Mar 23, 2009

**Death Valley**

OKAY, I have to preface this trip. This is a trip from last year. March of last year, 2009.
It is entirely rdgt4r on the's fault. I'm very gentile and susceptible to guilt. When he mentioned he was headed to DV I realized it was my duty to spend a six packs worth of time finally writing this trip report. HA!

I was also reminded to post this trip report by this sad recent news: A German family went missing in 1996 while exploring and were just found 13 years later this month. Check out this article for more info here.

On to the trip report that I started and am now finishing to some remote parts of Death Valley. The Racetrack, teakettle junction, and many more.

I have been wanting to visit Death Valley for a long time. I have been through it several times on family trips and once last year at a high rate of speed on a BMW while on a motorcycle trip. It was time to go and do some exploring.

The trip starts with our journey from Phoenix, AZ.

D and I headed out a day earlier than anyone else. We wanted to camp up near Alamo Lake outside of Wickenburg, AZ. There is a little used short cut from the paved highway between Wikieup, AZ and Kingman, AZ.
We began the short cut and then decided to camp near the lake. (we also saw a mountain lion while driving through the reeds. He was too quick to get a picture of.

On the way up there (In Wickenburg) we also saw this cool old Power Wagon that had been converted to a para-rescue. It would make a great camper and expedition vehicle if someone wanted a project.

The next morning we traveled through Havasu and hit dirt where we could while making our way to the glorious 395. The 395 goes through both the most boring and most amazing towns on it's way to Mammoth Lakes. One stop is an intersection in the middle of nowhere. If you also traveled this road 10+ years ago you remember "the shuttle" restaurant. They had the best fries on the planet. They also had an old juke box and friendly staff. The shuttle is now long gone and the only thing left is old Astro burger which is mediocre at best, but has history with me! haha.
These old tractors were at an old antique place in "town." (The Shuttle restaurant derives it's name from the biggest thing to happen around this area a few decades ago. The space shuttle, ours not the one with green men, touched down in the flat desert near here.)

We met at the Trona Pinnacles. A beautiful and very small spot of stalagmite looking hills. It wasn't until hours after dark until our last member J made it to camp. We saw some headlights many miles away and by blinking my powerful LED flashlight I was able to lead them into camp like a light house! haha! It's amazing what will work if you just try it! After all, he figured he was either being lured to his death by some weirdos or it was us trying to get him to head our way.

We dropped into Trona, which is an amazing resort destination, for a few beers at the Elks and also at the VFW. Let me just say, Trona is where it's at. Par-tey....

The next day we went through Ballarat. A very cool little one building town. We hung out and checked out the old Power Wagon owned by a Manson family member.

I love Power Wagons!

On the way up to the Barker Ranch we saw some nice desert flowers.

The Barker Ranch which is a ways up Mengel Pass.

An important fact to remember for you nut jobs out there. NO ONE was ever killed at the Barker Ranch. The Barkers are just a family that owned a nice ranch. Their daughter was part of the Manson family and let him hide out there until he was captured. (he was hiding in the bathroom vanity which has since been stolen)
Sadly the Barker Ranch was burnt to the ground only a few weeks after we were there. Idiots.
More Ranch shots.

Deciding on the next course of action!

Along this pass are many different mining areas. Some very cool remnants of a time gone past.

We had a great day, but in the end we headed up a random canyon. Up this canyon was another nice Cabin. Not one of the many I've heard of. I'm not sure which one this was.
It was taken so we camped near a mine.


I'll wait out here!

Great campsite!!!

No Place we'd rather be!

I love the engineering that people will figure out if there is a promise of gold or riches to be found!

Where shall we go today!?

Friends and fam


Under Sea Level!!!

A pretty drive!

Painted desert.

So nice!

Another GREAT campsite!

Death Valley is ALIVE. Here are a couple if pics D took.

The turtle Lulu.

Would you trust this man????

That day in Badwater the Californians had to peel off and head home. J, D and I decided to head north to see the Racetrack. This is a place were magical rocks move around. Or if your not insane, the rocks move because it's amazingly flat and when wet it makes it easy for rocks to move around from high winds. (to those that think these rocks are magical and keep steeling them. CUT IT OUT!)

The racetrack.

The Grandstand!

Sitting in the stands.

The dried surface.

This is a place where things die. Be careful and have fun! ha!

Although most rocks were stolen. There were a few with trails.

Tea Kettle Junction.

During our final night we headed into Nevada to an area that was filled with mining ruins and old cabins. We picked a spot, made a great dinner and relaxed.

Great shot!

The next morning, we headed south and Jon headed to Frisco.

Ryolite is a touristy town, but it's still deserted and historical by many standards.

Hey now!

The last supper in creepy form.

We did some more exploring.

After this D and I headed south back to AZ.

Look out!!!

Vegas is boring. Homeward bound we were.

All in all this was a great trip, but this area was so exciting that I didn't take enough pics and saw many things!

Thanks for getting me off my boot and putting this up. This years DV trip should be up sooner!!!!