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Old 03-16-2015, 02:06 PM   #1
Norcal Rider
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Default Death Valley trip 03/08/15 - 03/13/15

I posted before about how, basically, I was unimpressed with the KLR. That was after 3500 mile ride to Pikes Peak and a trip up muddy fire road to Shasta Bally in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Well, I think I found the KLR's groove on my trip to Death Valley last week. The only mods was replacing the worn out stock tires with Continental Escape 80/20 Dual sport tires. Which, by the way, after 1 week, almost 2000 miles and a gravel road, I'm thoroughly impressed with.
Be gentle. I'm not a writer just a guy sharing his story the best he can.
Here's my story:
03/15/15



My and my father's Death Valley motorcycle trip


On March 08 2015 I left Redding CA to meet up with my father in Alameda, CA for a 5 day motorcycle trip to Death Valley.

Here's my 2014 KLR650 packed and ready to go.
(somebody please tell me how to insert a picture from my computer)

The 1st leg of the journey is roughly 230 miles to meet up with my 82 year old dad. I met him at his storage packing his 2008 Screamin' Eagle Road King.

Monday, 03/09/15, we left Alameda just after 0600. We got separated (tons of Bay Area traffic) somewhere around Castro Valley. He usually catches up so I kept going until a few miles south on 580 just before the I-5 south intersection. I pulled off and waited on the on-ramp for about 20 minutes before he caught up. As it turns out he got something in his eye and head to pull over to take care of it.

I ended up missing the Bakersfield exit by about 30 miles; don't ask. We took hwy 99 north to 178 (Walker Pass) and headed east. East Bakersfield is very nice. Orchards right up to the foothills. 178 is a twisty road along the Kern river. This is where my Continental Escape dual sports tires shined. They can handle more than the KLR, or me, could.







We stopped at Lake Isabella for gas. The area is gorgeous but the low lake level was sad. I decided to try a new route into Death Valley. Instead of 395 North to 190 East we stayed on 178 and enter the park from the south. Right around 50 miles out of Ridgecrest we encountered gravel road. My dad described what he saw as a big cloud of dust followed by my brake lights. Being that he's riding a beautiful Road King we sat and discussed our options. I ended up riding ahead (recon :-) ) to see how long it was. It ended up being 1.6 miles long. I was very impressed with the tire. My speed was between 35 and 50 mph. It got a little squirrelly but still cut right through. I told him I'll go ahead and after the count of 20 follow me.
As I waited I took this pic:
(somebody please tell me how to insert a picture from my computer)



We camped at Stovepipe Wells.

Day 2 we rode to Zabriskie Point, Dante's View, Badwater and Artists Palette.

Day 3 was Ubehebe crater and Scotty's castle. There was gale force winds atop the crater.

Day 4 ride back. We opted to exit the park via 190 instead of hitting the gravel road again. We stopped
at the last rest stop exiting the park atop a ridge where we took one last look at Death valley before we left. As it turns out the canyon the rest stop over looks is training grounds of fighter pilots to practice flying through canyons. No pics, by the time I heard the jet I only saw the tail end of it flying away. I felt like I was on the set of top gun. Truly awesome.
We rode to Ridgecrest to see the Navel museum but it's in a military base. No civies allowed. At that point we had 3 options: 395 North to 80 West, 178 west to 5 north to 198 west to 25 north into the bay area or just go home on I-5. Going home was not an option. 395 would've added a day and Pops had to get back. So it was a ride through Coalinga on 198. What a beautiful ride!!!

Day 5 West on 198 to 25 North. You talk about a hidden treasure. I've lived the Bay Area for 40 years and never knew about these highways. A valley in the midst of the Coastal range. 56 miles of farmlands and meadows. Good choice


There was much more the trip but it's probably only interesting to me and my Dad.
My big regret is we waited the 30 years of my adult life to take such a trip. But no more, the Grand Tetons in the Fall and many more miles to travel before the trip is done.
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:12 PM   #2
bluestar
 
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Default Re: Death Valley trip 03/08/15 - 03/13/15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcal Rider View Post
Right around 50 miles out of Ridgecrest we encountered gravel road. My dad described what he saw as a big cloud of dust followed by my brake lights. Being that he's riding a beautiful Road King we sat and discussed our options. I ended up riding ahead (recon :-) ) to see how long it was. It ended up being 1.6 miles long.
They haven't fixed that section of 178 yet? I went thru there Dec 1st. Felt more like 160 miles instead of 1.6. (I was on my Yamaha Road Star) Washboard roads are hell on a cruiser.

Only way I know to post pix is using a photo hosting service like photobucket or one of the others.

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Old 03-16-2015, 06:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: Death Valley trip 03/08/15 - 03/13/15

I grew up at NAS Lemoore, off of 198 east of I-5. We use to go through Coalinga to get to the beach. Great ride in a sports car, could only imagine it would be fun on a bike. I was too young to ride back then. Sounds like you had a great time.
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