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Old 01-12-2012, 06:47 PM   #1
SFMCjohn OP
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Death Valley with Bicycle Phil, GSNorCal and the Georgia Boys

The weather has been so spectacular in California this winter that when I heard that International Rally Racers and Kings of the West veterans Bicycle Phil and GSNorCal say they were heading to Death Valley to ride with our friends, The Georgia Boys, I was in ... KTM rally racers, DRZ riders, and my tired KLR ...

Incredibly, Tioga Pass was listed as "open, no restrictions" so I figured I'd have to go see for myself.



I left San Francisco at 7 am and was heading up the pass around noon ... Ran into ADVer Louv at the Half Dome overlook ...

ADVer Louv and his BMW

Don was heading east to loop around to Kings Canyon on his BMW ... We had a nice view of Half Dome in the distance ...







The lakes at the top of the pass were all frozen and snow free ... The ranger who took my $10 entry fee told me she thought the last time Tioga Pass was open in January was in 1999 ... The ice skaters were enjoying themselves ...



There was no wind, and Mono Lake looked good ... From the view point above the closed-for-the-season Mobile Station (gas available though more expensive than in Lee Vining) ...



I took 120 east to 6 south because I wanted to be at Furnace Creek by tomorrow night ... I topped off in Lone Pine and got to Death Valley Road and Saline Valley Road around 4 pm and started to look for a campsite since it was too late to make it to the hot springs before dark ...



Found a nice spot with an eastern exposure for the morning sun ...



Watched the sunset while warming up a sausage link in the jet-boil and then using the hot water for instant miso soup ... San Francisco sourdough travels well for a day ... Yum.

The next morning I headed over North Pass and down to the hot springs for a soak ...







The hot springs were wonderful, and I got to chat with some nice hippies ... fun.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:29 PM   #2
Baja Ho
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Death Valley, I'm ready.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:37 PM   #3
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Nice start! What day did you begin this trip?
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:24 AM   #4
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Hi Rodr and Baja Ho,

Thanks for reading! I left San Francisco on 1/4/12 ...

I'm trying to see if I can resize these photos using the image tags here on ADV from my wordpress site, but no luck so far ... Anyone know how to tell ADV what size to display pics?

Oh well ... On with the RR ...

See you around the campfire,
-- SFMCjohn
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:23 AM   #5
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After my soak, and watching a couple of vintage Piper Cups, one red and one yellow, circle the oasis and land at the landing strip, and seeing a jet fighter roaring down the Saline Valley just above the playa, I headed south over South Pass ...



There were a few small patches of snow and just a bit of ice on the way up, and a couple of small water crossings that surprised me, but not anything like the photos of ice I've seen ... I'd never been to the Saline Valley before because the passes have usually been snowed in in January in recent years ...

I met the guys in Furnace Creek around dark ...



Our friend and International Rally and Baja Racer Antonio showed up with his family and cool off-road-race support truck ...



Our "illegal" fire-ring ... We had a bit of a bad interaction with a callow baby-faced LEO ranger who suddenly appeared out of the darkness to demand whether we had just "built this fire-ring?" Umm ... What? He (mistakenly) thought we should have been using the fire-ring in a ring that belonged to someone else's campsite. He actually asked us to not use it again, and to not use it and disassemble it in the morning ... ha.

GSNorCal changed the subject, and the young ranger soon wandered off to Bobzilla's campsite to try the same tricks there, but Bobzilla was having none of it, and told him to go away as soon as he approached their camp ... "you have no reason to be talking to us" ... That's how they do it in Nevada ... ha.

Anyway, talk to the nice, motorcycle-guy, camp host, ifyouhave any problems with the LEO rangers ... We complained to the LEO supervisor the next day, and he apologized for the young ranger's mis-information (the fire-ring was where we should have our fire). I'm convinced the young ranger just wanted to try to let us know we motorcycle undesirables were being closely watched for anticipated mis-behavior. Bah.

The next morning I headed out with Bicycle Phil, GSNorCal and Antonio to slab to Panamint Springs to top off with $5.50/gal low-test, which they had ...



Breakfast ...



After a cold ride, we headed up Nadeau Wash, which keeps you off the Trona Road to the west and brings you out of the desert near the Escape Route ...

The Georgia Boys, Lee and his brother Dave O. and friends Wylie and Bob were getting a later start after working a bit on Dave O's DRZ and so were doing our Mengel Pass loop clock-wise so as to meet us on the trail ...


Dave O.


And Wylie, both on DRZs, as was Bob ...


And ex-road racer and southeast enduro guy, Lee, on his KTM 525 ...

The four of us counter-clockwise guys slid down the Escape Route and up Goler Wash ...


Bicycle Phil, GSNorCal and Antonio ...


After Nadeau Wash ...

More in a bit ...
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:39 AM   #6
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Looks good, John.


I peeked at your blog but some people can't get outta ADV long enough to see other shit on the web.

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Old 01-13-2012, 10:37 AM   #7
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Hey Nicky,
Thanks for reading ... Our "mom" blog is a bit of a dogs breakfast ... Yer better off in ADV ... Ha!

We saw a bobcat at the Newman Cabin, and got a pretty good look at him ... Fun.


The top of Mengel Pass ...



I was done here, super-tired, and suffered the rest of the way home ... The Goler step was wet, but no problem, and the hard part of Mengel was almost unnoticeable, the 4x4 rock stackers had done such a good job recently ...
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Let's Ride!: BAARC and Old's Cool Ride Reports Index
IBA#'98onaEX500

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Old 01-13-2012, 10:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFMCjohn View Post
We saw a bobcat at the Newman Cabin, and got a pretty good look at him ... Fun.

I've seen cats around there too, lots of tasty birds to eat in that canyon.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:36 PM   #9
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One More picture

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Old 01-13-2012, 10:40 PM   #10
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And Another

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Old 01-14-2012, 10:12 PM   #11
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The Money Shot:

l-r: 1999 AFM 500 class champion SFMCJohn, me, rockstar Farioli, gsnorcal aka DoubleDownDave
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:19 PM   #12
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The simple pleasures in life.....
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:22 PM   #13
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I can hear it now: Rrrreplicaaaah
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:36 PM   #14
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Looked like a good time. Clear weather, but cold, I'm sure!
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:56 PM   #15
Bicycle Phil
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Looked like a good time. Clear weather, but cold, I'm sure!
Yes on both counts.

Gear that kept me warm for the morning transits:
Overmitts, lobster claw style
Balaclava
and an Acerbis cold weather jacket

I usually forget to pack/wear cool weather gear....this time the above bits made all the difference in the world.
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