|09-21-2013, 09:52 PM||#1|
Quick, rather than Dead.
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Silver Spring, MD
A Two-Night/Three-Day Death Valley/Las Vegas Ride Plan - You Can Do It Too!
This is my thrilling trip to LV and DV, something I’d only ever dreamed of. I rode between April 10-12, 2013. I wasn’t trying to do anything dramatic - this is no LarryBoy trip that originally inspired me - but sometimes those two-night, three-day trips to an alien world can have a huge impact on your life. I hope this ride report inspires you to do the same thing. Take a short trip. Fly and ride. Wake up your internal mystery person!
And so it begins...
Opportunity taken. If there’s an official reason to go somewhere, there might also be a reason to rent a motorcycle in the same area and see the better parts of that place. Once invited to a friend’s party in Las Vegas in April 2013, I applied my plan. I realized Death Valley was pretty close to Las Vegas and mapped it all out. It turned out to be three days, two nights, 875 miles, 50 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit, 282 feet below sea level to 7,647 above sea level (often within the same hour or so), an empty gas tank in the middle of nowhere, a rescue from the USAF, bad food, decent beer, dingy hotels, a weathered BMW R1200GS motorcycle, minimal luggage, and general awe.
You take these opportunities when you can. You marry, for the right reasons. In fact, you marry a wonderful person. Everyone has issues – especially you – yet you find someone pretty much perfectly put together, with a family that matches. You learn to understand and accept each others’ challenging hobbies or “issues”. After almost four years of marriage to my wonderful person, I think I’m on track to getting her used to an annual, long-weekend motorcycle journey (and most likely solo because I don’t have any friends that ride, or ride anymore).
There was some hand-wringing over this Nevada ride, primarily because I couldn’t decide on how long I’d be gone, and the fact that it was connected to a bachelor party in Las Vegas. Taking a solo vacation was bad enough to my wife – extending it beyond the original point of the trip made it even harder for her to accept. It didn’t help that she was going through a terrible time at work: long hours, terrible supervisors, frustrating coworkers, and a soul-crushing commute. At the same time, my work had become very…routine. Very…unstressful. Very…flexible. I could work from home most days, or for just a few hours in my office or at the client’s. I got lots of quality time with our dog during the day. I was running a very successful project, with all my employees in other states, and a happy client. I made a bit more than my wife. I had more ability to take vacation. All this was tough for her to get over, as if it was a “contest”. Jealousy I can understand, but something bordering on bitterness – to the point that it made her want to keep me from doing anything that sounded anything like fun if it was on my own – started to grow. And that I would not allow.
And so, after some time, and some explanation, and some gentle pleading (and some subtle stubbornness), I finally got a grudging approval for the ride. I don’t know how your marriage works, but I don’t believe in just putting your foot down and saying, “I’M DOING IT”, especially when it’s something significant, expensive, and dangerous. My wife had long lost her pre-marriage appreciation of my motorcycling. It was now grudging acceptance, with semi-regular attempts at dissuasion. When we get into fights over it and how she thinks it’s too dangerous to continue – despite my well-reasoned protests and explanations – she always counters with “It doesn’t really matter what I say, you’re never going to stop.” As if it is some sort of addiction. Oh, well, anyway, yeah.
So, I pulled the trigger on the plane and bike and all that good stuff, bought some new clothing and equipment to adapt to the unique climate and conditions that I expected from Death Valley, and finally set out with that thrill in your chest that comes with the anticipation of the start of an adventure.
This ride report will be different from my previous two (Scotland and Arizona/Utah – links are below). I’m going to try a less-text style in order to just give the gist of what I was up to, share the important details, and expand on any really good stories. I know many riders on ADV have toured Death Valley – God knows I was inspired by ________boy’s amazing adventures off-road in the park, and loved AntiHero’s on-road, winter photos of the area (especially with the coyotes) – and I wanted to try to let the pictures do the talking this time. I know I’ll do an expanded, text-heavy trip report for myself, family, and friends too. Plus, it sure makes it quicker to post the story after the ride.
So, enjoy the photos and text. Feel free to chime in with any questions or comments.
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