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Old 02-21-2013, 02:24 PM   #31
akaDigger
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Glad I dragged you out of lurk mode
I'm new here and a little shy
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:15 PM   #32
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hwd, glad to see your home now and your RR in progress.

i knew you were going to baja as we were heading back home. thought maybe we might see you there.

brung it!

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Old 02-22-2013, 09:48 AM   #33
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hwd, glad to see your home now and your RR in progress...
Hi NSFW--I've lurked in a few of your reports here, glad to have you along
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:05 AM   #34
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We'd cooked all our meals up to that point, but the Panamint Springs restaurant was calling-------couldn't resist. For weeks I'd been raving about the selection of ales at PSR and I don't think my son quite believed me until we walked in the door and I showed him the refrigerated cases. Enjoyed burgers and a couple nice ales and crawled into the bags.

For the first time on the trip we woke up to make coffee and didn't have to chop through ice. Didn't take much discussion to agree that we're going to stay here another night and enjoy the warmth.

I'd never been to Saline Valley Hot Springs so we unloaded the bags and headed back up 190 a bit to catch Saline Valley Road, climbed up over South Pass






and found our way to the springs. Bryn got to stretch out the fire-breathing DR650 a bit--he's an off-road racer at heart





--and I just tried to keep within sight of his dust cloud. That was hard enough, too.





Many of the roads in Death Valley had been hit hard by flooding last fall and I wasn't too sure what we'd find. There were a couple rocky areas, a long stretch that was still snow and ice covered and a few washouts but nothing impassable, at least for motorcycles. I wouldn't want to take a passenger car over that way.





The hot springs were great.





Very clean, an oasis of palms and green plants, with some great choices for soaking. We took advantage of the lower pool and enjoyed watching the fighter pilots practice low altitude runs right over our heads.





That evening we were invited to share the campfire with a couple a few sites down. They were traveling in their "land yacht" a very cool home-built rig complete with blacksmith foundry--he gives historical demonstrations for schools--and a boom for loading his TW200.





We'd met him on the road to Saline Valley along with his friend, both riding TW's. Lots of great stories, and photos missed. The land yacht was created because they'd had a dream of sailing around the world, started their voyage, and discovered he was highly susceptible to seasickness. Now, they're pursuing their dream--on land.





We could have spent weeks exploring Death Valley but Baja was calling, so up the next morning and set out for a place that many Death Valley travelers had highly recommended: Tecopa Springs.
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:41 AM   #35
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Awesome hard working dog.

Yeh---me and ole' Dingleweeds will be camping on this ride report till it's done.

You have a very good knack of describing your ride------you described being cold so well it had me shivering
here in my warm office

Thanks so much for posting your ride-----just the right amount of pics and text.

Really liked those springs you found.

And good on you riding down there from home.

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Old 02-23-2013, 05:53 AM   #36
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Nice reading...

Enjoyed my Sat. morning read In..
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:41 AM   #37
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Enjoyed my Sat. morning read In..
Glad you've enjoyed it. I'm getting into the habit now, I hope I can keep the updates rolling in.


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Ahhh......2 blue and white bikes to Baja!!!

I am in!!!............watch out for those Pesky donkeys!!!
Hi DingWeed, we had more trouble from El Chupacabra, the donkeys left us alone on this trip


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...
You have a very good knack of describing your ride------you described being cold so well it had me shivering here in my warm office
Glad to hear! Guess what--the coldest part is yet to come
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:03 AM   #38
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Glad to hear! Guess what--the coldest part is yet to come
I'll get my fuzzy slippers on
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:24 AM   #39
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Great ride report. I too was getting a chill with the description of the cold sunny weather. Looking forward to warming up a bit. I'll be riding along, thanks.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:16 AM   #40
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This trip was quickly turning into a reprise of my favorite ride report on advrider: In Search of Water in the Desert--we were jumping from hot spring to hot spring, but that was the best way to cope with the cold weather we chose to ride in.

We rode through the Panamint Valley, up over Towne Pass through the Panamint Range and dropped down 5000 feet in 15 almost ruler straight miles to Stovepipe Wells. Gas is cheaper there so we filled up and made some quick calls--hadn't had cell phone coverage since we left Kernville 3 days ago.




The Spot Messenger was leaving tracks and OK messages, but everyone at home still worried a bit. Nothing like a phone call to ease their minds.

We finally turned south down the long stretch of Death Valley itself, past Badwater Basin, and now South would be our heading until we hit the end of the Baja peninsula. I'd look at the map at the end of each day, kind of amazed at how far we still had to go. It's a long way down there, and back...



We'd got a weather forecast from my wife, and it was calling for cold temperatures--highs in the mid 40's, lows in the upper 20's, and a chance of rain in the next couple days. We were prepared for it and just kept riding, although I admit I wasn't really looking forward to riding in the rain. We were planning on just hunkering down in our tents or even checking into a motel if it got bad, but for now it was dry and cold and we charged ahead.

We stopped at the Famous Crowbar Cafe & Saloon in Shoshone to warm up with a cup of coffee.




It was a friendly place, the food looked good, but all we needed was warmth. There was an old-fashioned gas fired radiant heater going and I stood next to it for awhile....ahhhhhh. Across the street was a small general store so we stocked up on supplies--they had what looked like homemade bread on the shelves, and it turned out to be amazingly good, glad we bought a loaf.

Not much farther down the road we arrived at Tecopa Springs...after the way it had been talked about by other people we'd come across I'll admit I was a bit........underwhelmed by the place.

Apparently there's some tug of war going on with the BLM, I don't know exactly, but while there are some natural open access springs nearby, the main attractions are the 2 or 3 competing private campgrounds that have their own gated pools. They charge for pool access, or it's including with the camping fee. We picked one, set up camp and made our way to the pool. I use the word "pool" as that's pretty much what we found--chlorinated indoor smooth plastered pools, no clothing allowed, men and women in separate areas. The water was hot and clean, but felt more like the local YMCA (from about 50 years ago) after experiencing Saline Valley and the Kern River. Not that I'm complaining or anything.

And there's no way I was going to bring a camera in there, WoodsChick.

The campground was your basic dirt field, with a numbered rock to indicate sites.




No potable water, but the table was nice. I noticed that, in my mind, our tents looked like something out of Star Wars. Somehow, it had an expression that looked droid-like, or like it wanted to fly...



Good think I had rocks to keep it grounded.


Our neighbors were a trip, literally. They were there to take part in a dance to create the new paradigm as the the new year began. They invited us to participate and, still not quite sure what was going on, I asked if they were doing traditional folk dances......"No man, we're, uh, like you know,....shamans, man. We're bringing in the energy to like, create world peace, this is a very energy-filled location..." They were so sincere and well-meaning you just had to like them.

It had been a relatively easy day.




We'd been averaging about 200 miles a day up to that point, which was about as much as we could do in the cold and short days. It was nice to have pulled into camp well before it got dark and cold, and relax a bit. That night was clear and cold and Bryn & I hiked up the ridge behind our camp where there was a cross with a bench that looked over the valley. We enjoyed the bright stars and could hear the drums and guitars and singing from the large tent they'd erected for the dance. By 9 pm they were done, and we all slept well, new paradigm or not.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:11 PM   #41
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Saline Valley Hot Springs

Looks like a place to put on the list to see. How would a slightly loaded down KTM 950, with 2 up do on that road?

Great pics and commentary.
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:57 PM   #42
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Anytime someone asks about a big KTM 2-up I think, hmmm, someone that hasn't read big/little Wan's ride reports

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=817794
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:22 PM   #43
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Looks like a place to put on the list to see. How would a slightly loaded down KTM 950, with 2 up do on that road?

Great pics and commentary.
Thanks for the kind words.

I don't know about riding 2-up over South Pass. Probably be fine, but the road conditions change a lot based on weather, kind of like Baja. I imagine if you wanted you could have your pillion walk while you muscle it over the rough stuff, but there's times when passenger cars can drive that road. I believe it's easier to get there from the north as well. Larryboy rides over South Pass in the dark, during a snowstorm, on bald tires. With one hand tied behind his back.

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Old 02-23-2013, 07:53 PM   #44
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Anytime someone asks about a big KTM 2-up I think, hmmm, someone that hasn't read big/little Wan's ride reports


Their reports got us into this mess....

My heroes...

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Old 02-23-2013, 11:17 PM   #45
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We woke to a sky with threatening looking clouds to start day 7 of our journey. It's amazing how quickly you can make breakfast and get packed when rain is threatening...

Our destination today was Joshua Tree National Park, about 225 miles away.




This is one of the top climbing destinations in the west, a place my son finds as intriguing as I find Death Valley and he was really looking forward to showing it to me. We head south on highway 127 through a part of California that not many people visit. Names like Ibex Dunes, Silurian Valley, Avawatz Mountains. A dry rocky sparse country, beautiful and stark.

The clouds start to break up, there's patches of sun, we ride on without feeling too cold and fill up the bikes in Baker. We've got all our layers on, grip heaters running full blast, and I feel like an alien as I clomp into the gas station's bathroom surrounded by people wearing shorts and t-shirts driving their heated and defrosted cars. We cross I-15 and continue on down Kelbaker Road through the Mojave National Preserve. About a mile into the Preserve we see a sign warning of "Tortoise Crossing." Never did see a tortoise though.

The road climbs up to about 4000 feet and as we descend down towards Kelso the skies turned grayer and the air got colder. By the time we hit Kelso we were both starting to shiver. Kelso is the Park headquarters, housed in a newly restored building------the best part is that a motorcyclist named Mike has taken over the old Kelso cafe and it was open, and warm, and he had hot coffee.




We stayed there for close to an hour, talking with Mike about riding, the history of the place, and warming up. An oasis in the cold desert. We were only about halfway, so back on the bikes. We climbed up another 4000 foot pass-Granite Pass--and dropped down again as we crossed I-40, down close to sea level where it was sunny and warm. I felt good and warm enough to actually take a photo as we turned onto Route 66.





We rolled through the desert surrounding Twentynine Palms, stopped for groceries in the town of Joshua Tree, and then headed up into the park itself. We found a place to camp--the park was packed full of climbers, the first campground was completely full--and set up camp after spending a good 30 minutes trying to decide which spot was more wind protected. The wind was gusting and swirling so much we finally just gave up and picked a site next to an occupied camp with a good supply of firewood. We had developed into pretty good campfire moochers--fellow campers seemed to feel sorry for us or something and we almost always got invited to share their campfire. Made dinner and sure enough, our neighbors invited us over, a couple of rock climbing brothers around my son's age, and they spent the evening debating routes and techniques and trading best "I almost died" incidents. They had a great time. I was tired and headed off to bed early--a long day. It was windy and I could see the stars slowly fading off in the western sky as clouds started to build. Fell asleep wondering if it was going to rain.

At some point in the night I could hear the sound of rain--------still blowing pretty hard-------as I listened closer, I thought it sounded a little off; too, well, too soft-sounding for rain. I'd gone to bed that night pretty cold, but was sleeping warmly by wearing basically every layer I'd brought: wool socks, 2 layers of long johns, my riding pants, synthetic shirt, riding jersey, fleece and parka liner, fleece neckwarmer, and wool cap. My riding jacket was over my legs and feet on top of the sleeping bag, and of course using the synthetic liner. It worked.

As the dawn broke I decided to look outside to see if what I suspected was true.

Yup, it hadn't rained at all.





I yelled over to Bryn to take a look outside. His reply--"This is AWESOME!!!"

He thought it was pretty funny, but about halfway through packing it didn't feel awesome. It was dang cold.




Despite the cold, it was a pretty spectacular morning. Clear and calm, the sky was pure blue.





The snow had filled our stoves left out on the table overnight, our camelbaks were frozen, so for the first (and only!) time we didn't even make coffee; had lara bars for breakfast, and then discovered another gear issue. I hadn't taken the time to isolate our grip heater connection with a switched source--we had simply connected them directly to the battery. Which works fine if you remember to turn off your grip heaters at the end of every ride. Unfortunately Bryn had left his on, all night, and the new battery was now dead. In the snow. We talked our campfire sharing neighbors out of their jumper cables, got the DR jump started, and started riding cautiously down the snow covered road.

The sky was clear and the sun was quickly melting the snow as we rode. The bizarre thing was that no more than 5 miles down the road, still at over 4000 feet elevation, the ground was bone dry--hadn't snowed or rained at all.

We just got lucky in our little slice of heaven.
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HardWorkingDog screwed with this post 04-05-2013 at 07:22 AM Reason: faulty memory--NO coffee for YOU
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