Death Valley, March 2013. Day 2.
Day 2: around 200+ miles. Furnace Creek to Ridgecrest.
Furnace Creek to Echo Canyon:
Waking reasonably early to eat some oatmeal, make coffee and pack up we were on the road by 7:30am ish. Headed out to check Zabriski point before back tracking to the entrance of Echo Canyon. Echo was very cool, with some soft sand (not as much as day 1) and rocks it was super interesting riding. The walls were sheer and high. We knew about the Echo step, a rock stair case that would present a challenge but we were told earlier that it was a drop not rise in the direction we were going. Coming around a particularly tight corner, i had a feeling that we were in for a surprise. I spotted the familiar rock face (looking at some pictures online), and thought id either gun it or stall, so i ran at it with the KLR fully loaded, and got about 2/3 the way up. Didnt drop the bike, but just stopped. Luckily I had heman with me (Jon) who was able to lift the rear end of the bike up to a ledge where we could push it out from. Jon then made the run himself and got very close to clearing it. We will need to watch the video to confirm the reason for the stall. After this it was smooth(er) sailing as we continued out the other side of the canyon.
Echo Canyon to Rhyolite:
Spat out the other side of Echo Canyon, which was rough and an interesting decent, we shot out onto the plans in Nevada. The roads here were loose and super bumpy. Im positive this is where people come for practice running the Baja 1000. The roads were XL whooped out, meaning a slow and rather clunky ride for me and the 400 pound KLR as Jon flew by on his DR, loving every bump. Clack clack clack. Not my favorite part of the weekend by far. We finally hit paved road and headed up for a look at Rhyolite ghost town, where we took a break and fueled up on clif bars.
Rhyolite to Titus Canyon:
Titus is super cool. Very cool on a bike, it would have also been cool in a car. Inspired by Tegan and Chucks adventures through here about a year ago, we rode deeper and deeper. The road is one direction which made me less worried on blind turns. The road was fast, but with sharp corners, so it was worth keeping the speed in check. The approach is amazing with painted mountains surrounding the low hills the road winds through. Eventually the road steers into a tight canyon where the walls slowly grow closer and closer together until its only about 15 feet wide (now i see why its only one way traffic). Riding through here put a smile on my face. I think Jon was loving it too. Well worth the extra miles north.
Titus Canyon to Stove Pipe Springs to Ridgecrest:
Next up we aimed for Stove Pipe Springs, where we fueled up both bikes and bodies. Chilled for a bit in the shade, cleaned up, took on water and headed out. It was super warm here, more warm then Furnace Creek (85F). Heading west then south on the main road we took a detour through Wildrose Road which was pretty scenic with lots of fun tight twistys to fly through. The road is paved all the way through although in some parts its was a little rough. Again, lots of fun twistys! Oh and it was much cooler here, almost cold. We met back up with the main road south and the wind had really picked up. Pounding pavement back through rough Trona and onto Ridgecrest we watched huge dust clouds flying out onto the dry lake bed. My neck is still sore for being battered around on the hour or two ride back.
Arrived back to the trucks safe and sound, and packed and heading in our opposite directions. What a mission. So fun!!!!