Jump to content

The long coast


Recommended Posts

No, no, no, not the ocean kind of coast. Last weekend (Thurs. evening through Sun.) three of us went out to Death Valley for a few days of camping/riding/hiking. I rode the RT (about a 400 mile jaunt from central CA by Santa Barbara) while Phil and Doug trailered an XR650 and a KLR. It was dark by the time I reached Lake Isabella and followed a rather speedy car over Walker Pass which really helped as the curves were lit well ahead of the turn. 395 up to Olancha was uninteresting, but effective. The one hundred miles to Furnace Creek campground was great fun. I’ve got an HID high beam that lights up the road between eight and eleven seconds ahead at 60 mph, depending on the angle and color of the surface. A few times I stopped to look at the night sky, no moon, and lots of stars. I rode behind the high beam all the way to Furnace Creek, not one car passed the entire ride. Friday we took a tour of the Furnace Creek Inn, and then while the dual-sports took off down the Westside road, I visited the middle part of the park. Saturday morning I took off early to get some photos from Dante’s View while the sun was just coming up. A few miles off the 190 on the way to Dante’s I crest a small rise, and the bike dies. All the dash lights are off except for the battery light. The clock never resets nor did the GPS go out. This happened for a few seconds last September but I could not duplicate the condition in the garage, hence I did not fix the problem then. This time, a few turns of the key did not reenergize the machine. I visually checked fuses, prodded wires, still no go. Camp is just over fifteen miles away, no cell phone coverage, and no other traffic. I push the bike to the top of the little rise and start to ride it down. There is enough drag through the drivetrain that I rarely top 32mph. I’m trying to guess where I’ll end up stopping and how far I’ll have to walk, yes, I carry water on the bike. I coast, and coast, and coast, and finally roll to a stop right in front of the Furnace Creek visitors’ center, just over fifteen miles! Our campsite is about two hundred yards away, and even that is downhill. Where else on earth can you break down that far from home and safely coast all the way back? Phil’s shifter lever on the KLR cracked just as they topped the Beatty cutoff, so their ride was also cut short, but he too made it back quite easily (he just couldn’t get into first gear). For the first time in my life I’m on a ride where someone has a trailer. What great luck all around. The entire breakdown episode took maybe thirty minutes out of the vacation. Here are some pics so you all will know it actually happened.



















And no, I did not sit on the bike the entire way home in riding gear making motor noises with my mouth.







Link to comment


WOW, that was a long coast, perhaps a record. It is good to know that you made it there and back. Were you able to find the source of the problem?

Link to comment
...A few miles off the 190 on the way to Dante’s I crest a small rise, and the bike dies...
Good thing you weren't heading to Badwater instead! :clap:



Link to comment

I had been at Badwater just after sunset the day before. Anywhere between home and Death Valley two days before, especially in the dark between Bakersfield and Lake Isabella would have been a real bummer. Bigger picture, the only location to have the bike die that would have been less inconvenient would be in the driveway. As far as the problem, from others on this "wealth-of-knowledge" board, my suspicions are the wire from the ignition switch at the first zip tie, or mote than likely the electrical portion of the ignition switch. I'll start the trouble shooting this weekend.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...