We are on our way to Baja Mexico for what evidently, is becoming an annual tradition of seeking out warm weather south of the border. On our way we decided to connect with our friend GPSKevin who was organizing a loose group of friends to ride in and around Death Valley.
We left Monday the 11th stopping in Medford, OR for the night and then on across the mountains towards Mammoth lakes for night two at a ski resort.
A short stop at Mono Lake
It was cold at the ski resort and our truck with motorcycles looked out of place with people walking around with snowboards and skis. Haven’t seen icicles like this since moving from Wisconsin!
Early Wednesday afternoon we arrived at Stopepipe Wells “Village” one of the few hotels within the park.
Anxious to stretch our legs after three days in the car we hiked up nearby Mosaic Canyon and took this picture of the “village” from up high. It reminded me of a scene from Star Wars.
The canyon was fantastic.
Deby loved the rock formations.
The sun was getting low in the sky as we took a few more pictures before heading back to Stovepipe Wells.
We were scheduled to meet Kevin and the group on Saturday morning so we still had two more days to play around the park. On Thursday we unloaded the bikes and headed to one of our favorite places to ride Titus Canyon.
The day started out cold, probably in the 30’s as we ascended from the floor of Death Valley at negative 100 feet or so over the Amargosa Range to Daylight Pass at 4,300 feet. The Yamaha 250cc motorcycles chugged up the climb but we managed to maintain 55 mph the whole way. Once over the pass the road drops into the Amargosa Desert where there is a cutoff road just before Beatty that takes an offroad route back West over the Amargosa Range. There were great twisty roads over the mountains.
You don’t want to miss any of the turns on this road.
I had to get a glamour shot of my bike.
And my favorite riding partner.
We had so much fun going through the canyon we decided to loop around and do it a second time.
Total for the day 170 miles of riding. A good shake down for us and the bikes as we got ready for Kevin’s ride in two days.
Friday greeted us with beautiful blue skies so we decided to leave the bikes at the hotel and spend the day as tourists hiking in the Valley. Our first stop was Ubehebe Crater. You can click the link to read more about the crater which was formed only 2,000 years ago from a volcanic blast.
We decided to hike around the crater to get a 360 degree view.
The above picture is from Backroadswest.com. I only took a few pictures….
Well….how close is “near?”
Wait, what is this? A good rock?
I reminded Deby that it is a federal offence to take rocks from a national park. The penalty is federal prison with hard labor working on the rock pile. Deby’s response was, “… and they bring you dinner?” I dropped the subject.
Our next stop was the famous Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the US at 282 feet below sea level.
I tried some of that fancy playa photography but couldn’t get the focus right, oh well.
Some nice people from Wisconsin wearing Packers apparel took our picture (they’re everywhere).
For the final hike of the day we went 2 miles up a canyon to see a Natural Bridge and a fantastic canyon beyond.
The bridge is pretty cool. Not quite like Arches National Park but impressive.
The rocks and colors were amazing.
Wouldn’t want to be hiking the canyon when this rock came down.
The further we hiked the more amazing it became.
Finally as the sun was getting low it was time to leave. I took this picture at the mouth of the canyon overlooking Death Valley.
One final picture. It had been an unusually wet fall in the park and there was an amazing amount of green and an abundance of these yellow flowers, Desert Gold. I tried to capture it with a picture but this was the best I could do with a point and shoot camera.
We headed back to Stovepipe wells for dinner and a good nights sleep. Tomorrow we were to meet Kevin and about twenty other riders for three crazy days of riding.
More to come.
Donn and Deby