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Old 01-01-2014, 08:43 PM   #946
RedRockRider OP
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Death Valley, Day One

Wife and son are now back in Philadelphia visiting her dad. Since I was there at Thanksgiving . . . I got the "moto" pass. In lovely Pahrump, NV tonight. I'll try to post of few pics if the hotel internet will cooperate.

First . . . here's my dad on a hike in Snow Canyon (adjacent to St. George) on New Year's Eve (yesterday). Dad's B-day is Jan 1st. 76 years old and going strong. We have a tradition of going for a hike on his B-day. Since we are both out of town again, we went a day early. Snow Canyon is beautiful. Our favorite area is by the petrified sand dunes.

Dad will reappear on his moto shortly. He's been out of the country the last few weeks (in India with Mom). For the most part he just missed some very cold St. George weather. Moto times returning shortly.

So . . . the plan is to seek out warmer weather by riding the Versys towards Death Valley. Here are a few pics from late this afternoon.

In Inyo County, CA on the Old Spanish Trail Highway just before Emigrant Pass. Heading from Calvada Springs to Tecopa.

Major intersection in Tecopa, CA.

And the post office. All closed up on New Years Day after the Christmas rush.

Didn't take long for the Death Valley-like scenery to appear. Saw one reference to "Lake Tecopa."

Nice contrast with the green V posing next to the salt flats.

Beautiful late afternoon light. North on CA 127 to Shoshone, then east/north on 178/372 to Pahrump.

2014 is off to a good start. Moto time! Thanks for checking in. Best wishes to everyone. Ride safely.

RedRockRider - WR250R, TW200, Versys, Vulcan 900 LT, Zuma 125

Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:27 AM   #947
Sam...I am.
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Location: seal beach, ca.
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Looks like the Kawi is in it's element.

Enjoy the "me" time and openness of our great deserts.

Happy & safe '14 RRR.
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Southern California from a scooter;
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:24 AM   #948
Joined: Mar 2011
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Took Your Advice

Originally Posted by RedRockRider View Post
Hey Idaho Scout,

Late December riding in St. George, 2-up on a KLR 650. Sounds like fun. So much depends on weather, and whether or not there have been recent rains. Sounds like you know the St. George area, at least a bit. Best suggestion is to buy Benchmark Utah map and browse some of the rides in this thread. Index on page one should help.

Generally, you want to stay around St. George or head west and/or south. For the most part this is lower elevation. You want to avoid east or north, higher elevations.

As mentioned, a road ride through Zion is fun and rather unique with the tunnel. Also, you can ride on the road in the main canyon in winter. Very special to look straight upwards at the cliffs. Zion is slightly higher elevation than St. George, especially the east side above the tunnel. You may have to watch for ice. I would not venture off on dirt roads in this area. Zion on pavement would be more sightseeing as opposed to moto riding. Still very worthwhile.

The "back" way into Zion is Smith Mesa. Good dirt that connects to the Kolob Reservoir Road. If there have been recent rains, the Smith Mesa Road will have a few mudholes that just might not be that much fun. Unlikely to hold snow for long, but things don't dry out at that time of year. Post #238 is description of Smith Mesa.

The Kolob Reservoir Road, as mentioned, is scenic, but will quickly lead to snow. Keep lower unless you have studded tires for the KLR.

Overall, the best area close to St. George for 1/2 day to full day rides is the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Scenic Backway. Due west of St. George. There is some ground that is higher, but unlikely to hold snow. Many of the dirt roads have a higher rock/gravel content, not prone to mud. Lots of this is very 2-up friendly. Other bits would be better for solo riders. You can easily gauge this as you start.

Many of these rides are accessed from Navajo Drive in Bloomington. Other main access points are on Old Highway #91, both on the Utah side of the hill and the AZ/Nevada side. You can always use #91 for a fast route back to St. George although it will be a bit colder as you blast on pavement back up over the top. Here are a few rides in this area: Post #17, #44, #95, #533.

Both the Motoqua Road and the Eardley Road head west from Old #91. These are both easy rides and generally lose elevation as the head towards Beaver Dam Wash. Very possible to cross Beaver Dam Wash and make loops, possibly going as far as Caliente, NV although this is full day out and back and daylight will not be on your side.

Some rides from the Motoqua and Eardley Roads: #102, #120, #144 Indian Spring Trail (very nice), #250, #538 (loops back to Gunlock Reservoir!!).

You could head out onto the AZ Strip, but distances are long and daylight will hurt you. Generally you will gain elevation and some of these roads are extremely prone to mud. This is the kind of mud that will stop you. Unless you are confident I would limit yourself to shorter trips on the AZ Strip in winter, or at least keep on the main gravel roads. A few shorter AZ rides are: #22 Petroglyphs, #276 Maple Canyon, easy access.

If you have never been to Toroweap, then you should figure out a way to make it happen. Probably the most spectacular Grand Canyon viewpoint. Not sure if winter is the time to make this trip. Definite "no" if mud is possibility.

Close to St. George on the east side of town is Warner Valley. This is much more of a single track, recreational riding area. Still lots of nice riding in the area including shorter forays onto the AZ Strip. Sample posts: #171, #199.

If you haven't been to Snow Canyon State Park, it is worth a visit, although this is all paved and scenic, not really a moto experience. Could combine with the Veyo Loop and a dirt/gravel detour on the Sand Cove Reservoir Road and Gunlock Reservoir. Some good twisty pavement with relatively few cars. Posts #49, #50.

If you want to venture further from St. George, then Mesquite and the Gold Butte area (Whitney Pockets) offer a lot. This is lower elevation and will be warmer and probably drier. But, these are longer days from St. George, watch the daylight unless you just want to slab back up I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge. Not ideal, but I have done it lots of times on all my bikes including the TW.

Have fun riding. There's always a chance I'll be around. Drop a PM when you are in the area. Perhaps we'll catch a ride together. Remember, pay attention to recent rain, and don't venture onto higher dirt roads without being ready to turn around at the first sign of trouble.

Take care, RRR.
RRR - My wife and I spent a great week down in St. George. Enjoyed the warmth, great riding, scenery, and food! We rode the Joshua Tree Backway and looped on Old 91. The Sand Hollow Wash part was pretty muddy in spots, so it was slow going until we climbed higher. The Backway both north and south was fun and scenic. Next day we did Eardly Road to Lytle Ranch, then through to Bunker Pass and onto Motoqua and out. Incredible change in the environment going northward - from very "desert" in the south to pinyon-juniper in the North. Lots of ups and downs, rocks, and turns. Loved it all! Also rode down to the Little Black Mountain Petroglyphs, then cut across to Warner Valley and Ft. Pierce , and the dinosaur track site. Looped up to Hurricane and back to St George. The deep sand in Warner Valley was a challenge for a 2-up KLR but it was not too long. Got to enjoy some great food at the Painted Pony and Georges on the Corner. So, thanks so much for the advice and for sharing your knowledge of great rides.
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:02 PM   #949
Hoot Gibson
Joined: Jul 2013
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As Usual..

Your photos and story line has me torn between my beloved Kawasaki Bikes and my equally beloved Yamaha....great stuff, and your Pop ain't that much older than me...{turn 65 in March} you just gotta keep on truckin until your truck runs out of gas...

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Old 01-02-2014, 10:12 PM   #950
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Death Valley, Day Two

Thanks, guys, for the comments.

Started the day out in Pahrump. Best Western was nice enough. All of the hotel breakfasts are near identical, and completely average. But, hey, it's enough to get you started.

Quickly back into California, just west of Pahrump.

Stopped for the classic "long, lonely highway" pic on CA 178. This stretch is at least five miles without a curve. Liked the pic with the truck, so this is the one to post.

Down at the other end of the straight-away. Light is better in this direction anyway.

Amargosa Valley mural on side of building in Shoshone, CA. Very pleasing artwork.

The general store in Shoshone. Not like the Walmart in Pahrump.

This guy was inside. Not sure why he is wearing sunglasses. Perhaps his eyes aren't the same quality as the rest of him.

Death Valley towns take pride in preserving details from the past. A few pans on old stovetops.

Into the National Park. No entrance booth here.

Low angle highway pic. Very little traffic in this part of the park. Easy to do.

Salsberry Pass (on Benchmark Maps). Excellent motorcycle roads and almost no traffic at the southern end of Death Valley NP.

More excellent roads and scenery just below Jubilee Pass, dropping into Death Valley proper.

Lots of ruins in Death Valley, mostly related to mining operations.

Part of the old structure. Almost like the ruins from the Greeks and Romans.

The Versys waiting patiently for the next stretch of asphalt. Ashford Peak in background.

Another long straight stretch of road heading north towards Badwater. Classic "tourist" shot. Too good to pass up.

After the jumping was done . . . just the road. Complete with all the dips. Very fun on the moto!

Salt flats and Mormon Point.

Badwater. National Park Service as done a good job designing the viewing areas. Everyone can get close to the water without making tracks or interfering with photography. Lots of people. Parking lot almost full.

I think this sign has been here for 20 years. Or at least one very similar.

Looking out across the mud and salt flats.

One more with the water. Perhaps my favorite pic of the day.

Looking way up at the "Sea Level" sign. About 282 ft to be precise.

Artist Palette Drive. Scenic one-way loop. Highly recommended.

Forces of nature at work.

Artist's Palette.

The sign.

Afternoon hike up Golden Canyon. Did this hike many years ago and wanted to do it again.

Typical scenery in Golden Canyon.

Near the Red Cathedral at the top end of Golden Canyon.

Attempt at artistic pattern.

Final pic in late afternoon light.

Sleeping tonight in Lone Pine, CA. After the Golden Canyon hike it was time to get on the V and make some time. More to follow tomorrow. Thanks for checking in.

RedRockRider - WR250R, TW200, Versys, Vulcan 900 LT, Zuma 125

Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:13 AM   #951
Sam...I am.
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Morning RRR,

The Eastern Sierra Visitors Center just south of town(Lone Pine)at the 136, is well worth a stop. They'll have some info on the Alabama Hills, just west of you. If time permits, take a quick ride through the hills! Whitney Portal Rd, to Tuttle Creek Rd, to Horshoe Meadow Rd is all paved and a photography bonanza.

Hey if you want to jumble up the trip, i've got plenty of room here in Seal. Two empty beds, garage and plenty of food & spirits on Main Street!

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Southern California from a scooter;
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:16 AM   #952
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The photo with the kids jumping was kinda cool. This one made me start thinking... Very thought provoking!
For the record, I hate snakes!

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Old 01-03-2014, 08:15 AM   #953
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Alabama Hills well worth a ride through

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Old 01-03-2014, 09:52 AM   #954
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Very cool pictures! Wish I was closer to all the action
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:57 PM   #955
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RRR you are making a lot of us very envious with all the riding. I need to finish my house in St George and get back to having fun and riding. Keep the fun level high............!

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Old 01-03-2014, 09:31 PM   #956
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Originally Posted by RedRockRider View Post

Excellent way to kick off the new year! Have a safe trip home.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:24 AM   #957
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Death Valley, Day Three

Thanks, inmates, especially Samthg. Too cold this morning to venture into the Alabama Hills. Didn't really have that as part of the agenda. I probably missed out. Good reason to go back. And thanks for the invite to Seal . . . sooner or later . . .

So here is the morning view from the parking lot of the Best Western Hotel in Lone Pine, CA.

Zooming in on Mount Whitney.

Morning temp of 23 degrees. If I wanted to be cold, I could have stayed in St. George. Part of the idea of going to "Death Valley" was to find some warm temps.

That famous "hotel" breakfast. You've all been there. Eat some calories, get warm, and get going.

I did stop at the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center. Pic taken from their parking lot. The visitor center is well set-up and definitely worth the time. Samthg . . . perhaps we'll have to plan a rendezvous in Lone Pine at some point.

Long distances out here. Took every opportunity to stop and fill up on gas. This station is in Keeler, CA.

Also stopped by the market to get some snacks for lunch. Didn't want to get stuck paying Death Valley prices for everything.

Either the local school house or church. Not sure which. Poked around Keeler a bit to give things a chance to warm up before gaining elevation back towards Death Valley.

Looking back across the Owens Lake Bed toward the Sierra Nevada.

CA 190, looking backwards. Prior to gaining significant elevation.

Glamour shot on the paved road to Darwin, CA. Recommend this side trip.

Welcome to Darwin. Interesting place. Go check it out.

The old post office.

Just across the street is a boarded up Dance Hall. The coolest thing . . . there is dance music being played inside the old building . . . loud enough to hear from in front of the building. Some one in Darwin has a good sense of humor.

Lots of abandoned buildings and vehicles although people still live here. There is some movement. Very strange combination.

One of the main streets.

Further up the hill.

Fairly talented local artist.

Community garden.

Current sign.

Inside the garden.

And the well-dressed caretaker, complete with cigarette.

Old cars . . . Death Valley style.

More street scenes.

More artwork. Darwin appears to have quite a few artistic types, just waiting to be discovered.

And the plaque from the artist.

Wouldn't be CA without a crazy igloo house. Very environmentally correct according to a sign on the door. Had to be a bit careful about what I did with the camera. Had the distinct feeling that I wasn't alone.

Another old car . . . and what appears to be company-sponsored housing. Lots of local mining.

Final pic of Darwin . . . a living ghost town.

Back to the main road and back into Death Valley National Park.

Heading east on beautiful, new, smooth asphalt. Near the dirt cut-off to Saline Valley.

Father Crowley Point.

Close-up. For the really good views ride out the short dirt road to the overlook.

View down Rainbow Canyon from standing next to the monument.

View down into Panamint Valley from the dirt road overlook.

View without the bike. The short dirt road to the overlook might be new. Might not be good for a Goldwing but any other bike should be able to make it.

Same viewpoint, looking slightly further south down Panamint Valley.

Down all the beautiful turns to Panamint Springs.

Old equipment . . . and some super rip-off gas prices.

Seemed like quite a bit more that all the other Death Valley locations. Generally I topped off the Versys at most stations and never hit reserve.

More old equipment out front. Very familiar area to lots of inmates.

Since I was dressed for cold weather riding . . . up to the charcoal kilns.

Last two miles is hard pan with only a few bumps or loose rocks. The pavement up Emigrant Canyon is smooth with very little traffic. There is loose gravel in many of the turns because cars are always pulling on an off the road to take pics. Very fun moto riding, but watch for rocks (big and small) on the road surface.

Info on the Charcoal Kilns.

On the way back down.

Didn't go into the townsite of Skidoo or venture off the pavement. Will have to bring a dual sport bike back to Death Valley for a different type of riding. That said . . . the Versys was very well suited for the distance, speed, curves, and straightaways!

Mirror shot.

The view out the front.

Coming down from the Charcoal Kiln area, almost back to Wildrose.

Frequent short stops to take in all the views.

Back at Emigrant Pass and heading down.

At the Mesquite Sand Dunes by mid/late afternoon. This place is crawling with people . . . not like Darwin.

Trying to find a few spots on the dunes with no people.

Everyone gravitates towards the tallest dunes.

A few figures for scale.

Some great dead wood, relatively close to the parking area.

Another long straight stretch of road.

The Devil's Cornfield in late afternoon light.

Fading light by the time I got to Ubehebe Crater. Still impressive. Good reason to go back.

The sign. Excellent info from the National Park Service.

In Beatty, NV tonight. Living large in the Motel 6, with superfast internet (not). Will be in Las Vegas with family on Saturday night, slight upgrade in accommodations to MGM Grande. May not have time to mess with SmugMug, etc. Other things on the agenda since I haven't seen my wife and son for a few days. Will post up as time permits. Back in St. George late on Sunday.

Thanks for all the comments. Just fyi . . . haven't seen any speed traps . . . and very few LEOs . . . mostly helping stranded motorists. It's a big world out there inmates . . . go exploring!!!

RedRockRider - WR250R, TW200, Versys, Vulcan 900 LT, Zuma 125

Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:21 AM   #958
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Darwin reminds me of the movie - the hills have eyes :)
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:01 AM   #959
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Darwin sure does have a creepy vibe. There is a cool dirt route to get there from Panamint Springs. It is rough, rocky, and sandy tho so not really suiltable for the equipment you had. There is sure lots to explore in DV on a dual sport!

One of the truly impressive things to me about Death Valley was the elevation changes and the changes in temperature. Did you notice a big change in temp as you dropped down into Stovepipe Wells from Panamint Springs?

Thanks for sharing your adventures. It has been a while since I made a comment but I always enjoy catching up.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:03 PM   #960
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Death Valley, Day Four Preview


RedRockRider - WR250R, TW200, Versys, Vulcan 900 LT, Zuma 125

Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George
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