Mojave Desert and Death Valley Ride – Day 5

Road from Aguereberry Point

Road from Aguereberry Point overlooking Death Valley

This morning we packed up our tents and other gear and left Base Camp Alpha. We headed for Death Valley and Furnace Creek Ranch.

First stop was at the ghost town of Ballarat, CA. Ballarat was founded in 1896 as a supply town to mines in the Panamint Mountains. It once had 400 to 500 residents along with seven saloons, three hotels, a Wells Fargo station, a post office, a school, a jail and a morgue. It now has two residents that run the general store to sell drinks, snacks and trinkets to tourists. There is not much left of the town. I especially liked the “Jail, Morgue, and Motel if Vacant.” Ballarat also has a cemetery where we found the grave of Seldom Seen Slim whose gravestone reads “Me Lonely? Hell No! I’m Half Coyote and Half Wild Burro.”

 


 

Leaving Ballarat we took a gravel road that tracked along the Panamint Mountains to Wildrose Road. We then took Wildrose Road to the Charcoal Kilns. The Charcoal Kilns are large beehive shaped structures. Each kiln made from rock is about 25 feet tall and 30 feet in circumference. They were used to burn logs to create charcoal used as fuel in local silver-lead smelters. We stopped for lunch and a short break.

From Charcoal Kilns we continued up Wildrose Road to a road leading up to Aguereberry Point. Aguereberry Point is a nice scenic overlook of Death Valley. We took a group photo, then continued on our way toward Death Valley. Wildrose Road took us back to Highway 190 near Stovepipe Wells. After a quick stop for gas, we rode into Furnace Creek Ranch to check in to our rooms.

After checkin, we did a short ride to Badwater. Badwater is the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. It consists of a salt flats and a pool of water that is so salty it is undrinkable. Hence the name Badwater. On the way back from Badwater we rode through Artists Canyon. This was an amazing beautiful ride through a narrow canyon with diversely colored canyon walls. I assume that the person who named it thought it looked like an artists palette.

Back in Furnace Creek Ranch we had time for a quick cleanup, then went for a drink at the Corkscrew Saloon. Then for a nice dinner at the Forty Niner Cafe. Unfortunately for some of our group, they were out of much of the menu.

 

Related Posts

Day 4: More Mojave Desert riding, and a trip to Darwin, California

Day 5: Furnace Creek Ranch

Day 6: Death Valley ride through Titus Canyon, Scotty’s Castle and Ubehebe Crater

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