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Old 10-20-2012, 09:33 PM   #676
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Papoose Flat and Squaw Flat

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Originally Posted by cbig View Post
Looks real interesting. Not Pleasant Valley? Been thru Mengel/Golar, Lippencott, Echo and Titus areas. Seen a lot but not enough! Going in November hoping to stage out of PSR and/or Furnace. Nice shots.
This is outside of DV Park, doesn't show up on the Tom Harrison DV Map and is at the N/W tip of DV.

My route parallels highway 395 with Big Pine to the North and Independence to the south and is about 10 miles east of 395.

You ride the the mountain tops on the west slope and can see down onto highway 395. You have great views of the Sierra Nevada Mountain 14,000 ft peaks that had snow on them last weekend. This trail goes over 9,000 ft.

These trails show up on my Garmin Mapsource Software and I programmed in the route to my Garmin Zumo. This trail is a blast to ride.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:11 PM   #677
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ok thanks

Will check that out. I was recently given a map by Mammoth rangers extending to that area I recently laminated.

Out of curiosity, how do you compare the new pumpkin to the xr400 and xr600 you used to ride for this kind of work? Comfort wise? Power I am sure is there and reliability is too soon. I've got a xr600 and a xr400 to bring out there. Recommendations? We got a guy in our group with pumpkin envy..
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:33 PM   #678
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Great writeup Jim

Keeping my fingers crossed for good weather around Thanksgiving or New Years when I hope to have some time available to spend out there.

-M
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:29 AM   #679
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Very good ride report

Very good ride report.

Thanks for taking the time with the details on road conditions.

Planning to be in DV in early Nov with a 530EXCR.

Thanks,

Mike Z
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:41 PM   #680
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Will check that out. I was recently given a map by Mammoth rangers extending to that area I recently laminated.

Out of curiosity, how do you compare the new pumpkin to the xr400 and xr600 you used to ride for this kind of work? Comfort wise? Power I am sure is there and reliability is too soon. I've got a xr600 and a xr400 to bring out there. Recommendations? We got a guy in our group with pumpkin envy..
I would take the XR400 assuming it is street legal because a lighter more flickable bike is more fun in DV.

I liked my XR400 but didn't use it for dual sporting. I liked my XR650L better than my XR650R because it actually handled better for me and was more mellow. All three were comfortable to ride. The DRZ400S and my new KTM 500EXC are both great bikes and yet very different. The main difference between the two bikes is weight, suspension and power. The KTM is about 50 lbs lighter, has better suspension and more power. The KTM is much better in the whoop and can climb any hill you are skilled enough to climb but that doesn't make the DRZ an inferior bike, it is just a different bike.

I mainly got the KTM last year for my son because he does much better on a lighter bike but the DRZ is also very good. Both bikes are my favorite dual sport bikes to date. The recent 4 day DV ride was my first true dual sport test on the KTM and it did great. The DRZ is softer in the rocks but the KTM is better in the whoops we wound up riding between Bearry and highway 267.

Reliability of the KTM, so far, is very good. There are many very good dual sport bikes out there and I would tend to rate the bikes more on their weight than anything else when riding in Death Valley. My buddy rode a very old dual sported XR600 and did great on our ride but it is a relatively light bike. A KLR650 fully loaded would be a handful in DV right now but we saw a guy riding one in Nevada at Gold Point. Had he tried to ride Steele Pass, he might not have made it through.

I put a Corbin seat on my XR650L, WR450F, DRZ400s and just had a Corbin made for my KTM 500EXC. I like my seats 10" wide and can ride on them all day without any discomfort. The Corbin seats work great for me.

I set up all my dual sport bikes in the following way so they can be dropped without damage which keeps me from getting stranded 50 miles from nowhere:

1. Radiator Guards
2. Aluminum Hand Guards. Protects levers and perches from getting broken
3. Aluminum Desert Skid Plate
4. Wheel Rim Locks, MSR Ultra HD Tubes, Dunlop 606 tires. I have never had a flat with this set up, knock on wood
5. I used to use a 4 gallon fuel tank but now use an Acerbis 5.3 gallon tank that I love. It isn't too bulky and gives me great fuel range.
5. Garmin Zumo GPS. I plan my routes with Mapsource and then download it to the Zumo and that works great on the trail.
6. Promoto Billet Rear Rack
7. I used to use Dirt Bagz Panniers but now use a Giant Loop Coyote pannier.

So far the reliability of the fuel injected KTM 500EXC has been great. I hardly used any oil on this 4 day ride to DV. The Corbin seat is giving me the usual comfort I have experienced on all the other Corbin seats I have used.



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Old 10-22-2012, 08:15 AM   #681
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got to admire a man with a lot of bikes!

Last times I did Death Valley were with a DRZ (2007) and a TE610 (2009) After that I switched format and bought a TE510. Never got to DV with it but plenty of Utah, Borrego, Randsburg. Light bikes definitely rule off road. Had some overheat issues and others, decided to go old school. I've had more fun riding these old school xr's. The xr250r being really competent at rock climbs and probably most fun, and the xr600 great at gobbling up miles, hill climbs. Have a xr400 I haven't put many miles on yet but felt DV was prime 400,600 area so I'd have a backup. (That 400 is just about as heavy as the 600 but has estart) I've had much of the xr600 apart and am reasonably secure about it mechanically and electrically. The xr400 is a bit unknown, and the xr250r I bought in as new condition - almost looked like it came out of a crate, but fear the sand will drag it down. Our pumpkin guy rides a 530exc, very nice bike. Very lite, maneuverable. Only holds 600 ml of engine oil tho and he does carry a bottle of coolant just in case. Those bikes have come a long way.

The longest loop we are looking to do will be from I think PSR up thru Steel Pass and down thru Furnace or Stovepipe for fuel. I think it's about 210 miles? Maybe I will look at it again and see how many to complete the loop going down Lippencott instead of the road rip. Too bad no fuel at Scotty's - would solve a lot of issues! We're going to bring RV's to PSR or Furnace and stage.

Your photos are great.

Thanks,

Chuck
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:01 AM   #682
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Light bikes

I had an XR250R and you are right about how much fun it is off road. I don't think the sand will be a problem on the 250 because there isn't that much of it. There are way more rocks to deal with than sand.

If your KTM 530 rider hasn't already done it, he will need a radiator fan. Use the KTM OEM fan as it works great and plugs right in. All of the big bore (500cc) KTM's need it for the rocky trails or you will boil out all your radiator fluid. The new 500EXC comes with a radiator fan but the 350EXC does not.

The 530 splits the engine and transmission oil so that doesn't leave much for the engine. The new 500EXC combines the engine and transmission oil for a total of 1.6 quarts. It also has only one oil filter to change and a few screens.

Once your get to Eureka Dunes from Steele Pass you will run into a closed road sign on Death Valley/Big Pine Road heading east. That road is closed from Eureka Dunes to Ubehebe Crater. If for some reason they open up this road, your loop from PSR to Furnace Creek via Crank Shaft Crossing and Ubehebe Crater will be 185 miles.

If you take the same route and stop at Stovepipe Wells for gas, your mileage will be 175 miles not saving you many miles.

If you ride South Pass to Lippincott Mine Road to Ubehebe Crater to Furnace Creek, you will not run into any road closed signs, unless something changes, and your mileage will be 132 miles.

If you still want to ride Steele Pass you could bail out west to Big Pine and get gas and then, if you don't run out of daylight, ride back to Eureka Dunes turnoff and head north on Eureka Valley Road and wind your way east to Gold Point Ghost Town. You can actually spend the night there and Walt will sell you some gas if you are getting low but I would call ahead and make sure he will be there before venturing that way.

I haven't ridden Eureka Valley Road but the dirt roads in Nevada appear to be in much better shape than the DV dirt roads. If you find out for sure that gas will be waiting for you in Gold Point, you could skip Big Pine and just head north from Eureka Dunes on Eureka Valley road and head for Gold Point.

You can look up Gold Point on the internet for contact information. I hope to do more exploring north of Eureka Dunes this winter.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:40 AM   #683
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Thanks again for the tips

We're basically the street legal portion of our RV riding crew, so we want to camp with the gear. (everyone else has RZR's or green sticker stuff) Gold Point will have to wait, but the bar sure looked interesting! Our pumpkin guy is working on that fan issue, I think he has one now. Sharp handling bike. Not sure I want a fuel injected bike, so I will stay old school for a few years at least.

I haven't spent much time riding the xr400. Did about 70 miles headed from camp to Schmidts' Tunnel out in Randsburg, but not much else of any consequence. Played around a bit in Spangler Hills. Most hard core off roading I did this summer was on the xr600 and xr250r. (I've only had the xr's 5-8 months) The xr400 had some really great Precision Concepts forks I pulled off and put on my Xr600. Really made a difference in deflection and rock handling. I have some spare forks for the xr400 I picked up from a buddy but they need going thru. (Stock) Unfortunately, the xr400 has the bigger 4 gal tank. I think it's the logical thing to bring to DV and use the xr600 for stuff closer to the fuel source. Keep the speeds down 50-55 mph and either should be good. That xr400 tank will go on the xr250 but the ponies just aren't there for the hills, such as Lippencott, Pleasant Valley or the road portion from Stovepipe to PSR. Gas mileage is tho! That thing climbs rocks, ledges, and steps better than anything I've ridden.




Lots of great, sublime scenes up there I remember. I hope to get out there and see that area you mentioned not far from Independence, but I think in mid Nov the snow will close that in. Really enjoyed the scenery going down Lippencott. Hope to see things from Hunter Pass this year. (Every time I get there it's snowed)

Thanks again,
Chuck
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:16 PM   #684
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... That xr400 tank will go on the xr250 but the ponies just aren't there for the hills, such as Lippencott, Pleasant Valley or the road portion from Stovepipe to PSR. Gas mileage is tho! That thing climbs rocks, ledges, and steps better than anything I've ridden.
I'm certainly no expert, but I rode up Lippencott, Pleasant Valley and the road from Stovepipe to PSR on my KLX250S last February. Yeah, I wished it had more power up around Rogers pass, but it did the job. Your XR250R has a couple more ponies and about 40 less pounds than my KLX, so I don't think you'd have any trouble. I just picked up an XR250R and hope to bring that to DV some day.

My ride report: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=770555
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:46 AM   #685
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interesting suggestion

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I'm certainly no expert, but I rode up Lippencott, Pleasant Valley and the road from Stovepipe to PSR on my KLX250S last February. Yeah, I wished it had more power up around Rogers pass, but it did the job. Your XR250R has a couple more ponies and about 40 less pounds than my KLX, so I don't think you'd have any trouble. I just picked up an XR250R and hope to bring that to DV some day.

My ride report: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=770555
But I'm not sure I want to gift my buddies with my slowness They're on xr650r's, a 530 exc and wr450f. On the ledges, rock hops, yes! Road shots and long sand/gravel hauls ...hills..

The steeper the hills, the more the sand, the bigger the xr
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:13 AM   #686
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Smaller bikes can be better in DV

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But I'm not sure I want to gift my buddies with my slowness They're on xr650r's, a 530 exc and wr450f. On the ledges, rock hops, yes! Road shots and long sand/gravel hauls ...hills..

The steeper the hills, the more the sand, the bigger the xr
I think you would smoke your buddies on your XR250R going up Lippinicott and especially on the 10 mile section of Steele Pass that has been completely washed away but from Furnace Creek to Beatty on the pavement, with a strong headwind, you would be left in the dust.

There are no big hill climbs in Death Valley where you need lots of horsepower. The paved roads are the only places where you might be at a disadvantage. Riding up Pleasant Canyon from Ballarat is a 1st or 2nd gear techical climb because of all the rocks.

I think your 250 would be the bike of choice for:
1. Goler Wash
2. Mengel Pass
3. Echo Pass
4. South Pass
5. Steele Pass
6. Lippincott Road
7. Pleasant Canyon and South Park

On the dirt roads between all those places, I rarely ride faster than 40 mph so anyone out there reading this thread who rides a 250cc dual sport bike, should know it will do very well all over Death Valley and better than larger bikes on the technical sections.

There are sections of deep sand and gravel but there are more rocks to deal with than sand and gravel.

It is actually the heavy Adventure Bikes, not the light 250cc bikes, that will have problems with the difficult sections of DV.

If you find yourself on a 400 lb.or heavier bike fully loaded with gear and are using dual sport tires rather than knobbies, and you are half way up Lippincott Road with 30 psi or more air in your tires and you loose your momentum and are riding alone, you might be stuck for a while. Just turning around a heavy bike on Lippincott alone is a challenge not to mention what you are in for if you happen to drop your bike or find it is upside down off the trail.

I say all this because I have been there before. My buddy and I rode our BMW's, he on an R1200GS and I was on an R1200GSA. We were told that Lippincott was easy and could be done in a 2WD car so we tried it. Our bikes were fully loaded, but we did have knobbies. We had to air down to 20 psi to have any hope of making it up and I had to push my friend to get some traction to make it up Lippincott. We just barely made it and that was a few years ago when this road was in much better shape than it is right now.

We rode the same bikes over "the escape route", also known as Manly Pass, and he hit a rock with his back wheel while going down a steep hill, causing the back end to swap and before he knew it, he and the bike were upside down off the trail on a steep down hill section.

We unloaded what we could and it took both of us to lift his GS and get it back on the trail. Had he been alone, he would have had to hike out to the pavement and get help.

After these two experiences, I won't ride an Adventure bike on the Escape Route or on Lippincott Mine Road again. However, I will take my lighter dual sport bikes anywhere in DV but won't ride alone.

Even with all my years of experience riding off road in the desert, unexpected things can happen so having one or more buddies along is the best plan as far as I'm concerned.

For the talented, experienced riders reading this, I'm sure you already know all this and you probably have more skill on a big bike than I do. I'm passing on my opinions and experience for the "mere mortals" out there who are not pro level riders and may be new to dual sporting or adventure riding and want to know what to expect, especially if they are new to Death Valley.

I have found the information I have gotten from those who post on advrider to be very helpful for me when planning trips. What is easy for one rider is impossible for the next.
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:50 PM   #687
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interesting take

My first DV trip I brought a ktm 950 and a drz. Enjoyed the ktm on easy sections and road. Never had optimal tires for either. I really prefer toting a bike via jeep/rv and camping than riding out carrying gear. Don't enjoy the adventure bike deal. I use street legal dirt bikes for off road and street bikes for aggressive street.

That xr250r is a hoot! No doubt. Maybe with a xr280 kit and xr400 forks might do the trick. Very light and maneuverable. Don't think open dez is its specialty. Been on some hill climbs that turned into first gear rev fests. The xr400 and xr600 are probably perfectly. If I stopped being indecisive id probably sell one!
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:36 PM   #688
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interesting take

My first DV trip I brought a ktm 950 and a drz. Enjoyed the ktm on easy sections and road. Never had optimal tires for either. I really prefer toting a bike via jeep/rv and camping than riding out carrying gear. Don't enjoy the adventure bike deal. I use street legal dirt bikes for off road and street bikes for aggressive street.

That xr250r is a hoot! No doubt. Maybe with a xr280 kit and xr400 forks might do the trick. Very light and maneuverable. Don't think open dez is its specialty. Been on some hill climbs that turned into first gear rev fests. The xr400 and xr600 are probably perfectly. If I stopped being indecisive probably sell one!
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:58 AM   #689
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Hauling vrs. riding to DV

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My first DV trip I brought a ktm 950 and a drz. Enjoyed the ktm on easy sections and road. Never had optimal tires for either. I really prefer toting a bike via jeep/rv and camping than riding out carrying gear. Don't enjoy the adventure bike deal. I use street legal dirt bikes for off road and street bikes for aggressive street.

That xr250r is a hoot! No doubt. Maybe with a xr280 kit and xr400 forks might do the trick. Very light and maneuverable. Don't think open dez is its specialty. Been on some hill climbs that turned into first gear rev fests. The xr400 and xr600 are probably perfectly. If I stopped being indecisive id probably sell one!
I agree about hauling a my bikes to DV. I rode my R1200GSA all over DV but there were many places where I couldn't ride it so after several trips with a big bike, I started hauling my smaller dual sport bikes and found I had much more fun once I got to DV.

There are so many great bikes these days that it is hard to settle on just one. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. 400 to 500cc's has become the sweet spot for me.
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:06 AM   #690
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Anyone ridden Goler Wash lately?

I'd like to get an update on the following:

1. Manly Pass (the escape route)
2. Goler Wash
3. Mengle Pass
3. Butte Valley Road
4. West Side Highway
5. Echo Canyon

If any of you have ridden any of these recently, let us know what the conditions are like.

Thanks.
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