February 2, 2022 at 8:24 am #605
I was planning a club ride with Dave in SoCal that I hoped would attract a small group of riders. That didn’t work out as I wanted though. Two of my friends from the Bay Area cancelled – one got COVID the weekend before the ride. Then Dave had to cancel a day before the ride as his mom was ill. He spent the weekend with her in the hospital in Arizona (she is OK now). I couldn’t stomach cancelling my vacation days and going back to the office, so I set off by myself. I figured this would be an “adventurer” ride rather than a fun group ride, ha.
Anyway, I drove down in my truck and arrived at my base camp in Spangler Hills OHV area (near Ridgecrest) on Friday afternoon. I set up my tent with some shelter in case there was wind (there wasn’t this time). I had a little time to ride some of the great single track there on Friday.February 2, 2022 at 8:29 am #608February 2, 2022 at 8:32 am #611February 2, 2022 at 8:39 am #613
Since I was by myself and wouldn’t be slowing anyone down I decided to do a little exploring. The route to Death Valley goes through Goler Wash, but the route there from Spangler Hills has to skirt around a huge semi-dry lake via the Ballarat ghost town. I found there was a short cut through the Slate Range that cuts off 20 miles of tarmac and flat trails. However, the short cut uses the Isham Trail, which is a tough rock crawler route. I decided to check it out to see if it was possible on a dual sport.
Here is a pic of the Isham trail entrance in the Slate Range:February 2, 2022 at 8:48 am #616February 2, 2022 at 8:49 am #619February 2, 2022 at 8:59 am #622
I didn’t count the number of obstacles I cleared on the Isham Trail, I think it was about 10. Then the trail won when I reached this obstacle. It was a near vertical rock wall with no run up – rocks were blocking the best lines up. I rode back down, backtracked to Trona to top off my tank, then took the long way around via Ballarat. I didn’t take any more pics on Saturday as the batteries died on my cheap camera.
The Isham Trail would be pretty fun to try with an enduro bike. There are plenty of YouTube videos of the Isham Trail with rock crawlers, here is one: Isham Trail Rock Crawlers
BTW: if you look at the 9:00 minute mark in the video above you can see a Jeep making it over the obstacle where I turned back. You get a better view of it in the video than from my picture.February 2, 2022 at 9:03 am #625
I stayed Saturday night at the luxurious El Portal in Beatty. Although it was about 15 degrees warmer where I was riding than in Reno, it was still in the mid-30s at night and not real comfortable sleeping in a tent. In the future for winter riding – even in SoCal – I think I will plan to spend the money and grab a hotel. When I got going on Sunday morning there was no frost on my bike and temps were in the high 40s.February 2, 2022 at 9:06 am #628February 2, 2022 at 9:13 am #631
Since I was running out of daylight on Saturday after exploring the Isham Trail I did not have time to check out Chloride Canyon on my way to Beatty. I was planning to return to Death Valley via Titus Canyon, but I decided to check out the route back via Chloride Canyon instead. It took a little while to find the right trail; the one I had mapped had some gates and disused trail. I discovered the better way into Chloride Canyon was via a dirt road across the highway from the Rhyolite ghost town. This is the turnoff from Death Valley Road – that’s Rhyolite in the distance.February 2, 2022 at 9:14 am #634February 2, 2022 at 9:16 am #637February 2, 2022 at 9:20 am #640February 2, 2022 at 9:22 am #643February 2, 2022 at 9:23 am #646
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