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Old 03-28-2012, 01:56 PM   #121
LittleWan OP
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Day 4: 3/14/12 Total mileage 246
Part 1 - Panamint Springs - Swansea Grade - Salt Tram Summit Station - Cerro Gordo - S5 - back to Panamint, continued





So, you may have noticed that I don’t do much research in these ride reports.
I’m not really into gathering history, facts, maps, and the like.
I prefer to spend my report time on highbrow pursuits such as finding cartoons, censoring boobs, looking for cartoons about boobs, etc...





But, I really enjoyed visiting the Saline Valley Salt Tram.





I took a nice photo of this informational sign thing, because it was there.






Turns out, I can zoom in pretty close, and now I can share it with you guys!

Old photo of the summit station, post-stabilization pic, and a tram tower for rider914.






There's a bunch of info that got cut off when I zoomed in...
Here, let me read it for you -


The Salt Tram is an engineering and construction marvel for [sic] the turn of the century.
It transported salt from Saline Valley, over the Inyo Mountains,
and to a processing station just north of the town of Swansea at Owens Lake,
where it was then transported by rail to market.


The construction of the 13-1/2 mile tram line began in 1911 and the first salt was delivered...on July 2, 1913.
The tram last carried salt in 1930.

The tram rises 7,000 feet out of Saline Valley to where it crosses the Inyo Mountains at 8,720 feet and descends 5,000 feet to Owens Lake.

Fifty-four miles of 1-1/8 inch cable had to be strung between the towers and the control stations.





I like these photos - harvesting the salt, tram bucket, and then pics of the Tender’s cabin.




According to the Saline Valley Salt Works PDF (more about that later),
Those cars carried about 800 lbs of salt, at a rate of 20 tons per hour.




Here’s the cabin (we’ll go inside in a minute)






Info about the recent stabilization project...






Documentation project.
A local archaeologist and a high school photography teacher teamed up to document the Salt Tram for posterity.
Their team of amateur photographers took photos to record the state of the tram as it was in 1999.






Okay, everybody get inside...






We felt better about walking around, after reading that the cabin was recently stabilized.













Here is the “wall of artifacts.” Stuff they found while working on the cabin.






Hey, I remember “Squirt” - looks like that can is from 1970
Oh, did you like the 70s?
Have some Wink. I’ll bet it tasted just like Squirt.






Signing the guest book





Okay, let’s go look at the tram station...
It’s big, and we didn’t get photos of whole thing,
But at the end of the post, I have a link to a page with great photos.



We’re starting at this end...












Looking down the line of tram towers (towards Owens Lake)






Closer












There was some seating on deck - like a giant Adirondack chair.



















Now we’re at the other end of the station, looking down at Saline Valley






Closer






That was fun, huh?

I did a little bit of research on the Salt Tram and the Owens Valley History Site has a ton of information.
You guys will love the photos - Tramway Page
You can download a pdf - The Story of the Saline Valley Salt Works (middle of the page). That’s where I got the gondola info.
Or, view it without downloading, here.







Interesting excerpt from the PDF
Sounds like a scary ride!






"Much of the equipment the salt company used had rawhide gears..."
When I read that part, I imagined a bunch of chew toys meshing together...







But, I guess not.



Haha.


Okay, class dismissed!
I gotta go figure out what’s up with my videos.
Those stupid things are pissing me off...


Did my 2 posts today, so we probably won’t meet again til tomorrow...
You guys stay out of trouble!


LittleWan screwed with this post 03-28-2012 at 02:02 PM Reason: just being a tight-ass editing freak, fixing typos...
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:43 PM   #122
madeouttaglass
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What a great RR, and in a very different style. The wife and I had planned on riding our loaded down 2WD Ural through DV in a few weeks while on a CC ride. I was only going to ride the highway from north to south. You've got me wondering where I could find out some maps of places we could reasonably get to.
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:34 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by madeouttaglass View Post
What a great RR, and in a very different style. The wife and I had planned on riding our loaded down 2WD Ural through DV in a few weeks while on a CC ride. I was only going to ride the highway from north to south. You've got me wondering where I could find out some maps of places we could reasonably get to.
Hi!
Google is your friend I found these in a quick search...

Here's an ADV thread about Urals in Death Valley (from 2009, there might be something more recent?)

Oh look, here's a website I wish we had seen before we left on our trip...
Exploring Death Valley backcountry routes

Mr. Cob ural-ing in Death Valley 2008
ride report.

This is the map we used.

Have fun!


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Old 03-28-2012, 03:49 PM   #124
madeouttaglass
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Thank you Little Wan. I just ordered the map. I'll be going back through your RR and highlight some of these trips. Maybe we'll find some of your hidden stuff.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:26 PM   #125
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Enjoying the report!!!

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Old 03-29-2012, 12:11 AM   #126
LittleWan OP
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Enjoying the report!!!


Aww, that's great! Thanks, Aimee!
LOVE the KTM horse...


kelly
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:49 AM   #127
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Great RR some amazing country side there.
A question regarding the 2 up riding on the 990 when loaded, how do the 2 of you get on and off, what order and how. I have exact same bike and my wifey wants to hold on the back and she struggles to find a way to get on and off elegantly without both of us nealry havin a lay down at times.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:38 PM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWan View Post
And, yes, we saw a number of towers on the way up - those old timbers are pretty sturdy, huh?
No pics, though. (as you mentioned, too hard to tear your eyes away from the trail )
Ahem... If I may
A few pics of the towers along the Swansea climb...





Look closely at the center of this one...


Max zoom


Most are far from the road/trail. Very remote and rugged locations.
The effort to move in materials and build these structures

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Old 03-29-2012, 02:19 PM   #129
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Another great RR from LittleWan!
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:12 PM   #130
LittleWan OP
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Originally Posted by 2upAussie990 View Post
A question regarding the 2 up riding on the 990 when loaded, how do the 2 of you get on and off, what order and how.
G'day 2upAussie990 - oh man, I don't think there *is* an elegant way!
I'm really short (5 ft or 152.4 cm - maybe 5'1" with my boots on), so I have a tough time.

Here's what works for us:
Matt gets on first and plants himself really well.
I confirm that he's ready for me to get on, so there are no surprises
(i.e, if he's messing with the GPS, I make sure he's paying attention).


I always get on on the left side of the bike, not sure why, but I do.
Put my left foot on the peg, my left hand on mattís shoulder.
I usually have to hop a little, to gain momentum - 1, 2, 3 and then I jump up.
Like getting on a horse...
My left leg straightens as I swing my right leg up and over the bags.
Once I have both feet on the pegs, I sit down gently.





To get off:
I go first. For me, dismounting the bike is way harder. I think itís my stubby legs.
Again, I make sure Matt is ready and that heís planted.
I stand up on the pegs, put my left hand on his shoulder.
I lean slightly forward, then swing my right leg up and over the bags as I pivot on my left foot.
I drop down to the ground on my right foot.

Then, Matt dismounts.


There have been occasions when Iíve gotten on first (usually because Iím too injured to do it the other way).
Matt holds the bike and I use his pegs to get up on the seat, then slide backwards to the pillion position.
Then he threads his leg through the opening between me and the tank bag.

Itís definitely not ideal. The bike is way less stable when Iím on first.

I really worry about the kickstand breaking when Iím on the loaded bike (without matt holding us up).
There have been times when heís left me sitting on the bike while he goes to grab cash from an ATM machine
or to pay for gas or something, and itís absolutely terrifying.
Again, itís usually because Iím hurt and he doesnít want to make me get on and off,
but itís a horrible feeling, balancing like that, unable to put my feet down...


Oh, one more thing - be extra careful in the rocks.
There was one occasion where Matt thought he was planted well enough,
but when I stood up and swung my leg, I screwed up our precarious balance and...well, it wasnít pretty.


Anyway, thatís what works for us.
Communication, controlled movements, and paying attention.
Hope that helps!
Have fun and be careful...



Quote:
Originally Posted by rider914 View Post
A few pics of the towers along the Swansea climb...



Most are far from the road/trail. Very remote and rugged locations.
The effort to move in materials and build these structures

Thanks, M - those are great!
Itís sad that after all that effort, the salt tram was only in operation for 17 years!



Hi Eyes Shut! Nice to see you again!





Day 4: 3/14/12 Total mileage 246

Part 1 - Panamint Springs - Swansea Grade - Salt Tram Summit Station - Cerro Gordo - S5 - back to Panamint, continued





Okay, I take waaaay too many photos.


Hereís a bunch of them.
Weíre leaving the Salt Tram Station...












Again, these are gorgeous trails and thereís no one else around.




































Uh oh. Snow...





We rode a little of it, and it was slippery. Ice, with mud at the edges.
I opted to walk this section.
We could see where a jeep had gone a little ways, then turned around.





Seems like we were lucky we werenít here a couple weeks earlier (or even a week later).
This was the perfect time to get through.





One last slight uphill...





And now we start heading down the mountain...











It started to get kind of steep and a little rocky.
Hard to tell here, but it was a pretty good decline.






Matt thought it was a good place to shoot some video.


Now, I have to apologize for the quality of this video. It sucks.
This was the very first riding video I shot using our new camera (panasonic lumix TS3).


Iím not really happy with the camera, to be honest.
Itís slippery and hard to hold on to. The face is wide and flat and really catches the wind.
The buttons have terrible placement for shooting one handed, and itís difficult to use with gloves.


I canít even tell you how many times I turned the camera off by accident or hit the wrong buttons on this ride...
There was much swearing, to say the least.
Son of a biscuit!


Anyway.

So, we have this video. The quality is awful. Again, Iím sorry.
I have spent 2 days trying to rectify that and I give up.
Mucking imovie! Monkey-fighting youtube!
Itís only a stupid video for a stupid ride report, right?


Let. It. Go.


Mostly, I thought it was neat because we were in runaway train mode...
Weíre just coasting (with engine braking) for most of the video,
Matt doesnít even touch the gas until close to the 3 minute mark (maybe 2:45).


The beginning is super rough (donít watch it if you get motion sickness )
but it gets better.


Weíre going to the wayback machine for the music.
Hope you donít hate it too much, but it keeps with the train theme...
(warning - turn down the volume if you watched any of those linkies )
(ďdoes this mean weíre moroníd?Ē )









Did you survive?
Rough, huh?
But itís a good representation of what the ride was like.

I was bouncing around so much, my boots kept slipping off the pegs.
The camera almost fell out of my hands a few times.
I got shot out of my seat...


It was kind of awesome!
Seriously, this was such a great riding day...





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Old 03-29-2012, 05:45 PM   #131
rider914
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Weíre going to the wayback machine for the music.


-M
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:10 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by LittleWan View Post

Hmmm. Now where to leave them...?
This seemed like a good spot for one of them (just one).







I only saw one ADV kettle - I think it was Bobzillaís?



Was it the one with the AARG sticker. That was left there on 3/3/2012. Cool to see that in someone else's picture.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:12 PM   #133
LittleWan OP
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Was it the one with the AARG sticker. That was left there on 3/3/2012. Cool to see that in someone else's picture.
Hi Buster,
no, the ADV kettle I saw was this one:



The other side had some screen names, one of which was "bobzilla."


I didn't even recognize the AARG one as being related to ADV - sorry!
Although BigWan says he remembers lots of "Arrrgh!" yelling at DVDaze of yore...


Here's a close up of that kettle for you...
Oh, Arizona Adventure Riding Group - I see it now that this is magnified...

Thanks for asking - that was fun!


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Old 03-30-2012, 12:00 AM   #134
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The beginning is super rough (donít watch it if you get motion sickness )
but it gets better.


I knew better...long time motion sickness sufferer, but I had to watch. That was fun!! Mr Toads Wild Ride!!




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Old 03-30-2012, 02:59 AM   #135
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Trains don't bounce that much. Flight of the Bumble Bee would work, though it's kinda before your time . You Calfornians are just too cool
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