Glory Days

The RASR team pulled out of Steve and Joan's aircraft hanger to a beautiful morning with just enough cloud cover to keep the heat down. As soon as we were out of Pahrump the roads were once again quiet and the vegetation sparse. We didn't get to another town until after we passed the LAST STATE BORDER of the trip!

Thanks again Joan and Steve (and AJ and Max and Dave!)!
(enter) CALIFORNIA: We had lunch at Death Valley Junction, where we took a mini-siesta to avoid the midday heat. Before heading off again we replenished ourselves with some ice cream sundaes and milk shakes at the only place in town. Back on the road, we quickly found ourselves dropping down into Death Valley itself; a descent that lasted at least 10 miles and over 3000 ft until we were below sea level! Due to our early afternoon break, the team had to continue riding through and after a beautiful sunset that dazzled us with fantastic lighting on the spectacular exposed rocks all around us. Although we normally do everything possible to avoid riding in the dark, in the middle of the National Park mid-week the roads were pretty empty, and we were able to cruise into the Stovepipe Wells campground with our bright headlights. Thankfully our new recruit Kaitlynn already had a campsite staked out and our tents up and ready for us. Jane was so impressed by the wonderful light show the moonless night was providing she slept out of the van and tents and saw at least 7 shooting stars (meteors) before falling asleep.
Death Valley!

Death Valley sights. Oh, and the rocks...
Yes, that's our crazy trip leader on top of the Manatee.
Yoga at sunset
Night ridin'
Our trek through the lowest place in the country continued the next morning, proving more difficult than the way in as we had to climb almost 5000 ft to leave the main valley of the National Park. After Towne Pass, however, we got rewarded for our hard work by a decent of almost the same elevation change, but over only half the distance. A well paved road and super wide turns and shoulders, we flew down to the next valley, beating the van and recording the fastest speed we had ever gone on the trip! After lunch we continued through the longitudinal valley, almost overheating on the long, straight, flat road. We were entertained by pilots practicing in their fighter-jets up and down the valley, but otherwise it was hard to keep our minds off the heat and monotony. Ready to get out of the desert, we had one more climb and decent into the small mining town of Trona, CA, where we revived with snow cones (some with special 'fruit' such as kidney beans and seaweed in them!) from a Thai place and enchiladas from the local Mexican restaurant. Literally burned out from the desert riding, we hitched a ride in the good ol' Manatee to meet our hosts Earl and Sun Ferguson in Ridgecrest. As we followed them up the dirt road to their house, 1000 ft above the town, we realized we had once again lucked out on the best place to stay in the area.

3 hour, 21 mile, 3000 ft climb out of Death Valley
Descending the back side - you can see the road where we're headed way down in the valley and the snow-capped Sierras in the distance (we topped 50 mph on this descent!)

Looong, straight desert road
The only way to recover form heat exhaustion: Snickers Ice Cream bar.
Not so sure about that 'fruit' addition...
Treated to a guest apartment where we have plenty of space to spread out, we all slept fabulously last night. Day off today meant we each got to sleep in as long as we so desired, and lounging today was equally as pleasant. Bikes got some work, laundry got cleaned, and the last few connections were made for the end of the trip. Sun and Earl treated us to a delicious dinner tonight with more flavors of ice cream than we could have possibly hoped for with a peach pie for dessert- perfect for us ice cream junkies! Thank you Earl, Sun, and your great crew of animals (dogs, burros, and tortoises!).
Off the grid house.
More Burros.
Earl and Sun even have their own train with elevated tracks.
What a view
Jeanie and Steph are off now to pick up Darlene, our great honorary team member who is back returning to the group after her stint in Georgia went so well. We're so glad you're back!!!


  1. You guys are having waaaay to much fun. Glad I am flying in to provide some adult supervision for your last day or two. Miss you muchly.

  2. YAY! Congrats on crossing into California!

  3. Congratulations, I'm so proud! I loved seeing your postcard tacked to the message board here at TMI. Steph and Jeanie, we miss you! Ride safe :)