A Lost Road Report.
I didn't cover too much seeing as I only spent one night in DV, this was just a quick and dirty recon mission to squeeze in before xmas.
Left Ventura mid-morning, was 37º for first gas stop in Mojave around noon, then got gas again and a burger in Trona at Valero, which is the old T-Stop place. Cold as hell there too.
Skipped the Escape Route and got off pavement right before the paved switchbacks, heading towards Ballarat.
Roads there all seem the same as last year, Wingate Rd heading towards Goler Wash is all high speed hard pack up to the mine, and the same as last year with a little sand past that.
Golar wash has no steps, it has a gravel ramp recently maintained instead. Bummer.
In between Golar and Mengel Pass, Coyote Canyon Rd is kind of tore up and rougher than last year, with active maintenance with heavy equipment happening now, I made the only tire track besides the big machines on lots of fresh grated soil, though it seems the maintenance is making it worse than anything. I'd imagine the jeeps will pack it down in time.
Snow around Mengel, well below freezing with all the little creeks frozen solid. The 2 cabins near Striped Butte were occupied, with new warnings signs about Hantavirus.... I hung out there to watch the sun go down as it is a remarkably beautiful place at sunset.
Butte Valley Rd seems the same as last year, Warm Springs rd is still a little rocky in the wash sections, hopefully they don't take a bulldozer through there and screw it all up.
West Side Road is the same high speed gravel as before, if not a little less deep gravel.
I camped in Furnace Creek, after getting some hot chili at the resort and fuel I was getting conflicting reports and couldn't confirm if Titus was open of not, was hoping to camp up around there.
The new and improved campground is "nicer", but still the same old same old with generators running, dogs barking, and groups thinking it was their own personal night club area. All to be expected.
Frost on the bike in the morning.
Titus Canyon was indeed Closed, even through a ranger told me it was open in the morning. Waist of fuel on that one, but I wasn't about to go around a road closed sign and get a $$$$ ticket...
No gas at Scotty's Castle as always, Racetrack Valley Rd was the same high speed grated gravel road with a few surprises hiding around a few corners, lots of fun. Around 25º at the Racetrack with snow all around, though not on the roads.
Lippencott Rd has about the same sections rough rocky in the decent as last year, if not just a little more tore up.
Saline Valley Rd is definitely not the fast rocky road is was last year and takes a little more effort to get through in the new washed out sections, probably wouldn't be too easy on overloaded big bikes for many riders. Then again, if you want easy stay at home sitting on your ass watch someone else do cool challenging stuff on reality TV.
Light snow around South Pass, well below freezing mid-day. I didn't have the fuel range to explore Hunter Mountain after finding Titus closed and having to backtrack unfortunately.
Olancha Dunes were looking good and the rest of the ride home was uneventful, if not very cold.
Should be a great DV riding season with plenty new challenges for folks to overcome and concur!
A person can never improve as a rider without real challenges.
Know your limits..... then push yourself beyond what you think they are and surprise yourself!
Here's some long boring unedited helmet cam video of the roads between Ballarat and West Side road and a few photos from the mini-adventure.
The wrecking ball on Coyote Cyn.
Geoligists Cabin, Striped Butte.
West side road
Coming back from a closed Titus
Near the Racetrack
They cleaned up the junction! I left a few decals in one of the tea kettles for those that find them.
Brrrrrr at Lippencott (and everywhere else for that matter)
Coming down Lippencott, looking back up.
Saline Valley Rd.
Back side of South Pass