Trip Of A Lifetime: The Finale

Cycle Source Honeymoon Run

Article And Photos By: Heather Callen

Originally Published In The December 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

When I left you last month I was soaking in the spring fed pool at Furnace Creek Resort while we waited for Scott of Custom Cycle Rescue (www.customcyclerescue.com) to come save our sorry assess. If you are ever in Vegas and need your bike towed, you’ve got to call Scott. He provides amazing service, fair rates, and is a super nice guy to boot. Check him out on Facebook or on his website. Anyway, back to the story: he showed up about three hours after we called and we reluctantly dragged ourselves out of the pool and back to reality. Scott expertly loaded our poor old Pearl while Chris and I climbed into the cab of the blissfully air conditioned truck to make the drive to Vegas. Kiwi followed behind for the 120 miles of blacktop on his trusty ’47 Indian. We were offered some incredible resources upon our arrival in Vegas. Thanks to Kiwi, the plan was to drop the bike off with one of his pals, Joey, until another buddy, “Aussie Sean” could pick it up for repairs. Come to find out, it’s really a small world. Chris and I had met Joey at the previous Vegas Bike Fest when we had breakfast at his restaurant, for our broken girl then whisked us off to Rocky’s for a great meal.

I should mention that while soaking our steamy butts in the pool I had placed a call to our dear friend Goose, to let him know we would be making an unexpected stop in Vegas. Unfortunately, there would be no Goose sighting in Vegas that night; he was out of town on business. But that didn’t stop him from showing us some good old fashioned hospitality! Goose, just happened to work at EagleRider in Las Vegas. Goose knew that Chris and I weren’t the type to accept defeat and that we were getting short on time so he offered us our pick of any bike on the EagleRider lot so we could get a little more riding in before our journey ended. Wow, just wow, we are blessed with some good people in our life! But, I wonder if he still would have let us take a bike if he knew we had every intention of finishing what we started…Death Valley! Yep, we were going back into the inferno! With full belly’s and a loose plan, we grabbed a cheap hotel room for the night so we could be up fairly early to pick up our next victim, um…I mean loaner bike. All the folks at EagleRider were more than accommodating and got us set up with a shiny new Ultra Classic and we hit the road.

 

Upon reaching the landmark Death Valley sign…for the second time…this time in the day light, we made the obligatory stop for a photo. From there we headed to the first “tourist attraction” titled Dante’s View. The road leading to Dante was undeniably awesome, 14 miles of twists and turns that climb to an elevation of 5500’. Once at the top we overlooked Badwater Basin, 5,782 feet below us. Um yeah you read that right, we climbed to 5500 feet so that means Badwater Basin actually sits 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in North America. From there we hopped back on HWY 190 and headed to Zabriskie Point, which is surrounded by beautifully colored badlands that makes one think that Death Valley is anything but dead. As beautiful as it was, it was tough parking the bikes at the base and making a short uphill trek to take in the view. With the temps still climbing, that short little walk may as well have been a mile! As was the day before it was hot as hell, but today it seemed to be catching up with me a bit. Thankfully the guys completely understood and didn’t complain one bit when we decided it might be time to seek a bit of relief at the welcoming pool at Furnace Creek Resort. We didn’t stay long but it was just the refresher we needed, well that and the ice cream we grabbed on the way out. We scarfed those suckers down quick, no need to worry about a brain freeze here, it was gone too fast!

Saddled up once again, we followed our trusty tour guide, Kiwi to Artist’s Drive, a single lane oneway road that twisted and rolled through multi-hued volcanic hills. The light cast by the late afternoon sun brought out so many natural colors that the beauty completely surrounded us. Unfortunately, because we had arrived in the valley later than desired we had to forgo several attractions such as the Devil’s Golf Course and the Natural Bridge. Before making the trip back to Las Vegas Mike really wanted us to see Badwater Basin up close and personal. It was only a few mile detour and we couldn’t say no. So, here we go down into the depths of the Valley. We got down to the lowest point just before dark set in but the darkness falls quick when you are at the lowest of lows.

Looking way up the cliff side to the little white spec that designated where sea level was, made you realize that if the skies were to open up with historic rains we were screwed. The place would flood quicker than a snow cone could melt in hell. (Guess what, those historic rains hit Death Valley just a month and a half later and caused irreparable damage in some areas!) With that thought in mind and the days light gone we decided it was time to head back to civilization. We got on the road and headed to the nearest “town” Shoshone, so we could gas up before making the ride to Baker. This is when Mike informed us that it’s not really a town but a gas station, hotel, and bar and the gas station closed at 9pm. Our calculations had us arriving in the one pump town at 9:10pm…great, just great. Keeping this in the back of our minds we risked throttle hand cramps and sped off into the night. Sure enough, the gas station was closed tighter than a kiwi in a sheep (Mike I found the quote online and couldn’t resist, love you!), but thanks to modern conveniences the pumps were still on and they readily accepted our credit cards.

Hallelujah, we were going to make it to real civilization. When we arrived in Baker CA at 10:30pm the world’s biggest thermometer read a whopping 102°. We had a late dinner at the Mad Greek café and feeling a bit rested and refreshed we reluctantly said goodbye to our dear friend and amazing tour guide. Unfortunately, here is where we had to go our separate ways, Mike had to get back to Kiwi Indian and we had to go back to Las Vegas. You see, the day before Chris and I had to make a hard decision…conquer Death Valley, leave the Pearl in Vegas and fly home or wait for the Pearl to be fixed and iron butt our way back to PA. These were our only two option as we had actually been gone for over a month including the Black Hills Rally and we had a magazine to put together. Well, you know what we chose! Chris and I rode the 95 miles to Vegas, found the nearest Wal-Mart so we could buy some clean clothes to travel in and a duffel bag to stuff our gear in. By now, it was well after 3 am so we dropped the bike off in the EagleRider lot, called a cab and went to the airport. We spent the last few hours of our honeymoon playing the slots, napping on the airport floor and silently wishing it hadn’t come to an end.

All in all, we spent 18 days traveling 6000 miles across 9 states on two wheels and made memories that will last a lifetime. Again, I hate to use the word epic but it’s the only single word I can use to describe this amazing journey we were fortunate enough to take. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I keep asking Chris when I can pack the saddlebag so we can head out again! Ya know, it had been many, many years that Kiwi had wanted to get me into Death Valley. At the end of this journey I finally understood why and I can’t thank him enough for giving us both this great memory. As far as the whole honeymoon trip, yeah man, it was a blast, I’d do it all over again including the marrying the pretty girl part in the beginning. Tune in for the next adventure, due to start shortly.

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