Death Valley, CA
February 23-24, 2013
Matt and "Carmen" the Bug Killer
Mike and Big Nose "Kate"
The Riders and Their Steeds
A few weeks ago I am checking Facebook and I see a riding buddy of mine is having a tough go at it.  I suggest some helmet time, whiskey and a camping trip to Death Valley.  He says he is in so I make the reservations at Furnace Creek for February 23-24.  Long story short, work got in the way and he was unable to make it.  Mike was in from the beginning so we went.  This is going to be just a short little write up of our weekend.

Mike and I met up at 10ish on Saturday morning.  I say 10ish because I forgot the reservation paperwork for the camp ground and had to go back and get it.  That took me a few minutes; however, while I was home I decided to change out of my summer riding jacket and liner and put on my winter jacket with heated liner.  This would turn out to be a good choice!

The week of our trip we had what we call here in Central California a winter storm.  Some clouds rolled in, the wind blew a little bit and then it rained in the valley and snowed in the mountains.  The snow level got down to around 2000 feet and that is mighty low for around here!!!  The weather was supposed to be clear and warmer, 65-70 degrees in Death Valley with just a slight chance of rain.  Sounds great right?  I forgot to look and see what the winds were going to be doing.  As it turns out, the winds did not get the memo about taking the weekend off!  Steady 8-10 miles per hour winds with gusts out of the north to 35 mph!  Yup, should have paid attention to the wind!

Mike and I headed out of town and we were headed to Randsburg to have lunch at the General Store.  I must say that going through the Tehachapi Pass was cold and windy!  When we got out on the desert it did warm up a little bit; however, the 35 mph gusts of wind were making their presence felt!  At times it felt like the steady winds were 35 mph and the gusts were somewhere in the 50 mph range!  Keeping a positive attitude about the whole thing, I kept telling myself it will calm down!  I mean how long can the wind blow like that?  Ya, I know, stupid question!

We arrive at Randsburg just minutes before the lunch crowd.  We both order the "World Famous" BBQ Beef Sandwich which comes with a bag of chips and a pickle slice.  It was pretty good grub!  After we finished eating we headed outside to the bikes to continue our trip.  The wind was blowing so hard I could feel little pebbles hitting me!  I was now thinking about how much fun the next 120 miles was going to be!  I have been through Trona several times.  Every time I have been there it has smelled like Trona except today.  Today the wind had blown the Trona smell away.  That is how hard the wind was blowing!  The first time I think about pulling out the camera and trying to get some pictures is on the Trona - Wildrose Road.
I put the camera away and concentrated on riding.  We head into Death Valley via the Wildrose Road.  We make our way to Stovepipe Wells and get our National Park Passes.  We stand out in the parking lot talking and taking a bit of a break from riding.  The wind is blowing out of the north and there is just a big wall of brown off to the north of the Ranger Station.  I drink a Monster to wash down the sand I have in my mouth.  After about 15 minutes we head off to Furnace Creek in hopes there is a wind break of some sort at the camp ground.

When we get to the Furnace Creek Camp Ground Ranger Station it was like going through security at the airport.  I was really surprised they did not want to see my Passport and the credit card I used to pay for the reservation.  But get this, it was so windy the Ranger did not want to talk to us outside.  We had to get off our bikes and go into to the office!  They even made Mike get off and come inside.  After about 10 minutes we had our three separate passes to occupy camp site #22.  It was all ours and we had the passes to prove it!

I will have to say the camp site was nice and big with plenty of parking.  It was right across the street from the Restrooms and there was not a speck of trash anywhere.  The 35 mph winds out of the north might have had something to do with that!  The first thing we did was get our tents up.  It took both of us to set up each tent because of the wind!  When I set my tent up (the little one) I did not put my rain fly on.  When I went to bed everything was covered in really fine sand.  I got back out of the tent and put the fly on because I did not want anymore sand in my sleeping bag!  This picture was taken Sunday morning.
The setting sun!
The rising moon!
The almost full moon over Death Valley!
One of the "traditions" we have when doing an overnight camping trip is taking some really good cut of meat and cooking it over a nice open fire.  Something we don't get to do everyday.  I went to the "Cutting Edge" butcher shop and bought two very nice Ribeye steaks for us to cook.  Mike brought bread, beans and mashed potatoes for us to enjoy with the meat. 

Now, all we had to do is make a nice fire in the fire pit to cook our meat on.  Mike rode over to the store and purchased two bags of wood for us to make our fire.  He also bought a can of lighter fluid in an attempt to speed things along.  I started building a fire.  I split some of the wood up to use as kindling.  First thing I notice is the wood feels damp, this might not be good!  Once again telling myself that it will be okay I continue on with trying to build a fire.  After about an hour of trying everything I know, we are not very close to having a fire we can cook on.  Mike gets back on his bike, goes back to the store and returns with two bags of charcoal.  Two bags of charcoal and little bit of lighter fluid later we have a very nice fire to cook our meat on.  Total cost of making fire, $47.00!
Wet wood not buring so good!
Now that is a fire!!!!
Sunday morning we awoke to the sound of generators starting up promptly at 0700 hours!  We crawled out of our sand fill sleeping bags and tents, boiled up some water and made our first cup of coffee for the day.  Did I mention the wind is still blowing?  Oh, it is!  Not as strong, but still there!
Ready to start the day!
After coffee we went over and had breakfast at the Furnace Creek Diner.  We arrived there early and before we left the place was packed!  Good service and the food was pretty good!  Back to the camp site to pack up and head on back home.  These next pictures were taken as we are leaving Death Valley via Wildrose Road.
Yes, we did have some wind and there were times the temps were a little cool, but we were out riding our motorcycles and enjoying life!  Thank you Mike for making time to go enjoy the weekend! 

We finished up our adventure by stopping by Red Rock Canyon to see if the Geocache from this last years DKC 200 was still there.  It was not.  I have a feeling it was taken before the DKC started.  I placed it there two day earlier.  I hope who ever found it enjoyed the Cycle Gear gift card that was in it.

My total mileage for the weekend was 489.1 miles.  Mike had a few more miles I am sure because he had to go to the store twice!  Oh, and gas in Furnace Creek, $6.04 a gallon!