Death Valley: Day 2 - Victory Forums - Victory Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Default Death Valley: Day 2

Death Valley: Day 2
After spending a pretty awful nite at Stove Pipe Wells “campground” I crawled out of bed and proceeded to hook up the rig and make ready to put one of the nastiest campgrounds I’d ever been in directly in my rear view mirror. Furnace Creek Sunset campground is only 26 miles away and I landed at my new home by 0930 and got the bike out where it belongs, with me on it.

If you’re looking to visit Death Valley I can tell you that whether you’re in an RV or on a bike the Furnace Creek area is where you want to base out of. There are at least three campgrounds one with full hookups as well as two motel/hotel/lodges for those who haven’t discovered camping yet. Sunset campground is dry (no hookups) but the roads are paved and although there are no trees (it is Death Valley after all) there is plenty of room to stretch your legs. If you tent camp then Texas Spring directly up the hill from Sunset is the place to be. Enough about camping, let’s ride…

I took off on the bike to a place called Dante’s View, which is 5,400 feet above sea level with a view of Bad Water below at -282 feet below sea level. The warning about the road on the info map stated that no vehicles over 25’ were allowed and they aren’t kidding, but for a motorcycle it’s fantastic. I will caution you though that just because you’re camped at -190 feet below sea level doesn’t mean that you should just get on the bike without bringing a jacket. You’d think that after 41 years in the wind I’d have learned by now, but some of us have to be reminded of our ignorance from time to time and apparently I fell into that category on Monday. With only a light cotton long sleeve shirt over a t-shirt I went charging off the valley floor where the temperature was a warm 85° to find that 20 miles downrange and a mile in elevation can make the teeth of the ill prepared rider rattle like an out of tune Harley. Far be it for me to turn tail and head for the warmth of lower elevations only a few miles from the top so I cowboy’d up and hit the summit just as my OAT was dropping to 50°. What a view…over a mile below sits the lowest point in North America and I personally was thinking about how nice and warm it looked down there. I spent a few minutes wandering the view point and taking pictures of the panorama before feeling that I’d proven my point to the hoodie wearing tourists in their warm cars. The point being that I was tough enough to ride a motorcycle to the top in only a cotton shirt. I figured that I’d better saddle up and head downhill before my visible shaking ruined the tough biker image I’d so carefully crafted. Note to self: Bring a jacket you idiot!!

I’ll agree that 50° isn’t all that chili for most of you reading this outside the southwest deserts but keep in mind that this particular Monday was the day that Mr. Weatherman had predicted what he called a “Wind Event” for Death Valley. Now being from Wyoming and having spent 35 years living in the southwest deserts I’ve often been amused when somebody tells me the wind is going to blow, come to Wyoming in February or western Arizona in March and we’ll talk about wind. I shall now add Death Valley to my list of places that can impress me regarding wind. The weather station on my rig showed a sustained wind speed of 58mph with gusts to 70mph.

Texas Spring campground had tents and debris from inside the tents scattered all over the place and at least one pop-up camper over turned. As for me, I didn’t know exactly how hard the wind was blowing until I got back to the rig later that afternoon which was probably a good thing.

From Dante’s View my next destination was to be Bad Water but as it is with most travels it’s not the destination but the journey, Death Valley is no different. The ride down the mountain provided plenty of opportunity to stop and take pictures of the mountains jutting up from the valley floor, the wild flowers and just the stark beauty of this foreign place.

Once back to the sub sea level area of Furnace Creek a quick turn puts you on course for Badwater just 17 miles from the intersection. As with my decision to continue uphill despite the drop in temperature I also elected to face what would turn out to be 60mph headwinds just to say that I’d been to the lowest point in North America. Although the weather report called for blowing dust what they didn’t bother to specify was exactly how large that those dust particles would actually be. Apparently what we in other parts of civilization would refer to as rocks are merely “dust” when the wind blows on the valley floor. Credit must be given to the quality of Victory Motorcycles paint as my fairing survived without any dings although the windshield has some pock marks in it as well as the face shield of my helmet. I’ll also note that in over four decades of riding this is the closes I’ve ever come to actually getting blown off the road on a bike but the trip was well worth it.

I managed to get a few pictures of the brave souls who made the trek of about a half mile over to the salt flats. I spoke to a gentleman there who had just returned and he told me that he probably should’ve stayed by the car instead of trying to walk out there. Since the bike was threatening to blow over even with the kick stand on the lee side I wasn’t about to go too far.

At this point in time I’d about realized that it was either approaching nap time or beer thirty, the decision of which would have to wait until I got back to the rig (nap usually wins, who wants to drink beer when you’re tired?) The 17 mile return trip was extended by taking a loop road called Artist Drive, a must see and one that I’ll probably go back and do again before I leave so I can experience it without the wind.

Once back to the Furnace Creek area I wanted to find a Rubber Tomahawk Store to pick up some post cards for the grandkids. I figured I’d confuse the house apes with an old form of communication and let their mother explain that in the olden days we communicated via pen and paper. Xanterra who runs the concessions at Yellowstone also runs the Furnace Creek village area and didn’t disappoint when it came to souvenirs and post cards. They also have a buffet and saloon which I will have to investigate at some point before I depart.

So what’s on the agenda for Day 3? Hopefully no wind and some more awesome scenery.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 01-DantesView (400x225).jpg (74.7 KB, 100 views)
File Type: jpg 04-DantesView (400x225).jpg (79.0 KB, 101 views)
File Type: jpg 13-Badwater (400x225).jpg (86.0 KB, 101 views)
File Type: jpg 20-ArtistDrive (400x225).jpg (83.2 KB, 100 views)
File Type: jpg 21-ArtistDrive (400x225).jpg (18.2 KB, 17 views)
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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I think this guy needed a bit more ballast.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 07:23 PM
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Wonderful report Joe, I am so sorry for the loss of your wife. You keep those pictures and stories coming. I would love to meet you some day if you ever find yourself near Michigan. Keep the rubber side down Chief!

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 07:49 PM
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What a wonderful write-up, wish I could express myself on paper like that .... Hope more posts and pictures can come our way ...

Question: you bring a camper and a bike ??
Could we see a picture of that ??

My sincerest condolences if you lost your better half, your wife ..

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 08:22 PM
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Thanks for the great write up Joe, sorry about your loss, hang in there

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-31-2016, 08:15 AM
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I am really sorry to hear about the loss of your wife,as I can personally relate to your story. I found out in December, three days before my birthday. that I had brain cancer. I had two tumors removed and and then as much as they could of a third tumor which was in a very critical part of the brain, the occipital lobe. I have been undergoing radiation and chemo treatments. This has been especially hard on my wife. But I am winning this battle, constantly surprising the doctors. I should be released to drive in June and really have some lost time to make up for. My best regards to you. Enjoy your journey.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-31-2016, 09:25 AM
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Excellent write up Joe! I have been through Death Valley with my RV as well. We typically spend 3 weeks every spring in Parker AZ. In the spring of 2014 we extended that by 1 week and did a couple days at Disneyland and then decided we would head back north via Death Valley. It's a really remarkable place! I don't recall the name of the RV park we stayed at the first night but it sounds like it was the same shit hole you stayed at! The second night was spent on the NW edge of Death Valley park I believe. We then traveled north up through the ghost towns of Nevada. Northern Nevada is very interesting once you slow down to take a look. I can only imagine your wife is smiling down at you right now... Proud that her husband has found a new lease on life, and is seizing the day! Losing your spouse can't be easy... To me it sounds like your doing as good as one can expect. Here are some photos of our journey through the region. ImageUploadedByMotorcycle1459434159.353769.jpgImageUploadedByMotorcycle1459434205.857855.jpgImageUploadedByMotorcycle1459434242.326950.jpgImageUploadedByMotorcycle1459434299.438604.jpg
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BP6666VR
Question: you bring a camper and a bike ??
Could we see a picture of that ??
This is our second rig, it's a 2008 Victory Lane. It's 40' long with a 12' separate garage in the back making the living space only 28'. It looks huge but in reality it's pretty cozy inside. I drag this thing around behind the 1998 Freightliner FL50 pictured. Between the truck and the camper I'm rolling down the road at just over 28,000 pounds, once you put a 5th wheel behind a medium duty truck you'll never stick one on a pickup again. Besides the MDT's are generally less expensive than pickups and last for hundreds of thousands of miles.

The bike rides comfortably in the back and gets used for just about all running around from grocery shopping to touring. Although the truck is 2 1/2 feet shorter than my Ford F-250 it's still a pain to drive around so it stays parked most of the time. I will say that when I go to China-Mart and come out I don't have any trouble finding my truck in the parking lot.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 11:20 AM
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Pictures and write up were great, but Joe, for the life of me, how can folks exist in a place where there are barely any green trees and grass?

Here in the south we've had an abundance of rain and the green stuff is amazing. The way it goes, we'll eventually hit a long dry spell with temps near or in 3 digits with high humidity and all that greenery will turn a nasty brown.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 07:48 PM
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Amazing .... Thanks for the picture, this stuff / rigs would never be allowed in Europe,

Soooo cool that you can have stuff like that in the USA .. Makes me wanna move there jaaaaaaa

Keep em posts coming my friend

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Last edited by BP6666VR; 04-03-2016 at 08:14 AM.
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