deathvalley offroad day4

Day four: Stone adopt-a-cabin to owensdrylake shack.  112 miles.


Another great morning to be alive!
Off and running before the sun we quickly climb higher on marginal roads.  Rocky ledges, cliffs, and a shakey bridge help get the juices flowing.  We give a few revs to those late night revelers as we pass the briggs cabin.
 
Side note: the briggs cabin was done up nice with lush landscaping, fountains, grape trellaces, and once again those giant fig trees.  It's certainly the first choice cabin up in these parts. 

Chicken rock and this bridge are not bad on a bike.  Cabins below.  Heard someone rolled off here just recently - thankfully no serious injury!


Willows and spring.  Must be a donkey hang-out.

 
We must be back in the DVNP city limits!  Sadly, this back country cabin doesn't stand a chance.


Getting up about as high as we can, this road connects south park to pleasant. 


A bit steep, towards the top the bikes would rather wheelie than climb, but we managed.





Shortly coming down Pleasant canyon we come across another official DV cabin. 


 It's doing better than the last one we passed but still needs help. 

 

Down, down, down through Pleasant Canyon.  Eventually leaving DVNP and back to a land where people are allowed more interaction with our heritage. 



Water is forced to the surface in this section of Pleasant canyon. 


On the way down we passed a couple jeepers, a handful of quadded bird hunters, campers, and what looked like an on again off again mining camp.  Lots of people out and about - nothing wrong with that! 

Rolled into Ballarat a little early maybe 8:00 a.m. and I wasn't sure if Rocky was awake - but he showed up shortly along with potlicker for a quick reunion and he was off quick because his food was on the fire.  Before he left we slipped him $5 for two high fructose carbonated beverages.
 
Potlicker eyed us and I warned my brother he doesn't like bikes.  On time he clamped down on my foot - happened to be wearing boots but I could feel the pressure of his teeth seeking a puncture.  No time to dally, we got moving, needed food. 
 
Nice to see the BLM got their signage corrected.  Looked around for the sign factory, must have been down a different dirt road.  A couple years back the Jeffery Pine Journal had a member bragging that his favorite thing to was posting anti-OHV signage in Panamint Valley.  I'd suggest brushing up on map reading before heading out with arm-loads of carsonite signage.


 We flew to Panamint Springs, didn't want to miss out on breakfast.  The cook was crusty, my order of "sunny-side down" pissed him off just a little bit.  Grew up watching the 3 stooges and thought that it was a legitimate request - at least I didn't add the final request of "but don't flip them."
 
Anyhow he embarrassed his wait staff by calling us both out as dumb assholes!
 
Rule #1 - the cook is always right!
 
We tipped heavily as we received a huge discount, waitress kept apologizing but we didn't care much, makes for a great time.  Plus we know all about the crusty cantankerous types, the eastern sierra is littered with them.  And we thank them for the music.  Breakfast A+
 
Tanks and stomachs full off up Darwin wash we climb.  We turn down to China spring - just a quick stop at the fish pond and uh oh, someone is out there on the concrete pad doing some yoga moves.  We snap a couple photos and leave the area as quietly as possible.



Town of Darwin, couple times have attempted to buy property here but never works out for one reason or another.  In the distance we get lost in the hills, drive into military land (accidentally, and can sense the scopes sighting in), and come across a wild horse fight -- but not necessarily in that order.


 Doesn't take long to get back on the right path.  We looked at Centinnal wash but it went in the wrong direction for us. 

 
Our first look at the not so dry owens lake. 



 Keeler dunes near the Keeler dump.  Here the old road gets swallowed up by sand.  More signs are up - don't want the sand to get wrinkled. 


Guilty of sand wrinkling, I could swear the road is somewhere underneath.


One time we broke down in Keeler back in the late 90's. (a rear wheel fell off the buggy)  At the first sight of trouble the inhabitants of the home we were stuck in front of came out wearing white flowing robes and offered up help, services, and a chalice of red wine.  "Carson" was one of the names - now we always drive by Carson's house and remember.
 
Keeler also had a nudist's colony of sorts which we had the pleasure of visiting before it was dismantled, buried, or otherwise made to disappear without a trace.  It was on the outskirts of town, had a lot of live bamboo fencing, concrete lined pools and fountains, and open air railroad cars with hanging doors of canvas fire hose which when filled cooled down the interior living spaces.  Paradise on the edge of a harsh desert and equally inhospitable lake.
   
Several miles later we make it to our re-supply/rendezvous location.  7 acres of lakefront property - unfortunately Los Angeles drained all the water away leaving us high and dry.  All that survived was this Cerro Gordo era miner's shack. Some big wasps and one large lizard were holed up and rousted out.


The kitchen is open. 



 Have you ever touched a leezard? 


 Our gracious pit crew provided a few pounds of carnitas decked out with all the trimmings: tortillas, salsa, onions, cilantro, grilled jalapenos. 


Horseshoes. 


Dinner is on.


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