Monday, January 19, 2009

Death Valley...

First wanted to say thanks to all on the trip that made me feel so welcome. When Barry told me about this trip then Barry & Thor invited me, I was so happy and Barry said this was one of the best crowd he has put together, he was right. Also thanks for waiting for me. Death Valley...WOW.
You can not put in to words, but here are a few amazing,astonishing,incredible,stunning,unbelievable,awesome and beautiful. Ever one should go there once in their life. And this is coming from a guy who is not big on the dessert.


(coffee 6am) check the bike & off to meet Barry, Thor, Ralph,Cosmo at 19th Ave in the Richmond then jumped on the 280 to pick up Gerry. Down Hwy 280 we took the 25, which is a great road to ride, half way down Cosmo found out that he did not have as much rubber on the rear as he thought, to late now.
From the 25 it was to the 46 then 198, Peachtree and to the 101 to Grand Bakersfield. It was Thor, Gerry and myself going to the hotel, while the others went and dropped some cash on a new rear tire for Cosmo. Helped everyone get a room, but they did'nt have enough so Cosmo bunked in with Barry and me. A quick team photo in the room and off to dinner at one of Bakersfield finest... Carrows. Hi to Maria who served us that night (see photo...JOKING). After dinner a ruff night sleep, between the noise off the train and barking frogs in the room I did not get much rest. Back to Carrows for breakfast. This time we were smart and hit the coffee shack across the road before Carrows. That is where Cosmo picked that CUTE Kelly 95.3 decal. Then on the road.


Sad to see the end of Bakersfield (which by the way is the basque food center of the US... no joke). On to the 78 to 190 A nice ride through the mountains. We stopped in Trona (ghost town) for lunch, at a nice diner. After a rest and soda back on the road to Death Valley. A nice ride stopped us at Stone Pipe Wells for a soda and refuel and of course gift for my kids. We were now offically in Death Valley. WOW my first time in death Valley. You can not believe how the mountains just come up to you, its like they grow on top of you as you ride through them. Day light was going fast but Barry and I wanted to go to Badwater,the rest of the team headed to the hotel in Beatty . Badwater this the lowest point below sea level in the US. It was great,nice sun set shots. Now dark we headed back the hotel to settle inn and a drink.(Thanks to the dum driver killing us with his high beam lights). At the hotel we were meet up with a
lot of riders from the bmw sport touring group. Nice people. After a shower, off to dinner. There are only 3 place to eat in Beatty, and one was the smoke filled Casino which had the worst ABBA cover band ever!!!. The other looked like you needed to be a local to get in and a Mexican place called Esmandia that did'nt even sell beer. Guess what no beer tonite. Also ask Ralph what it is like to eat rust. Got a better nights sleep as I had the bed to myself and the mexican food had'nt started the barking frogs yet. And for breakfast back to you know where... Esmandia . I would even lower myself to starbucks if Beatty had one.

Day 3

Everyone sort of got together and we decided that we would do some off road stuff. After guess where for breakfast Barry,Ralph, Cosmo & myself headed for Titus canyon. I was a little worried but wanted to go off road on such a big bike. BUMMER it was closed...still mangaged to get the rear wheel dug in. At that point we looked for another off road adventure and Barry thought the RT was not the bike for the dirt and Ralph wanted to do something else. Cosmo & I went looking for chloride-cliff . We could not find the turn and while looking at the map, meet some girls from LA out for hiking and camping the hard core way . Great to meet you ladies and keep in contact. After turning around we found the non marked exit and man what a cool off road track. We found lots of mine camps and rode up to 7000 feet. It was so much fun and I am glad I did it. On the way back I took the lead and lost it a little over a river bed (did not crash) but lost my side bag as it was being dragged behind me after hitting a rock. Cosmo "well if you were'nt trying to be Johnny Dakar" that would not have happened. Finished the off roading, put air back in the tires and Cosmo took off to go by himself camping and I went back to Beatty looking for the others. That night the bmw sport touring club put on a BBQ across the street from the hotel and it was so much fun. I think I eat half a cow that night. Then back home (hotel) with a big tummy and watch HBO to sleep. Listening to the sounds of Barry snoring. In the morning the beans from the night before had found there way into the air ???
Ralph bangs on the door and backs away as I open it... "What's that SMELL" !!!

Day 4

Thor and Gerry headed for home and then with Cosmo gone, after breakfast (guess where) Barry, Ralph & myself did the same. Sad to see Death Valley in the rear view mirror, can I say the same for Beatty ???... Like always being the slowest I took off first knowing that they would catch me, but I did make it to Stone Pipe Wells first, even with my handicap. Then after I fast refuel I took off first to Trona. I can can tell you I pushed it for that part of the ride. I made it to Trona and was waiting out the front of the biggest gas station for 20 mins, when I started talking to another rider and he mentioned that he saw my riding partner take a right turn and head into town. Yes they were at out favorite Italian place in Trona. Rested, back on the bike heading out of town,me at the back got stopped at the train track for one of those 25 mile trains that take 30 mins to pass. Barry & Ralph were were well gone. But we had plans to meet in Ridge Crest. I looked and looked ..... no Barry or Ralph, so I went on to our next meeting point. Waited 20 mins and no guys. ???. What to do... no cel phones working ???. So after waiting I left them a voice message and pushed on hard to Bakersfield (back to our favorite town and alone).
I refueled half way and finally got Barry on the phone. "lets meet me Bakersfield" I got there 20 mins before them and was waiting in subway . Little did they know I beamed myself ahead of them. After a rest, back on the road, Ralph took off...hope he was OK and Barry was nice enough to stay with me. Got on the 99 then the 46 and the 5 (do not like the 5 on a bike). Stopped to refueled near the 152 thank god as my butt was dead. 8 hours of riding. Checked in again on Ralph and back on the road, got the 152 to the 101 and home was close, now my butt was like a pounded hambuger and I was changing positions on the seat to stop it from being dead.
When I saw the sign for 22 miles to SF that was it, HOME. After Barry was nice enough to drop off my bag with the kids gifts, it was into the hot tub with glass on wine and bed. Yes I did sleep well that night.
Glad every one made it home safe, and as Barry said on the first day no wrecks and tickets

Enjoy the photos...check back more photos comimg.

Cheers PB


  1. Ahhhhh, to travel so freely and to urinate in the Wild. After all were we not all created to live this life of Travels.

    Sincerly Yours,

    Lo Hoang Lai

  2. Some of these are really amazing artistically speaking and others are equally amazing in capturing a moment that you won't want to forget. They're great!