Brian Jr. (no relationship) and I met up in Jawbone for a ride through Death Valley. The weather was  great and other than my chicken out on the Racetracks Playa road the trip was perfect.

Brian JR. at Jawbone Store
It’s dark out there

Panamint Restaurant after closing time

We spent our first night in Panamint Springs. The staff here is very friendly and they have clean simple rooms, cabins, and a camp ground popular with motorcyclists. We even ran into a few friends from Irv Seaver Motor Cycle.

The hand made chile was accompanied with live entertainment consisting of a roving drunk and a patient Sheriff’s Deputy. We were lucky, the drunk didn’t visit our table ’til breakfast the next morning. Friendly guy and if you’re looking for a completely stock shovel with an FX front end and Branch built S&S motor that hasn’t been run in twenty years hit me up. He gave me his number and I’ll be happy to pass it on.

Disappointed Brian Jr. after agreeing to turn back

We were warned not to take the southern route to the Racetrack’s Playa by a couple guys on KTMs at dinner so rode up to the northern route. After couple miles I figured out this was going to be about three hours of hell if I was lucky and suggested we head back to Ubehebe. Brian Jr. kindly agreed. The road didn’t look too bad and he was doing fine but I couldn’t control the front end in the soft stuff and it was mostly soft stuff. The G/S cruises on hard pack and gravel so I’ll try again next year with a different set up and practice in sand.

my baby where I chickened out

from here it looks easy
looks easy here too

From Ubehebe we rode to Scott’s Castle, Beatty, Rhyolite and on to Artist’s drive and Badwater with a short detour through Mustard Canyon.

Spotted this reflection in the Ubehebe parking lot

Brian Jr. at Ubehebe Crater
Scotty’s Castle

We stopped for fuel and water at Eddie’s in Beatty. When I released my clutch the fill plug for the final drive fell out in front of Brian Jr. We replaced it and got on our way happy it didn’t fall out ten feet earlier or later. We wouldn’t have known it was gone.

This black bird was hanging out with me in Beatty while Brian Jr. was refilling his Camelback
Artist’s Palette on Artist’s Drive. You need to see it in person or hire a real photographer.
Brian Jr. on cliff at Artist’s Palette
me too in my Steve McQueen jacket by Troy Lee (available now) and Princess Leia hair cut
our shadows at bottom of cliff

At 287′ below sea level the Badwater Basin is fed by the Amargosa river which you can’t see because it’s final segment is undergound ’til it feeds the basin.

Badwater Basin
That sign’s 287′ up
Valley wall reflected in Badwater
mineral deposits in Badwater
This is damp from the Amargosa river just below the surface.
Brian Jr. on the beach.

From badwater the road roughly follows the Amargosa to the town of Shoshone. Shoshone has a population of 31, a nice little motel, and the legendary Crow Bar, a restaurant and saloon staffed by friendly people serving great food since 1920.

Crow Bar after sunset
view from Crow Bar patio

They even have a real phone booth instead of cell service!

…a naturally heated mineral pool and a nice fire pit.
room protected by black bird

We got up in time for breakfast at the Crow Bar and headed home. We parted ways in Baker and I headed across the Mojave desert preserve to for about 150 miles of Route 66.

Roy’s Amboy for a Mexican Coke and Crater Crisps.

The bottom of Cajon Pass. The end of Route 66 ’til Foothill Blvd in Rancho Cucamonga 

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