North County Cruisers

2011 Death Valley Trip

April 1-3, 2011

Ride Leaders: John Moran, Stuart Cook

Writeup by John Moran

Group Picture

Death Valley Road Map

Day 1 -- Friday, April 1st

Nice View

At Oh dark thirty I mounted my gallant steed, well luxury touring bike, and met Stuart near North County Fair Mall. We headed up to the meet point for 7:00 AM. 12 other crazed MC riders showed up to join us in starting our trek to Death Valley (DV) for the official start of the DVR (Death Valley Ride). I list the riders here so you know their sanity should be questioned on 2 counts - first for getting up so early and 2nd for following me - at the start point there were John Moran, Stuart Cook, Carol Dugger, George Helton, Rick Widmark, Ray Barber, Mystery Rider, Dean Pregler, Steve DeRosa and Mary Black, Doug Bonhaus, Mike Stanbery, and Sergio Pereira. At about 7:15, after pairing of some bluetooth comms devices, we mounted up and headed off on Old 395 N to I15. First stop to pick up Bruce Barnes at I215 and Murrieta Hot Springs Rd.

We met Bruce, made some quick luggage adjustments, and were off to our next stop. A quick U turn and back on I215 to our second stop. Our 2nd stop was Cajon Junction I15 and 138. Gas up, quick break, and met Steve Havens. Steve was waiting for us when we pulled in. We had a quick gas mile range discussion, some more attempted bluetooth pairing , and a decision to head for Baker CA for stop 3. Our ride count was now 14 bikes. We headed out to I15 for the last highway stretch of the ride.

We arrived in Baker gassed up and headed to the "Mad Greek" for lunch. We were about 30 minutes ahead of schedule and the day was starting to get hot. The "Mad Greek" was interesting: it isn't cheap but the food was good. Afterward we were heading off on 127 to Shoshone for our next stop.

In Shoshone the heat was on, literally. The day was very hot and we were headed into the lowest hottest place in the US and maybe all of North America. From Shoshone, we headed into the Park with our first stop being Badwater. The temperature gauges were reading 104 degrees when we stopped. About half the group decided it was way too hot to stay for any length of time and decided to head to the Furnace Creek Visitor's Center area for AC and a cold drink. All the folks in that group headed to the motel before the rest of the group arrived at Furnace Creek. The remainder of the group walked around Badwater, rode to Devil's Golf Course, rode and took photos on Artist's Drive, and viewed and photo'ed Artist's Palette.

Badwater Basin

Then the group headed to Furnace Creek. The outside temperature gauge at Furnace Creek showed 120 degrees in the sun. From there we rode to the beautiful palatial resort "The Exchange Club Motel" in Beatty, NV (okay it was clean and inexpensive). It was about 6:00 PM. People wandered around Beatty, found beverages of their choice, ate a Bobbi (you have to ask someone on the trip - but that was pretty much all that was left), drank more beverages of their choice, sat outside one of the rooms drinking more beverages of their choice, and then turned in for the evening.

That night some of both groups met for dinner at Coco's in the Edgewater Hotel. After waiting a long time, dinner finally arrived. We then proceeded into various directions; some to their room, some to the casino and some ???

Day 2 -- Saturday, April 2nd

The plan was flexible breakfast sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 then leave for a DVR when everyone was ready. A few of the group Ray, Rick, and Steve and Mary decided to head to Bishop to check on the plaque that Ray put up for Jack. The remainder of the group headed back towards DV. We made a quick stop in Rhyolite NV, a ghost town just outside of Beatty. The last time I was here there were fewer fences around the buildings. After Rhyolite we headed into DV, the first stop Harmony Borax Works, the temperatures were reading about 94 degrees but there was cloud cover and a strong wind so it didn't seem too bad. Second stop Furnace Creek for a quick break, third stop south east on 190 to Zabriskie Point, and fourth stop continue southeast to Dante's Peak. The strong winds were worse and a much more noticeable on the peak.

Road to Dantes Peak

The ride up Dante's Peak is much better when the sun is not in your eyes. Next the group headed back to Furnace Creek for lunch. A couple of us headed back to Artist's Drive then to Furnace Creek. After lunch Mystery Rider, Carol D, and Sergio P headed back to the motel. The rest of group headed to Ubehebe Crater, the wind was so strong you could almost lean into it without falling over. From there we headed to Scotty's Castle. John M, Dean P, and Steve H walked around Scotty's Castle then headed out of the Park on Scotty's Castle road back to the motel. The rest of the group enjoyed one of the Scotty's Castle tours, then headed back.

Another View

Most folks were back at the motel around 6:30/7:00. People wandered around Beatty, found beverages of their choice, ate at various establishments, drank more beverages of their choice, sat inside one of the rooms drinking more beverages of their choice and then turned in for the evening.

 Old Dinah

Day 3 -- Sunday, April 3rd

The plan for the group was to eat an early breakfast, closer to 7:00 AM, pack up, and head back into DV to exit the park via the Panamint (western) exit. Ray B said goodbyes before breakfast and headed back home to get back early. The group headed back into DV, we made a real quick stop at the sand dunes before Stovepipe Wells. Just past Panamint up to Father Crowley's Point/Overlook is about one of the best motorcycle roads around. The road is about 14 miles of varied "twisties", some tight, some sweeping, and some interlocked. It was a great ride and the scenery was amazing.

Father Crawleys Point

We stopped at Father Crowley's Point for some pictures and took a quick break. Then we headed out of the park to Olancha. We made a quick stop for some repairs. At the stop, Stuart C, Dean P, George H, and Mike S headed towards Lone Pine to search out a ghost town we hoped to meet up in Randsburg. The group gassed up in Olancha and headed to Randsburg "A living ghost town". The town was pretty intresting and worth the stop. We ate at the "White House Saloon". Some of us wanted to look around Randsburg and Johannesburg. The rest wanted to head home, after quick good-byes, part of the group dashed for home. The rest of us rode to Johannesburg and walked through the cemetery, maybe a bit morbid but very interesting, then headed back to San Diego. One more gas stop prior to San Bernardino then headed home.

 Another View

I think everyone had a good time but don't take my word for it. Talk to the "crazed" folks that went, it may make you join us for the next trip.

Ride Safe!