Death Valley '09 - Pre Planning

Total: 705 miles
Estimated travel time: 13 hours

[Tuesday - March 10, 2009]

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 to 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) so I'm just simply way eager to rip up the tarmac.  One of our goals this time around is Fairview.  Yes, we're heading back to Lake Isabella in the hopes of finding that elusive world famous trout fillet, again.  I 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 11, 2009]

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 12, 2009]

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 cooler.  Arg...

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