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Old 09-13-2012, 11:31 PM   #31
dimitris_greece
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!!!

superb!

Amazing photos.... :-) wish i could go there myself..
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:56 AM   #32
uzbek
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stunning photographs and nice narrative.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:49 AM   #33
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Death Valley

I shouldn't be alive...

Death Valley showed me who's boss. I was very prepared: extra fuel canister, 4 gallons of water, high protein food, heat out cloths and new tire replaced in San Francisco. However the road I chose rendered my preparation insufficient. I really wanted to see the Sailing Rocks, aka moving rocks, that move on their own and there is no explanation to this day.

The road was very uneven, with large and small rocks, loose gravel and soft sand. Often deep trenches shaped during the rain season would cut across the road at a 45 degree angle. Taking them head on would cause my bike to drop in. Driving perpendicular to them was not possible due to the small width of the road. In many cases I had to dismount and power walk my bike. I left at 5am to beat the heat on this 35 mile long trail.

Google Map conservatively showed 2 1/2 hours needed for this ride. I rode for about 5 hours until all my energy was depleted. I dropped the bike very often, twice it ended up half flooded in the deep puddles. These puddles reminded me of a swap as my feet kept sinking into the soft ground. The bike was overloaded and when it fell I lacked the energy to pick it back up again. Only after completely unloading it I was able to lift it out of the water. I honestly lost track how many times this happened.

When the temperature reached 117F (47C) and I spend so much energy on this portion of road, the next time the bike went down it did not come back up. I left it lying in the middle of the road and went looking for bushes to find some kind of shade and get some energy back. But in the heat there is no rest. Somehow I got through the day lying down on the ground exhausted from the scorching heat. At night I started setting up a place to sleep.

I unloaded my bike, spread out my cloths on the rocky ground, laid down and tried to get to sleep. At night it got "cooler", a brisk 100F. The idea of rattle snakes, scorpions and coyotes did not lead to a peaceful sleep. On my back I was mesmerized by the shooting stars and the Milky Way but it also made me blame myself for making my loved ones suffer. So far I'm alive and healthy however they don't know this. All they know is that I'm in trouble because I didn't check in with them. Tears are pouring from me at the hopelessness of this situation.

There is no reception here. It's already morning and I hope the search for me has started. I was 8 miles short of the notorious Sailing Rocks. I woke up with the same exhaustion as the day before and I could not ride or walk anywhere. I still had water. I set up my tripod and spread my bike jacket to at least keep my head in the shade. I maintained my composure as best as I could and occupied myself by writing these lines on my laptop. It's already noon of the next day. The laptop is still alive.

If these lines make it online, then I survived my ordeal. Details will follow.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:55 AM   #34
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Yikes. I had a similar once years ago. I guess I was luckier. I did the rest in the shade business which refreshed me enough to get the bike back up. Then again, it was a much easier bike to get up - a KLR and not that heavily loaded.

Good to see you made it out alive.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:57 AM   #35
houndawgg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freefallen View Post

If these lines make it online, then I survived my ordeal. Details will follow.
Glad your OK, can't wait for more info & pics
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:02 PM   #36
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oh man, I'm glad you're ok. waiting for the story.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:24 PM   #37
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I'm glad you made it. The thought of that scenario plagues me because many times my wife is with me. I'm not worth much , but my wife is everything.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:24 AM   #38
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Thumb

if nothing works out, I am ready to joint the red army
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:43 PM   #39
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I'm glad you made it. The thought of that scenario plagues me because many times my wife is with me. I'm not worth much , but my wife is everything.
I won't take my wife into the hard desert areas. She says she's ok with it but I can't stand the idea of an incident involving her in a place so desolate that if you are disabled, you may be dead.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:33 PM   #40
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Thank you, guys!
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:34 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Mike_drz View Post
if nothing works out, I am ready to joint the red army
I've been there, done that. Don't do that.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:40 PM   #42
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The next day

It got a little cooler at night but not by a lot, 100F, more importantly the sun went down. My water was like tea, not boiled but hot. I couldn't get any food down and in these situations it's best not to eat anyway. I knew that no one will be searching for me until morning.


I instructed my son, who stayed with his friends in SF, to call the local rangers if I don't check in with him at the designated time. I later found out my son contacted a few different sheriff departments and filed a missing person's case.


The night went by uneventful. I laid there quietly looking at the sky and listening to any noises in the night. I didn't really sleep, I may fallen asleep a few times only to wake up a few minutes later.




This is how the road started, doesn't look too bad:



Further down the road it become a lot more rocky and larger boulders started appearing which I had to maneuver around:



Yet another drowning:



The first rays of sunlight started to shine through the clouds. Here comes my death I thought, 117F is no joke. This kind of temperature is good for a sauna. I didn't want to make any extra movements because the hot air burned my skin. In a sauna you sit for 10-15 minutes, leave and even splash yourself with cold water. Here there is no exit and only hot water.

The first morning rays of sun:




At night I remembered I had a case of beer that I bought in preparation for meeting my friend in Las Vegas. I drank one bottle then and one in the morning. It's pretty disgusting drinking hot beer but it is liquid after all and it contains some vitamins.

I drank a hot red bull, it gave me a little boost of energy. Next came the monotonous process of waiting. I hung my bright orange cooling vest on a bush and laid out my bright cloths to increase my odds of being spotted.




A sudden gust of wind knocked down my tripod and jacket. I got up on my knees to fix the tripod and saw a jeep slowly approaching on the horizon. There are no words to explain what I felt seeing the ranger. I relaxed and experienced a rush of emotions at the same time. For some time I couldn't say a single word. He asked for my name and license then took a picture of it and me. He radioed back to base "yep this is the guy we're looking for" and then added "he's alive and well but on the wrong type of bike".

The ranger told me that I made the right choice that I stayed put, the last 8 miles were even worse.

He offered me black coffee w/o sugar, an orange and sweets. I can assure you that at the moment it was the most delicious coffee I ever had. I will never forget the taste of the coffee.


Coffee is served, my stuff is loaded in the jeep:



We loaded my gear into the jeep, pushed the bike off the road together and made our way back. He said he should have given me a fine for creating this emergency situation. But because I was so well prepared and gave my son detailed instructions who to call and where to look for me, he didn't fine me.
On the way back we talked non-stop for almost 3 hours. We talked from survival skills to politics to America, Russia and our families. He's a remarkable person.

He dropped me off at a towing company. If the ranger didn't fine me, the towing company sure did. To get my bike I was quoted an astronomical price. The ranger heard the cost and quietly whispered to me "ouch".


We said our heartfelt goodbyes, he gave me his business card and I will definitely keep in touch. He said next time I should bring my wife and he will give me tips when and where to ride.


Dave - my heroic rescuer:



I had to ride up and down this dismal road 2 more times to get my bike, this took another 7 hours.

When I was a passenger in the towing truck, looking at the road, I was in astonishment as to how I could have traveled 27 miles on such a road. These photos don't give any justice to how difficult the roads really were.




We returned late and I slept in the same place I was 2 days ago, Lone Pine, CA. The next day I continued my journey through Death Valley, more about this later, but this time steering clear of the "crawling rocks":



Loading my bike:




Then I called my friend in Las Vegas and we ended up meeting, 2 days later. We happily sat around and talked. He made the most delicious rice with lamb I ever had. He fired up a hookah, we drank beer and had a very relaxing night. I really needed to spend some time around good company as my mind was still in the desert.
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freefallen screwed with this post 09-17-2012 at 08:03 PM
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:28 AM   #43
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I learned my lesson years ago: when in doubt and alone, the number 180 is your friend.

Tough to imagine a heavily laden Strom on those roads. Good you are uninjured.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:35 PM   #44
1955BIKER
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Sounded like a great trip until the desert. Sure glad it all worked out OK. We all need to let someone know where we will be traveling.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:21 PM   #45
freefallen OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slide View Post
I learned my lesson years ago: when in doubt and alone, the number 180 is your friend.

Tough to imagine a heavily laden Strom on those roads. Good you are uninjured.
Agree. Everybody has its learning curve.
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