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Old 06-16-2014, 07:33 AM   #1
Momo-san
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Momo-san and Trplgrl do Death Valley

This ride report is for Budman: it is waaaay more than Facebook ever got

After occasional mention of wanting to ride to Death Valley, Trplgrl and I finally picked a date and did it! We weren’t opposed to having people join us, but our regular riding buddies weren’t able to go, so it began to feel like an adventure was shaping up that was meant just for us girls. We’ve traveled together before, but this would be the first longer moto trip planned and organized without input from anyone else. This was a little worrisome since bluesboy is usually the one to plan and tell us all where to go

We planned for a 5-day trip, and when April 10th rolled around (FINALLY!) I was ready.


Day 1: SF to Taft
Leaving San Francisco, we traveled 280 > 85 > 25 and stopped for breakfast at Flapjack’s in Tres Piños. We were making our route up as we went along, so at the end of 25 we stopped to check the map and decide on our next steps. We would be sticking to paved roads throughout the trip since Trplgrl was riding her Speed Triple R and it would be a shame to scratch up all of that pretty white paint.

From 25 we took Peach Tree Rd > Indian Valley Rd. into San Miguel. Beautiful roads with beautiful views:



A short hop down 101 took us to 58 (roller coaster, wheeee!) which led us by the Carrizo Plain National Monument - I would love to stop and explore the area one day, but this day we just kept on keeping on. Then, a short haul on 33 to the glorious town of Taft, where the aroma of crude is in the air. Topper’s Motel was the choice place (out of two) to stay because of the mexican restaurant right next door: margaritas, fajitas, some bad tv and snooooze.

Day 2: Taft to Death Valley
In the morning we gassed up and made our way to Hwy 178 out of Bakersfield. Not much to talk about until you reach the mouth of Kern Canyon, giving us a taste of the beautiful and dramatic landscape that was in store for us. We stopped in Lake Isabella for some food and caffeine - Hmmm, I think this could be a great Barf rally town: classy motels and twisty roads in all directions.



After 178 is a slog up 395, where you enter Inyo County, the home of Death Valley



While stopped for gas along 395, we met a fellow moto traveler, Ian, from the UK. He was asking our opinion on which pass to take over the Sierras. Well, in early April all of his options were still closed, he ended up taking the same pass we did, Walker Pass. Here’s Trplgrl showing him the way



Finally we made it to the stretch of road that would lead us into Death Valley, 195. It is lonely, hot and arrow-straight but while riding alongside Owens Lake (don’t let the name fool you, it is dry, dry, dry) we were compelled to stop. It was one of many places too beautiful to just ride through





Then, finally, Death Valley. We have proof!


The violence involved in shaping DV was immediately apparent



Even though this trip was planned for early spring, deep in the valley it was still 100 degrees. The time of year limited our route options quite a bit, but made exploration of DV more tolerable AND April is the time for mad wildflowers! Arriving at our destination, Stovepipe Wells, we were both ready for a dip in the pool! It turned out Stovepipe was a better place to land than the other option, Furnace Creek, which seemed more expensive and touristy. Plus, Stovepipe had good food, good beer and these gorgeous views:



Last edited by Momo-san; 06-16-2014 at 07:39 AM..
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:35 AM   #2
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Day 3: Exploring!

Starting the day with a cup of coffee and morning light on the Mesquite Dunes



Since it was going to be a scorcher in the valley, we decided to ride to Badwater Basin, the lowest (i.e. the hottest) point in North America at 282 feet below sea level, first.



What happens if you step off in Badwater?



I didn’t realize, but it is apparently a thing to ride yer bike to Death Valley. There were Harleys everywhere, with some adventure bikes sprinkled in for good measure. This particular group of riders were also staying at Stovepipe Wells and we criss-crossed paths all of Saturday. You meet the nicest people...



They were nice enough to take a photo of us



Unfortunately, my camera phone is too puny to get a good shot of the “Sea Level” sign that is posted on the cliffside, 282 ft above the basin.
Right after Badwater we took a quick trip south to see what there was to see



Then we looped back to check out the Artist’s Palette: Artist’s Drive was a hoot! It is one way, with high stone walls and feels like you are on a Disney ride.
It was easy to see how this extraordinary place got its name. Wow.







We stopped for lunch in Furnace Creek (meh), then headed out to find Scotty’s Castle, on Scotty’s Castle road, naturally. Just look at this scenery along the way






Now, in my mind I thought we would find some cool rock formation that somehow resembled a castle. Buuuuut, it was actually just a crappy castle. We rested in the shade for a few, didn’t go in the castle and struck out to find the majestic Ubehebe Crater instead.



Look at the bottom of this photo for the people. The tiny, tiny people climbing up out of this massive crater!



It was crazy-windy at the lip of the crater - this crow stayed stationary in the air for a while, just playing in the breeze.


Last edited by Momo-san; 06-16-2014 at 07:40 AM..
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:37 AM   #3
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It was time for a gas stop so we headed up Daylight Pass/374 to the town of Beatty, NV.



Not much excitement in Beatty so we rode in to the ghost town of Rhyolite. Now, this was a place you could kill some time! There are some creepy/cool/bizarre artist installations there:
A man and his penguin



These sculptures were created by draping plaster-soaked fabric over people



This rendition of The Last Supper is especially haunting





Carpet matches the drapes?



Back to Stovepipe for some beer, snacks and rest. After returning to our room, I noticed what appeared to be smoke swirling around outside the window. I’m not sure why I commented on it, but I did, Lili in turn opened the door to check it out. She slammed it closed almost immediately since it turns out it was a crazy sandstorm blowing through! It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before: violent winds, sand whooshing every which way, and over almost as soon as you realize what’s happening, it’s over. The storm even managed to blow over some poor souls Ducati :sadduc

Heading outside to check out the damage, we notice some light rain and this



How many people get to feel rain and see a rainbow in Death Valley? Awesome.

Day 4: Death Valley to Paso Robles:

On the way in we’d noticed wildflowers at higher elevations, maybe around/between 2000 to 3000 feet (this was another advantage to a visit in early April) and decided we would stop on the way out for photos:






I noticed a dead rattlesnake on the side of the road while we were admiring the blooms. I couldn’t just let it lay there, getting squashed over and over by car tires, so I found a sturdy stick and escorted it to a final resting place



So DV is gorgeous, right?! I never imagined I would see SO much beauty there. It was quite literally stunning EVERYWHERE! We were sad to say goodbye, but the pain was eased by knowing we still had 2 good days of riding ahead. And it’s not as though the landscape outside of DV was intolerable




We followed the same roads out since we had to cross back over Walker Pass. But this time through we stopped for lunch in the “town” of Onyx, at the General Store. The proprietress was very welcoming, made a mean sandwich and brewed up some delicious coffee, I highly recommend stopping here if you are ever passing through.



We didn’t want ALL of the roads we traveled that day to be the same, so in Lake Isabella we caught the 155 west to Delano which was sweeeeet! The rest of the way was a slog across the valley to the cool, cool coast. The Paso Robles Best Western treated us well with a room upgrade and welcome smiles at the end of a hot day.

Last edited by Momo-san; 06-16-2014 at 07:40 AM..
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:38 AM   #4
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Day 5: Paso Robles to San Francisco

In the morning we fueled ourselves at Maggie’s Diner and headed out to the PCH via Peachy Canyon Road, Vineyard Rd. and 46. It was so nice to see green and to feel the cool ocean breeze.





I’ll be ending this little ride report here, though there were some fun roads ridden on the way home, too. It was a wonderful trip and Death Valley exceeded all of my expectations - really, it is just a mind-blowing place, I know I will be visiting again. It is one of those places that takes a piece of you and holds it, keeps it until your return.

So, when is the BARF Death Valley Rally?!

Happy trails from momo-san and Trplgrl...



Last edited by Momo-san; 06-16-2014 at 10:44 AM..
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:02 AM   #5
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:06 AM   #6
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:08 AM   #7
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:10 AM   #8
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:19 AM   #9
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Great pics! I love Death Valley.. Thanks!
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:58 AM   #10
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:58 AM   #11
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:00 AM   #12
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"Inyo?"

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Old 06-16-2014, 10:02 AM   #13
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:07 AM   #14
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