Dodging the Weather


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Published: March 31st 2008
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Sunny and 60sSunny and 60sSunny and 60s

The forecast called for rain in Red Bluff- long gone bucko!
The initial plan, thwarted by weather, would have seen Day 2 of the ride running South from SE Oregon, through Nevada into Death Valley. Instead, from Red Bluff, California, the route to Death Valley would be SE via Reno and along the Western diagonal of the Nevada border. This is where the high wind warning was in effect for severe crosswinds. Instead the plan was to run south to Bakersfield, then over the South shoulder of the Sierras and NE to Death Valley. The long way around.

I-5 and Hwy 99 run basically parallel down the length of California. A navigation error occured when I chose 99 over I-5 south of Stockton. Thinking it would be more interesting seeing more towns and the bread-basket of America, instead I found the main artery for truck traffic in California. More involved in passing, the traffic gave me something to focus on as the long miles rolled by. Did I mention the Ipod? Nothing like a great soundtrack.

So here's the deal on two-lane Hwy 99. The right lane is for trucks and slow traffic. The left lane is for everyone else. So it's good news, bad news. The bad news is
Lake IsalbelleLake IsalbelleLake Isalbelle

Thank goodness this was a tail wind.
that no-one pulls back into the right lane after passing a truck. They just stay in the left lane que. This line includes some marginally moving cars. The good news is for the faster drivers (and riders) who choose to run up the long gaps in the right lane past the left lane que, will find the left lane drivers opening gaps for them to move left when they come up to the slow obstacle on the right. These California drivers tend to work together in some ways. And when traffic opens up, they move!

Upon reaching Bakersfield, a hard course change to Port was made and the NE run up to Lake Isabelle and over Walker pass was begun. With the gain in altitude the winds aloft from the Pacific Front produced a prodigious tail wind over the pass. The occasional cross-wind section was turbulent and intense. Rolling into China Lake the breeze was dead downwind at a steady 45mph.

As the sun began to drop over the ridges, the desert road became empty, straight and fast. Temps that had run in the 60s and low 70s most of the day began to creep higher with the
Walker Pass: 6,100'Walker Pass: 6,100'Walker Pass: 6,100'

I love this bike, can you tell?
darkening descent into Death Valley. A quick stop at Stovepipe Wells for provisions burned up the last light, and the final 35 miles to Furnace Creek was ethereal in it's dark isolation. Did I mention the Ipod? In the dark?

Rolling into Furnace creek at 830pm it was 82F. That would be 48 degrees warmer than when I left home the morning before. Another 650 mile day, ending by starlight.

I found my reserved campsite occupied be a large family of well entrenched claim jumpers. They must have been relieved to see me, a lone, tired, hungry and thirsty rider. I quickly acquiesced their offer of dinner, ice for my Boodles, and $20 cash for my campsite fee. I secured a nice spot under the scrub trees for my tent and pitched just the bug netting, enjoying the stars.

Their campfire was pleasant, the wife of the clan, Renee, is an ER nurse and we talked shop. her husband Joe writes technical manuals for aerospace companies.

That night I was happy to accept their hospitality in trade for my territory, but you have to give them the cojones award for campsite management!





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My GuestsMy Guests
My Guests

Here they were the next morning, 16 in their party. VERY nice folks, Renee and Joe (not pictured, they were off trying to secure [jump] a campsite for the next night).
My RigMy Rig
My Rig

This little slot had convenient branch stubs to hang my gear. There was also a good view of the shooting stars and the camp coyote (NOT shy).


31st March 2008

Peacemaker Hucks
Bill was still in that sweet, conciliatory mood he used with the usurpers at his campaground when he arrived in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon. I know he was in this mood because as Bill, Norm and I drove into Hollywood to a hilarious night at the Magic Castle, Bill kept complimenting the way other LA drivers were behaving on the freeway. How much faster they go than in Seattle. How they do this with so little fanfare or anger or finger-pointing. How they shrug off various little road insults like other cars vrooming around them to reposition. How much better the world would be if everybody drove like they do in LA! Hee hee! We AGREE.
1st April 2008

RUN from the weather
Looks like you are just keeping ahead of the weather. Keep warm
2nd April 2008

bitch picnic
Wow, surprised you didn't whip out the 357 and make yourself some pirate burgers for dinner at Furnace Creek. Better quit taking pictures of the bike, or I will press charges for machinophile violations of the Mann act. you have crossed a few borders.....
5th April 2008

Lookin good
Weather is fine right now...lookin forward to meeting you...sippin some wine etc.

Tot: 2.367s; Tpl: 0.085s; cc: 12; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0439s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.3mb