Death Valley Ride Summary

Discussion in 'Trips & Events' started by michael, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. michael

    michael Administrator Staff Member

    United States
    Dec 18, 2005
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    Kihei, Maui, Hawaii
    Here's my Death Valley ride summary:

    My Friday started at 3:00am - early yes, but couldn't sleep anyway, too
    excited! I was on the road at 4:00am, greeted by dense cloud cover which kept
    the temp relatively warm. I decided to slab it down 5, then 198 to 99 to
    Tulare. Uneventful ride, nice little sunset over the central valley, little
    to no expansion joints on 5 south, arrived in Tulare at 7:15am.

    I bummed a free breakfast at the hotel and met up with the other fearless
    riders - Hans (with wife Michelle in tow) on the yellow VFR, Rod (Heidi on
    back) on the GS1200, Guido on his '02 VFR, me on my SV1000S. Hey, this ride
    was 50% VFR! We followed Ismat's route to Bakersfield and it was gorgeous.
    Rolling hills, oak trees, green pastures, rocks, streams, wildflowers-
    absolutely lovely. The roads were good and I got a bit of sporty riding in -
    woo hoo! Ismat may be a bit of a weather weenie, but he does put together a
    great route! We stopped in Bakersfield for tea (a civilized lot, we were) and
    Rod did a bit of shopping at the nearby Cycle Gear - you know how these BMW
    riders are always on the lookout for more stuff! Back on the bikes and up
    toward Lake Isabella (sp?). This was our first encounter with the dreaded
    'rain'!! A bit of a sprinkle, hardly dampened my leathers which dried quickly
    using the Karl Marsh air, engine, body heat technique. Lunch at a terrific
    Mexican restaurant in Lake Isabella where we witnessed Rod consuming the
    largest chimichunga known to man. Ever see nature videos of snakes eating
    their prey? Back on the road.

    It was cold enough in the mountains to have Michelle and Heidi looking like
    marshmellows as they put on every available piece of clothing for the ride to
    Lone Pine. I think the anesthetic effects of the cold helped me, remember my
    day started early and I was on the SV. Pretty scenery through Joshua trees
    and out to 395. We were all happy to arrive at the Dow Villa and hot showers. Just after we got in, a hoard of Brazilians on rented Harleys arrived. One
    had taken a spill and sported broken fairing and side bags. I'll forward a
    pic on Guido's and my bikes looking good next to these cruisers. Gary and
    Jane joined us on Lone Pine. As a result of Gary's recent surgery, he was
    unable to ride but they wanted to joint the group and check out the desert
    bloom. It was a quick dinner and early to bed.

    We started the next day with a terrific breakfast at the Totem Pole and hit
    the road by 9:00 (actually, my day started at 6:30 with a long soak in the spa
    - oh yeah!). If you guys thing Hans is grumpy in his posts, you should see
    him first thing in the morning! The ride out to DV was the most difficult of
    the trip. Guido led us through super thick fog and cold, but the valley was
    very nice and sunny. The bloom was spectacular. Fields of yellow and blue
    flowers covering the valley floor. Gary, serving as our own personal
    biologist, gave us lots of info on the area. We took a group photo at
    Badwater and headed south to a place recommended by a ranger for bloom
    viewing. For those of you who have never been to DV, you must go. This place
    defies description, it is simply awesome. We weren't the only ones interested
    in the bloom, however, and there was a bit of traffic. Overtaking became a
    sport, led once again by Guido. I got to open up the SV on a long stretch and
    was quite impressed with the speed and stability (modesty and a reasonable
    nature prohibit me from stating the exact speed!). Heading out of the valley
    we were greeted by a long line at the pumps and possibly the most inefficient
    service station on earth. We had a good time, though, and helped out a metric
    cruiser dude. The place was chaos - prepaying, credit cards, pump sharing,
    mass hysteria and confusion at the register...... in the end I came out $9
    ahead! First round that night on me!

    The ride out of the valley rocked! Michelle decided to ride in the car with
    Gary and Jane, thus 'freeing' Hans to pick up the pace a bit. Hans, Guido,
    and myself chased each other up the hill and out of the valley on absolutely
    terrific roads. Howee! Only near miss of the trip came when a guy (not our
    guy) on a GS1200 nearly t-boned Hans from the side of the road. After the
    twisties, Rod and Heidi caught up and we had a high speed cruise (90+) back to
    the hotel. Excellent! Like I said I (or rather the service station) bought
    the beer which was happily consumed in Hans and Michelle's luxury suite then
    off for a nice dinner. Chamey was the beer of choice at the restaurant
    (Belgian for 'ass kicker' I think, 8% EtOH!), and the food was spectacular.

    It was chilly yesterday and we met an hour earlier for breakfast to get a jump
    on a long day. Hans and Michelle went their own way and were planning another
    night, perhaps on the coast. We said goodbye to Gary and headed out. The
    trip back found high winds (nice lean angles Rod! He didn't even need
    corners) on 395 and through the Joshua tree section. We had a bit of light
    rain heading down into Bakersfield, yet I found this to be one of the most
    pleasurable parts of the ride the scenery and rain combined to make this a
    real treat. Lunch in Bakersfield and back through Coalinga. Green, sunny,
    lush up the 25 - spectacular. The only real rain came as Guido and I headed
    up the 101 just outside of Hollister. We got dumped on, and my leathers
    finally got damp. But even that was just for a bit, and I had a dry ride home
    after that.

    I rode 1400+ miles on this trip, enough to possibly impress Karl? The SV was
    actually more comfortable than I thought it would be and a real blast to ride,
    not to mention the prettiest and most photogenic bike on the trip!

    Thanks to those who came, this was a real memorable ride!


    It rocked.

    Probably some others will provide details, or I will later - I'm too tired right now - but it was an excellent ride. Beautiful scenery, great company, and some very tasty roads were enjoyed by all. Hans and Michelle are taking an extra day to come back via an alternate route, Gary and Jane were heading home up 395 today, and Guido, Carl, and Heidi and I rode back from Lone Pine today - 410 miles for us, more for them...


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