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Death Valley Adventure

March 2009

A pretty large group of inmates from the Adventure Rider forum were planning to meet in Death Valley for a few days of riding, so I made plans to ride down, hitting Vegas on the way, and join in the fun and adventure - and it did turn into one hell of an adventure!

I hadn't actually met any of them in person before joining them in Death Valley, but as is usually the case with motorcyclists, they were just a great bunch of guys, and I left Death Valley with many new friends.

Here's a little taste of what we're planning to ride


March 9-10 - Camas to Vegas

Most of the riders were from California or Nevada, so most were showing up on Thursday, March 12 or Friday, March 13 for the weekend. I left a little earlier than most, leaving on Monday, March 9 for an intermediate stop in Vegas on the way to DV.

So Monday morning, the wife takes a few pics of me getting ready and about to leave.

Getting everything strapped to the bike in the garage

Firing up the bike

Saddled and ready to leave my garage in Camas, WA for Las Vegas

The wife opens the garage door, and I head out on the driveway to this


My original hope was to ride through the Cascades in Oregon, into Nevada from the north and perhaps find some dirt roads on the way south to LV. Well Mother Nature screwed up that plan!

So the backup plan was to just hit Interstate 5 and slab it south. Rode through snow, sleet, and cold rain throughout Oregon. Made it to Medford, OR for a quick lunch and then continued south. The weather cleared up a little after the lunch stop, and it wasn't bad at all south of Mount Shasta. I stayed on I-5 all the way to Stockton where I found a La Quinta for the night.

Sorry - no pics on the way down. It was too cold to want to stop, and it was just slab anyways.

Tuesday morning I woke up, packed up and hit the road again. I cut over to Hwy 99 in Stockton, then south to Hwy 58, west to I-15, and north to Las Vegas where I was staying with my Mom for a few nights.

Wednesday I took my bike into Las Vegas BMW for a service, and had them install some knobby tires (TKC-80's) that I had shipped down.

Another inmate from the Adventure Rider forum, Paul, was flying into Vegas Wednesday evening with a buddy, and they were both renting BMW GS's from Las Vegas BMW and heading to DV on Thursday, so I made plans to meet with them on Thursday morning for the ride to DV. They weren't joining the same group as I was in Panamint Springs, but were staying at Furnace Creek instead where they were meeting another (primarily street bike) group to tour DV.

March 13 - Las Vegas to Death Valley

Thursday I'm packing my bike again for the ride to DV, this time in my Mom's garage.

Note the new knobby tires on the bike!

The plan was to meet Paul and his buddy (Jeff I think, but I may have the name screwed up) at Las Vegas BMW, so get over there at about 9am, and shortly afterwards a cab shows up with Paul and Jeff. While Las Vegas BMW gets their paperwork together for their rentals, they start packing up and Paul gets the GPS that he brought along with him working on his rental GS.

We leave Vegas shortly after 10am, and we're on our way to DV. We take Hwy 160 west towards Pahrump, but then cut over on the road to Tecopa.

We take a short break just past Tecopa, and Paul and Jeff admire my pretty red GS.

From Tecopa, we head north to Shoshone for gas and a quick snack. Then we hit Hwy 178 west, and then onto the gravel Furnace Creek Road heading through Greenwater Valley towards Dante's View, which provides a great overlook view of Death Valley.

Here's some pics from along the way.


Dante's View provides a great look at Death Valley!

If you ever visit Death Valley, try not to miss this!

From Dante's View, we headed north towards Furnace Creek, on the floor of Death Valley, where we ate lunch. Then Paul and Jeff checked into their lodgings, and I continued on to Panamint Springs on the western edge of Death Valley.

I arrived at Panamint Springs around 4:00pm, got checked into my room, unpacked, and grabbed a hot shower. Only rode about 30 miles of dirt today, but anxious for more over the next two days.

Here's my bike parked in front of my room at Panamint Springs.


Getting to Death Valley          Friday's DV Ride          Saturday's DV Ride          DV to Vegas          Back to Camas