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Old 10-29-2012, 09:16 AM   #391
mediaguy
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Near Oakhurst

Darn, just got on and saw your post that you were in Oakhurst. We're in North Fork just East of Bass Lake about 16 miles from Oakhurst. Would have loved to meet you. Plenty of room to "camp" here at Rancho Relaxo, we have 7 1/2 acres backing up to the national forest. I have an XR650L dual sport which I used on the Continental Divide Ride back in 2008. If you get back in the area give me a shout at larry.mediaguy@gmail.com.
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #392
Ratman
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Fey and the 'Gravel Wash'

We began Sunday's ride a little late. It takes a while for the fall sun to warm Lone Pine up to a pleasant riding temperature. We lit out on this course a about 11am.
http://goo.gl/maps/tIQuL

We had big plans. maybe 200 miles most of it hwy and good dirt roads. Well that didn't work out. LOL

First we stopped in at Craig the sculpturist place out at Keeler. I'd been there before but Fey hadn't. She deserved to be subjected to Craig. Quite an experience really. Never stops talking, but in an interesting way. He made the first of the upcoming pictures. Guess which one is Craig.
From DV Oct 2012


We spent till noon there and ten headed to Darwin. Darwin is an old mine site that has more of society's eclectic dropouts than anywhere else in the world, except maybe Keeler...
We stopped at Darwins 'Garden' where a couple of the towns folks were tidying up a bit. Lady in the picture is Canyon. She and Fey had met at the Keeler Halloween blowout Sat night.

She told us the storm a couple weeks ago had washed out the road that we were headed for. Washed out is a relative term, but judging from what the ranger told us earlier a few of the old main back roads in DV Park had gotten seriously washed out from the same storm. We'd have to see for ourselves of course.

Off to the wash in question we went, and sure enough last years tracks were hard to find at times, but the wash was wide enough to find a way. There had been 10 vehicles or so thru before us so finding the way was fairly easy riding.....but of course Fey was terrified in the large loose gravel. Nip and I struggled too, but having more experience meant a lot less fear for us.

I'd been thru this canyon 5 years back in a 4 X 4, but I'd forgotten a lot of it. There a pump house (No longer in uses) down there with a 2 foot dia electric motor that drove a huge pump to supply water for a mine hundreds of feet above and a 1/2 mile away. We saw what we could see at the pump house, then headed off to Nip's surprise.
From DV Oct 2012


At "D" on the map we were able to ride a mile north to that small black spot on the map. That's a spring/oasis....with gold fish, yet. It was so lovely that it was an hour before we started to leave.
From DV Oct 2012


Look and see if you can see what's wrong in this picture.
From DV Oct 2012

So, we spent the next hour patching his rear tube. Fey is a good hand when it comes to fixing tires...who knew?
Then we were back under way. It was another couple miles of loose sand before we started up out of the sand wash. Fey struggled mightily. She was sure that the trail wasn't a road. At one time she dug her rear wheel in so deep the bike would stand up by itself. Then after she'd gotten a picture she forgot that the kickstand wasn't down, and upon hiking her leg to get on, the bike promptly threw her on her butt.
From DV Oct 2012

...Then........Remember, Parking lot drops don't count.
From DV Oct 2012


So we started up the mountain....first we had to get through a rutted area at the bottom. I got my first F'you from Fey when I told her to just punch it. She eventually got control of herself, and made it thru after Nip and I threw some stones in the worst part. Pretty gutsy gal once she quits whining and crying in her helmet about, "This is so not a road". :)

So the next several miles was up and down. The trail was slow but passable with vistas to die for. Eventually we got to the parking area to hike to Panamint Falls. Nip say that there is a 50 ft pool that has an actual water feeding it. It's down wash from the oasis where we had the flat tire. Water for Panamint Springs is piped the 7 miles from the Falls thru a pipe that can be seen all along the canyon wall. Nip says that pipe has to be repaired constantly.
Panamint Springs Dunes out there....
From DV Oct 2012


We wished we had enough time to walk to the falls, but it was 6pm, we headed for the barn post haste. It was a 1000ft where we found the hwy, and by the time we got to 6000 ft on the way back is was down to 55 degrees....cold enough for this old desert rat.

Our 200 mile ride got shortened to a 100 with only 15 or so of challenging dirt. It wore us out enough we were to tired to cook. We rewarded ourselves with pizza when we got back well after dark at 7pm.

The rest of the pix are at...starting after the picture of Nip and his drum set.
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink
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Ratman screwed with this post 11-01-2012 at 08:21 AM
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:49 AM   #393
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
So we started up the mountain....first we had to get through a rutted area at the bottom. I got my first F'you from Fey when I told her to just punch it. She eventually got control of herself, and made it thru after Nip and I threw some stones in the worst part. Pretty gutsy gal once she quits whining and crying in her helmet about, "This is so not a road". :)
Yeah. This is what had me whining:

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Old 10-29-2012, 11:27 AM   #394
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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
Yeah. This is what had me whining:
Fey is so much better of a rider now after three days with the geezers. She even passed one of us on a downhill in the hard rock stuff yesterday. It wasn't me. I was already behind her.

I have big hopes for her.
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:36 PM   #395
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Fey is so much better of a rider now after three days with the geezers. She even passed one of us on a downhill in the hard rock stuff yesterday. It wasn't me. I was already behind her.

I have big hopes for her.
I definitely learned a lot, and after hours of plowing through deep sand and gravel, I'm not nearly as afraid of either of them. By the end of the day yesterday I was standing on the pegs (through pretty gentle dirt, mind you), and when I got to some deep dips heading uphill to the highway, I kept standing and gunned it. I almost looked like I knew what I was doing!

This was hands-down the most challenging riding I've ever done, even compared to stuff like Dug Bar. I still don't think I'd do well without the emotional support of others there to help me out if shit hits the fan, but my skills are improving and that's what matters. Someday I will be able to do this terrain by myself, and that's saying a lot when a week ago I don't think I could imagine myself doing this terrain at all.

Pete rode off into the distance a bit ago. It was great to meet you and I really appreciate the invite to come out here. Thanks a lot! Terrified though I may have been, I had a lot of fun!
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:12 PM   #396
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:55 PM   #397
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Fey, now we really should meet up and you can teach me! I am still scared shitless about rough terrain!
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:19 PM   #398
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Fey, now we really should meet up and you can teach me! I am still scared shitless about rough terrain!
Don't get me wrong, I am still scared shitless. Also slow. Very slow. I didn't get past 15mph for longer than 10 minutes the whole day. I do way better when I'm on a real road, even if it's unpaved.

The best thing for me has been stuff like this. Getting in over my head and having experienced people around to bail my ass out if it gets bad. I learn best when not learning isn't an option.

I'd still like to do some clinic-type exercises, get a lot better at standing, especially uphill and downhill, and get better at sharp turns. So much to learn.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try the north pass into saline valley by myself, stay there for a few days, then back to Lone Pine to climb Whitney with my friends on Saturday. Saline Valley Road from the north is 54 miles of incredibly remote, occasionally sandy "high clearance recommended" road, but we'll see. :) I can always turn back if it gets too shitty.

It is exceedingly unlikely it'll be as bad as what I've gone through the past few days, so that's a solace. I'll be fully loaded in sand though, which is... less comforting.

I guess you'll all just have to wait and see how I do!
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:22 PM   #399
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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post

Tomorrow, I'm going to try the north pass into saline valley by myself, stay there for a few days, then back to Lone Pine to climb Whitney with my friends on Saturday. Saline Valley Road from the north is 54 miles of incredibly remote, occasionally sandy "high clearance recommended" road, but we'll see. :) I can always turn back if it gets too shitty.

It is exceedingly unlikely it'll be as bad as what I've gone through the past few days, so that's a solace. I'll be fully loaded in sand though, which is... less comforting.

I guess you'll all just have to wait and see how I do!
I hope you have SPOT device on you!!!
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:34 PM   #400
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I hope you have SPOT device on you!!!
Nope, I'm a cheap bastard, but if shtf there's usually a few people on this road per day (more than you can say for most of death valley!) and I'll have my tools, extra oil, spare tube, lots of food and water, camping supplies etc. I've picked up the bike fully loaded with a full gas tank now, so I should be ok if I drop it.

It will probably be a cakewalk and I'm simply paranoid. Recent photos don't look too bad...

http://forum.salinepreservation.org/...8&postcount=78

Should be exciting regardless! And solo, nobody's around to hear me shrieking and cursing in fear!
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:40 AM   #401
Ratman
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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post

Tomorrow, I'm going to try the north pass into saline valley by myself, stay there for a few days,........................ Saline Valley Road from the north is 54 miles of incredibly remote,
You go, Fey. I can't wait to read about this ride.

BTW, I enjoyed our couple days together.....maybe we'll cross paths again one day.
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:39 PM   #402
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Meant to ask earlier, what water filter are you using? Do you like it?
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:42 AM   #403
Ratman
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Our heroine, headed into the Jaws of death

As you've read, Fey was riding solo out toward Saline Valley from the north. I can't wait for a report from her.

After I got home, I started to ask here on ADV about DV conditions, but I saw that they had already been reported on from 2on2off's report here...
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=833425

Seems as thought rains in August did some major damage to Death Valley's Saline Valley area. The storm damaged old roads that have been there forever. Steel Canyon for example can't even be found without a GPS. South Pass is also closed, but can be done by a light dualsport and a skilled rider.

The north pass and hot springs that Feyala is riding toward is in that area. She stated something like, "How much worse could it be than she'd already done with Nip and I?"

I believe she'll find deep sand the likes of which she's never seen, and minor washouts in North Pass much worse than she did with Nip and me.....and she's doing it with a loaded bike.

Not that she can't do it, you understand.....but the report should be a dilly.

Here's wishing her the best of luck.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:14 AM   #404
Ratman
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Fey's romance with DV's Saline Valley

....still no word from Feyala......

I bet she's having a great time....I hope.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:04 PM   #405
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I survived! I didn't even drop it!

Lots of rocks and sand. I'm getting better with the fist-sized rocks, I can maintain 20mph or so, throttling through the piles. After the desensitization Pete put me through, the only parts that inspired actual fear were the miles and miles of shitty, deep sand. I didn't get stuck and didn't fall over so it was a success!

The people and space were not what I was expecting but I had a great time!

Right now I am trying to figure out where I want to go from here. My friends pushed their plan for Mt Whitney back a week due to illness and I don't feel like waiting around. I'll probably aim for Phoenix, visit my folks and do some bike maintenance. Maybe check out joshua tree on the way.

Updates will happen when I can stay somewhere a few days. :)
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