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Old 05-10-2014, 11:47 PM   #61
AKMotorbiker OP
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Rhyolite Ghost Town


Here's a picture documenting me taking a picture.

Rhyolite


And here is the bottle house!

Rhyolite Bottle House

Built by Tom Kelly and constructed using mostly beer bottles from the towns saloons he never lived in it and raffled it off for $5 tickets after completing it. There were two other bottle houses in the town. Rhyolite has a couple websites with more info.

Rhyolite Bottle House

Rhyolite Bottle House


My oldest Daughter noticed that the shapes in the foreground were actually buildings which we assume is a model of the town.

Rhyolite Bottle House

This picture is a little creepy. I think seeing children's things in a ghost town is unsettling.

Rhyolite Bottle House

Here are some pieces from around the town laid out at the bottle house.

Rhyolite Bottle House

Rhyolite Bottle House

Rhyolite Bottle House

Rhyolite Bottle House

Rhyolite Bottle House

Rhyolite Bottle House

Here we can take vandalism and have it suit my purpose.

Rhyolite Bottle House

Rhyolite Mercantile

Rhyolite Mercantile

An old truck in back of the Mercantile

Rhyolite Truck

Rhyolite Truck Speedo

This building started as the railroad depot. I couldn't tell you what other purpose it had later, if any. You can make out the "Rhyolite" faded on the first layer under "Rhyolite Ghost Casino".

Rhyolite Casino

Rhyolite Casino

Across the parking lot from the depot.

Rhyolite Union Pacific Caboose

Rhyolite Union Pacific Caboose

Other buildings around the town.

Rhyolite

Rhyolite

Rhyolite

Rhyolite

A street sign.

Rhyolite Street Signs

Then there's this...

Rhyolite open air museum

Rhyolite open air museum

"The last supper" strange and morbid for me. But, to each his own. The artist liked this area and here is some of his work.

Rhyolite open air museum

Truthfully, this wagon wheel in the parking lot is way more intriguing than the art, no really. People traveled hundreds maybe/ hopefully thousands of miles with all their possessions rolling on these wheels.

Rhyolite open air museum

We have just enough time today to get through Titus Canyon, just enough. Let's do it!!! If you liked the last two days so far, you gonna love this, and if you love this, tomorrow will blow your mind!

It starts off just like any other dirt road.

Start of Titus Canyon road

Titus Canyon road

Titus Canyon road

Road to Titus Canyon

Road to Titus Canyon

Road to Titus Canyon

Break enroute to Titus Canyon

This is right after I stopped horizontally. I came around the inside of an uphill curve full of loose marble size rocks in second gear. Before I could get into first gear I lost all momentum and that's why my right mirror is over my instrument cluster instead of over the throttle.

Titus Canyon Road

Titus Canyon Road

Titus Canyon road

Titus Canyon road

You don't see a curve this tight all the time.

Titus Canyon road

Titus Canyon road

Titus Canyon road

If you look close on the left you can see the structures of Leadfield.

Titus Canyon road Leadfield

Leadfield

Leadfield

Dropping into the canyon.

Leaving Leadfield

Titus Canyon Road

Petroglyphs

I'm not sure which ones are authentic and which ones are vandalism but, interesting.

Petroglyphs

Beautiful views the whole way. Incredible ride site wise and it was cooler!

Titus Canyon

Titus Canyon

Titus Canyon

Titus Canyon

Titus Canyon

Imagine the force and water that carved all this!

Titus Canyon

Coming out of the canyon.

Exiting Titus Canyon

Sunset at end of Titus Canyon

End of Titus Canyon

End of Titus Canyon
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:25 AM   #62
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Man, thank you so much. This is just what my head needs right now. My wife and I also do our best to avoid the rat race, but I still get caught up in the wrong mindset too often. Great report, I'll stick around.
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:05 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chollo9 View Post
Man, thank you so much. This is just what my head needs right now. My wife and I also do our best to avoid the rat race, but I still get caught up in the wrong mindset too often. Great report, I'll stick around.
It is great to slip off and recharge even for an afternoon. My Wife and I didn't want to come back to reality. Maybe just for the bed and that's it. It's only been a week and she says we need to get out of here again. She might have said it the day after we got back.

I love your signature line by the way!
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:10 AM   #64
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Day 3 Sunday May 4, 2014

We camped at Furnace Creek again. The temperatures throughout the night stayed in the 90Fs and it was not peaceful, comfortable, or completely restful.

Saturday Morning at Furnace Creek

In the morning as we were getting ready to head out a Ranger was making his rounds through the campground. I was telling him about our route for the day and that this or that depended on time and getting to a place to camp. He told me that there was another route out of Racetrack Valley that wasn't on the normal map. It was on the back country map that they have behind the counter at the visitor center (remember I left my maps at home). He said it was for high clearance vehicles and looked over at ours saying we should be good. We both had experience with off road driving so, it opened up options for us. He also told us to stay hydrated. A biker had passed out riding yesterday and parked horizontally while scooting down the road. Always hydrate! I stopped by and picked up a back country map along with another standard map because each navigator need one of the regular maps it turned out.

Maps

Here is the map for day 3

image

We had to stop and top off gas, get ice, and pick up a few souvenirs.

Rattle Snake Mug

Unfortunately, the lip of the cup cause leakage after every sip so, it was not in the stars to be my new morning coffee mug. It still looks cool though.


A few pictures of the mule and tractor driven wagons of the period outside the Furnace Creek Resort.

Old Dinah

Old Dinah

Twenty Mule Team Wagon

Twenty Mule Team Wagon


Heading North out of Furnace Creek. Next stop is Scotty's Castle!

Heading North out of Furnace Creek

Approaching Scotty's Castle...

Scotty's Castle

I wasn't expecting an oasis. There was a large parking area and a grassy picnic area with tables in the shade, very relaxing and quiet. The parking lot was full of corvettes. I thought they might be rentals since a lot of them had CB antennas mounted on the back in the same spot but, they also had personalized plates from California.

Scotty's Castle Corvettes

As we were pulling in a Harley was parking using his left engine guard as a kick stand. I forgot my priorities and went over to help instead of getting a picture so, it never happened.

Scotty's Castle gives several tours and combinations of tours. On the web site it warns you to call ahead and get the schedule. I forgot to do this and we got there an hour and a half before the next tour started. We were scheduling our days so that we were in a place to camp by sunset waiting for the tour would have put us an hour into darkness. It looks like the tour is out. However; we were able to walk the grounds and see the out buildings. The tours were for the main buildings interior and the tunnels.

Scotty's Castle Pano

In the foreground is the swimming pool which extends in front of the whole main house. It was filled by the spring that supplied the house and powered the generator.

Scotty's Castle Front Pano

Looking at the house, standing in front of the power house.

Scotty's Castle Main House

The "chimes tower" was closed due to unsafe conditions. I'm assuming that means the handrails don't meet code. Who knows but, it worked and rang off the time hourly and on the half hour.

image

The top of the stairs leading around the outside of the power house to the roof.

Scotty's Castle Power House Roof room

The inside of the room.

Scotty's Castle Power House Roof room

One of the gates leading to the courtyard of the main house.

Scotty's Castle Courtyard Gate

Looking through a section of the gate.

Scotty's Castle courtyard

The courtyard

Scotty's Castle courtyard

A few of the doors. So intricate and elaborate for a house in the middle of the desert.

Scotty's Castle Glass Door

Scotty's Castle gate door

Scotty's Castle wood door

This one was our favorite with the handle being a seahorse.

Scotty's Castle seahorse door

Here is the power house interior.

Scotty's Castle powerhouse

Scotty's Castle powerhouse sign

And they are repairing the hydro electric to supplement the power used today.

Scotty's Castle hydro electric sign

Scotty's Castle pond 2

And here lies Scotty. Buried above the complex.

Scotty's Grave
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Old 05-12-2014, 12:24 AM   #65
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It was time to eat lunch and press on to Eureka Sand Dunes. We got back on the road and turned off to head up to the dunes. As we rode down the washboard road I stopped at the mileage sign. We were already pushing the miles to available fuel range for me (I didn't have any fuel cans, just the tank). The sign said 45 miles, which was 90 miles of washboard. I can't believe this section and those details slipped my mind! It's like I didn't even consider it. We made a quick decision to skipped the dunes, I wasn't going to miss the Racetrack no matter what. It was open track day! We also decided at this point to take the back country route out of Racetrack Valley. So, we turned around and headed to Ubehebe Crater.



Ubehebe Crater



Ubehebe Crater



You can't tell in these pictures but, the wind was kicking around hard. It was gusting to at least thirty miles per hour, maybe even as high as forty. The kids were out of the Jeep long enough for the first sand blast, then they went back inside.



Ubehebe Crater



This next picture shows the wind more accurately.
















Ubehebe Crater windy




Ubehebe



And now the start of the Racetrack! I was worried we would not make it to what I call the "back side" of the park. I didn't even count the Racetrack Valley as part of that section but, it proved to be a lot different than the Main Valley.




Start of Racetrack Canyon



A few miles down the road we ran into a truck with a flat tire. I stopped and asked if they were good and had everything they needed, they said yes so we continued on.

Doing research for the trip statistics showed that one in four people got flat tires during their trips to Death Valley. Well, there were four vehicles there (our two and the flat tire groups two).

That means we're good right?




I got ridiculously overjoyed at the site of these wilting flowers.

Racetrack Canyon



It meant that I had finally seen what the desert has to offer outside of sand and cactus and rock. Then. I began to see more and more, color after color!



Racetrack Canyon



Racetrack Canyon



Racetrack Canyon



Racetrack Canyon



Racetrack Canyon



Racetrack Canyon



Racetrack Canyon



This was the desert I've been looking for!



Racetrack Canyon Pano



Racetrack Canyon



Racetrack Canyon



Another landmark I had been wanting to visit, Teakettle Junction!

Teakettle Junction



I had read in another report that the Park Service removes these tea kettles as vandalism. I'm of the opinion that they are part of the sign. As long as they keep an appropriate number of kettles hanging for photo ops I'm happy. You can see a percolator in the photo which technically isn't a teakettle but, who's that picky?



Teakettle Junction



These guys left a mark that would be around for awhile.


Teakettle Junction


Leaving our mark!

Teakettle Junction

And the Racetrack appears on the horizon!

Racetrack

Racetrack

The "Grandstand"

Grandstand

Racetrack pano

Racetrack sign

Racetrack

Racetrack

This rock was in the parking lot. He may have been waiting to qualify for the races.

Racetrack rock

I had mentioned earlier that it was open track day and I was looking forward to earning a shot at being a moving rock on the Racetrack! I figured that my chances were as good as anyone's. This was my dancing with the stars, America's got talent chance to make it big. Just think of all the ride reports I'd be in!!!




So here we go! On your mark!


Get set!



GO!!!!

Racetrack race 1

Right off the bat I felt like my form was off and I may have blown the start or at least lost my advantage having longer legs and all.

Racetrack race 2

I felt myself getting into a rhythm now but, the gap was growing with every step.

Racetrack race 3


It was starting to look hopeless but, I don't give up without a fight!

Racetrack race 4

Oh who am I kidding. It was the altitude! Wrong shoes! These guys have been doing it for years!

Racetrack race 5

Racetrack race 6

Next time and here's the winner that shut me out.

Racetrack

This guy wasn't making much progress. Must be a new guy.

Racetrack slow rock

Racetrack

My Daughter said these tracks didn't have rocks but, they did, a long way off!

Racetrack

Racetrack

Racetrack

Racetrack

These two have been together for awhile.

Racetrack



This track went around the playa. I wanted to see the rock that made this track!

Racetrack


So now we are moving on, heading out the back country way. Sometime during the day I looked at the map and found the trail out. It had a number next to it that coincided with a description on the back. I had flipped the map over and read the description and thought, not bad. Then I read the name. Didn't register, a little later it had sunk in and like waking up in the morning realizing that you were late for work and shooting upright, I screamed out LIPPINCOTT PASS!!!

Lippincott Pass
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Old 05-12-2014, 12:44 PM   #66
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Lippincott pass!!!

Lippincott Pass

I had been keeping up on the Death Valley riding conditions thread and this name had popped up before. The phase "not big bike friendly" was bouncing around my head. Ah, what the hell, let's go!

Lippincott Pass

Lippincott Pass

Not too bad so far.

No, wait, a little rougher.

Lippincott Pass

Lippincott Pass

Lippincott Pass

A big rock in the trail.

Lippincott Pass

Whoaaaaa!

Lippincott Pass

Lippincott Pass

I need a little break to re-evaluate my life!

Lippincott Pass

Alright, on we go...

Lippincott Pass

My Wife and I sharing "a look".

Lippincott Pass

If I can just make it down there...

Lippincott Pass

I parked it on the engine guard again! No problem.

Lippincott Pass

I just need to rest a minute and tighten this mirror again.

I feel much cooler now.

Lippincott Pass

Lippincott Pass

Time to take a substantial break.

Lippincott Pass

Lippincott Pass

Down on the sane part of the trail we saw this cave cut into the side of the hill. It was big enough to store some supplies or a small shelter.

Lippincott Pass

Lippincott Pass

Finally to the valley floor! But, now it's windy as hell. With the wind, sitting down gives me more control of the bike than standing up on the pegs. At least it makes me feel better.

Lippincott Pass

It's the end of the road! Whooohooo! That was an amazing ride! I'm not going to lie, there were a few moments of fear and one point I was paddling down with the engine off but, still it was awesome! I know now that I definitely need risers, wider pegs (preferably lowered), tank grip for the legs, and I'm sure knobbies would have given me much, much, much better traction. I knew all this from my Big Bear ride last Labor Day, this just reinforced the knowledge. Not bad for a stock bike (minus engine guards) with anakee 3s that have 8000 miles on them.

On to Saline Valley rd.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:36 AM   #67
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great adventure AKMotorbiker !
.
.
mighty good read and great pictures, your support crew are amazing too !!!
.
.
but i don't think there's any sanity at the end of the lippincott pass, no sir, not for you..................!!
.
.
keep her lit !
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:09 AM   #68
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Thanks for the compliments mka!
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:12 AM   #69
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One of my Daughters took this flower picture.

Saline Valley Road

And the oldest found this boot and took a picture.

Saline Valley Road

Heading up to South Pass

Saline Valley road

Saline Valley road

How now brown cow?

Saline Valley road

Saline Valley road

Saline Valley road

Saline Valley road

Saline Valley road

Saline Valley Road

I took this picture through the lens of my sunglasses so I could capture the rainbow colors of the cloud. You couldn't see it without the polarization.

Saline Valley Road

The intersection of Saline Valley rd and CA 190 which we'll take East back into the park.

Saline Valley Road/ CA190

Saline Valley Road

Saline Valley Road

image

Just before heading down into Panamint.

CA190 heading towards Panamint Springs

A cool pano of the view from inside the Jeep.

Jeep Pano

CA 190 East towards Panamint Springs

Panamint Springs entrance point

Heading up into Towne Pass on the way to Emigrant. We were planning on staying at Emigrant campground but, the restrooms were to far away with the kids. So, even with the beautifully cool 87F temperature we kept going to Stovepipe where it was 99F. Last night, it's OK.

Approaching Towne Pass looking back towards Panamint
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:05 AM   #70
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Day 4 Monday May 5, 2014 (last day)

Monday Morning at Stovepipe Wells

Monday morning

Just across the street is Mosaic Canyon. It was going to be hard to compete with the last two days, especially yesterday but, we decided to swing by on the way out.

Mosaic Canyon

I'm glad we did, it was a very scenic canyon.

Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic Canyon

What I assume to be marble was so smooth that the kids were sliding on it like a day at the park.

Mosaic Canyon


Leaving Mosaic Canyon. We'll be heading West to Lone Pine to head home.

Leaving Mosaic Canyon looking at Stovepipe Wells

Heading out we wanted to hit another site before we left.

image

I was sure that I read that the falls has water year round but, we never saw any water in the creek bed and after heading up the "4X4, high clearance vehicle only" section wet urged around to head for home.

Darwin Falls

Darwin Falls

So long until next time! It surpassed my expectations and my Wife's as well.

Leaving Death Valley towards Lone Pine

Coming in to Lone Pine. One of my favorite towns in California.

Lone Pine

Mt Whitney is here to the left of the second light pole from the right in the picture. My Wife and I climbed this back in 2010. It was her first high peak and we did it in just over 13 hrs. (22 miles up and back down).

Mt Whitney

In Lone Pine I noticed some debris on my bike.

Bird Strike

Bird Strike

Bird Strike

At first I thought I was leaking oil. Then we figured out by identifying feathers that I had taken out a bird. It was just after the cattle coming up to South Pass. I remember feeling a soft strike on my boot and my Wife said she saw three birds take flight and only two come out the other side. Oops, so there you have it! Even though my pictures show 107F it hit 109f for a split second, flowers were the life, the bird was death, and Lippincott Pass was the insanity. There was one more interesting event on the way home though.

Riding down the 395 on Monday afternoon was an exercise in endurance. The wind was pushing me around all the way to I-15. Good Lord it was rough! The we got near the 15 and traffic came to a stand still. We rerouted and headed down Big Bear Valley rd. Then we discovered that it wasn't the 395, an overpass under construction had caught fire and shut drown the entire interstate. I did a quick map study based off of where we found the incident to be and started our detour.

People were driving up the on ramp to get off the interstate (South bound)

Bridge fire stopping traffic on the I-15

What I thought was a detour brought us right to the fire. The internet was wrong!

Bridge Fire

Fire Engines returning to the blaze after refilling water.

Fire trucks shuttling water to the fire

A water tender/ tanker (depending on your department) that was filling the engines.

Fill point

Here is the traffic heading North backed up at the on ramp we took to bypass the fire.

Traffic North stopped

image


The fate of the rattle snake coffee mug.

Rattle Snake Flower Pot


So, how does it feel being home after four days in Death Valley?



COLD!!!
Staying warm at 65 F

107F to 65F brrrrrrrr!
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Old 05-17-2014, 06:44 PM   #71
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Death Valley Day 1&2 video

A short video of the first two days.

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Old 05-23-2014, 01:15 PM   #72
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Here's the highlights video for days 3&4. It shows the key places and road conditions along the way. The off road/ dirt portions for the four days was 125 miles with most of that on days 3&4.

Unfortunately, work has caused my next two rides to Wallowa, WA in June and the Grand Canyon, AZ in August to be postponed. Hopefully I can get in some weekend rides in the mean time.


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Old 06-13-2014, 07:01 PM   #73
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Interim...

Since my last trip to Death Valley I've occupied my time with work of course (which ended up canceling two trips this summer) and a few riding courses.

In May I took the MSF Advanced Rider's Course. I'm kicking myself for not getting any pictures because, it was me and eight sport bikes. It looked like Billy Madison sitting in kindergarten. I got some good training out of it and it's good to slow down every once in a while to go over the basics. I good friend of mine always warms up in a parking lot before he hits the road. Since he's 63 years old and been riding most of that I believe it's a good habit he has and I should probably adopt it.

Then today I took the MSF basic dirt bike course. This was an even stranger picture. There was me with five 250cc bikes! At least I had a kick stand. Mind you I did this with my original Anakee IIIs, which hit 9000 miles today. Not the same traction as those knobby rolling dirt monsters but, I completed the course. The instructor had me do the K turn with his 400cc DRX? What a light bike!! Then after we finished... I rolled away while they had to load their bikes! Granted they can do a lot more with those small bikes, mine suits my needs and purpose.

Fourth of July weekend will find us in Sequoia Nation Park so stay tuned!
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:52 AM   #74
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Recall!

I received a recall notice in the mail this week. Not a big deal as I've had recalls for all my current vehicles. One was to sew a pull loop in the rear seat. I scheduled the service which is estimated at 30 minutes to install a bracket to prevent the transmission seal from being pushed out of position (if it was to ever occur in the first place). Apparently this has been an ongoing issue and this is not the first attempt to correct the problem. From what I found there was one accident related to this in Italy (I believe). Am I worried... not remotely. I will get it done and ride on! BMW service is still outstanding. I knew there would be issues like these when I bought a first year redesign. Then Sequoia national Park!
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:39 PM   #75
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Sequoia National Park!

I took her in for service and to take care of the recall issues on July first. Then on the third we loaded up and headed out to the parks. About 950 miles, give or take, four days, and four National treasures.

We would travel through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Sequoia National Monument, and in and out of Sequoia National Forest.

Sequoia planning


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First Ride BMW R1200GSW:Off Road Edition
Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Death Valley
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