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Old 10-11-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
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Fly-and-Ride Guide: A Three-Day Solo Getaway in Death Valley and the Las Vegas Area

Fly-and-Ride Guide: A Three-Day Solo Getaway in Death Valley and the Las Vegas Area

As you can see by my signature lines, I love to fly-and-ride. In fact, I’m way behind on my ride reports for these types of trips I’ve taken over the last eight+ years. Yet-to-be posted are getaways to northern Colorado:
Maine:



New Hampshire:

South Florida:

Northern California:

Big Sur:

These types of short getaways – while often not cheap – can really pay off in ticking the boxes of your life’s must-see checklist. I’ve always wanted to see the high desert (and the low) – it would be incredible to see it by bike! I’ve always wanted to see the Canadian Rockies. It would be incredible to see it by bike! I could go on and on.
I’m married, which has inputs. Once the ring was on my finger, she almost immediately reversed her interest in my motorcycling (after having gone on the Big Sur ride with me just a year before). Classic, no? Still, she knows I won’t be giving up the bikes for some time. All I can do is increase my safety measures and give her more reassurance that I’m doing the right things. I used to love riding with a 2/3 helmet on my Harley, just wearing jeans, gloves, and a leather jacket. I hit a deer one winter while ATGATT:



I still have my skin today because of that head-to-toe equipment.





I vowed to be ATGATT from then on – even on the Harley, when it just didn’t quite feel right (seriously, there isn’t a much better feeling than riding a cruiser in just boots, jeans, leather jacket, gloves, goggles, and a ¾ helmet). I started wearing a neon vest and using a SPOT transponder on my weekend jaunts so I could send her those “OK” messages every hour. Frankly, I hope she clicks on the map links that SPOT sends her to see what beautiful part of the Maryland or Virginia countryside that I’m exploring while she’s at home on the computer or running retail errands.

So, I’m looking for more. And these few-day trips can provide a lot of bang for the relationship buck. Tacking a ride onto a business trip or a family visit or a friend’s big event is turning out to be more and more an interesting chance for me to get the adventure I need while meeting the concerns of my spouse. Making compromises is everything in a marriage (as it used to be in national politics). This is my creative way of approaching the motorcycle question. It’s very, very important. Believe me, I’ve even been keeping my eye on Can-Am Spyders for someday! It’s all about taking the opportunity when it pops up.

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. For this “getaway guide”, I took the invite to a friend’s bachelor party in Las Vegas in April 2013 to apply my plan. I wasn’t trying to do anything dramatic – this is no larryboy trip – but sometimes those short trips to an alien world can have a huge impact on your life.

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 other’s’ challenging hobbies or “issues”. After almost five years of marriage to this 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 (who isn’t inspired by inmate larryboy’s amazing adventures off-road in the park?) 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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My n00b Solo Ride Around Scotland
An Unusual Buddy Ride Through the Desert Southwest of the USA: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=744536
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Old 10-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #2
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Day One - Wednesday April 10, 2013

Who knew BMW had become part of Eagle Rider rentals? BMW Las Vegas has, though there’s a lot less of the orange-and-black attack. I didn’t even see any t-shirts with the ER logo. I’ve rented through Eagle Rider many times around the country, and have always had a great experience, and this was no difference. I rolled in just after the 9am opening time after a long-ish cab ride from the airport.

They had a silver 2010 BMW R1200GS ready for me, but were was the top box I thought I ordered. I didn’t ask – everything I had fit tightly in the panniers. This was my first GS (but not my first BMW), so they gave me rundown on the controls, electronics, and where the electrical plug was. Naturally, it required an adapter to work with my phone’s car charger.


I was finally on the road around 10:20am. Funny, there’s a “Regeneration Anti-Age Center” next to the dealer. I figure if you have bikes, you’re going to stay young. Off to Pahrump, NV.
Some shots along the way (by the way, I was using two cameras: an old digital around my neck on a lanyard for action/quick shots, and a much nicer, newer digital in my pocket. You can tell when I’m using the old camera – it has spots on the lens). The desert got more and more beautiful the further I got from Las Vegas:









It’s always a thrill to see snow on desert mountains.










Griffith Peak from NV-160 West, some of my favorite shots of the trip:




Finally in Pahrump at noon, probably 70 degrees. The sun was strong though, as was the wind. I stopped for lunch at Port of Subs, a place I took to be a local competitor of Subway. Good luck.



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Old 10-12-2013, 07:15 AM   #3
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Let's see DV

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Old 10-12-2013, 07:28 AM   #4
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Nice pictures, I love a good Fly-N-Ride!


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Old 10-12-2013, 09:43 AM   #5
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counterpoint

Like many, I might scan and jump through a long text section but I had to read your story. Thanks for taking the time to lay it out, you may still be working it out. But I think it's relevant for a number of riders and helpful to detail the issues.

Last year I started riding again after a 25+ year hiatus. My SO is a medical professional and hiker. She has no interest in motorcycles (because of the risk) though we love to see the country together hiking and driving four wheels. But she is completely supportive of my return to riding because she can see what it does for me. No need to belabor the differences of motorcycling and bicycling, or other activities. I'll just say that she sees me being more me by resuming motorcycle riding, and this in a very positive way.

Looking forward to more reports and reading your others.
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:18 PM   #6
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Vegas to the Valley

Thanks to GadgetBoy and psmcd for your attention and encouragement. Poolman, great to see you posting on a ride report of mine again - I'm a huge fan of riding in your part of Maryland.

I realize the subjects of these photos have been seen in so many Death Valley ride reports, but I hope the new angle and new photographer brings a new view to the amazing place. I know I can't get enough of seeing that wild place again and again, like any interesting place in the world.

Onward!
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:30 PM   #7
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Vegas to the Valley...Let's Ride

The ride out of Vegas was gorgeous. The open expanses, desert scenery, and snow-capped mountains just slapped me in the face – I was thrilled to be on another two-wheel adventure in a new part of the country to me. The bike was very good – my first time riding a GS. Very comfortable, easy to maneuver, and not too slow. The area is very interesting though. A preponderance of tiny casinos and sleazy looking gentlemen’s clubs is not to my liking. A huge amount of bad highway signs, too. They need to do something about that. I called my wife to check in and explained how “exhilarating” it was to be out here riding. “Don’t get TOO exhilarated!” She shot back. Note taken – do not say anything that could be construed to sound like “rubbing it in”. You’re not out there to have TOO much fun while she’s back home at work.

Bell Vista Road struck me as being the gateway to Death Valley – it was the first road out of Pahrump that pointed toward the National Park, and it gave me a thrill. The scenery changed to pure desert and the signs of population disappeared. It was almost 1pm. The heat ramped up to 80 (10 more degrees since Pahrump) and I knew I was going in the right direction, especially as the road stretched off almost endlessly toward the distant mountains. The name “Death Valley” conjures so many images for people. For me, my image coming in was formed by ADV ride reports and a little bit of knowledge about geography. Once I put all the senses to work on the real thing, that old image was gone. It was being rewritten by the real place, starting with this road in. I knew I was creating a lifelong memory, and doing it in a way that most people could not.

Down Bell Vista Road west:












Bell Vista T-bones into Death Valley Junction, where the famous Amargosa Opera House bakes in the sun. There’s less at DVJ than I thought there’d be, but it became a lesson for the rest of the trip: just because there’s a town on the map doesn’t mean there’s going to be a main street village with all the shops and amenities. A flock of Harley riders in black leather had congregated up a few yards. I have a Harley. It’s black. I have an Alpinestars perforated and armored leather jacket. It is also black. Death Valley is not a place I would wear black leather. Black bike? Okay. I've only ever owned black bikes, four in 9 years.











Just after 1pm, I stopped at the first information station on CA-190 to purchase my ticket, pick up a map, put a little charge into my iPhone, and rehydrate. My black-on-black brothers and sisters of the road caught up, too. Good on ‘em for wearing mostly full-ATGATT, except them chaps ain’t gonna’ project your butt in case of a slide. Honestly, I don’t think I will ever understand motorcycle chaps. I guess it’s just a holdover from cowboy days that got burned into the Harley/cruiser fashion catalog. “I’m a cowboyyyy…on a steeeeel horse I riiiiiiiide!”











Right next to the info station is the road to Dante’s View. Of course, this is a must-see. The road is also a must-ride! Wonderfully twisty, especially with some tight uphill hairpins near the end (but beware of cars coming down the other way). You are rewarded richly with the first “oh my god” moment of the day. I heard more than one person say it as they parked and got out of their cars and got off their bikes.























A couple on a BMW R1200RT from Utah parked next to me as I was taking off my jacket and getting cameras ready. We made small talk about where we were from, what we were doing (they’d been there before), where we were headed, and what I should see next. She kept going on about “you gotta’ like those BMWs!” Okay, okay. That’s enough, lady. This is a rental, and I like to ride many brands. I should have told her I prefer to tour on a Hog, just to see what she said. The wife was vocalizing her awe a bit too melodramatically for me as she held up a camera to the vista: “Wow, you can really see how the salt got in and make the water and land and mountains move and the salt flats and…”. Anyway, she asked if I could take a picture of them. No problem, but it was a GoPro – never handled one of those, so I asked where the shutter release was. “No, it’s on video.” Whoops – they’d be recording since they’d gotten off, so I did a little filming for them, and they ambled off down the hill. It was only 77 breezy degrees up there. I looked down on the little road next to Badwater – 282 feet below sea level – where I’d be riding the next day.





Once I’d taken in the scenery, I headed back to the bikes to admire his setup. Cool, he’s got a little dashboard with a RADAR detector with LED warning lights, a slot for something else, and…wait…is that a…?



I guess you never know when you’re going to need to shoot a rattler with a Walther PPK while on your BMW. Trusting guy – anyone could have helped themselves to a little James Bond love.

One more and I was off.


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Old 10-12-2013, 10:20 PM   #8
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Eek stupid

WTF? It's not trusting - just completely irresponsible. I hope this guy reads your rr, recognizes self, and never does this stupid shit again. Secure it!
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:09 AM   #9
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Fly, ride, Death Valley - - - - that has my attention.

I'm a LarryBoy fan but also enjoy seeing other people's view of Death Valley and reading about their adventure.

Looking for more of the story and pictures.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:31 PM   #10
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He Was No Agent 007

Damn straight. Totally irresponsible! I mean, that kind of thing just sitting out in the open, unsecured, open to theft and misuse has serious law enforcement implications. That little piece there could allow any little schmuck to have an impact on the cops' ability to do their job! Anyone could have helped themselves to it and gone on a crime spree!

I'm talking about the RADAR detector, of course.

But seriously, you're absolutely right. I'm okay around my friends' firearms as they are locked up and controlled, but when I see one just sitting out by itself, I get an uneasy feeling. I can't believe this guy and his wife just chatted me up and hiked on down the trail with that thing sitting out there in the sun. Hope it was there when they got back.

Reminds me of when I park my bike in front of a store or restaurant then come back out after an hour or so and find my ignition key sitting on the seat, right where I left it when I was stowing my gear. Except it's not quite the same.

Onward!
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:07 PM   #11
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Straight on Through to the Other Side

Not far back down the main road, I passed a dirt road that looked interesting. My motto has always been “I wonder what’s over there”, so I turned around. The road was one-way, so I skipped it, but not without some bike porn.





A couple miles on, I see what I had just missed. That was the exit to the Twenty Mule Team Canyon road, so I pulled in and took the little loop. Very cool. Did I read that some of the Tatooine scenes with R2D2 were filmed here? It was quite warm there – 88 degrees and a strong sun – so I kept moving.









Just beyond that road is Zabriskie Point. It’s a decent overlook up on a hill from the parking lot, which, when I got there at 3:20pm, was full of very young, scantily-clad, attractive Germans in rented RVs (no photos, of course). I even heard Russian and an Asian language – Japanese or Chinese – among the crowds making the walk up the hill. I finished my water supply and took the first pee of the day…I’m definitely getting dehydrated. The hills reminded me of The Badlands – gorgeous colors and textures, and seeing the deepest part of the valley in the distance was always an eerie treat.















Looking back to the parking lot, I took stock of the heat, my lack of water, and how everyone was looking at me like I was an alien (wearing nylon pants, boots, etc.). I finally took the liner out of my jacket – long overdue, and I can’t believe I left it in that long.







10 minutes later at 3:30pm in a roasty 93 degree oven, I had made it to sea level, next to the lovely Spanish-style Furnace Creek Inn.







I stopped for gas at the Chevron around the corner from there and picked up a pint of overpriced water from a vending machine and drank half of it. I was starting to sweat, which was a good sign. A few bikes here and there, including a guy on a Star who appeared to be wearing the colors of a Christian MC, but also plenty of Patriot Guard Riders logos. I have ridden on PGR missions in the past, and proudly wear a PGR sticker on my helmet. I didn’t feel like getting into a conversation, however, so I turned to regard the hardy tourists in air-conditioned cars. It definitely felt like we all had something in common, seeing this bizarre place firsthand. I headed back south to do the Artists Drive loop road, dipping to 100 feet below sea level at one point, with James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” playing in my Etymotic earplugs/earphones.





As I started the road, it was 96 degrees. The winding road leading into the painted hills was the last big detour I’d take today. Some of it was like being on a roller coaster on the moon. Crazy colors you don’t expect to see: greens, oranges, reds, yellows, and things that I guess volcanos belch up.

















I headed back north to the Harmony Borax Works – didn’t have time to see the display of wagons, but I did take the short dirt road to see the ruins of some of the buildings.













At about 4:40pm, coming up from sea level on 190 West, I got lit up by a Park Police SUV coming the other direction. I was probably doing about 80 in a 50-55mph zone (though it really should have been 75mph). I immediately knew I was caught. I held up my left hand and nodded at them as they passed by, admitting I was nailed. I was sure they were going to come back for me so I pulled over, took off my helmet, gloves, and earphones and waited politely patiently. I was hoping that they would appreciate that I acknowledged that I was going too fast and that they’d cut me a break. It was beautiful out there on the road up from the depths, but it was hot as balls! I drank some water and eventually realized, after 7-10 minutes, the cops weren’t coming for me. I’d learned my lesson.



Okay, it was 98 degrees out there and the sun was very strong – very hazy out there, too. I was happy to keep rolling.

Down the road I came upon the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Gorgeous, creamy, whipped sand…you could see where people had been out on them. They were completely incongruous with the jagged, scrubby, rocky desert I’d been looking at up to this point.











After a while, I came out from Stovepipe Wells at sea level. Not long after, I was at 4,000 feet above (or was it 5,000?)! The temps dropped from 96 to 76! After a long ascent up a mountain at 5:30pm, 214 miles into the trip, I ran into some roadwork. The highway was forced to share one lane and the uphill traffic was taking its sweet time taking its turn. It was 76 degrees and sunny as I looked out into a lovely valley up ahead. I didn’t take many pictures after this – I guess I was getting ready to call it a day, though I still felt good. I was a little bit iffy at the Zabriskie Point overlook – a little bit dehydrated. I was looking forward to a nice dinner, a cold beer, a shower, and some lotion for my sunburned face.







I finally got through the traffic and made time speeding through that valley, directly into the western sun. Again, the distances were amazingly deceptive – it seemed to take 20 minutes to cross this dry lakebed. You get ready to stop to take a picture, but no – it’s still MILES away. The valleys here are so frickin’ wide. You’re roaring along at 75mph or more and it takes forever to get to the edge. Finally, you’re crossing this white expanse under a blazing sun forever…it’s just so surreal.







On the other side, I left the low altitudes for good and began cruising a twisting mountain road, stopping only to take a picture at the Father Crowley Vista.



The final stretch to Lone Pine, CA was about 55 miles, but it felt like 155. It took me down off those high altitudes and along another extensive lakebed, this one with some water and other brackish liquids here and there. There were interesting little towns along the way, some appearing to make their way by harvesting the minerals and salts from the lakebed. I followed the mountain range that paralleled Route 190 until Route 136. That can only be described as a 17 mile blast of high-speed GS’ing. It’s that craze you get on a long ride when you know your final destination for the day is within striking distance and you can almost taste the amenities awaiting you. You push it.




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Old 10-14-2013, 06:53 PM   #12
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Home Base in the Lone Pine

I finally arrived in Lone Pine at 6:30pm, after 274 miles, and just in time for sunset over the mountains. I didn’t know what to expect from this town – I didn’t do any research ahead of time except to note that it had an affordable motel, the Comfort Inn. It’s a fascinating little town. Two blocks of business on the main street, but hemmed in on the west side by MASSIVE, gray, rugged mountains streaked with snow, looking like they could be ten feet away, looming over the town. They’re known as the Alabama Hills. On the east side of the main road, a little further away are the brown, dusty, dry mountains and desert.









I called my wife as soon as I got off the bike and gave her a recap of the day’s adventure, assuring her that I was safe and sound, and not having TOO much fun. I tried to describe the fascinating scenery there at the Comfort Inn parking lot…I wanted to remind her about who I am, that I need adventures like this to keep my own batteries charged. I know she wishes she could have been there with me – although not on a motorcycle trip – but I guess I just wanted her to understand that I do these things for myself because they’re important. I don’t do them because I get tired of her and need time away from her. I do them because I need time with myself and only myself. I always have. I have before I met her. The fact that I do these explorations of other parts of the world on a motorcycle has many root causes. At the most basic, motorcycling is fucking FUN. At a higher level, it puts me squarely into the environment I have sought, in direct contact with the weather, sights, smells, temperatures, etc. Then, it forces me to be quite a bit more self-sufficient that I would be had I driven a car by myself or toured the area with others. Motorcycling can be dangerous. It requires much more attention than driving a car. It requires more skill and inputs. It offers fewer distractions in the form of an entertainment center or the ability to eat a burger and fries while traveling (well, I know that certain bike and helmet setups probably allow for this, but it shouldn’t). That feeds the personal-recharge aspect that I seek. Then, there is a bit of an ego thing that always occupies a bit of my thinking. I know it’s kind of douchey, but I kind of like the concept of how I’m in full ATGATT, riding a big GS through Death Valley (one of the few motorcyclists that week, in fact) despite the heat. I get some energy from putting out that image, no matter if only one of all the people I encounter appreciates it. I guess I’m still pleased with myself for taking the leap on this hobby back in 2004 and turning it into something I love so much, something I NEVER thought I’d do in life.

Anyway, check-in was quick. I asked the front desk manager where I should eat dinner. I was hungry enough to eat a horse, and from the look of things, I might even find a place to serve me one. She recommended the Mt. Whitney Restaurant for “normal food”.

Once in the room at almost 7pm, I took stock of things: I was TIRED. My hands! They were only just starting to relax their handlebar death grip. The last 50 some miles was hardcore, holding around 80-85mph just about the whole way so I could to get to Lone Pine before 9:30pm Eastern time (meaning that I’d been awake and moving for a LONG time by that point, and ready to crash into a dinner, drink, and bed). I settled in a little with the TV, showered, and headed up the road a mile to the Mt. Whitney. I got off the bike, looked at the restaurant, and thought it looked a bit too sleepy…too diner-y. It might have had good burgers, but I was looking for something a little more interesting. So I went across the street to Seasons, which looked like the “fanciest” restaurant in town. It was priced that way, but they did include a salad and two sides with each entree. I had an elk steak, which was not huge, thankfully. The waitress said the chef recommended medium rare, which I thought was fine, but it did not come out of the kitchen that way. No problem, it was still tasty. I had a nice local amber beer from Mammoth and chugged every glass of ice water they could refill for me. Yeah, I might have looked a little weird walking in with bulky nylon pants and strange boots, but, once again, I sort of dig standing out like that, standing out as a motorcycle tourist.

I didn’t see much else going on in that sleepy town, so I headed right back after dinner. Once back in the room at 8:40pm, I had a Makers Mark 47 bourbon nightcap, watched some bad basic cable, and collapsed into a deep sleep. I intended to wake up on the early side – Lone Pine’s lack of weeknight nightlife would be in my favor – I was tuckered out. As I drifted off, I could hear coyotes howling and barking in the distance. Could it have been someone’s dogs? It really added to the whole desert adventure aspect of my trip…I don’t think I’d ever heard those sounds before.

I’m really enjoying the bike. It has a very plush ride feel – not what I was expecting, and much smoother than my Buell Ulysses. It was also less tall than my Buell, though I prefer the higher extreme of seat height. It was still very comfortable, and the turning radius is great. I found it very easy to handle, and it was clearly not as short as the Buell. The BMW’s front tire is raked out a bit further so it feels like it’s a little bit easier to make flubs. There were some serious curves today that I was taking fairly fast, faster than I thought a GS would be appropriate for. Would I buy one? Yes, I would enjoy one, but I don’t think I would shell out the money, even for a used one. BMW Las Vegas had one in the showroom for $21-22k – I just can’t do that at this point in my life, or for the foreseeable future. No, for that money, I wonder if I’d rather get the Ducati Multistrada. Yes, I know buying a used bike is a totally different world.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:33 PM   #13
Sprig
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But seriously, you're absolutely right. I'm okay around my friends' firearms as they are locked up and controlled, but when I see one just sitting out by itself, I get an uneasy feeling. I can't believe this guy and his wife just chatted me up and hiked on down the trail with that thing sitting out there in the sun. Hope it was there when they got back.
I'm loving the trip report so far.

The gun issue is making my brain hurt.

You got "chatted up" and they felt safe leaving it where it was. It is not a whole lot different when open carried on person, or within reach in a car; glass is not much of a deterrent.

I don't think most people would even LOOK, as you did.

What I think is that is shows something about YOUR appearance and character. Like most Americans, just good Ole' Boys, willing to help someone on a trip get a good photo of them.

A stop on the side of the road with another bike traveler in Death Valley is not the same as stopping for groceries in down town Chicago.

I think the gun is fine, as is, for the documented situation. I'd bet money that had you not been "normal/trustworthy/American" after the chatting up that your curious looking around would have only ended up with your photo showing an EMPTY holster.
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:34 AM   #14
psmcd
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desert expanse

Basin and range, the spans across the bottoms are incomprehensible. Lets all that busyness in our heads unravel and fall behind. Amazing how programmed for the lush, for gratifying resources, we can tune to the beauty of sparse and pastel. Your shots of erosion and dunes call up images from memory. I think being in such austere places, experiencing the scale and your own smallness, recording the imagery, lends respect for the ease of life with water. Once hiking in a Death Valley canyon I noticed veritable forests of miniature plants growing in the shade of each rock and pebble, in what seemed completely barren terrain. Though mostly avoided, people did cross this country before internal combustion. That is experience I can only imagine.

Thanks for the pics and report. Seems often we're in places we'd like to experience with a companion, yet the quality of being there alone makes you appreciate more, the absent companion.
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by psmcd View Post
Basin and range, the spans across the bottoms are incomprehensible. Lets all that busyness in our heads unravel and fall behind. Amazing how programmed for the lush, for gratifying resources, we can tune to the beauty of sparse and pastel. Your shots of erosion and dunes call up images from memory. I think being in such austere places, experiencing the scale and your own smallness, recording the imagery, lends respect for the ease of life with water. Once hiking in a Death Valley canyon I noticed veritable forests of miniature plants growing in the shade of each rock and pebble, in what seemed completely barren terrain. Though mostly avoided, people did cross this country before internal combustion. That is experience I can only imagine.

Thanks for the pics and report. Seems often we're in places we'd like to experience with a companion, yet the quality of being there alone makes you appreciate more, the absent companion.
Wow...I sort of want to try to write music to your words here! They're so true, amplified with the short and accurate sentences. Thank you!

And Sprig...I love the idea that they might have sized me up as they parked their RT next to my GS. Don't we all kind of give a "pass" to other riders in certain situations? "If they ride a [bike] they must be okay." I would love the idea that the armed rider left his pistol in hands' reach to anyone because he thought no one would notice it, or - in my case - photograph it. I have a feeling that he had a positive feeling about leaving "valuables" out in that part of America. I do it all the time with my stupid old (3GS) iPhone in my car when I stop at a store and don't feel like bringing it with me or hiding it in the glove compartment or under a magazine. Yes, it's no .22, but I have a feeling that's what this ol' coot (and he was one) was thinking. There was a fair number of tourists up there at Dante's View, not just the BMW lovers. However - like you said - I doubt any Chevy Malibu-rental-car driver would saunter over to the slick BMW R1200RT and admire their customizations. Not like another rider would (like I did!). Verdict?

Fascinating stuff. And, as always, thank you for reading! More coming up! (this was only day one of three!)
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'14 Ducati Multistrada S Touring; '06 Buell XB12X Ulysses
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