Death Valley '09 - Pre Planning
Total: 705 miles
Estimated travel time: 13 hours
[Tuesday - March
It's all part of the preparation work to get going on Friday. I'm
sitting at the dealer waiting for the run-in service to be
completed. The 8GS so far has more than exceeded my
expectations as an all around bike. It's fast, nimble, cheap to
maintain (e.g. run-in service cost an entire $108 compared to any R
bike at approximately $300+), and way fun to ride. So far,
everything associated with the 8GS has "economical" written all over
it. That's fine. I'm all for lower maintenance cost.
Once I get baby back, it's off to install aux lights. This will
be needed if we get caught riding in DV's pitch black. Hopefully
not, but you can never know.
The packing process has already started. I've identified the bed
roll I'm going to use, found my tent, got a new sleeping bag stuff bag,
bought a kitchen sink... screech! A kitchen sink? Yes, I bought
a kitchen sink to take along on the trip. No no, it's not the
kitchen sink you're typically familiar with. Yes a GS can carry a
porcelain or stainless steel kitchen sink, but why would anybody want
do that? REI has this cool collapsible kitchen sink (e.g.
basically a large soft water pail) that is the size of a large hockey
puck when tucked away and expands to 20 liters when expanded.
This will be good for washing eat ware and maybe even some washing up
while in the middle of nowhere. Of course you have to find a good
water source when in DV. It's not a good idea to just use any DV
open water source. This is mostly due to the mining activities
back in the Gold Rush days. The heavy mining introduced a lot of
heavy metal contamination into the water sources. Yes, bringing a
water purifier to DV serves no purpose. It basically comes down
to bottled water for drinking and hotel/campsite water source for other
uses. Of course this is living on the safe side. being
adventurous is a whole other story. One that could potentially
prove to be disastrous to your health. As for me, sticking to the
safe side is perfectly fine.
Knowing how things go in the past, I'll be packing into the late hours
of the night. To
the point where I'll get 4 hours of sleep and then have to rely on
substance abuse (e.g. coffee) to get me going. That's
alright. It's all part of the journey. It's been at least
4-5 months since the last long trip (e.g. Mammoth-Yosemite-Fresno)
I'm just simply way eager to rip up the tarmac. One of our goals
time around is Fairview. Yes, we're heading back to Lake Isabella
in the hopes of finding that elusive world famous trout fillet,
don't want to be disappointed so some hard searching is in the
books. If we don't manage Fairview, at least we know an excellent
Mexican restaurant in Kernville.
Is it Friday yet? I need to get movin'!
[Wednesday - March
Yesterday's attempt to mount the PIAA and TrailTech lights on the fork
was a disaster. At least I had enough foresight to see that it
won't work an abandoned the idea sooner than later (e.g. before taking
the bike for a ride). Now it's just one more prep day before the
heavy duty packing beings. I have to get the lights on the bike
but I'm not sure how to do it. In the end, I decided to take the
beak off and attempt to created a light bracket similar to what I see
done by TouraTech and others for the 8GS. Well check this out, it
works. Not only that, it's actually extremely simple to
fabricate. All I did was to take a solid straight piece of stock
1" x 1/8" (thick) aluminum as whatever length necessary, drilled two
holes for the top beak screws, created two more short pieces of
aluminum with a small screw hole and a large light bolt notch, and put
it all together. Who would have thought it would have been so
simple. Not only that, it's didn't cost very much. Of
course it's not necessarily the prettiest thing on the face of this
planet, but it works really well. The two short pieces of
aluminum helps brace the light and prevent it from bouncing all over
the place. Now I'm set. It's just a matter of running the
electrical, putting the switch on the handle bar, and adjusting the
lights to be at the level of the low beam.
In the end it took a total of four hours, because the wires to the AP-1
slipped off of the fuse box and caused me to think some other aspect of
my wiring was wrong, but it all works. Really well.
Actually too well. The lights are so good at out shinning
everything that I can't use it in the city. Plus, any on coming
car will be blinded by these lights due to the height of the 8GS.
Oh well, at least we'll be ready if we have to ride in DV in the
dark. Now it's off to bed for this grease monkey.
[Thursday - March
At last, Thursday night. Now I have to put everything on the
bike. Since this is the first time I'm doing heavy packing for
the 8GS, there are a lot of unknowns. One in particular is the
fuel range of the bike. Do I need to bring the fuel
can? Should I bring the cooler? How to I put the cooler on
the bike and still fit the sleeping bag, tent, and bed roll? So
many questions and so many unknowns. I start the process of
prepping the 2 1/2 gallon fuel can for packing. I created a mesh
net for the can using some nylon rope. It looks good and should
be functional. However, when I attempted to put the can on the
bike, there is no place for it to go. How frustrating. I
need a cargo rack in the back. Then I attempted to mount the
cooler with the gas can behind it. It seems to work, until I
attempt to put the tent, sleeping bag, and bed roll into the mix.
Oh what a waste of time. In between trying all these
configurations, I also had to search for my electronic equipment.
Where are my Cannon D30 rechargeable batteries? Where are all the
SD cards for the POV.1? Where are the batteries for the Cannon
Elura 100? Ack! They're not charged. In the end I
ended up using the Marsee Bavaria bag, yes the one originally from the
12GS, to carry a lot of this stuff. It saved my day/night.
Now I also have a location to put the lantern. Oh darn, I still
have to put white gas into all of the MSR fuel canisters. So much
to do and I've wasted so much time trying to mount the gas can and
By the time I'm done it's 1:30AM. I knew it. Now I have to
rely on substance abuse to get me going tomorrow. Oh well, it is
what it is and I have to go through this agony because it is the first
time on the 8GS. sighing aside, I might as well get as much rest
as I can before the sun comes up.
Death Valley '09 - Day 1
Death Valley '09 - Day 2
Death Valley '09 - Day 3
Written on: March 20, 2009
Last modified: March 20, 2009