Death Valley '05 a great success!
Date: Sunday, May 08 @ 22:43:03 CDT
Topic: Rally News





By Mark Miller


I just returned from the annual CBX meet at Death Valley out here in the wild, wild west, what a great time! No tickets, no mishaps, just plain ole fun!!

My trip started on Friday,Apr.29th,got off at 11:30 AM and rode to the house to pack up the Wing for the run to Ridgecrest, CA for the first night's stay at the Quality Inn (now the Comfort Inn) in town there, and saw Andy Green, one of our longtime CBX owners, on the freeway headed north out of town on his bike---fancy meeting him here! I buzzed him with the Wing and hollered, "See ya in Ridgecrest!" and headed for the house........poor Andy didn't know who the nutcase on the new Gold Wing was at first........!!

After cramming all the stuff in the bike & car, we all headed out for the greater Ridgecrest area 150 mi. to the north and I had a dynamite run on the Wing (yes, I succumbed to more modern technology!) and arrived just in time to get checked in and get reacquainted with the West Coast gang. We all migrated to the pool area with a gorgeous day on hand and temps in the mid-70's F., and a ton of cold refreshments to indulge in. Dinnertime rolled around later that afternoon and all of us invaded one of the local Mexican restaurants in town (known more for the free-flowing Margaritas than food..........!!!)and ate & drank our fill.

Upon awakening the next morning to more clear skies and pleasantly cool temps in the 60's,all of the crew prepped for the run to Death Valley Nat'l Park and the Furnace Creek Ranch Resort, and our indomitable "Deerslayer" Darrell Peck discovered a potential problem with the sprocket drive/hub on his '82's back wheel---a quick phone call to the house before his wife Tammy left to meet everyone in DV got the parts needed and, after they arrived a few hours later, Darrell and his '82 CBX (with a brand-new engine, no less!), were back on the road along with the rest of us.

The run up to Death Valley took us on SR178 thru the town of Trona CA., a dying little town next to a borax plant and a dry lake-----the place is always creepy driving thru it! It kind of looks like meth labs took over the borax business in this place.......!!!Upon exiting the Searles Valley and Trona, we climbed out and topped the hill, then headed down the curvy stretch of road and leveled out into the Panamint Valley and a straight stretch of road that has been known for top end tests in the past. I got a good chance to open the Wing up and let it stretch its legs at well over the century mark, jeez! What a smooth ride even at speed! We all traversed the valley's 30 miles of road in about maybe 20 minutes and hooked it up SR190 east over the rugged face of the Panamint Range and some killer bitchen twisty stuff over Towne Pass at 4900 ft. elevation (still a few patches of snow on the tip-top of the surrounding mountainsides!), then descended down the grade into Stovepipe Wells at 5ft. elevation above sea level and a stop to count heads and get a drink of something wet & cool. It was reported at that time that one of us got some airtime with a Gold Wing coming down the up & down hills road section into Death Valley......reports were unsubstantiated at that time.

After stretching out and swapping some bench racing stories, we all headed into Furnace Creek and got our room reservations squared away and I headed for the swimming pool with my son John in tow to soak away the day's aches & pains in the 88 degree water of the mineral water swimming pool........dangg, that sure relaxes a person! Dinner was held at the Wrangler restaurant (great food but overpriced like everything else there...you're about 100 miles from nowhere there.....!) and a good time & meal was had by all. We all adjourned to the huge grass area in back of the lodging for more bench racing/BS'ing/liberal alcohol consumption and another soak in the pool till 11pm when they tossed our asses out for the night.

The next day brought more sun after the previous evenings' windy conditions and cloud cover, and some of us had to depart for home (work obligations and such!). Those of us who stayed jumped on our scoots and made a run south thru the park, stopping for the obligatory group shot at Badwater with the snowcapped Panamint Range in the background, and then out the south end of the park via SR178 to Shoshone, CA and a short refreshment/piss break and east to the NV border and NV rte.372 into Pahrump, NV., a growing town on the other side of the mountains from the Las Vegas metro area......beautiful view of the Spring Mountains and snowcapped 11,918 ft. Mt.Charleston dominating the eastern horizon----what a gorgeous day and view!

A splash of gas for all and we were on the road again up SR160 in NV., up to US 95 and then north to Lathrop Wells and another short break for liquids and 7th inning stretch time. We saddled up and jammed it up the highway into Beatty, NV., another small desert town in the middle of nowhere with more highway signs giving directions to the local courthouse and sheriff's office than anything else.......makes you kinda wonder.......state revenue could be an issue here too.......so we gingerly headed out of town west on SR374 past Rhyolite, an old mining spot, and back into CA and Death Valley NP over a 4000 ft. pass and down to 180 ft. below sea level and Furnace Creek----pool time!!! We did a 210 mile loop and Darrell Peck's '82 and George Zanuzoski's '81 CBX's did excellent in keeping time with the assortment of Wings,FJR's,ST13's,Concours' and BMW stuff along for the ride! (Rod Libby did say modern technology would be in attendance....!)

Dinner that evening was left up to everyone's discretion, so we had some dinner with Noel Mechelin and his lady Julie and son Kyle, then they went for a putt on Jeff Ellmore's Wing and we hung out some more. I took Noel's ZX-12R out for a quick checkout putt after dark, what a powerhouse bike that thing is! It would break the tire loose in lower gears and get wheelie prone, so discretion was exercised with its ability to overdrive the high beam in no time.......very fast but handlebars on most modern sportbikes are somewhere between purgatory and hell....
So, Monday rolled around and we all got up, said our goodbyes, and loaded up and got on our scoots and headed out for home with a perfect 75 degree day on tap thru the desert and the descent into the maelstrom of the greater Los Angeles metro area and our Burbank house. The Wing performed as advertised with mileage reads in the high 30's and no need for premium fuel either! Another great rally is now in the books!

Special thanx to Rod & Angela Libby for setting up the '05 DV rally and providing a ton of refreshments for all,and to all those in attendance---myeslf and my wife Donna and my son John, Noel Mechelin [Kawie ZX-12R] (his 82 is getting repowered soon) and his wife Julie & son Kyle, Darrell Peck('82 X) and his wife Tammy, Terry Ward-Llewellyn and his wife Susan (thanx to Susan for driving support and bringing up all the ladies, and to Julie Mechelin for delivering Darrell's sprocket hub too!), George Zanuzoski ('81 X)and his wife Pat,Andy Green ('82 X), Jeff Horta and Pete Wittstruck (on BMW GS's), and a friend of theirs on a V45 Magna Honda, "Dyno" Dan Clark ('83 CX650 Turbo) and his riding buddy Jean-Paul (BMW), Jeff & Ginny Ellmore (ST1300 & Gold Wing), Eric Schreiner (Gold Wing), Kim David & family (drove in), Pete Ruff and his lady Anne (drove his red Vette), John Doak (who flew out from Maryland and rode his ST1300 down from WA to be here), Darrell Peck's brother Brian and his wife & 2 girls (drove up), and Dave "DD" Foster (Kawie Concourse) rounded out the crew in attendance. If anyone got left out, you know who you are and my apologies to anyone I missed. Pics to follow in the gallery, stay tuned!

See you all at the next meet--Carson City's coming up the last weekend of July and I plan to be there!









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