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Old 04-02-2013, 02:30 PM   #1
tundradirtbiker OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Oregon City
Oddometer: 236
New Guy Solo in DV 10 days / 1000 miles

First posted on BDS in Oregon, it's basic info aimed at new riders looking for a ride. It's simple, don't bother- set the bike up, bring the gear, and motor on. Life isn't waiting for anyone- don't waste it.

CAMPGROUND STUFF
It’s worth bringing a $60 shade tech awning and a solar water bag for shower. I anchored the awning to the camp table and collapsed it for heavy winds. Shade is limited everywhere in Death Valley. Stacking two storage containers on the camp table I threw the water bag up there and had a hot shower every day. Showers are $5 at Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Hell, free at Panamint Springs. All three campgrounds were fine with security. I left an extra set of wheels & tires out with no problem. All the gear was next to the truck in each campground including fuel, and cooler. Some of it covered or boxed.
FOOD
Provision yourself. A hamburger, small salad and glass of beer is $20. I used the restaurant once at Panamint. That was it. I bought ice on the way in, after that Ice is $5.00 a bag. Only bought 2 bags for the 10 days. Mike warned me.
MINIMUMS
Some checking shows active guys my weight/ height should be consuming 2300 calories a day. I lost weight on just under 1000 calories causing fatigue toward the last riding days. Store stuff is mostly low-cal. Good for the show horse, useless for the work horse. There are higher calorie cereals, MH freeze dried meals, etc. just gotta hunt for it. Couldn't believe the RR where younger, fast riders survived on chicken and whiskey for a week. How many calories in a drunk chicken? No point in prepping the bike if the rider isn't up to the job. Bike camping with Freeze dried food? Several of us complained of indigestion. Add extra water to their recommended amount. Put contents directly into boiling water of your camp gear and leave it on a low heat for a minute or two. Cover until it's warm. In-the-bag cooking doesn't get the product hydrated enough.
GEAR - Nav Aids
You need a plan to make your visit worth something. I carried SPOT for backup, a Garmin Montana for Nav aid, National Geographic, Tom Harrison, and AAA maps for primary navigation and route planning. Tracks were given to me and I promised not to pass them on. I learned to create most routes using the maps and put them in the Garmin for use. Tracks were good for waypoint reference. Maps are essential.
There were rumors by rangers and riders that GPS nav aids & Sat phones were worthless in Death Valley. Not true. Lining up 3 satellites for triangulation may take a little time as the mountain ranges block a signal- but you can get out.
GARMIN MONTANA
Never owned a map based GPS. It is a great addition to the bike. Menu searching at night I learned a lot. How good it the Montana? When leaving, I pulled it off the bike w/o shutting off the power and put it in the Fred Meyer hard case. I stowed it in a back pack, and threw it behind the seat. When I got home, The damn thing was logging gas stops from DV to Portland.

SPOT
If the wife is “The hammer”, this gives her the perfect leash. No lying about getting lost when the footprints look like a desert dance floor covered by swift retreat. SPOT did it’s job. Arm chair coffee commandos will be offering advice on return. Perfect for ADV riding solo or otherwise. The road assistance program offered by SPOT is unique. They send local operators to come and get you. Free towing for the first 50 miles. If they can’t get to your GPS coordinate, local rescue is initiated. The same operator will charge $300 to change a vehicle tire at the race track.
8 DAYS OF RELENTLESS WIND
Add a windbreaker to your list with chapstick in the pocket. On the bike early in the morning I wore a packable Moose windbreaker. Brian (Atomic) got me the coat and some alpinestar pants for rain. Never needed pants. I wore the coat until 12:30 for the SPW visit. You can’t see wind moving the plant life when riding. Plants are tough and the wind blew me all over Death valley Rd heading to the crater. I never wore a jacket that much on the coast range. Two senior gents were leaving Furnace Creek headed to Joshua Tree.
"Pardon me sir, do you know if there's any wind at Joshua Tree?"
"Why would you worry about it when you already had the fillings blown out of your teeth??"
They left, and I motored on.
WHAT'S THE BEST TIME OF YEAR?
Mike and SteveP were both recommending the middle of March. It is cool with the best chance of not having snow block the passes. Mike did hit snow when he and Mark went. Steve will have to post his trip. I happened to hit a heat wave resulting in daily high wind. The last two days at Texas Springs were perfect. Cool and still, zero insect misery. One note on Texas Springs, drive the campground, TS is first come, first serve $14 a night. Bathroom & water, table/firepit. Some shady areas in the lower tent area.
ROADS
The map roads you see going up valleys to a mine camp or trail hiking head are 'washes'. Some as wide as the Deschutes with no water. The cabins are built on a shelf for a reason. Much like the gopher, they stay dry. You ride on a 4WD hard pack trail in the wash. Not a good place to be if it starts raining hard. Everything marked pass can be checked by elevation markers on your map (Nat geo). More gain is sometimes a rougher track- not much for the bike guys.
WATER
I carried two water bladders in the OGIO vest, at least a gallon of water for a day’s ride. Much like skiing in dry cold, you lose water through exhalation, sun, and wind steals sweat. PDX riders might drink when sweating, DV riders should start sipping early, there is no warning sign until you feel symptoms of headache, eye irritation, or fatigue.
WHAT'S IN THE GL BAG?
Personal Survival gear- Water filter, Mountain house meal, Crux stove, some 1st aid basics, some bath stuff, down bag,and North Face 1 man tent on top.

Bike- 2 - tubes (2 mil), tire patching equip. Complete chain, chain parts, breaker/press, Case gaskets, o rings, bolts, specialty bolts, epoxies for the tank, cases, 1-2 oz brake fluid, clutch oil, Qt of engine oil, fuel line, zip ties, wire, duct tape, mo pro tape. Extra throttle cable, shift lever, fb/ clutch levers. Anything to make SPOT the last resort.
WEIGHT AND SUSPENSION
The GL bag weighed about 25 lbs. Gallon plastic bags let me pack items to use the most space without overstuffing. The 6.6 Acerbis weighed 30 lbs over the normal 2.7 gal IMS when full. I needed suspension springs for 60 plus lbs.
Suspension improvements are covered in “the lounge”. I called Richard Wilson in OK City, he asked a few questions, had me bump the fork oil level up and shipped heavier springs. The bike hit all the rock, never wavered, deflected, or had the front end lose tracking under power. First time I rode 10 days in a row. Never had joint pain or stiffness. For a guy pushing 60 in May, that’s some great suspension. I had talked to Race tech. They suggested I spring it like a fork lift. Maybe he was a new guy, or a forklift driver.
FUEL
You have lots of short distance options. Stay close to resorts, your truck with fuel supply, or carry it. Carried fuel always ends up as top weight. Bigger tanks offer one advantage, you can 3/4 fill it and carry more fuel lower on the frame for better handling. KTM riders have more options, so the 6.6 Acerbis worked great. If my goal is 200 miles, I want at least 250 in range. Maps show roads not there. Worse, there is a grid of roads going everywhere, and I didn't have a clue. If I have to chance a road and put on some distance, I'm burning fuel and daylight. The schedule changes and my mileage is shrinking. One rider told me he had a three gallon tank and it gets 150 miles. It works if everything else goes according to plan. ADV might mean a wrong turn, snow blocked the sole route, or a simple mistake. If you can carry enough fuel for 50-100 miles additional, it takes a big issue off the table. 5 gallons in the 6.6 tank felt great. A full 6.6 gallons is more work for 75 miles. The first part of the day anyway. If you group ride, sharing is not a problem, just tell the guys up front so they can plan for it. Most bikes I saw carried fuel or had smaller tanks. Fuel in Death Valley- Furnace Creek (all 3 grades), Stovepipe Wells (87 only), Panamint Springs (All 3 grades).
WIDER FOOTPEGS
One note about foot pegs. Black Dog calls over sized foot pegs power steering. It sure helps. I’m sorry I didn’t go to Fastway pegs years ago. With increased weight, your balance and control will be stressed and FW can make a big difference for just over $100.
TIRES
I only weigh 165lb at 5’10”. If you’re light, short, or both, there is more reason to set up the bike. The first day I spun it out in a gravel parking lot and had to pull off the 16 lb vest to pick it up. I had forgot to check tire pressure after putting on the new Moto-z tires. They were at 40 plus lbs.
Lots of good choices. Desert guys used everything from Death wings to knobbies. I settled on the Moto-z knobby up front and my Kenda 270 / 4.50 X18” rear. Perfect for the 50/50 dirt road necessary to get anywhere. How much pressure? Never had an issue with 15 psi front and rear using Moose tubes. Basalt on Cerro Gordo was sticking up at an angle like a parking garage spike bar. Nasty to ride over, worse to fall on it. Both tires wore without tearing or loss of knobs for the 1,000 miles of travel.
DUST
All I know for 30 yrs has been mud. It covers leaks, fouls bearings and adds weight. If mud sucks, dust is your friend. I cleaned oil stains w/ simple green and rode for the day checking for leaks. The engine was dry and tight.
Air Filter- Solo riding kept it clean for 10 days. The extra filter in my pack was removed. I ran the Moose triple duty filter with a twin-air rough foam ‘dust cover’. I checked it every day with the CRT coolant tank in the number plate pocket. If coolant was clear and engine oil clean, there was fluid separation. Dust also records fork travel. There was a tight pattern of circles on the forks indicating comp/rbd sensitivity. I only reduced compression front/rear one click,that was enough.
GLASSES & GOGGLES
Really glad I got tinted OTG goggles. The sun was hard and glaring. Never knew if the pocket camera pics turned out due to glare on the screen. I tried a set of progressive glasses under the goggles and they worked great. Prices on glasses- A complete ripoff at several hundred dollars. I can buy them cheaper on line at $50 for progressive prescription, than $300 or $400 at the local glasses franchise using medical insurance. http://www.goggles4u.com/contact.asp
ALLERGIES
They were really bad for me in Death Valley, almost worse than Western Oregon. I was congested with med use for 10 days anyway.
ALTITUDE
Death Valley is not flat. GPS readings went from -267 ft below sea level to 10,000 ft above sea level at Cerro Gordo. I left the 0-3000 ft jetting alone in the carb. The bike still averaged just over 58 mpg with all the road use (45-50 mph). Work gets a lot harder at higher elevation. Do your work in advance so you make the hill and ride on. It's no fun dragging all that weight around on a hill for a second run at high elevation. Set the bike up and ride on.
Panamint Springs- Cooler at 2000 ft, less wind, no flies, $7.50 a night & hot showers in the restroom included. My favorite place after the F-16 came in, slid it into almost a hover, pushed power, and spiral spun into the distance. Great vacation.

Stove Pipe Wells. AKA Stove Pipe Hell - 1st 3 day Campsite
March 15, Friday 25.7 miles / Local sights
They rent you dirt, a filthy aluminum table and a fire pit for $12 a night. Telephone service, no cellphones. Death Valley had a hot spell of over 100 degrees day time temps. The air is still. Black flies buzzing, and no seeums chewing your legs. This is the best time to get your bite, service the bike, and supply with food & water for the next ride. The heat stores in the valley pan like an oven. By 5 o’clock, heat releases creating tremendous winds. Dust clouds billow up and I cover the bike with a tarp anchored by a centerstand. Wind continues until about dark and the flies come back for another pound of flesh. Wind continues til temps reduce at night. I got there about 3:00 in the afternoon and had to check it out.

Mesquite Dunes are nearby,

Mosaic Canyon and the Devil’s cornfield. Dunes and Playa nearby are a subtle hint you should anchor the tent. I set up a quick camp and put on 25 miles exploring the drive by sights close to camp. I returned at dusk checked fuel, tires and gear. The GL bag was only tensioned once in 10 days. Steep ramp loading made for short steps with the full bag. I used diamond tie downs on the subframe on both sides. A quick meal and ready to turn in before the flies were ready to eat. I turned in at dusk.
March 16, Saturday 168 miles / Ubehebe Crater, Racetrack Valley, Tea Kettle Junction, Lippincott through South Pass(Grapevine Canyon) to the Saline Valley Rd and out to the 190. 35 miles to the crater, all paved. 45 miles paved from Saline Valley Rd back to SP HELL. 80 road miles total
Up early and ready to ride, I ate, hit the bathroom, and went out on headlight. I got some great advice on setup from riders recommending the double take mirror and the Seat Concept product. The mirror let me cruise and keep an eye out for tourists. Tourists in Death Valley drive like they do everywhere- crazy. Completely sealed up in AC at speed on the pavement. Urban snails. A lot of them don’t get out for much, unless the kids drive them crazy and they have to stop the car. The ranger at Grapevine warned me about foreign nationals. They come from all over the world, and rent cars without spare tires. Then they go wheelin’ off the pavement against their contract. They fly into Lost Wages with a warp speed schedule. They want to see a number of the National Parks (the ranger said 7) in a short time. I guess that’s a plan. Biggest cause of death in Death Valley is the one car roll over. In most cases, if a vehicle quits they have no water, food, sun shelter, or a spare tire. The spare tire issue. My father-in-law told me it’s not the car rentals removing the tire. A spare is not issued on the fleet cars they buy. In the city with a cellphone- that works. The crusty ranger said it matters not. They can’t change a tire anyway.

I motored up to the Crater on paved road. Tour buses and cars were there. Took a few pics and rode down Racetrack Valley past the Joshua trees, rubber necking the Valley floor. I had a rider with flat black helmet on a newer Honda 650, scoot around me. He gave me a little wave, I waved back.
Stopping at Tea Kettle Junction is the split for descending Lippincott grade (R) or going through Hidden Valley up Hunter Mtn. (L)

I stayed right and rode up to the Grandstand where a group was walking out to the rock Pinnacles.

I checked out the Honda and remembered Larryboy had one with a strange oil cooler connected by black hydraulic line. The faithful went to worship. I had neither AK or Koran, and motored on. To this point, any all-wheel drive vehicle with LT tires can make it. The road was recently graded flat and smooth. The road split again, and I went left by a campground where the road went to hell in a hurry. It led to the old Lippincott Mine. It’s the head of a hiking trail, so I returned to the junction and went right instead. A big old sign designates the beginning of the 7 mile Lippincott Pass. Much like Bishop Ridge in the GP with smaller rock of 6-8” littered everywhere. Almost a scree surface due to chronic slough from the uphill side. The Pass has elevation (5400 down to 4200 ft), but the road is at least Jeep Willys 4 X 4 wide all the way down. Easy to thread through most of it, with short braking sections for some drop. Better taking it down, climbing would be more work than fun. At the bottom, the last mile is even more loose volcanic rock til it gets to the South Pass (great riding). I think that’s where the rock marker indicates Saline Valley north.

South Pass or Grapevine Canyon, has some rock, dirt, sand. It’s a twisty 4 WD road leading to the Saline Valley Rd. The Harrison map shows it as 10 miles long to Saline Valley Rd.

I had to ride another 15 miles out to the 190 Rd passing the Buckhorn cabin on the way. Now I had a 45 mile 190 road ride back to Stovepipe Hell. Stopping at the Father Crowley VP I talked to a ranger. “You think I can make it up Lippincott with my truck?” It was a fleet 4WD mini truck with donuts for tires. Shook my head and motored on. I went back to camp, found the 12 X 18 tarp unrolled it to a 2 ft width 8 ft long and left the roll for a headrest. Grabbed a cold one and pulled the hat down to block the sun a bit. Road riding was scenic, but it wasn’t riding.
March 17, Sunday / 166 miles, Up to Ubehebe Crater, backtrack to Death Valley Rd., out to Crankshaft Junction. Backtrack 8 miles out to Oriental Wash, make a loop by the weather station.
Lots of miles, 90 of it road. Fairly uneventful, but it did leave the door open to some interesting ADV future trip. Went up the paved Crater Rd and continued on gravel to Crankshaft Junction.

There was a split in the road heading up the pass to Eureka Dunes. Saline Valley Hot Springs and the Village People on the left. The road to Lida and Goldpoint on the right. Couldn’t get the fighters to make a strafing run, so I went right. The main road (which was one of many) lead to Gold Point, and a number of mines. If you check the NG map, the road also heads south over the pass to 267 at Bonny Claire. The Grapevine Ranger checked the map over and said there was road and it was fairly remote. I figured I could get to the mining sites and check it out. There was more road in that area going every direction than I could figure. The Garmin was not much help w/o setting a distant waypoint. I spent a bunch of time in a small area searching landmarks. The one I did find, and likely on Oriental Wash Rd was a solar weather station.

I passed it searching the last leg of the triangle to Crankshaft Junction.

How can you get lost in the Valley? Easy. Distance and a slight rise in the topo covers a flat graded road. Not many high spots to crest for overview. I backtracked testing self-nav skills. Garmin shut itself off and gave up on a dumb ass not willing to follow direction. There is lots of Death Valley in BLM hands outside the park, no fees, no campsites, and lots of road unused by most visitors. This was one of those areas. Death Valley had Monument status, prior to park status in 1994. Lesson here was carry your water and fuel loads for the unexpected. I never got close to the limits on this ride.

March 18, Monday / 39 miles, Arrive at Panamint Springs Resort and setup camp. Ride to Darwin the back way. Bought a T-shirt from Debbie and took the pavement home. Passed the Saline Valley Rd, Faher Crowley viewpoint and returned to camp.
A short day. Loops had to get big to get anywhere. Darwin Wash was my dirt route to cut pavement both ways for the next two days. It’s a rough 4WD road past Darwin mining artifacts into the town itself. Darwin is only residents on a small grid town. No cops, church, not store. Locals said it was heaven. I said Bullshit Jack, not without a bar. Debbie sold me the T-shirt anyway.
March 19th Tuesday / 124 miles, PSR to Darwin, pavement to Saline Valley Rd, over Hunter Mtn down to Hidden Valley to Tea kettle Junction and back.
This route is a blast- it had just been bladed and was like riding fireroad both ways. Top of Hunter Mtn was a rocky section, then a dirt section, then a sandy section.

I rode to TKJ and found two jeepers looking at a National Geo map. They wanted to know if Saline Valley Rd was closed. Told them I just came through, great non-technical drive for a 4WD Rd. They had been told it was closed and it was signed closed on the 190 by Inyo County. Turns out they were from Mt Hood and Gladstone OR.
Unbelievable. Not only were they from Oregon, they were one of many people I met who had never been to Death Valley before. They went down to the racetrack and I turned to start Hidden Valley.

The Hunter Mtn Cabin is shown in the Harrison Map and I wanted a picture. I found the gate closed for fire danger, parked the bike and walked to the cabin for outside pics. Closed the gate and head out toward the 190. Here comes a Cadillac Eldorado leading a plume of dust going hell bent for leather straight at me. I pull over, and let dopey by. A second Eldo with dust in tow comes at me. I flag this idiot over. He rolls down the window. It’s Boris and Natasha.
“Your friend is headed for a steep 4WD hill, will he wait for you on top?”
I get a dumb ass look.
“Thank you sir, Thank you!”
He just said screw you.
“Thank you sir, Thank you!”
He said it again. Then she says it: “Thank you sir, Thank you!”
I got stuffed by both of them.
I’m not getting park ranger pay- motor on. They are the reason the County posted the road closed.-sick of rental car 911 dispatches. Maybe they weren’t dumb. With two Eldos you have 4 spare tires.

I went back through Darwin and into PSR. While riding the wash, I saw the colors change on the canyon from the afternoon sun. It can be a different place every ride through.

I ate and slept off the bike. I promised Mike I would because the June trip would have a lot of bike camping. I never bike camped. The NF one man tent was fine, the Crux stove worked great. I had everything I needed- except I had to steal beer from my cooler next to the truck. We had clear starry nights and I slept 2 nights in back of the p/u on air mattress in a bag. It was incredible weather compared to SPH.
March 20th Wednesday / 121 miles, PSR to Darwin, 190 Rd to Cerro Gordo.
March 20th Wednesday / 121 miles, PSR to Darwin, 190 Rd to Cerro Gordo.
I hated the road ride. Never did get a good fix on White Talc Mtn Rd.

White Talc Mtn Rd (L) looking toward Saline Valley Rd access. (Eldo dust in the distance)
I thought I had it routed, but Garmin pushed me down the highway. I figured I could use the trail out back to return- so I took 190 to 136. I arrived in Keeler, next to Owen Lake.

It was sucked dry for drinking water by the LA basin years ago, it’s been dry since. CG is right across the street up the hill about 8 miles to 8200 ft elevation. I took the washboard 4 mile road and climbed to Cerro Gordo.

Robert is one caretaker of several.

Mining Equipment & Assay lab
A former high school shop teacher, and jack of all trade, he gave an excellent tour. He started with the history and brought it to the present day issue of trying to make Cerro Gordo a self sustaining history site. Several big time promises have fallen through and the future is in doubt. This is not a ghost town with structure and ruin. There is still the 1800’s presence of life, mining and building preservation.

The Annanberg foundation put a lot of money into restoring the chutehouse and tram.

The mine owner (Belshaw) house is preserved for you to step into the past. The bar card room (behind the house) still has a shotgun blast in the wall from days gone by. Must have been a friendly warning cuz it only looked like #8 shot to keep the new guy honest. Robert said there was lots of shooting back in the day. Gun control for the 1800’s miner was not getting shot. After the tour I bought 2 T-shirts at $20 to help support the town. Mike gets one for team leader, and to remind him Death Valley can’t be seen in one trip. Robert had cellphone service at the camp (AT&T).

View from the saddle and two road intersection.
He pointed me up the hill to a saddle where Verizon would get out. There are two roads clearly shown on the Nat Geo map. The road I should have taken was right, and gated. He had problems with trespassers and likely forgot when telling me to stay on the main road. I went left, and Montana didn’t like it a bit. I think it was 10-15 miles of trail with elevation of up to 9500 ft. Wilderness markers were a good indicator, so was the road ending at the Burgess Mine. At that elevation the 4WD trail was longer 2nd and 3rd gear climbing on rocky drainage cut track. Hitting the deadend, I knew the left turn was wrong and elevation caused some fatigue. Snow blocked the road for go-round riding in one spot. Looking over the edge was a long way down, I back tracked to the saddle and returned on the road. If you go up there, ask about the gate before hitting the trail. No worries, the bike climbed and handled great. Basalt rock arrow heads were the most concern. I had to hit some, but the tires did great. The Cerro Gordo tour was a trip highlight, almost better than meeting Boris and Natasha.
March 21st, Thursday / 59 miles, Arrive at Texas Springs/ Furnace Creek. Out to Zabriski’s Point, 20 mule team, Dante’s View and back. Setup camp and see most of the tourist drive by sights close to the resort area. These are all local sights easy to tour.

Zabriski’s is a great viewpoint looking into Death Valley. 20 mule team is a field of small yellow hills like a ‘badlands area’. The road weaves between them for a scenic ride.

Dante’s View overlooks Mt Whitney (14,494 ft) to Badwater (-267 ft). Highest and lowest points.
March 22nd, Friday / 140 miles, Echo Canyon to the 6’ step, back track to Inouye Mine at the closed alternate route, Ride Daylight Pass to Chloride City area, back to 374 Titus Canyon and return to TS.

The Echo steps are one 6 foot wall when I stood next to it. The right side is a plumb vertical wall, the left side the same climbing angle as a 6 foot house ladder. Utube and the pocket camera flatten it out. Standing next to it, was a smooth vertical surface. Couldn't believe the picture I took. Now I'm not sure where the hell I was.
I backed out and checked the fork to the Inouye mine. Vertical shaft covered by the FS.

Three carsonite signs declared a route closed. So much for Echo Canyon.
Riding up 374, went right to Chloride City. Maps showed road in several directions. I checked several options for making to Beatty from 374. Not much looked good without a lot more exploration. I used the ‘Backtrac’ feature for practice and hit the highway again. GPS was showing a road running diagonal to the highway. It looked decommissioned, grown over for a while. I turned into Titus canyon, rode 10 miles or so before removing gloves for pictures the rest of the way.


Bicycles race to the bottom from the summit- legal or not.

Lots of painted hills

Nice sign

But it was too late by the time I got there. There are others, but they are located in remote areas safe from the inmates.

Classic Death Valley canyons, narrow path with high walls. Several miles of this at the bottom of Titus Canyon.
March 23rd, Saturday / 133 miles, 190 Rd south to on Westside Rd to Butte Valley Rd
Westside Rd is fire roading and salt flats to gravel sections. It’s 39 miles before hitting the southern cross over into Panamint Valley.

Butte Valley Rd leads past the Warm Springs cabin. Most cabins are posted for hanta virus. Some desert rat bikers ignore them, others camp elsewhere.

Mice warning and history plaque side by side.

Geologist cabin with Striped Butte in the background.

One of the clean, well stocked cabins for emergency use. Volunteers keep it stocked and ready. When the FS ranger uses the cabin, he raises the US flag to show he's in quarters. There's a log on the desk visitors sign.

The white stripes are fossils when the Great Ocean basin extended east to Salt Lake in Utah. My Father IL says if you look around while riding the Northern NV border, you will still find fossils fairly visible. He's hunted that area for 50 or more of his 78 yrs. Still does.
The road continues into Mengal Pass and the Goler Wash past the Barker Ranch. I did not explore beyond Striped Butte. This would have been a perfect trip to prep for bike camping and explore the east side of the Panamint Range. Didn’t expect to see everything in 10 days, but a circle route from Panamint Springs would been ideal. I ran into a mixed crew of 8 dirt bikes banking on fuel distance to make Furnace Creek. They went to the Geologist cabin and I turned around to motor on.
March 24th Sunday / 61 miles, Artist Drive, South on Westside Rd to Trail Canyon to the miner cabin.The last day. Took the 190 Rd south to Artist Drive for the 9.6 mile one way Loop Rd.

I took some photo time for the colors in the hills.

I returned to Westside Rd to explore Trail Canyon. Park Service allows camping if campers drive 2 miles off the main Rd. The trail is a jeep trail packed river rock in the 100 ft wide ‘wash’. It’s a 10.7 mile track to the shell of a mining cabin. Great for shade and a break. These are blind canyons with hiking trail over the pass to the east side of the Panamint Range. Most of the finger trails in the Panamint are limited to hiking cross-over trail. Ran into a young woman hiking. It was hot in the canyon, she appeared to be strong and had a day pack. I told her the cabin was about 10 minutes away and she continued on. Fairly remote to be on foot. I returned to camp to wrap it up and pull out in the morning.
Quick Wrap up - Didn't see anyone with bike camping (tent) on a bike. Lots of ADV beemers, Harley groups, Hikers, 4 wheelers. Like everywhere: guys had some stuff, a little stuff, or just a camelback. Watch your 6 on the roads, tourists take 2013 stress levels to DV and release it at high speed. Biggest correctable mistake I made- low energy intake. Riding and working in the GP, the wife looked at the kitchen and always said- not enough. Proved her right this trip.
The bike covered that up. Spot and Garmin were great, maps excellent. Roads were in good shape- this year.
Some ADV riders claim Death Valley "calls to me", or it "haunts my soul". The once Great Ocean Basin is incredible. If Darwin is right, Adam and Eve were a pair of carp.
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:37 PM   #2
slidewayes
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One of the best ride reports Thank you for takeing me with
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:37 PM   #3
Rob.G
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Very nice! I miss DV.

What is BDS Oregon?

Rob
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
tundradirtbiker OP
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Oregon Riders

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Old 04-04-2013, 12:15 PM   #5
MasterMarine
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Hi Don,

Thanks for the shirt. Great job on relaying all that info.

It sure looks like you explored a lot of DV on your trip.
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