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Old 11-07-2010, 08:02 PM   #1
johngil OP
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Thumb Internet Dating- Death Valley 10-10

Yes, you read it right. After what I am guessing to be a few years I had the chance to meet someone who at this point was a figment of my imagination. An internet screen name but someone I had exchanged e-mails with from time to time.
tmex casually hinted of his Death Valley ride several months ago. Work has been fairly busy (after a pretty scary dry spell) since June, but was actually slowing down to where the timing simply made sense. The brokeback beemer was almost in one piece and my wife more or less told me to go have some fun.
Soon after letting tmex know of my plan to join him for his long weekend, I began receiving e-mails from his legendary internet sidekick BillyD.
These guys are organized to say the least. Roll charts, GPS routes, pre-ride info, the works.
My plans were to load up my highly customized and fairly reliable Bavarian motorcycle and camp out at the Panamint Springs Resort campground.
After some thought, I decided to invite my old buddy Ron along for the ride. He was scheduled to get married the following weekend, and is then moving off to the big island of Hawaii in a month or so. To my surprise, he was in!
After brief discussion, it was decided we would trailer the bikes up and relax a bit. The brokeback beemer rarely sees a trailer, but I was game.
The next few days of riding were, well, beyond anything I could have hoped for. The weather was incredible, and the new people I met will never be forgotten.

The end. (unless you want to see some pictures)

johngil screwed with this post 02-06-2011 at 10:59 PM
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Old 11-07-2010, 08:41 PM   #2
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Well hell

Worked late into the night Tuesday. So much for packing early. Ron was due at my place by 10:00. Thankfully, Ron calmed me down and reminded me we were on vacation. Easy for him to say. He just retired!

We gassed in Trona and were off like a herd of turtles.
The photos will start as we enter the Panamint Valley. The start of a great (long) weekend.



We had our choice of camp sites, and this one was great.



Home, sweet home for the next few days.



Ron is very neat and organized.



We arrived pretty early and managed to get set up reasonably well. I decided to go find the infamous tmex before it got dark.

and there they were...



Dennis and Ami had just arrived and were relaxing with a cocktail. They offered up a chair and poured me one as if I were a long lost relative.
It turns out they were giving away Dennis' daughter's whiskey, but I'm sure it would have been just as tall a glass if it were their own.

I wandered back and enjoyed the sunset with my gal. She was only slightly mad about the trailer thing. Truth be told, I think she liked it.


johngil screwed with this post 11-11-2010 at 10:00 PM
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:17 PM   #3
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I'm in. Death Valley is on my to do list.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:03 PM   #4
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Thursday

Today was our first day of riding. Ballarat, Goler Wash, Mengal's Pass, Geologist Cabin and then loop back to Panamint Springs.
I had done this earlier in the year, but made a loop of over 200 miles.
I was glad to do this ride on the first day. No real reason.

Ron whipped up some food. It was great!





Ed and BillyD ready for action.



Luck was not with the orange in the morning. BillyD got a flat and headed back to camp to fix it. Ed went down and somehow damaged an oil line. He eventually cut his day short.



Ron was looking fresh.



We re-grouped at Ballarat. BillyD was going to play catch up, and Ed had returned to Panamint Springs.
Julie was dreaming of...



Don't have a clue what this is supposed to be, but it fit right in.



Truck supposedly was used by the Manson clan.



Flat



Nice way to start the morning.



We made our way to the steps at Goler Wash. Nothing too crazy, but can be a chore to get the big bikes up.







Francesco had to crash on the boulders for some reason. He was a trooper.



tmex made quick work out of taking Ami's bike up for her.



No good deed goes unpunished.







BillyD met back with the group. He motored right on up.



Little shack on the way up the wash.



We stopped next at Barker Ranch for lunch. It burned down less than a year ago.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barker_Ranch











This guy wanted some lunch too.



BillyD had decorated his bike for the season.



Ami and Julie.



tmex and BillyD were inseparable the whole trip. BillyD is much taller.



It was discovered that there was an anticipated shortage of beverages for the entire weekend. BillyD did what any other boy scout would do. He got out his satellite phone and called in an order with some friends who were on their way. Like I said, these guys were organized. I was impressed.



Old digs long since abandoned.



We made our way over Mengal's Pass to Geologist Cabin. Striped Butte is in the background. I missed several photo ops here, but we had a rider crash and I didn't know if things were serious based on the radio info I had received. It turned out to be minor.



Saw this guy on the way out.



We grouped up at the top of the pass and headed back the way we came.
The weather was great. 45-75.

Francesco



Ami



tmex



Ron on the way back down.



Random shot.



tmex coming back down.





It looks like BillyD on Julie's bike here.



Ron before the gravity attack.



There is video of Ron's tumble down the steps, but I can't figure out how to post it. Lucky for Ron.

We took a little break at the store in Ballarat. BillyD and Julie hamming it up.



Jim will have to explain his wardrobe here. He is on his own.



Back on the road home.



Everyone pretty much headed back to Panamint Springs. BillyD and I took a little route he plotted out that was pretty rough and we hit it fairly fast. So much so that I didn't get any photos. No biggie I guess. It wasn't the most scenic route, but I'm surprised my wheels are still round.

That's about it for Thursday. An epic Friday and Saturday are ahead.

johngil screwed with this post 11-07-2010 at 10:08 PM
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:16 PM   #5
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We have been talking about going up there for awhile now, can't wait to hear about your trip.
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:11 PM   #6
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This video was taken and narrated by Francesco - an Italian, a Mediterranean man to be sure. Francesco is new to this adventure stuff, and his choice of words and his illustrations of the situation are priceless. Video was taken on Lippincott Road (day 2). John will have a lot more pics of Lippincott. I have been up it many times, but I can say that I have never seen it as hard as it was on this trip. Select full screen mode after clicking on link.

http://s662.photobucket.com/albums/u...t=IMG_0580.mp4
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tmex screwed with this post 11-08-2010 at 05:19 PM
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:35 PM   #7
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John, it was great that you and Ron made the journey, especially in light of the fact it was Ron's last manly outing before getting hitched the following weekend.

I will be posting some additional photos shortly, but here's the video of Ron casing the Beemer coming down the Goler Wash Steps....I especially like the dirty look he gives his bike right at the very end.




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Old 11-08-2010, 05:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johngil
Ron before the gravity attack.

Ami illustrating the steepness where Ron had his gravity attack.

http://picasaweb.google.com/BillyD85...72939271740434
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:44 PM   #9
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BillyD posted the gravity attack above so this was a duplicate.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:33 PM   #10
johngil OP
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Friday

I was excited about the ride today. It was going to be all new to me and I really wanted to ride up Lippincott and then see the Racetrack.

Here are a few views from Father Crowley.







Ron at the ready.



And on to Saline Valley Rd.







It was horrible. Nothing but wide open space and beautiful scenery for miles.







Crazy rocks here. Mother Nature hard at work.






tmex and Ami getting things tied down for the big climb.



and off we go...





I'm always amazed by the Jeepers and where they take their rigs. There were several parts of this road that were washed out and very narrow. They simply piled a couple of hundred rocks and called it good to go.
Not for me.

The road got progressively tough and it eventually showed by the number of bikes on the ground.













I finally had to blitz to the top and grab a photo.



After a nice little break at the top, it was time to move on.

tmex really has a problem with the looks of BillyD's 640 and it shows.



Next stop was the Racetrack.



The Grandstand





Strange photo, but I like it.



Playa



Would you believe these poor folks wandered 40 days and 40 nights to get to the lunch spot?
I didn't think so.



Lunch is over and it's time to move on. I was happy to finally get to Teakettle Junction.



From here the group split. A few of us headed to White Top Mountain. It was worth the extra effort. Death Valley proper can be seen below.





BillyD up on top.



Back on track with the rest of the group. (sort of)



The next few minutes aren't perfectly clear to me. I remember following Julie with Ron behind me. Julie was following Ed.
I remember seeing the silt explode off of Ed's bike and Julie taking some sort of precautionary action. I then see Julie fly off of her bike and go off to the right. Then there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was definitely going to run over Julie or her bike. I was certain of this.
"Running over the daughter of your host is most often considered a bad thing", I said to myself.
I whipped the quarter ton brokeback beemer hard left, ignoring any consequences that may come later. I saw stars. I did not fall.



Julie got a little dirty, but was fine.



We all got a little turned around, but we made our way towards Hunter Mountain. This area is frequently snowed in. These two photos came out well, I thought.





Nothing more in the way of photos for a while, but it was a very scenic ride. Temps were just above 40 near the top.

The road back to camp.



Met an old friend from my club that I raced with a few years back. He got a flat and needed a fresh tube for the rest of his trip.
Mike bought this 510 Husky in the crate and has been riding it ever since. He is a Death Valley/Saline Valley regular.



That's it for Friday. What an incredible day!

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Old 11-08-2010, 06:45 PM   #11
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I had just finished warning everyone that there were gravel washouts on Lippincott Road, but did everyone listen? Nooooooo. Here’s Ed straightening everything after a major get-off.



In as much as our ride group had individuals with a wide range of off-road experience and capabilities, Lippincott Canyon itself was littered with fallen riders…much like Dante’s Inferno as John’s photos show so well.

I have been after Ed for month to eliminate the auto-retract “feature” on his SW-Motech side stand, but nooooo…. He stopped to help Tmex when the stand auto-retracted and caught his boot as he and the bike tipped over. Hold that pose, Ed, while a take your picture.


BillyD near White Top Mountain looking NE toward Big Horn Canyon


Jim near White Top Mountain look South toward Dry Bone Canyon with Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells in the background


John and BillyD east of White Top Mountain at some sort of monitoring station.


View from White Top Mountain across Death Valley toward Titus Canyon


Chivalry is not dead…John offering full service fill-up on Julie’s bike. Supervision by Ron.


John sporting his fishing colors at China Garden


John Gil in Gill’s Corral, west of Darwin…


Approaching the salt tram summit station


Salt tram summit station and tender’s cabin. New York Butte in the distance.


Summit Station looking west toward Eastern Sierra


Summit Station looking NE toward Salien Hot Springs and Steel Pass in the distance


Tender’s Cabin looking SW across Owens Valley toward southern Eastern Sierra


Salt Tram Tender’s Cabin


C’mon in…


A billion dollar view….


BillyD at the Summit Station.


John was disappointed when he found out this guy wasn’t Tmex…so much for Internet dating services.




Ami and I hiked into lower Darwin Falls while most everyone else was either drinking beer or taking naps after the ride earlier in the day. Who says Death Valley is all hot, barren and desolate…?
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:07 PM   #12
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Ami and BillyD and Darwin Falls. I post this to refute the claim that BillyD is taller. Ami is 5'8". BillyD always manages to stand on a rock when he is having his picture taken with me.

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Old 11-08-2010, 07:11 PM   #13
johngil OP
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How come you never see the guy in the purple outfit and tmex at the same time? I'm beginning to wonder.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex
Ami and BillyD and Darwin Falls. I post this to refute the claim that BillyD is taller. Ami is 5'8". BillyD always manages to stand on a rock when he is having his picture taken with me.
Here's proof positive that Tmex (far left) is really a midget...

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Old 11-08-2010, 07:47 PM   #15
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Goler Wash Show & Tell

Cameras always flatten everything out such that even very steep stuff looks like the wide open plains...

Here's Ami showing why Ron cased his Beemer while taking the wrong line down through the steps.




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