24990 Redlands Blvd, Loma LInda, CA
Death Valley wintertime rewind!
This desolate place has the reputation for being the lowest, hottest, driest and most unforgiving place in the northern hemisphere. It's a reputation that has been repeatedly earned, especially in the summertime. However, there are times, when this place can be enchanting for the prepared. The Free riders visited this place in the springtime. The temperature was cooler, the flowers were blooming, and the landscape looked extraterrestrial. The plant variety included Gravel ghost, phacelia, rock daisy, pin cushion, and brown-eyed evening primrose. Life finds a way even if the rainfall is less than 2" per year.
On Dec. 10th, the adventurous Free Riders will roll into this normally foreboding place to experience the stark stillness of Death Valley in the wintertime. We should see a contrasting landscape, a brooding, vulnerable presence, far removed from the fiery malevolence of warmer seasons. Be prepared for a completely different experience.
In spite of the reputation for high temperatures and limited rainfall, Death Valley exhibits surprising biodiversity. Wildflowers, fed by melted snow, cover the desert floor each spring. Animal life includes bighorn sheep, red-tailed hawks, coyotes, and wild burros. Death Valley has over 600 springs and ponds. Salt Creek, which is a mile-long shallow creek has pupfish.
Darwin Falls (waterfall) drops a hundred feet into a large pond surrounded by willows and cottonwood trees. Over 80 species of birds have been spotted around the pond.
Death Valley is home to the Timbisha tribe of Native Americans, formerly known as the Panamint Shoshone, who have inhabited the valley for at least the past millennium. Some families still live in the valley at Furnace Creek. Another village was in Grapevine Canyon near the present site of Scotty's Castle. When borax was discovered, it took two horses and eighteen mules to pull their load over a distance of 165 miles to Mojave which took them ten days. Eventually, a railway was built. In 1881 Harmony Borax Works (near Furnace Creek), which is now partly restored and open to visitors, came into operation. Others soon followed. Although Death Valley has been a "National Monument" since 1933, borax can still be mined within its boundaries, but only underground.
This is an overnight ride. The Free Riders will meetup at the Hometown Buffet in Loma Linda. The address is 24990 Redlands Blvd, Loma Linda, CA 92354. Well try to leave there at 11:00 am. Arrive early if you wish to indulge in breakfast there. We will travel north 215, 15, 127, 178, 372 into Pahrump where we will find overnight lodging at the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino.
The Pahrump Nugget has blocked off 23 rooms for us. Call (775)[masked] to reserve your room. The group code is "FR16". The cost is only $59.95 for the night, and they will provide each of us with a $10 off coupon for dinner. Can't beat that deal!! Thank you Gary Butler for getting this handled for us.
There are lots of retailers in this area including a motorcycler retailer and a Big 5 Sporting Goods store. So if we need any emergency supplies, we can get it here. This location will serve as our launching point into Death Valley. This first part of our trip is 221 miles, and there will be multiple stops along the way, like in Victorville, Barstow, Baker and Shoshone. This will be an easy relaxed cruise. Additionally, anyone can lead if they wish, although Gary and I will know the way. Gas and convenience products are available in the park at Furnace Creek Ranch, Stovepipe Wells Village, and Panamint Springs Resort, although I expect the prices to be elevated. Naturally, we will fuel up in Pahrump before entering the park. The distance across the park is 83 miles.
After Breakfast on Sunday, we will depart Pahrump and head into Death Valley from the east side. The interesting places that we will visit are Death Valley Junction, Furnace Creek, Park Village, Beatty Junction, Stovepipe Wells, Emigrant and Panamint Springs. Scotty's Castle seems to be permanently closed, so that's off the list for now. Other excursions within in the park are completely up to the participants. We can do whatever you wish, as we're in no hurry. Later in the day, as we exit the park on the west side, we'll need to travel south on Panamint Valley Rd about 68 miles to Ridgecrest, where we will seek food and drink at the Xin Bowl Asian Food restaurant. They have good reviews on Trip Advisor. The address is 1110 N China Lake Blvd Ridgecrest CA 93555. Here is a link to this nice restaurant: http://www.xinbowlca.com/
After topping off with good food and fuel, civilization is another 118 miles south on 395, with a few rest stops in between.
Friendly advice:Bring extra water, some snacks and check those tires, and bring extra warm clothing. God favors the prepared. Murphy does not.
Okay Free Riders. Bring your camera, bring your gear, and bring a friend. If you signed up for adventure, this trip will not dissapoint!! 4 wheeled vehicles are welcome for this trip too!
Race the rain Ride the wind, & Chase the sunset . Only bikers understand