Previous Death Valley Rides:
April 1st - 3rd, 2011 Death Valley Ride Report
Bill & Debbie Gloss and Ken Meredith & Stacy Bablewski rode up a day early with plans of meeting the main group on Saturday.
Debbie and I, along with Stacy and Ken, rode up on Friday. We love the twisties and the view more than getting there as soon as possible. We headed up through Idyllwild and down to highway 10. The roads were clear and the traffic was almost non-existent. Ken suggested heading to Chaparral so we headed there and did a little shopping. After that we headed up to Big Bear and on to Death Valley. When we arrived at Death Valley it was dark. Heading back on Monday showed us a completely different view of our surroundings. We went to the Hotel and slept like logs.
We met up at our usual meeting location at 7:30am. Our group included Stuart Cook, Constant de Calonne, Gary Scandell and Tracy Wellman, Bill & Shelley Green and John & Terri Moran. Bill and Debbie Jean Gloss and Ken Meredith and Stacy had gone on Friday, and we were to meet Mike Stanberry & his son-in-law Chris Bedgood in Baker. So we started off with 5 bikes.
We left our starting point at 7:30 am. The weather was cold and foggy on Interstate 15. We continued riding until we reached the Cajon Pass, where we encountered some light rain showers and fog. But shortly thereafter the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day for riding. After a stop for gas and a snack, we continued on to Baker, where we stopped at the Mad Greek cafe for lunch. It was here that we met up with Mike Stanberry and Chris Bedgood. We were now up to 7 bikes (10 people).
The next day we were scheduled to meet up with the rest of the riders but missed them at Shoshone. We headed to Amargosa Opera House and Hotel. They are building a representation of the area back when the train went through the area. They have an HO scale train setup. The Opera House was painted by a local celebrity. Her name is Marta Becket. She painted the inside of the Opera House with amazing murals. It is a definite must see when you are in the area. After trying to meet up with the rest of the riders and failing, we headed back to the Hotel. They showed up about an hour later and everyone headed out to eat.
After lunch, we headed North about 50 miles on Hwy 127 to the town of Shoshone, CA. We took our last break here before entering the Death Valley National Park. It was a fun ride in the park with many great sweepers to ride through. The weather was now quite warm and sunny at 85 degrees. Perfect riding weather. We stopped at Badwater the lowest point in the U.S. at 282 feet below sea level. Someone in the group decided to taste the water in Badwater, and said it was very cold and salty. It's not called Badwater for nothing.
From here, we went a short distance to ride through Artist Palette Drive which is a one way 8-mile ride around some very beautiful rock and canyon formations.
At this point we were all getting tired and decided to head to our hotel in Beatty, NV. We arrived at 4:30 pm and checked in. We met up with Ken Meredith and Stacy and Bill and Debbie Gloss bringing us to a total of 9 bikes and 14 people. We all went to dinner together at KC's Outpost. Afterwards we stopped in for a few drinks at the local watering hole the Sourdough Saloon. After a very good day and evening, we turned in for the night.
The next day Ken, Stacy, Debbie and I headed out to see what the rest of the riders saw yesterday. We rode down to Badwater Basin and walked around the lowest point in the US. On the way out we went through Artist Drive and the Artist's Palette. The colors of the rocks and the twisty roads are spectacular. Met up with the group in Furnace Creek Inn then headed to Scotty's Castle. It started raining there and we were all low on gas. Debbie and I decided to take a side trip to the Crater and met up at Scotty's Castle. Debbie and I rode ahead of the group and told Stuart Cook that if anyone needs fuel to let me know and we would bring back gas.
We left the hotel around 9:00 a.m. and what a difference 12 hours makes. The weather was very cold, windy and it was raining. We had a temperature drop of over 40 degrees from Saturday to Sunday. We headed to the nearby old ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada. We visited several old and abandon buildings and saw Tom Kelly's bottle house that was built in 1905. It is made up of over 51,000 bottles. Due to the weather, Gary and Tracy decided at this point to go back to the hotel. The rest of our group continued on our journey and rode on down to Furnace Creek to meet up with Bill and Debbie Gloss and Ken Meredith and Stacy. They had gone exploring on their own that morning and met us at the park headquarters.
It was still cold and we decided not to go to Dantes View at the high elevation of over 5400 feet. So we headed on to Zabriskie Point but it was closed for some kind of construction work. We turned around and rode over to explore the Harmony Borax Works. This is an old processing plant and we saw several old sites and one of the old 20 mule team wagons. Those wagons are huge and we couldn't imagine trying to pull and haul a loaded wagon around the Death Valley area.
After a nice stop, we decided to ride up to Scotty's Castle. We were going to visit Ubehebe Crater but we thought the winds were too high. We think the highlight of the day was visiting Scotty's Castle as most of the group took the tour of the house. John and Terri, Constant and Stuart decided to take the tour of the underground tunnels and basement areas. Both tours are very interesting and there are many things to see inside and around the house and grounds.
The tours take almost 2 hours and when we finish and stepped outside, we were surprised that we were in the middle of a rain storm. It's not supposed to rain in Death Valley but it did for us. We all put on rain gear for the ride back to the hotel. This was over a 60 mile plus ride in the rain and wind, not very pleasant to say the least. Some of us were running low on gas but we limped into the gas station and hotel. We all went to dinner again, where Gary and Tracy told us how they had stopped in the casino that afternoon for about 45 minutes, leaving with an $800 win! We then all went to the Sourdough Saloon for a few drinks.
We made it to the gas station with 3/10th of a gallon of gas left. That night we met up at the Sourdough Saloon again and had a great night.
Debbie and I left after the group because they were going to stop at the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel. We passed them and headed on. We were behind a car, that I was getting ready to pass, when we went around a corner and the car went through a stream of water. We slowed down enough to pass through without any incident. The problem was that the group was going to pass through this in a few minutes and we had to warn them. So, we headed back through the stream, getting even wetter, and posted ourselves just before the corner. As the group rode up we flagged them down and rode slowly through, for the 3rd time, the stream. After that we took off again and were drenched most of the way. The rain let up when we got to Riverside. All in all, the trip was a success and we hope to do it again in the future.
We left the hotel around 9;30 a.m. on a very cold, rainy and windy day. There was even snow at the higher mountain areas all around Beatty. We headed southeast on Hwy 95 and then turning south again on Nevada Hwy. 373. We stopped at Amargosa, California to visit the old opera house but it was closed. We continued on California Hwy. 127 into Baker for gas and lunch. Along the way we had to slow down and navigate over a huge water puddle in the middle of the road. Fortunately Bill Gloss had spotted it first and warned us to slow down to avoid any accidents. We all went through it without any problems but the bikes sure got wet. The ride home was extremely cold and it rained consistently from Victorville until we arrive in the Rancho Cucamonga area. We didn't take many breaks because it was raining hard and we all wanted to get home and get warm.
All in all, it was a fun ride and everyone had a good time. The weather was unfortunate, but we handled it. It was a very memorable weekend for everyone and we all would like to go back again someday for another visit.