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Old 03-20-2013, 09:46 AM   #1
BenYork OP
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tahoe/ Humboldt
Oddometer: 87
Breaking S#!t in the Saline Valley

Well, I have been riding bikes for 18 months now, and would like to contribute back to the site I have had so much fun with. Last Wednesday I called my buddy, Matt (Swarthy_Red_Beard), and we decided to go to Death Valley to do some riding. Naturally we decided to base camp at Saline Valley, so as to enjoy the hot water. We would trailer in his truck, with his trailer. Him on the KTM 525 me on a DR 650.

Here we are above Mono Lake. We drove from Humboldt County, stayed the night in Tahoe, and continued down south.

Airing down the tires for the violent trip down Saline Valley Road.

Flying down the road towards the springs. This was to prove somewhat detrimental to the trailer, bikes, gas cans, firewood etc. later in the trip. We brought 50 gallons of extra gas and food for a month.

Rolling up Bat Rock Road we were met by the welcoming committee.

In camp that night we made dinner, enjoyed the springs, and went to bed anticipating the ride in the morning.

To be continued in the morning. . .
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:00 AM   #2
BenYork OP
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tahoe/ Humboldt
Oddometer: 87
Day One...

I woke up in the morning and sat in the hot water. . . Watched the sun come up. Then went and got Matt up. He had some bearings to replace, and I had to do a bit of mucking about on my bike. We ended up not getting going until around noon...

We started riding, got 18 miles, and stopped. My plastics had all fallen off. Nice. Backtracked, found the errant bits 2 miles from camp, refueled, and set off again, more determined than ever. Our loop: Saline valley road, Lippencott, Racetrack, Ubeheheheheeebebebee crater, big pine road, Eureka Dunes, Steele pass, back to camp. Here are the pics I managed to get. Matt busted his GPS at some point, and I am too lazy to carry mine, so no tracks or anything. Mileage was something like 140 miles. Fun meter was at 11.

Riding up Lippencott.


Eureka Dunes. From here we rode fast to the Springs, getting back to Camp just after sunset. The next day I was to learn something about Motorcycles, and riding them.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:50 AM   #3
BenYork OP
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tahoe/ Humboldt
Oddometer: 87
Day 2...

Woke up, rode north. Our goal was to ride each little side road and see where we end up. I was absolutely blown away by the capabilities of my big fat pig of a bike. Even running a fifteen front sprocket and 50/50 tires it was clear that the limiting factor of what I could ride was me, not the bike.

We ended up at this old mining camp. A desert rat that we met said that one of the structures was built on top of a mine shaft. We poked around, but fear of various diseases stopped up from poking too energetically. Still pretty amazing what these guys accomplished in such a hostile environment. I hope it was worth it.

The wash we rode up. First drop of the day for me. Matt crashed too I think, trying to go fast, as his bike was overheating.

The hell is that? And why am I wearing a headlamp?

Toss and forget. Must have been nice.

All the modern amenities.

I was wearing my suit. This is great is Humboldt in the winter. In Death Valley, a little warm. Going to invest in some real armor. As well as a KTM.

We went up another canyon road. It was washed out in places, this one having a rock waterfall thing. It was about 30 feet long and maybe a 40 degree incline. This was my first learning moment. Would not have thought I could ride up it.

Continued up this wash until I crashed and couldn't get started again.

Went up a third wash. The road ended at a cable that spanned a canyon. I would estimate it at 3500 feet long and 2000 feet off the bottom of the canyon. Insane amount of effort. Not sure what the cable was for.

Looking back to where it was anchored.

And looking across the canyon.

Looking back over the saline valley. So cool. I really enjoy it there.

Back at the turnoff for the springs. At this point Matt let me ride his KTM. Life=Changed. I will keep my DR, but for the type of riding we were doing the KTM was night and day to my bike.

And another day ends. . .
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:29 AM   #4
BenYork OP
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tahoe/ Humboldt
Oddometer: 87
Day Three. Mellow ride. Still fun.

We left camp. It was hot. We rode up Steele Pass, came across a guy in a 2wd van pretty stuck. Looked shitty. He insisted it was under control, so we kept rolling. We decided to come back later with the truck if we had not heard that he made it out.


We came to Dedeckerakerakrxsas Canyon and met a dude who had been digging for several hours. We watched him make it up the steps, and advised him to air down from 55psi. Then we went to the dunes, thinking we would hike up them.

Went to the dunes. Still hot. Too lazy to walk up them. Met a family from the Yukon, with two little kids. Advised them of the springs, and how much nicer it was than sitting in the baking sun. Saw them two days later on the lawn.

From there we rolled around on some pavement, and blasted in thru north pass again. Went really fast here. I don't think I crashed this day.

Returned to the springs and split some wood. Not sure how Matt feels about this shot, but I'm sure I'll hear about it.

On to the next day!!!
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:53 AM   #5
BenYork OP
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tahoe/ Humboldt
Oddometer: 87
Day Four. Last day of Riding

We seem to have gotten lazier and lazier, so went for a short ride the last day. Saw a road across the valley from the Springs, called snowflake mine road(?) Decided to ride up it. Something I will not do again, but glad we did once. I lost track of my crashes. Broke both rear turn signals and brake light. Everything else held up very well. Bash plate is a new shape now.

Getting started riding up the road.

The only shade was under the bikes, and it was somewhat hot.

The road continues. .

Lots of this sort of thing to ride thru.

Sort of rough, and so cool.

We ended up getting to the top. I was excited. Great views, and cool mining remains. Next time I'll park at the bottom and walk up.

On the way up we came across this wash out. I thought it sucked and wanted to turn around. Naturally Matt talked me in to doing it. If you fell over the wrong way you would probably never get your bike back, but it went better than it looked. Here Matt crosses it on the way down.

And making it. Very nice.

Shortly afterwards we stopped, cause it was hot and I was tired.

Matt noticed his gas was boiling. His bike was also running a little rough. He cracked the gas cap, to make sure it was venting, and gas geysered up two feet. He jumped in the air, and as gas dripped on to his header begged whatever gods may be listening to stop the impending fireball. Fortunately things worked out. No fireball, but I had the camera ready, just in case.

Gas everywhere.

Too much fun.

Wondered back to camp and hung out in the shade. Today I crashed more than I remember, but am inspired as to what Motorcycles are capable of. Mind blowing.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:15 PM   #6
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Salinas, Santa Elena, Ecuador
Oddometer: 888
great ride report from an area i really miss! It looks like your buddy knows how to ride dirt really well so stick with him and you'll learn fast!
Team Mojados Spearfishing
Originally Posted by OnandOff
I'd rather be riding a 200 in Ecuador than any dream bike here.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:40 PM   #7
BenYork OP
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tahoe/ Humboldt
Oddometer: 87
On the way out...

Thanks for the comment! Yea, he is way better than I am. Makes riding so much fun.

The last day we tried to get out early. Convinced ourselves that the trailer was well put together, and we were solid for the drive out south pass. Then watched everything self destruct. Rolling up to a race in Hollister the next morning, we were the dirtiest most ghetto crew there. Totally worth it, from my end. Matt may have something to say about having to rebuild his trailer.

The return to pavement.

Airing up the tires.

Panamint valley from the drive out.

Some final Saline Valley Pics:

Lippencott from the bottom

Palm Springs.


The all important Shit House.

Thanks for reading. . .

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:41 PM   #8
ktm's "the tourist"
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Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Burbank CA
Oddometer: 16,667
very nice RR.

we'll be there the last weekend of the month.

good to know what the weather will look like and we'll try to come prepared.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:58 PM   #9
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Humboldt, Nor Cal
Oddometer: 155
Nicely done Ben! It's amazing how fast the details start to slowly fade. Glad you got on this. There's a pristine garage queen KTM out there waiting for you to snatch it up and abuse it nice and proper.

I have zero pics to add, but had a great first trip to Saline Valley. We will be back!

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Old 03-20-2013, 02:15 PM   #10
turnin gas to noise
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Joined: Aug 2007
Location: californication
Oddometer: 7,238
Great report and pictures!!

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Old 03-20-2013, 03:19 PM   #11
just passin' through
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Joined: May 2005
Location: Tumalo, Oregon
Oddometer: 4,882
Excellent report and photos! You're doomed now - ha ha (after riding that 525)
What's next? More action!
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:43 PM   #12
BenYork OP
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tahoe/ Humboldt
Oddometer: 87

Yea. That 525 experience is going to cost me a bunch of money and even more time. At least it's a noble cause.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:15 PM   #13
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Mar 2007
Oddometer: 2,640
Been going to DV/Saline for 7 years and still haven't seen it all. Thanks for taking me to places I've never been !

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Old 03-21-2013, 09:53 PM   #14
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Lakewood, CA
Oddometer: 1,957
Great rr! Good to see new places around saline valley.
My YouTube
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:49 AM   #15
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Newport Beach
Oddometer: 345
great, thanks!
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