Every spring our riding group, My2Wheels.com, gets together in the little town of Goldpoint, NV to camp and ride. It’s a great place to base camp because there are several old sites to see and places to ride in every direction within a couple hundred miles. The riding isn’t technical or challenging, but just getting out with friends and adventure riding is just what I needed after spending most of the winter and early spring working on our Sprinter van build.
Thursday night, my buddy Mike and I headed out of town. It was my first trip in the Sprinter van since much of the build was completed. It’s still a little ways away from being completed, but it’s usable and I need to ride! I successfully loaded both my KTM 500 EXC-F and KTM 690 Enduro R into the van along with all my gear, food and 20 gallons of water in the tank. Since many people have asked just how I fit both bikes in the van, here is how.
Headed north on the 95, the weather was horrible. There were 40+ mph winds and occasional downpours of rain. The Sprinter was doing well though. I managed to keep it straight despite its high profile.
Once the highway turned to two lanes, I was worried the loaded down van wouldn’t have enough power to pass a semi-truck that was doing about 60 mph. I inched my way out and saw no cars for miles and figured it was a good time to see how she did. To my surprise, it picked right up to 75 mph and passed the truck even with the nasty headwind! I was impressed with the little 2.1L twin-stage turbo engine. With that 7-speed trans, it really is an awesome powertrain.
I stopped in Amargosa Valley to wait for Mike since he got delayed leaving town. Although the back of the van was stuffed with motorcycles, the swivel seats that I installed proved to be a very awesome feature. I went into the gas station and grabbed some coffee and snacks, then swiveled the passenger seat around to stretch out and kick my feet up on the “pottoman” (or van can).
After a quick visit to the bar to say hello to everyone, it was late and I called it a night. Although many things in the van are temporary and there are still no finished walls, it was nice and cozy in there.
Friday: Goldpoint to Lone Pine
Friday Morning, rise and shine. It’s time to ride! I fired up the Jetboil and made some coffee.
The weather was better but it was still a bit breezy. After some breakfast, we quickly geared up and lined up to ride. Today we would be riding into Lone Pine, CA.
Heading out of Goldpoint…
Near Oriental Wash…
Not too far down the trail at Death Valley Rd, many riders were peeling layers of clothing off. It seems we all overdressed for the weather. We also had to fix Mike’s clutch lever because of a bolt that backed out.
Time to roll! (photo by B Hayashi)
Next stop, Ubehebe Crater!
The volcanic crater is a half a mile wide and 500-777 feet deep.
I’m getting good at my levitation. (photo courtesy of B Hayashi)
Another popular Death Valley landmark along the way was Teakettle Junction.
Brian snapped a great group photo of everyone. That smart guy brought a mini-tripod.
Brian led us up a really fun trail called Quackenbush Mine Rd. Shown here in this picture is David M. I hope to be riding half as good as him when I am his age. He’s 81!
We waited for the rest of the group to show up. A couple of the big bikes took a detour, so we waited and I relaxed on a comfortable triangular rock.
The GPS led us to a trail that was designated as Wilderness, so we ended up doing a little exploring.
Overlooking Panamint Valley…
Some nearby cows…
As we headed down the road, another group of adventure riders asked Brian for some insight on the trail that we came from and if their bikes could make it. I found that a bit funny. You could have driven a damn Prius down that road.
We took Saline Valley road to Highway 136 and into Lone Pine.
We stopped for gas at the coolest gas station ever. They had goats!
After some heavy goat petting, we headed to a little cafe in Lone Pine for some lunch.
While at lunch Brian and Shawn took pictures of orange cameras using orange cameras.
During lunch, we noticed we were short a rider. Darrell was MIA. We called and texted him, but hadn’t heard back. We figured he went to McDonald’s instead because that’s how he rolls. He likes his money. But then, just as we were paying for lunch, he called. He mentioned he was in Bishop, 57 miles down the paved highway. We were all very confused why he kept going. He said he looked at every restaurant in Lone Pine and there were no motorcycles out front.
We took a quick sightseeing adventure through Movie Rd in Alabama Hills.
We regrouped with Darrell in Big Pine and where we took 168 to Death Valley Rd. We passed by the Eureka Dunes in the distance.
We arrived at Crankshaft Junction and waited for the rest of the group. Darrell, Matt, and Julie showed up to inform us that Big Al’s KTM 350 had quit running about 3 miles back. Brian and I headed back to see if we could figure it out. We checked everything. It seemed to have no spark from what we could tell. So I finally made use of this pull cord tow strap that I’ve been carrying for years. It worked great. It’s about the thickness of a shoestring with about a 1000lb working load. Brian snapped some pics as I towed Al to Crankshaft Junction. While we were on our way, the group phoned Tom back at camp and had him head there with a pickup truck.
We loaded Al’s bike up and he and Tom headed back while the rest of us road back via Oriental Wash.
The sun was going down and we arrived in Goldpoint just slightly late for dinner, but not too late! It was a long day with 277 miles logged on my 690.
Not much partying went on Friday night. Mike and I kicked back in the van, snacked on some junk food, and had some good laughs.
Saturday: Goldpoint to Tonopah
Rise and shine. Time to ride.
Mike was considering purchasing this as his vacation home.
We headed down for breakfast, then met up with everyone who was joining in on the ride to Tonopah.
Headed north through some twisty, fun double track.
Mike and I were all smiles after that section. (photo by B Hayashi)
North of Silver Peak we headed up a pass. There was a great view from up there.
It was 7700 feet at the top and chilly!
Heading north, the snow covered mountains were a nice view. I was happy to be out riding again and loving every minute of that 500. (photo by B Hayashi)
We stopped at The Crossing
Changing directions towards Tonopah, we blasted down this dirt road.
The next section would be a bit rough so Mike decided to remove that tailbone killer from his XR. Every time he’d hit a big bump it would hit his back.
Then we crossed a dry lake bed that had a crusty top layer and a soft layer underneath.
It was fun to slalom the bushes.
Then the dry lake bed turned into an old ATV trail or raised berm which had tons of washouts.
We pulled into Tonopah for lunch and cold beer. We found the perfect place.
The Tap Room / Tonopah Brewing Company had a family BBQ special. We ordered 3 of them and we all grubbed! The food and beer were outstanding.
We fueled up before leaving town.
Not far out of town Brian led us down the softest stretch of road I have ever been on. Bikes were dropping like flies and we were all over the place! It was a fun challenge.
About an hour or so south of Tonopah, a couple of wild horses joined in on our ride.
Saturday was a bit warmer than the rest. I sat under the only shade I could find when we waited at turns.
Shawn watered the desert.
The desert is such an awesome place.
The rest of the group arrived and we hit the final stretch towards Goldpoint.
Back at Goldpoint, I took a much needed cool shower after another 200 miles of dirt and dust. My pop-up enclosure and outside shower proved to be very handy. Afterward, I hung out and I gave a couple van tours.
After dinner, we celebrated Shawn’s birthday. His wife sent a pinata filled with booze and candy.
The sun went down and we all sat around the fire talking crap and sharing stories.
It was time to call it a night.
The next morning I woke up feeling the effects of all those cocktails. Mike’s air filter was plugged solid anyways, so we just packed it up and headed home. Goldpoint 2018 was a great trip!
Sprinter Van Report
I was very pleased with how the van performed. The twin-stage turbo powered 2.1L 4 cylinder proved to be a great little motor. Although the major headwind killed my mileage going up, I still managed to get 17 MPG with a full load. Coming home she got a respectable 21 MPG and had plenty of power out on the open road. The size of the 144″ van is perfect. It parks nicely and still has plenty of room to be comfortable and haul all our stuff. I am looking forward to finishing up the build within the next month or two. So stay tuned for more on that.
Even more pics and stories can be found on the official ride report on my2wheels here: http://www.my2wheels.com/forum/showthread.php?14389-Gold-Point-2018