Arriving over a full day early and needing a spot to camp until the reserved site was available I stumbled into a freebie. A woman at the check-in had decided to lux out a bit ( a little too much dust perhaps) and get a cabin so a perfectly fine tent spot was mine thank you very much. Perfect that is if you are good with rock as the entire place is aggregate of some size or another some large and loose. The place is rustic and rugged, and frankly needs some attention, say maybe fix the broken toilet that I was told had been out of service for years..
But I'm not here for the camping I'm here for exploring.. Sharing the campsite is Mark who was headed over to find a beer and his riding buddies over at the pub/restaurant and suggested I tag along.. Today's ride passed thru the lowest point in the US of A, it was close to hot though not quite the Valley of Death as the name suggests but it was, very dry so yes, a beverage sounds like a fine idea. Over a beer and grub I Met Tony Dave who were Marks cohorts for the days ride. Hearing talk of rocky step-up ledges and super deep sand I was beginning to wonder if I just might rather be spending a few days in the Hammock with a book, and a beer. After another beer and discussions of where tomorrows ride would be followed with a meal, (which finally arrived from the kitchen, how the bar/restaurant will keep up when 250 more people show up will be interesting to see) everyone said their g-nite's and headed in various directions.
Deciding I had come here to ride I met up the group somewhere around 830 and with Dave as the tour guide on his 1190 we were off headed for Darwin, somewhere out there in the California desert.
My seconds night camp (shared with a friendly enough couple of fellows who bickered at each other worse than most married couples, sheesh I'm going for a beer)

Dave/ ktm 1190, Mark africa twin, Tony drz400, and me and my 990 posing like tourists and actually had a kind lady take the shots..

Along the way we stopped at this spring that someone has started a reasonable large goldfish collection. This painted rock made me think of our provincial flag here in BC.

yep, there's goldfish up here in the mountains above death valley.

arriving in Darwin you immediately notice the sculptures scattered all over the place. Not your everyday scene.

looking to the west at a tempting track that we will not be investigating as it's heading straight at the large closed area used for weapons testing .


a German Hubcap on an Austrian bike? Nein!

there are many fading peeling painted signs on this building that must have last been the post office. Darwin is a very cool little ghost town existing (barely) in the middle of nowhere, just perfect for those that live there.

the scenery is really quite stunning especially when the snow covered mtns to the west are in view.

trying to decide on a left or a right, not even a staged shot.

we came to a steepish loose rocky hill that I knew needed to be crested, there had to be a killer view at the top, we were not mistaken or dissapointed. just stunning.

Mark and Tony

The hills in the area are riddled with mins shafts some worth investigating and one large enough to ride your bike in for a long ways underground. next time for sure.
This one went in I think it was approx. 85 ft.

Pic. from Me, looking down towards Dave waiting to see if the track we are exploring goes through.

Pic. from Dave, looking up at me, pretty much dead center of the picture, where I am turning around the 990 in not much more than it's length.

Mark headed back towards camp at teh end of a terrific day in the desert.

Wake up dave! love the way his backpack works as a perfect backrest.
(he did this in response, after I passed by him on the left in pretty much the same position, more fun on poker straight roads)

Chloride bluffs by memory was the name of the area, this was the second day of riding and with a larger group by 3.

I don't care if it is just tightening a mirror, Ktm tools being used on a Honda Africa, yes I'm taking the picture.

near the end of day two we stopped at this well known view point not far from the Springs. As the area has a large Navy air force base nearby there are at many times through the day fighter jets zooming past fast and low! Several times out in the desert you would be riding along when suddenly a jet will whoosh past over your shoulder, it's very cool. At the top of the view point is a group of approx a dozen fans with really big cameras to catch a shot of one of the jets on his last run of the day before heading back to base. The route taken is through Star wars Alley, they are doing a "Jedi run" down through the precipitous canyon, and some of the pilots put on a real show in close proximity to the waiting cameras.

a far of shot by comparison to most flybys, they just appear out of nowhere so hard to get a shot. We were out in the desert when this was taken. At one point when we were stopped two A-10 warthogs silently appeared around a corner behind us in an almost full left banking turn so much closer than in these pics. They weren't silent for long.

This is Star Wars alley. A coupla thousand feet of elevation drop into a steep sided serpentine valley. The variety of jets, some of which are loaded with a least real looking weapons, cruise thru well below the upper ground level. Imagine a pimple faced video gamer siting on a couch playing a flight based war game, now imagine he's actually sitting in the jet! (and has a girl on his arm a motorcycle in the parking lot and his face has cleared up).
The cliff edge to the lower left is the beginning of a long way down. It's hard to say exactly how close the jets are as they pass by dropping into the gouged valley.

about that faw away, in this borrowed picture. That is a Warthog and is in about the same position as the ones seen earlier in the day. The A-10 must be the snappy handling ride as they seem always to be carving hard turns thanks perhaps to all the air grabbing vertical surfaces on the tail, wingtips, and ahead of the wing on the underbelly.

Joe made his 500x honda look pretty darn capable out in the desert hills above death valley.

If you look closely you can see the gathering of Lemmings at Badwater, the lowest point in Death valley.

Our "getting used to the job now" tour guide Dave. who was always smiling.

another odd spot in the desert. The Goldwell open air museum.


This is the PG13 side.

exploring one of the many abandoned mine sites on the area.

this one had a caretaker of sorts or at least a woman who occasionally lives there tidying the place up as evidenced by her log book .

sturdy railway tie laid on edge construction.


afternoon lunch at a place that was closed, but insisted we come in as well as group after group that showed up, burgers only is no problem thank you .

coulda swore I heard the cop yelling "git yer Ass offa the road! Ya Dumass" . but I could be wrong.

beautiful views from this old ore dump.

actually pretty close to as steep as it looks. The older and wiser gent (moi) waited at the bottom for the fools to turn their bikes around on the steep pitch. some peoples kids, sheesh.

No surprise that the slow when empty "only show in town" restaurant was swamped at night and the breaky "buffet" was frankly a bit of a joke especially when you tack on the luxury tax at a 30% rate. (it's a luxury to be in the land o trump) The cook wasn't there (funeral) so there were no eggs, um really. Grab pot add some water put on the stove add eggs boil, call me in 10 min. It was however the best fifteen dollar Raisin Bran I've ever had. It was silly but again has nothing to do with riding.
Not my picture of a demo being put on on the last night of the rally. The rally itself was well organized and a great time seemed to be had by all who attended which was a record crowd attending this event that has been run for some 17 yrs.

also not my shot, of a rock on "the racetrack" where under certain weather conditions the rocks slither their way across the flats all by themselves. A feat that would surprise not a single Tom Robbins reader as why wouldn't they move along on their journey. (Skinny Legs And All)

mounds of used cans, thats. a lot of beans. There must be 10's of thousands of cans in dumps like this scattered about the hills.

our first sight of the desert Dragon lording over his treasured collection of cans.

Aiieee!! run away run away.

Last shot of the Day appropriately is of the last moment I saw the group I rode with for two days, just before I bugged out towards home and they headed off for the day. Thanks boys it was fun​. Most notable was the transition in confidence and ability in Tony, no more a newbie after several days in the desert.. There is some really good riding and endless exploring to do around the area and is on the must do again list.

well that's all for a Sat. night. the next post will be short n sweet and the last of the trip.

thx fer lookin.

P.S. Thought I should add a pic. of the souvenir I brough home from the Death Valley desert, buggah!