Posted by: caryandjohn | November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving, 2012

So, we’re off again to Death Valley … specifically, the Saline Valley Hot Springs …

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This is the Wizard Pool in the upper hot springs … 102 degrees … Absolutely delightful after two hard days riding through the cold, over snowy Carson Pass … We arrived having ridden through the dark for the last hour, wild burrows appearing on the road in our feeble KLR headlights …

The morning was glorious …

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In the morning Cary made us some bacon … We got a good, new, Coleman stove and cast-iron frying pan in Bishop, because we had a date with 200 of our closest naked hippy friends for pot-luck Thanksgiving, and we had to make something to bring …

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Cary covered us in glory, making ham, sausages, and berries with fresh whipped cream …

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See? We all spread out in the lower oasis and had a feast … They were silk-screening t-shirts for the people …

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We got a hand-bag done … After dinner there was music around the campfire … simply wonderful …

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More good times at our camp … Looking west down at Upper Hot Springs …

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And looking east up the road toward Steel Pass …

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Our camp …

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We ran into our friends Paul, Bert, Zeegman and their gals on our way out of camp …

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Here’s a pic of the silk screener guy …

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Cary at the famous Bat Sign …

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North Pass …

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The road to the Alabama Hills …

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And lunch in the Alabama Hills … We’re in Kernville tonight, on our way to the Carrizo Plain and home on Sunday …

Here’s a rough map of our route:

A rough map of our approximately 1200 mile, six day loop ...

A rough map of our approximately 1200 mile, six day loop …

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Responses

  1. Team Sweeney does it again, looks like the best thanksgiving ever!

  2. Been there many x. Perfect the of year to go. It’s impressive you did it on bikes…

  3. Looks as though the umbrella was a good idea, not too much shade in that neighborhood. But a good Thanksgiving with plenty of company. All the best.

  4. Hi Steve,
    Finally back, no wind in Death Valley!
    Thanks for reading … saw your trophies last night, they look great! ๐Ÿ™‚
    See you soon,
    — John A

  5. Hi Ivan,
    Super fun place and time to be there with LOTS of people, but remote .. took us two long days to get there and three to get back!
    Best to Liz, and see you soon,
    — John A

  6. Hi Bob,
    I started carrying a Totes umbrella in my tank bag as safety gear after a Moto Melee where it was 114 degrees in Stonyford … figgured there isn’t always shade when you get a flat tire … ha.
    Thanks for reading and posting! ๐Ÿ™‚
    — John A

  7. Awesome trip! So sorry I wasn’t there to hang with you guys.
    Ken

  8. Hey Ken,
    No problem, we had fun, as I’m sure you did the previous weekend! There were too many people there, so we missed saying hello to any of your pals that were still there … We’ll hook up in the Sierras or at Saline Hot Springs, soon, I’m sure … yer pal, — John

  9. Heya John, Can you outline your eastern sierras/DV route in a little more detail. Im heading south through DV area over xmas and want to follow in your foot steps. Will be coming down the 395 then head to L.A. after. Have about 5 days or so….

  10. Hi Ryan,

    Good to hear from you, and what a great x-mas trip you have planned! ๐Ÿ™‚

    We had good weather, cool but not windy … the problem with 395 is that it goes up around 8000′ a couple of times between Bridgeport and Bishop … we just slabbed it on 395 because we wanted a day to sit in Saline Valley … it was a two-day asphalt slog up 88 and down 395 … detail: 88 E to 395 S to Big Pine (gas up) to 168 w a short distance to right on Death Valley Road up to right on Waucoba-Saline Valley Road (North Pass) 40 miles to L into Aaline Valley Hot Springs (if you start passing dunes on the east, you missed that turn) … Saline Valley Road leads south (towards LA) over South Pass … to 190 …

    After the rain/snow we’ve had, I’d plan on either 50 (risky) or take the safe way down to 155/178/58 Walker Pass/Tehachapi Pass … 88 was sketch by Kirkwood a few weeks ago, and I”ll now give it a pass ’til spring …

    So, anyway, assuming you head east on 50 (or 88) if I didn’t want to ride on 395, I’d head east into Nevada over to Yerington (look for Ft Churchhill Road, or Sunrise Pass Road) Alt95 to Rt 95 to Rt 360 to Rt 6 to Rt 264 (gas in Dyer) to Rt 168 and pick up Eureka Valley …. I could then try to get into Saline Valley over Steele Pass (by Eureka Dunes)(hard) or make my way west to Saline Valley Road/North Pass (easy) … hot springs in Saline Valley, and rides up Lippencott to the Racetrack or South Pass/Hunter Mtn/Teakettle/Racetrack/Lippencott back to the hot springs (gas in Panamint, out South Pass) …

    Guess you won’t have time for all that … Death Valley is hard to get to unless you can get over 80/50 … if chain-control prevents you heading east over the Sierras to get to LA, and you have to head south to the west of the Sierras, you have to head north to get to DV … out of the way for a trip to LA …

    I think that all makes sense … 395 if you are in a rush and the weather is OK, head east into Nevada to get lower and maybe better weather as a maybe more fun/comfortable way …

    Looking forward to hearing about your adventure!
    see you around the campfire,
    — John A

  11. Heya John,

    Thanks for the tips. Any advice on approach from the south? Looks like 50 and 88 are snowed in.

    Im looking at what you said- 155/178. I still cant seem to locate the actual springs though…

    Stuff down there worth checking? Dirt road loops? Im searching maps for everything. Need to end up in LA but was hoping to make it a more interesting trip then just pounding pavement….

    Any tips are muchly appreciated…

    Maybe 178 to trona wildrose rd (runs NE) to Ballarat road. South on wingate rd then east on coyote canyon to butte valley rd to warms springs rd to bad water rd (south) to 127. Spits me out the bottom of DV…

  12. Hey Ryan,

    Yes, it’s coooold! Rt 155 may be tough … it’s just a way to cut a corner to 178 … goes up to 6000′ … 178 is much lower …

    So … to get to the Saline Valley from Trona you’d go north to Panamint Springs and turn left and then make a right on Saline Valley Road … The Saline Valley is to the northwest of Death Valley … look for Saline Valley Dunes on most maps, the hot springs are just east of the dunes about 8 miles …

    The route you’re looking at will take you to Death Valley, maybe 100 miles from the Saline Valley hot springs … I’ve been the way you’re talking about here, and instead of going up to Wildrose and Ballarat, you can make a right hand turn right after Trona (there’s a quarry sign) and take the “Escape Route” to Goler Wash (don’t think Coyote Canyon goes through, Goler is the main route to Butte Valley …) Your route works fine too, the Escape Route is just a fun steep loose way to shortcut Ballarat and Wingate …

    The Butte Valley is an epic ride, just no hot springs … there are three first-come first-served cabins in Striped Butte Valley, Geologist’s Cabin and Stella’s Cabin and one other, I think … The plus to your route is you save a lot of miles on your way to LA … There are pay-hot springs in Tecopa, our fav is Tecopa Hot Springs, you just have to pay and they give you a private bath house … You’d be going out that way to get south on 127 through Soshone, Tecopa and on to Baker …There may be some free hot springs in Tecopa, not sure, there are some state or county hot springs there, too …

    Anyway, you can’t go wrong, just need to decide what you have time to do … I’d do the Butte Valley thing first, if I was going to LA and save the miles north you have to go to get to the Saline Valley …

    We’re leaving on Saturday or maybe Friday for Baja, but won’t have time to get over to DV …

    Hope this makes sense … seems to when I look at my map …

    Looking forward to your pics!

    See you around the campfire,
    — John A


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