Death Valley Ride

A bunch of us from Temecula Motorcycle Riders decided to get away from civilization for a short while and spent the night in Death Valley. ...

A bunch of us from Temecula Motorcycle Riders decided to get away from civilization for a short while and spent the night in Death Valley.

At this time of the year, Death Valley is quite cool, or perhaps "cold" is a better word. At Death Valley, you either burn to death, or freeze to death. It's death either way. The ride up from Temecula, CA was pretty cold too.

Most of us rode our motorcycles, though a few of us drove trucks carrying all of our camping gear. We left at 6:45am, and headed north on Interstate 215, and then on to Interstate 15. When we got into Victorville, it got even colder. I thought my lower-lip was going to fall off.

We headed up US 395, and stopped in at Kramer Junction for breakfast. This was probably our first chance to warm up.

By the time we rolled into Trona along Highway 178, the temperature finally got warm enough that I didn't need to wear any face protection. It was still pretty chilly though, and the time was about 11:30am.

We finally entered Death Valley around 12:30pm, and pulled into the Wildrose Canyon campground. We pitched our tents, got settled in, and then took off to Ballarat.

Ballarat is located outside of Death Valley, basically backtracking the route we came in on. It's a ghost town, though at least one person still lives there, a guy named Rock, who I'm told has just one eye, though I certainly couldn't tell. From Ballarat, one of the guys with us, unhitched his Jeep, and he took off into the mountains.

We followed him in a pickup truck driven by another one of our guys. We were in search of Charles Manson's hideout. Manson and his band of followers had a cabin up in the Panamint Mountains, overlooking Ballarat. He supposedly had something like 30 young women, and a few other guys, and they just spent their time engaged in orgies. Eventually the FBI swarmed in, and busted him.

We headed up Goller Wash, and came up to a waterfall. There was no water falling off it, but it was clearly an area where water fell. The problem was that the waterfall was in the wash were driving in, and there was no way around it due to the sheer high mountain cliffs surrounding us.

Ted tried to get his Jeep up and over the waterfall, but he couldn't do it. He ended up killing his battery and got stuck in the sand. So, we jump started him, and pulled him out, and headed back to Ballarat.

Back at Ballarat, we poked around the abandoned artifacts, took photos, and chatted with Rock. As the sun started setting, we headed back to camp.

By the time we got back there, the few folks we left there had a fire started, as well as some homemade chili. We sat down for food, and just started partying.

There was more beer there than we could possibly drink, whiskey, liqueur, vodka, and the usual assortment of sodas and water too. A couple of us also brought large volumes of fireworks, purchased out-of-state. We lit them off in the night sky over the next 5 or 6 hours, until we just too tired, and hit the tents.

It got pretty cold over night. Everyone else had butane heaters, but me. It turned out I didn't need it. The sleeping bag and blanket kept me pretty warm. It was my face that got cold. I had to sleep with the blanket over my head. Even then, I couldn't really sleep because I wasn't used to sleeping in a tent.

The next morning, I got up, and walked out of the tent. Everyone else was still inside, though I knew some of them had gotten out, and then got back in. I brushed my teeth, and found the water and cold morning air to be SO COLD, that I thought for sure my fingers were going to be frostbitten. But all is well.

After everyone else got out, we all had bloody marys and scrambled eggs for breakfast. Dave lit off a bunch of bottle rockets. Then he grabbed a bunch more, and tossed them into the firepit. Everyone yelled, "Shit!", and scattered like cockroaches. They started shooting off in every direction, popping all around us.

We packed up, and headed back out. We took the loop over Emigrant Pass, and up to Panamint Springs. Then took the road back to Highway 178, and back to US 395.

We got lunch in Randsburg, and from there headed back home.

It was really good to get out and get my mind off of work for a while!

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