Mojave Desert and Death Valley Ride – Day 4

Old Toll Road from Darwin to Panamint Springs

Old Toll Road from Darwin to Panamint Springs

I thought yesterday was my most fun riding day, ever. Well, today was even better. And, we are not even to Death Valley, yet.

Our riding group split up today. Most of the riders headed back to Raw-Hyde Adventures. Only seven of us are continuing on to Death Valley. Today was some local riding around Trona and Base Camp Alpha. We don’t start our ride to Death Valley until tomorrow.

We started the day with a nice breakfast, and by 9:00 am we were on our motorcycles heading for Quarry Road. Quarry Road is a rocky gravel trail up into the Panamint Mountains. From the top of Quarry Road we could look west into Searles Valley, and east into Panamint Valley. We then headed back to Base Camp Alpha for an early lunch. We would have a long afternoon.

 


 

After lunch we jumped back onto the Trona Wildrose Road to Highway 190. We took Highway 190 towards Panamint Springs. We stopped at a scenic overlook near Panamint Springs. It was a very beautiful view of Panamint Valley. We could see the winding, climbing road we came up on. We could also see a little of the backroad we would travel on to go back down. For now, though, we continued along Highway 190. We stopped for gas in Panamint Springs, then continued up until we reached the exit for Darwin.

Darwin is an interesting little town. It has a population of less than 50 people. The homes are a mix of trailers and dilapidated old houses. It doesn’t look very prosperous. Most of the inhabitants seem to be either artists trying to make a few bucks selling trinkets to tourists, or people trying to escape from society. Then there are the few dilapidated homes with Porsche 911s, Ferraris or Cadillacs sitting in the back yard. One can only imagine what these people do for a living. There is a documentary about Darwin that I hope to see at some time.

From Darwin, we headed even further into the back country and onto Old Toll Road. This was by far the most challenging riding so far. Old Toll Road was mostly an old gravel trail from Darwin down to Panamint Springs. Steep and very rocky at times. Especially the section called the Waterfall. There were a few crashes, but fortunately I made it through in one piece. However, I did learn a valuable lesson. I had forgot to turn off my ABS when we left Darwin. And, the ABS did what it is supposed to do, keep my wheels from skidding and locking up. Unfortunately, on a steep, gravel trail with very little traction, this also means it keeps you from stopping.

Once back into Panamint Springs, we filled up with gas and headed back toward Base Camp Alpha. A guy at the gas station suggested we try a nice sandy trail rather than the highway back. It was a nice suggestion. However, after about 100 yards, one sandy washout, and three crashes, we turned around and headed back for the highway.

Once back to Base Camp Alpha we had a nice dinner, and a quiet time around the campfire. I was exhausted, but it was a wonderful day.

 

Related Posts

Day 3 – Quarry Road to Panamint Mountains, Panamint Springs and Darwin

Day 5 – Base Camp Alpha and Mojave Desert to Death Valley

 

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