What a day!
I woke up early, itching to get the hell out of Los Angeles only to find very heavy rain... so I killed some time, went to get some Mc Donald's breakfast for my hungover friends ( I went to bed somewhat early and wisely passed on going out) and waited... finally I was fed up with "the beach life" enough, and there was a break in the weather so I set out, stopping at REI to get some replacement shock cord for my tent poles that had broken, and a few maps.
Not getting too far out of LA it started to rain. Hard.
I scrapped the going to Vegas thing, and decided to push on towards DV... stopping when in started hailing...
Taking HWY 14, I lucked out and started to ride in between the storm clouds for a while - with a wonderful view of the clouds, mountains, and some blue skies, stopping more than I should have along the way considering how late I started riding to take some wet desert photo's.
Getting closer to DV, the sun was setting. Fine. I can ride in the dark, plus I don't have to worry about too many deer around here... I think.
Passing many spot I could camp, seeing quite a few RV's with dirt bike's or ATV's around, I was enjoying the sunset, and the wild vibrant colors so I just pressed on, stopping for fuel in Trona, the crown jewel of the area with THE BEST gas station breakfast burritos, right Ted?
Sorry no pic of Trona...
Easily seeing the huge storm I was going into before sunset, I started to get this sinking feeling, the temp was 42ºF and dropping...
It started raining about 80 miles from my destination. Hard. The wind picked up, and visibility dropped to about a quarter mile. I dropped my speed down accordingly, and was just tooling along now all alone for as far as could be seen, not passing another car for 30 miles.
After riding another hour in heavy rain, I came up to HWY 190, getting ready to turn right into DV NP for the final push...
To my surprise there was a CHP car there with it's lights on.... as I got closer I could see the cones he had set out and knew I was fucked.
I pulled up, he got out and asked me where I was going, like I did something wrong.
Kind of taken back by this I said," into the park to camp, of course, where else would I be going at this time of day in the rain?"
I was actually kind of annoyed and didn't hide it for some reason. Maybe it was the way he asked me, like it was his business what I was doing out here. call me a dick I guess. I'm usually very polite to cops.
He proceeded to tell me that all roads were closed going into the park due to massive flash floods, then eyed my bike up and down and said there's no way I could make it through. I started to say, well.... I can go through water this deep, pointing to my turn signals, but then just asked where I should go for the night, trying not to sound too stupid, like I was going to try and go through flooded roads at night alone...
He pointed to my left and said I should go to Lone Pine, about 53 miles down that road, plenty of hotels and such. It was raining like hell... Fine, Lone Pine it is, unless I just decide to pitch my tent along the way.
shortly down the road I passed a shady looking gas station, restaurant and motel... fuck it, 50 more miles is no problem, plenty of gas, just kept going....
After a few miles I saw a twisty road "S" sign that said "next 22 miles sharp curves".
Now I thought I'd never say this, but I did not want twisty roads right now at all. It was dark and raining hard, and with the twisty roads I was going quite slow, footpegs down, thinking of Clayton, yet determined to make it to Lone Pine.
Mother Nature had other plans for me.
Due to the very poor visibility I did not realize I was climbing a mountain, and I really didn't have time play with the GPS, and wasn't going to stop and take off my gloves to look at my maps, so I kept going watching the temp gauge start falling. 39º - a few more miles 35º - a few more miles 33º - a few more cold, slow, wet miles - 31º.
It had turned from a heavy rain into a blizzard in about 20 minutes, going form soaked roads - to slush - to accumulating snow.
I look down at the GPS to see I have 43 miles to go! 43 miles! It just seemed so far, and at the speed I was comfortable going, it was. I was now @ 4900 feet.
I pressed on for another 5 minutes and thought about it real hard.
Fuck it, I'm not doing it. I had a real bad gut feeling about this - I had already rolled the dice riding on ice over the Cascades and felt my luck was going to run out. I'm over it, call me a pussy, I got nothing to prove to anyone I thought and wasn't going to keep climbing up in the snow or where ever this road went, I wasn't going to stop, get off the bike and look at my topo maps, so I snapped this pic and turned around.
Now I was glad that I had been kind of a smartass-dickhead to the cop that had told me to go this way into a blizzard on a bike, I crawled back, tail between my legs to Panamint Springs Resort, about 12 miles back or 40 minutes in this weather.
I rode thought the campground, all muddy, cold, raining hard and decided that this was one of those times I could surrender to getting a room instead. The hell with my budget.
As I pulled in to the motel, I saw a couple of guys on KTM's unloading their bikes... we met, I got a room, then had a very expensive, but tasty burger at the restaurant with these guys who had also turned around when they hit the snow. Wise fellows I say.
So here I am, warm, dry, and full, just hoping that the road is open tomorrow...
This should be an interesting next few days, riding in the wet desert... at the very least, all the saturated colors and rain clouds should make for some nice photo opportunities....
I will check in when I can, but don't plan to be in any campgrounds in a few days... I'm meeting some people at Stovepipe, and after a day or two will move to a remote campsite.
I will be sending out a SPOT OK message daily in the evening, if anyone's looking at the SPOT track and do not see an OK message everyday, someone come get me please! LOL