on the ground in our toasty sleeping bags with a low temp. at about 24* F that night. We spent an extra night in Bishop and rode the north pass into the valley on Sunday the 9th. That ride was fairly decent, nothing majorly difficult for us.
This is our fourth year of going to the Saline Hot Springs, second time on the north pass, the previous time being when we had our Ford pick up hauling our 36 foot fifth wheel, with our mountain bikes and BMW650 Decar in tow. (We'd brought the fifth wheel in the through the south pass the year before that but I think I'd cleared a few thousand pounds of rock from the road to get in and I just wasnt in the mood to do that again.)
This time we spent one day in the springs with the daytime temp. peaking at just about 80* F. The skies were clear, there weren't more than 10 people, a dozen donkeys, three or four coyotes, a peanut butter, honey, and Pretzel Crisp thief, and us out there. It was perfect, except I had to get back to work on Wed. So, tues. we packed back up and decided, upon the suggestion of some others, to head out to the south pass, literally flying across the dessert.
We got past one of the water crossings on the north slope of the south pass and hit this section of road that must have been completely washed out in the weeks beforehand and had since been filled in with huge rocks. The west side of the road was drive able but the dirt was ecruciatingly loose, and narrow. If we were going into the valley we could have managed this much easier, but coming out was white-knuckled kind of scary, but we did make it through without loss of life nor limb. As I stated before, my husband is my hero. He was bound and determined to get us out of there in time for me to get to work the next day and he did it. It was a much rougher ride than the north pass. We've never seen this pass so messed up before. It was worth the ride but unless you're a rider like my husband I wouldn't suggest the south pass.
We were too busy staying alive to take pics, sorry. But saline is a great destination.
Thanks for taking your time to read this.
Rotex's biker babe
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