The Breakfast Club: 2010 Spring Ride to Death Valley [Friday]
The Road to Death Valley
April twenty-ten. Time for the annual spring trek to Death Valley. Since I am otherwise busy in the fall it is often my only trip to the desert. I left my house a bit after 6 AM; closer to 6:10 after I doubled back to make sure the garage door was closed (it was). Weather was clear if a bit chilly. I got to the Cozy Cup about 7:20 for breakfast. They give you a lot of food.
After breakfast I rode down 25 to 198 where I caught up with a group of 5 bikes, a K12LT, an 1800 wing, and three Harleys. They were setting a good pace so I followed them into Coalinga where we all stopped at the same gas station. Turns out they were also heading to Death Valley and I would see them many times over the next three days.
I wound up leaving the gas station in Coalinga after a cup of coffee shortly after the other bikes and wound up following them down 33 and across 46. When passing through Wasco I noticed the SMBC group stopped at a gas station. Carl and I waved at each other.
The BMW/Wing/Harley group took 99. I went over 99 to the Mobile station on the other side for a cup of coffee. I talked with the store manager at the station, a Harley rider. After my break I headed on back roads toward Glenville and Ca 155.
Greenhorn summit at the top of 155 was clear, with remnants of snow at the side of the road. There was some sand to watch out for at the top. Soon Lake Isabella was in sight. As I turned onto 178 I saw Rob turn into the town of Lake Isabella for gas. He picked the wrong shell station. Everyone else met at the Mt Mesa Shell a few more miles down the road.
I passed the group leaving Moutain Mesa, continuing on through Inyokern, Ridgecrest, and Trona. Trona was a restroom break. I waited until the riders going that way, Rob and Paul, cought up so I could snap some pictures. Time to get back on the bike. Next stop will be Stovepipe Wells. I’ll get there over the twisties of Wildrose.
I’d planned on camping at Furnace Creek, but saw that the campground at Stovepipe Wells was open. Instant plan change. Today’s ride: about 475 miles. I set up camp then walked over to the motel to meet with Carl, Dan, and Bob who’d left Thursday, taking a longer route to the valley. Talk, dinner, more talk, then back to the campsite to look at the stars a short while before hitting the sleeping bag.