The Breakfast Club: 2010 Fall Ride to Death Valley
Claudia wrote a short story of our ride to Death Valley with a few pictures to add to the trip report.
Death Valley and Beyond 2010
October means, "Ride to Death Valley with the Breakfast Club" or in our case "see ya in Beatty, Nevada".
We headed toward Beatty on a Friday morning. Gary on the Goldwing, me in the car with clothing, five pairs of shoes, refreshment in the cooler, the kitchen sink and all other necessities. We traveled about 540 miles that day, which took about 8 hours with lunch and fuel stops. We joined Dave and the Gang for Dinner at Rita’s Cafe after the customary cocktail hour in the gazebo by the swimming pool party. The weather was very nice; warm 80s. 0 wind. Those who rode through Yosemite on Thursday reported some difficulties dealing with the snow storm. We were happy we decided to wait until Friday.
Saturday morning Gary and I took a long walk through town hoping to see the wild donkeys that usually roam the towns streets and surrounding desert areas. All we saw were Donkey droppings.
After breakfast we suited up and rode off to explore Death Valley. It was an amazingly beautiful morning; Warm, windless and peaceful. We enjoyed the smoothness of the straight flat road toward the Amargosa Hotel. Mile after mile we rode with no traffic in site ahead or behind and the only sound we heard was the hum of the Goldwing. These rare moments of solitude melted away all of our cares and concerns leaving us feeling serenely wild.
We parked in front of the Amargosa Opera House for a photo and to reminisce about the times we stayed the night there and attended the brilliant performances of Marta Beckett and her sidekick Wilget. We are so glad to have experienced the talent of such an amazing ballerina/artist. When we were there several years ago we saw one of the last performances before Wilget died. If you missed this you can watch the documentary titled "Amargosa."
Our next stop was the breathtaking panorama of the valley from Dantes View. We hiked the trail on the edge of the rim above Bad Water. It was starting to get hot so we rode toward the lovely oasis, Furnace Creek for our lunch rendezvous with the BC Gang. So many riders showed up that we had to split to separate tables. There was plenty of time after lunch to visit outside in the courtyard. There was a sign posted that read "Please do not feed the birds." However, the birds obviously were already spoiled by the generous handouts from tourists so they flocked fearlessly to the area like junk food junkies begging for an easy to catch treat. It was a pleasant surprise, to see a Roadrunner casually walk right through the crowd. We have seen them before while riding but never so up close and personal. A Ranger was standing next to us when we saw this lovely creature. He explained that the beautiful iridescent plumage around the neck and on the tail indicated that it was a male. He went on to tell how he had witnessed a male Roadrunner savagely attack, kill and eat a rattlesnake.
Back on the Goldwing heading toward the Stage Coach Inn in Beatty we enjoyed the ride over the ascending, curvy, golden- sagebrush- lined Daylight Pass. It was time for relaxing by the pool, soaking in the hot tub, an ice-cold drink and more of the BC social before dinner.
The next morning we said good-bye to all. Alone at last we caravanned as Wing and Car over West Guard Pass. The Vista of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is always amazing. This day the scenery was farther enhanced by the dusting of fresh snow that fell earlier in the week. Eventually we made our way over to H-395. Now we sped along, right at the base of these glistening snow-capped peaks. We checked in to a Motel in Lee Vining. It was early afternoon so we decided to drive to Tuolumne Meadows to hike and take some photos. The fall colors were not quit peaking but still very photogenic. We hiked around the streams and ponds breathing the pine scented, fresh air. Our shoes got wet. Still we managed to capture on memory card the white peaks and blue sky that reflected a perfect mirror image onto the crystal clear waters.
We had a lot of fun on this trip and hope to see everyone again next Spring. Thanks for letting us tag along…………Love, Claudia & Gary