back to Death Valley


February 13, 2005

Back to day two....

Another early morning, but this time, Peter wasn't feeling very well. He ate half of his breakfast and proclaimed himself fine for the return trip, so we packed up and headed back out of the park on Hwy 190.

This was my first time actually seeing Hwy 190 west of Stovepipe Wells -- I've always ridden in after dark and then left via Nevada! I made Peter ride in front so that I could get some "riding" photos.

It got pretty cold and foggy as we left the park. We stopped for gas at Olancha again, and Peter wandered inside the gas station to warm his hands for a while (I was a good girlfriend and didn't mention that the dork OWNS heated grips...somewhere....).

My shoulder started really hurting at the end of Hwy 14. I injured it a long time ago, knocking a vertebrae out of alignment; it likes to act up at really convenient times, like, y'know, 300 miles away from home. I spent most of the way into Tehachapi crying inside my helmet and clenching my jaw from the pain.

By all accounts, I should really hate Tehachapi. I've come through a few times and been way too warm; I've come through and been way too cold. Last time we were here, Peter ran out of gas. Today was the agonizing shoulder pain. Once I sat in the Chevron parking lot trying to force down a couple of saltines and Gatorade through stomach cramps. But the truth is, I've always liked Tehachapi. I guess repression is really the key to successful motorcycle trips.

We ate lunch at the Cattleman's Cafe, right next to the Chevron station at the first Tehachapi exit (heading north). It had really good food -- Peter proclaimed the burger to be the best he's had in a long time and actually filled out a comment card letting them know.

The trip up I-5 was uneventful other than the usual influx of moronic drivers. I swear, I-5 is a breeding ground of asshatitude.

We stopped for gas in Panoche, right before getting off of I-5; I switched my visor to my clear shield. Almost instantaneously after getting back on the road, it was covered in bugs. Covered. Could not see. I'd just gotten onto Hwy 152 to head back over Pacheco Pass, and didn't want to stop, so I was happy when it drizzled a little bit -- I thought maybe I could use the water to clear the visor. Well, no -- I only succeeded in smearing bug guts ALL OVER my visor. Ewwwwwww. "Gee," I thought, "I wish it'd rain just a little more."

So it started pouring. POURING. It's now dusk, we're riding over a two-lane mountain pass with mental wizards who cannot figure out to turn on their headlights despite (a) dusk and (b) raining, and it's pouring like nothing else. Oh, and did I mention it was cold?

I don't have a problem with riding in the rain, so I'm cruising along Pacheco Pass at like 75mph in the pouring rain...poor Peter doesn't like doing so (he hates to ride on wet roads, but I didn't tell you that), but he was doing a superdooper job. I was so proud of him!

We crossed the pass and made it to Hwy 101 -- the main superslab that takes us home -- just as it became completely dark. I'm happy to announce that the Nikwax on my jacket did its job, and I had nary a wet spot at all even after 100 miles of deluge. So that was our trip. Peter was a remarkably good sport through getting up early, running out of gas, freezing, not feeling well, and riding in the rain. Though he did sort of get a look of terror when I asked where we were going next....

Here's a map of our whole route

Trip stats (aka "gotta love the GPS"):
- 3 days
- 1233 miles
- My max speed: 109mph (hey, it's the desert! )
- Moving average: 65mph
- Moving time: 18 hours, 57 minutes