Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Road to Salvation p I

Two years ago Mike, aka Vegashotwheeler set up a New Years Day ride through Death Valley National Park. The ride was such a hoot he decided to make it a tradition. I was able to make it down to Las Vegas for this years New Years Day ride.

I left my work in Salt Lake at 1:00 on Friday December 30 and make the 463 mile super-slab drone to Vegas, arriving around 7:00 that night.

Here's my lodging for the next 4 days (picture was taken the next morning).

Arriving a day early allowed me to take a ride through the Valley of Fire Nevada state park. Fellow Utahns, Jared and David, joined me. This is in the visitors center, about 50 degrees warmer than the temps had been in Utah.

The "Mouse's Tank" road.

Back on the main road.

We stumbled onto a hidden valley and found this indigenous civilization untouched by modern man. They thought we were Gods on "steel horses" and offered us gold and precious jewels, we of course declined and left them as we found them...

Leaving the Valley of Fire we next went to the Hoover Dam, intending on takeing the Dam tour, but with parking fee $7.00 and the tour $11.00 we found it to dam expensive. So we said, "darn" and went on our way.

The original road across the dam connecting Nevada and Arizona was narrow, winding, scenic, and fun. But to save time and increase safety of the dam this bridge was built. This is the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman memorial bridge. It is nearly 2000 feet long and is around 900 feet above the ground in the middle.

We hung out in this parking garage for a few minutes.

After seeing the dam we ended our day, about 193 miles for me

And here is the start of the New Years Day ride. We met at a gas station on a CHILLY Nevada New Years Sunday morning. A varity of bikes attended, from a Hayabusa to KLRs. Lots of good people were there too.

Everywhere you looked there were bikes!

We all went to the Famous Crowbar for breakfast.

Yours truly and Mike, aka Vegashotwheeler, the ride organizer. We are pointing to the M2W logos on our shirts, "My2Wheels" is the forum most of these riders hang out on.

And the day just got better and better...

The Road to Salvation p II

After a nice breakfast we fueled...


And went on our way to Bad Water. Three of the dual sport riders went on a dirt route, the rest followed Mike on the pavement through Death Valley. I'm pointing at the the little white sign that is at sea-level. The parking lot we are in is about 280 feet below sea-level. While we were here the dual sport guys had ridden to the top of that that mountain via their dirt route and were watching us.

The line up.

Leaving Bad Water we head to Furnace Creek.

Kind of steep...

We stop at Furnace Creek for snack and chat.

Some of the best parts of this ride were spent off the bike.

On the road again, this time to Scotty's Castle.

Scotty's Castle. Built by Albert Mussy Johnson Circa 1923. Walter Scott or "Death Valley Scotty" as he was known locally, claimed to have spent millions building the 'castle' but it was Mr. Johnson's money and house. Unfortunately the market crash of 1929 altered his plans and he had to turn the property into a hotel.

The back of the castle.

There is a large pool (never finished) on one side of the castle, this bridge goes across the pool. A nearby natural spring would have filled this pool, had it been finished. The spring did power a pelton wheel to give the castle electric power.

Building behind the castle.

And the day just got better and better..

The Road to Salvation p III

The unfinished pool.

The stable.

More pool.

Gas station

Construction was halted in 1931 when they found out they were building on the wrong spot, the castle was on government land, Albert's land actually started one mile north. Oops...

The original entrance to the property.

Off we go to Beatty, Nevada for fuel and food.

We weren't the only bikers out that day..

A sandwich at Beatty and a night ride back to Vegas brought an end to a super ride. 370 miles.

The next day, Monday, I ride alone to see Salvation mountain near Niland, California

A building in Niland.

Numerous squatters near Salvation Mt.

And there it is....Salvation Mountain.

Leonard Knight created Salvation Mountain to spread the message, "God is Love" The mountain is 50 feet high and 150 feet across built from, straw, logs, and local adobe.

Salvation Mountain.

More pictures on p IV