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@gogogordy avatar
UTC

Veni, Vidi, Posti
Reprehensible Misinformant
Joined: UTC
Posts: 7573
Location: Winchester, California
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
@gogogordy avatar
Reprehensible Misinformant
Joined: UTC
Posts: 7573
Location: Winchester, California
UTC quote
We headed off to Death Valley CA., to meet up with our long-time friends MV's "Turkman" and his wife, whom we know as Randy and Cathy. They are on a journey from their home state (and our former...) of Washington.

Randy is an avid motorcyclist of the highest order, and Cathy has logged more miles as his pillion than most of us will ever achieve riding. His hope was to roll his GTS past 50,000 miles on this trip, but was waylayed by a broken T-Stat housing on his trusty Vespa, so brought his very tidy BMW instead. (So, it pays to have more than one bike.... )

Patty and I had just 300 or so miles to get to the small (ghost) town of Death Valley Junction, CA from our So-Cal home....where we would meet and spend a couple of nights at the Amargosa Hotel and Opera House. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amargosa_Opera_House.jpg

Leaving Friday am, we took a less direct route, entailing a trip towards Palm Springs (AND the Coachella Music Fest traffic headed that way on I-10) and easterly to Yucca Valley, then northwest through the Lucerne Valley, and into Barstow. From Barstow we took a 60 mile blast on I-15, to Baker California, and then northwest again from Baker into the the Death Valley Area....and ultimately Death Valley Junction.

The "town" of Death Valley Junction is legally a "ghost town", as it has 3 permanent residents...Marta Beckett, owner of the establishment, and 2 employees. By law, no more than 7 FT residents allowed to retain "Ghost town" status...and they prefer it that way. Additionally, don't roll into DV Junction looking for a Starbucks, Sprint store, 7-11, or even gasoline. Closest fuel is some 30 miles away in Shoshone. Foodwise, there IS a somehow-related cafe featuring 3 squares, but (and I'm not calling it bad) to those with more sophisticated pallettes, or dietary goals, well I'm just saying. Remember that extra cargo we had with us? Uh huh..."provisions".

Additionally, this is NOT a typical hotel, so don't go there expecting one...it's a landmark, by their own declaration a Non-Profit Corporation, an oddity perhaps. Quirky. No bar. No TV. Iffy plumbing (complete with notices to keep your TP use to an absolute minimum!). dirt parking....you get the idea. What it does offer is a unique experience, a VERY quiet place to sleep, relax, and enjoy it for what it is. If you are there and so desire, Marta performs her own opera in her own opera house....she lives and has lived her life on her terms.

The following day, we took a day trip to Badwater, the lowest point below sea level in the contiguous United States. 282 of them to be exact. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badwater_Basin. Badwater entailed approx 88 miles to and through the Death Valley National Park to reach it's low, salty crustiness from Amargosa. Along the way, we were treated to some gorgeous vistas, blooming cacti, and other flowers showing off briefly before the summer sun turns them to dust or otherwise sends them packing.

As we meandered on some VERY nice, new National Park Service pavement closer and closer to Badwater (55 miles each way into the park from that gas in Shoshone I mentioned earlier) a very unique chap, on a very unique motorcycle passed us, we met him at Badwater. He (and NONE of us asked him his name... ) explained to us that he, and 19 other Brits shared a shipping container, and for 300 bucks apiece shipped their bikes here, and scattered to the winds, only to re-convene and repack that container nearly a month later, after doing whatever it is they would do here. This guy, rolling out on his 44 year old 350 cc Triumph was roaming around the West, at about 50~55 mph, carrying EVERYTHING he needed in that small tank bag.

He explained a new T-shirt at any local thrift shop each day for one dollar, using his stinky, "old" T-shirt to clean up yesterday's 3-in-1 chain oil, and other miscellanous drips and globs. A more simplistic and relaxed adventure tourer I never met....we shared our picnic lunch with him, he and Randy discussed the fineries of antique motorcycles and we all went our separate ways.

There is no way to adequately describe standing at Badwater looking out over a plain some 50+ miles long of salt encrusted earth, while seeing snow-capped mountains to the west! Amazing.

Turning back towards where we entered the park some 55 miles back, we slowed down, and made a few more stops on our way through Badwater Basin....Ashford Mill Ruins. More flowers, and vistas. It was heating up, skirting 100 degrees, and we were ready to get back and get some shorts and sandals on at the hotel.

We finished this day with a quick ride into nearby Amargosa Valley, NV...about seven short scooter minutes away. We happened into the Longstreet Casino, where the beverages were good, but the food made our "own" cafe look like a five-star. Nonetheless, we had some laughs, enjoyed the smoky air-conditioned ambiance and headed back over the state line for a wind-down. Tomorrow the Gordons head back to reality...

Early Sunday, we packed our scooters, had another mediocre breakfast at the Amargosa Cafe, and said goodbye to our good friends, as they stayed back to prepare for the next leg of their trip. Patty and I rode off, into the sunrise....and made home some 301 miles away, in approx. 8 hours. Tired, and pleased with our latest Vespa adventures.

Tips: My recommendations for travel to Amargosa are this:

Bring some grub, and beverages. It's NOT frowned upon in their dining area and unless you're into cafe-spoon type food 3X daily, you'll be happier. try the cafe, the cupcake is wonderful and the sandwiches are good, but not 3X a day. Bring beverages too. They sell ice there...

Have a realistic set of expectations for a hotel in BFE, which was built in 1928 and by the owner's own admissions is non-profit. I won't call it run down, but it's headed there. It IS clean, quiet and different. It is what it is.
I don't regret going, I'd go again.

Allow time for further day trips...Furnace Creek, Scotty's castle, etc.

Plan around the heat. It's tickling the century mark in April. You get it.

Buy gas in Shoshone, or Pahrump bring extra if you are into that sort of thing. There's good riding, plenty of it in fact....you'll want to see it.
Loaded for bear....I've never had to carry more than my pet-carrier and top-case hold, save for this trip.  Read on, to find out the method to my madness of extra cargo...
Loaded for bear....I've never had to carry more than my pet-carrier and top-case hold, save for this trip. Read on, to find out the method to my madness of extra cargo...
The deserts between Yucca Valley and Barstow, and Baker and Death Valley feature miles and miles of this....
The deserts between Yucca Valley and Barstow, and Baker and Death Valley feature miles and miles of this....
Once the bike's and their masters were settled, it was time to relax....
Once the bike's and their masters were settled, it was time to relax....
The hotel takes on a different attitude after dark...as do I.  Some even say it's haunted!
The hotel takes on a different attitude after dark...as do I. Some even say it's haunted!
This is how we degraded the historic scenery of the famous Amargosa hotel and Opera House.  But only for a few nights...
This is how we degraded the historic scenery of the famous Amargosa hotel and Opera House. But only for a few nights...
Marta Beckett  paints numerous murals in many areas of her complex, including many of the guest rooms. This is the dining room. Most of her murals are quite nice considering where/when/why.
Marta Beckett paints numerous murals in many areas of her complex, including many of the guest rooms. This is the dining room. Most of her murals are quite nice considering where/when/why.
Some paintings in the un-haunted portion of the hallway.
Some paintings in the un-haunted portion of the hallway.
Marta's Opera House.
Marta's Opera House.
The flowers sprouting from these cacti had such delicate petals it was hard to believe they were in the middle of what is usually such an inhospitable place.
The flowers sprouting from these cacti had such delicate petals it was hard to believe they were in the middle of what is usually such an inhospitable place.
Near Salsbury Pass, on the way down to Badwater Basin.
Near Salsbury Pass, on the way down to Badwater Basin.
This 1966 Triumph Tiger 90, was shipped over to the US by it's owner, who set off on a 3 week holiday on it, solo...and what you see is what he travels with. Thats it...no luggage, iPhone, laptop, or spare clothes.
This 1966 Triumph Tiger 90, was shipped over to the US by it's owner, who set off on a 3 week holiday on it, solo...and what you see is what he travels with. Thats it...no luggage, iPhone, laptop, or spare clothes.
rather than waste "good" motor oil lubing his chain, our friend purchased a can of 3-in-1 oil each day, stuffed it into that hole and rode till it was gone and each day was done.  He said the oil dripped for about 120 of his 200~250 mile days
rather than waste "good" motor oil lubing his chain, our friend purchased a can of 3-in-1 oil each day, stuffed it into that hole and rode till it was gone and each day was done. He said the oil dripped for about 120 of his 200~250 mile days
Randy....majorly enamored with this Triumph Tiger. It was delightfully simple, and made a sound so sweet...and smelled like...3-in-1 oil!
Randy....majorly enamored with this Triumph Tiger. It was delightfully simple, and made a sound so sweet...and smelled like...3-in-1 oil!
Badwater basin....282 feet below sea level.
Badwater basin....282 feet below sea level.
Patty clowning around the ruin...
Patty clowning around the ruin...
the end of  a great visit to the park...
the end of a great visit to the park...
Across from our hotel, (and one of only another 2 or 3 buildings in all of Death Valley Junction) was the old Pacific Borax Co's. old processing plant where we happily poked around the rusty relics for quite some time!
Across from our hotel, (and one of only another 2 or 3 buildings in all of Death Valley Junction) was the old Pacific Borax Co's. old processing plant where we happily poked around the rusty relics for quite some time!
No matter how old I get, I still find rusty old stuff fascinating. Don't know why. It's been that way since as long as I can remember. We poked around this crap for a couple hours...
No matter how old I get, I still find rusty old stuff fascinating. Don't know why. It's been that way since as long as I can remember. We poked around this crap for a couple hours...
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
For those of you interested in the "stats" here's a screen shot from my GPS. Pay NO attention to some of the times, as I turned it off each night. Average speeds, and total miles etc. are accurate.
For those of you interested in the "stats" here's a screen shot from my GPS. Pay NO attention to some of the times, as I turned it off each night. Average speeds, and total miles etc. are accurate.
⚠️ Last edited by gogogordy on UTC; edited 5 times
@jess avatar
UTC

Petty Tyrant
0:7 And counting
Joined: UTC
Posts: 36936
Location: Bay Area, California
 
Petty Tyrant
@jess avatar
0:7 And counting
Joined: UTC
Posts: 36936
Location: Bay Area, California
UTC quote
Love love love Death Valley, one of my favorite places on earth. Great pictures, thanks very much for posting this.
@ks7877 avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2337
Location: So Cal
 
Ossessionato
@ks7877 avatar
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2337
Location: So Cal
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and I love love love those flowery Dr. Marten boots

As usual, Matt, you've planned, executed and shared an outstanding adventure. Thanks! (By the way, the example of packing light by your new British friend has me re-thinking my touring gear / clothing / tool "necessities")
@grscum avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
2012 BMW G650GS, 2006 GTS,
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2090
Location: Snohomish County, WA
 
Ossessionato
@grscum avatar
2012 BMW G650GS, 2006 GTS,
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2090
Location: Snohomish County, WA
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Looks like it was a great weekend!
@quasi-moto avatar
UTC

Veni, Vidi, Posti
SawStop
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5391
Location: Puyallup, WA
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
@quasi-moto avatar
SawStop
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5391
Location: Puyallup, WA
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Nice write-up Matt, and good pics, as usual!
UTC

Banned
Joined: UTC
Posts: 6035
 
Banned
Joined: UTC
Posts: 6035
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That's a really nice job of doing a ride report

And you are making us Easterners soooo jealous!
Thank you for posting this
@desmolicious avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3727
Location: Venice Beach, CA
 
Ossessionato
@desmolicious avatar
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3727
Location: Venice Beach, CA
UTC quote
Very cool. I've done lots of long trips on motos, but not on scoots. That's gotta change thanks to your adventures!
@mark_cohran avatar
UTC

Enthusiast
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 91
Location: Portland, Oregon
 
Enthusiast
@mark_cohran avatar
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: UTC
Posts: 91
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Death Valley is truly a uniquely beautiful place. My wife and I spent a couple of days there back in 2003 and stayed at Stovepipe Wells. I saw the most beautiful sunset of my life so far. We're doing a trip to the Southwest this summer, so maybe we'll head that way again, inspired by your trip report. Doubt we'll do it by scooter though.
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@1drunkparrot avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
2007 LX150 Dragon Red & 2009 H-D FLHRC
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1773
Location: Tampa Bay, FL
 
Molto Verboso
@1drunkparrot avatar
2007 LX150 Dragon Red & 2009 H-D FLHRC
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1773
Location: Tampa Bay, FL
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Very cool. Great report and pictures.
@turkman avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
2009 GTV 250
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2533
Location: Olympia, WA
 
Ossessionato
@turkman avatar
2009 GTV 250
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2533
Location: Olympia, WA
UTC quote
DV
Good write up , Matt! We'll have to do it again soon!

Cathy and I got home last night, BMW ran great. 6004 miles in a month, so we took our time. Big Bend Pk in TX was amazing.

Death Valley is a place you can always go back to and find something different.
@erich51 avatar
UTC

Banned
GTS 250ie - SHINY YELLOW
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3101
Location: Sunny Southern California
 
Banned
@erich51 avatar
GTS 250ie - SHINY YELLOW
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3101
Location: Sunny Southern California
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Thanks for going
The photos are wonderful, Looks to me like you all had a very good time of it. Thanks for sharing. 8)
@old_as_dirt avatar
UTC

Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 GTS
Joined: UTC
Posts: 22418
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
@old_as_dirt avatar
2007 GTS
Joined: UTC
Posts: 22418
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
UTC quote
looked like a nice trip. now I want to ride it
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