Welcome to the Road Less Traveled
This day started out unlike any other, after days of riding and with our destination in sight we knew we had things to take care of, so "GO2G Command Central" was setup with an Ipad and a Cell phone in the middle of a Hollister, CA Coffee Shop.
We put our heads together with Ben's friends and ours across the country to plan our day, first to Benny's Field and then finally to Garrapata, still no freeways, we had come this far, we weren't about to ruin it now.
The riding was easy and the views epic as we got just a taste of U.S. Highway 1 down the California Coast, which we would experience in its full glory the very next day.
After more than 6 months of planning and 12 days of riding we reached our destination and hiked to that same hill that Ben Hiked and saw a sunset unlike any other.
This day was the day we reached our goal, but it was far from our last. We continued to ride together and experience even more of what California and Arizona had to offer.
In all our journey took Jon and I more than 15 days and 2500 miles over the back roads and dirt roads of the Desert Southwest. Josh and Scott would spend over a month together visiting and re-visiting scenes across the California, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico. In all, Josh's Journey would take him more than 51 days and 11,000 miles including 3 trips across the United States by Single-Cylinder Thumper Motorcycle.
Though day 12 was the day we reached Garrapata, it was not the last day for us, and the Spirit of Adventure that lived so vibrantly in Ben's life lives on in ours. I hope it does in yours as well.
May this video inspire you as it did us:
Days 10 and 11: Bishop, CA to June Lake and Up and Over Tioga Pass to Yosemite all the way to Hollister, CA.
After spending the morning resting our bones and wrenching on our bikes to recover from Death Valley, we got a late start out of Bishop and almost froze ourselves solid with intentions on making it as close to Yosemite as we could. As it was, however, this was Mid-October on the Eastern Sierras and options for camping accommodations were not easy to find.
At a gas stop we received the recommendation to head over to June Lake and we found it to be a gorgeous quiet campground surrounded by changing Aspen Trees and backed up against an amazing lake. After a little fun at a fun campground fending off Raccoon, Deer and Bear, we set out the next morning with our sights set on Tioga Pass and Yosemite.
Tioga Pass is the best way into Yosemite and though it is blacktop, the soaring road takes you up almost to 10,000 feet in the high mountains off of State Route 120. We saw beautiful changing trees, bears in the road and some of the most gorgeous views you can imagine before ever getting to Yosemite.
Yosemite had its own beauty with its iconic signs like El Capitan and Half Dome, unfortunately our quick ride through gave it no justice at all and we were all disappointed when the time came to make tracks.
Our day ended once again with a night ride as we approached Hollister, the same town where Ben began his journey and what we knew would be the last full day before we would be able to Get Out to Garrapata...
Day 9: Through Death Valley, fighting the conditions and more than 90 miles of the incredible Saline Valley
So after our original plan to make it to Cerro Gordo and down Saline Valley ended somewhere stuck in the bottom of Cerro Gordo Canyon, we retreated and re-grouped at Panamint Springs for the night and set out again to traverse Saline Valley from South to North through almost 90 miles of some of Death Valley's most classic terrain. This was the day that I remember most, from beginning to end. The entire day was filled with experiences and beautiful scenery. We had two mountain passess, Great Sand-Dunes and Salt Flats all ringed by 10,000 foot tall mountains on both sides of us and with no cell phone service for days we were intimately aware how much we were truly on our own.
With broken bikes, a serious crash and a road that seemed to never end, the wear and tear of the ride really took its toll on us and even the bikes, with but rewarded us with some amazing stories and one of the best Sunsets you can imagine.
So.. we began Day 8 in the heart of Death Valley at Panamint Springs with a pretty ambitious plan, and we found out pretty soon that ambitious plans in Death Valley are often foiled..
Before I get too far ahead of myself, our plan was to pack up and leave Panamint Springs and go to an old Ghost Town called Cerro Gordo at over 7000 feet up on the west side of Death Valley. We rode up the most amazing roads to the famous Father Crowley Viewpoint and enjoyed the twisty, lonely roads, just the 5 of us.
We found the road to Cerro Gordo and climbed almost 5000 feet in 7 miles up a very cool dirt road through a steep canyon and we were rewarded with the most amazing view of the most incredible Ghost Town you'll probably ever see.
At over 7000 feet up, Cerro Gordo was one of the largest silver ore mines in its day with a Daily stage and a population of over 2000. Now just one man lives there, Robert, who takes care of the place miles from anywhere (over an hour from the nearest Gas Station at Panamint Springs). Robert takes care of Cerro Gordo for no pay and keeps the history alive through the goodness of visitors ready to get a little dirty and take the more adventurous road. More on Cerro Gordo here, at www.ghosttowns.com
When we left we decided not to double back but instead to keep pressing on down the back side of Cerro Gordo, a 4x4 road according to the map that should only be about 4 miles long. We figured, how hard could it be ??
How wrong we were... 4 miles and 4 hours later we emerged onto Saline Valley Road and knew that we didn't have the time before the setting sun to keep riding the 30 or so miles up the unknown Saline Valley Road to get to our intended goal of the famous Hot Springs.
Instead we found a new way to make it back to Panamint Springs and camped once again at Panamint Spings, home of the $6 a gallon gas, (though these days its probably a bit cheaper)..
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