"There are two ways to learn lessons in life, the first is by observing and learning from the behavior of
other folks and second is by getting hit in the face with a 2 x 4 yourself. Both will help you learn the lesson,
but one is certainly less painful."
~ Jefe Smith from his book, LIFE, AMERICA and the ROAD

Death Valley Revisit

Late October of 2016 saw a group of 8 of us taking a 5-day ride to Death Valley. The route took us up into the mountains for an overnight at Big Bear Lake and down the back side of the San Gabriel Mountains to Ridgecrest, next to the China Lake military facility where the Space Shuttle used to land when Florida was experiencing bad weather. The unbeliavable size and openness of panoramic desert valleys just suck the stress out of you. The picture above is taken from famous Zabriski Point. We had hoped to catch mild weather in late October, but it was 100 degrees as we passed through Badwater, the lowest point in the U.S. at 282 feet below sea level. It cooled a bit as we rode out of the valley passed a couple of coyotes wandering the hot road asphalt looking for a handout from passing cars.

We spent the night in Tecopa Hot Springs which amazingly has some very nice hot springs. Sitting in the 90 degree afternoon air under some huge trees along with some attitude enhancers was pretty pleasant. In the picture, see if you can identify the one BMW rider. The night cooled off significantly and the hot springs felt pretty nice. These hot springs have no sulphur smell to them, just clean hot water flowing through pools for one-time usage before becoming a small creek.

Our last night out was spent in Indio, near Palm Springs, where we ran into some young ladies from Switzerland next to the motel pool. They were visiting the U.S. trying to convince a friend of theirs to come back home with them. She had absconded with a large amount of cash from her drug dealer boyfriend and had been traveling the world, so we were concerned about the reception she might receive at home. She probably was too.

Five days of great riding and adventures on a motorcycle with some colorful people pretty much tells the story of why I ride.

Ridgecrest Sunset
Photo by Ed Vignieau


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