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Old 01-25-2013, 12:06 AM   #16
Head'n somewhere new
2on2off's Avatar
Joined: May 2007
Location: Central California
Oddometer: 1,317
Difficult sections of Death Valley

Based on my personal experience riding all over Death Valley on the dirt, I have found I can ride just about everywhere on a Suzuki DRZ400S, Honda XR650L and my current KTM 500EXC primarily because they are all light enough for me to man-handle in difficult sections and easily pick up should I find myself upside down off the trail.

My BMW R1200GSA was a completely different riding experience in Death Valley. Going up Lippincott, I found that on the GSA, if I lost my momentum and had to stop on a few off camber rocky sections with hard packed dirt and loose pebbles on top, I could hardly get going for lack of traction even with TKC knobbies aired down to 20 psi. My riding buddy was on an R1200GS and I had to push him in a few sections for him to gain traction and hitting one rock the wrong way can throw you down before you know what happened.

With a few friends to help if needed, it is possible to ride a big and heavy Adventure Bike up and down Lippincott but it is alot of work.

A rider with advanced off road riding skills can ride the bike bikes just about anywhere in Death Valley but they are an elite group and I'm not in that catagory even though I have been riding for over 44 years.

There are no steps on Lippincott but it is a very narrow road with some steep sections with not enough width on the trail for me to be able to turn around a fully loaded GSA alone. It is the off camber sections where you can loose traction and loose your momentum. And if you are riding this solo on a big bike, you might be stuck for a while.

Going down is easier than going up.

Places that were too hard for me to ride my GSA on include:
1. Goler Wash because of the loose sand and gravel
2. Mengle Pass because of the big rocks near the "rock cairn"
3. Echo Pass because of the steps and rocky trail
4. Steele Pass because of the rocky 10 mile section just north of the hot springs
5. South Pass because the current washed out conditions (rode it in the past with no problem when it was in better shape)
6. Escape Route (Manly Pass) because of one very steep down hill section that sent my buddy over the handle bars and left the bike upside down off the trail. Took both of us to get it back on the trail. I did it once on my GSA but wouldn't do it again.

I have ridden all these on my dual sport bikes and it was challenging but fun.

This is just what I have experienced. Other rides with better skill will have a different opinion.
I came to ride...........
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