Friday, December 21, 2018

The Southwestern Sojourn - Day 24: Echo Canyon, more 20 Mule Team Canyon and a Solstice Moonrise

The official start of Winter found Scarlett and I riding once again back into the Death Valley National Park:

Today's main objective was to traverse the first 6 miles or so of Echo Canyon.  Again, at the advise of Dave H. aka Mr C.O.B. of SovietSteeds fame.  His warning here was to be sure to maintain momentum during the patches of deep and loose gravel; boy was he right!

Today was another day that I was very glad Scarlett had 2WD, tried the loose gravel without it, much harder without 2WD and easier to get bogged down then stuck.

 Approaching the mouth of Echo Canyon, the road'
from the highway was pretty rough right from the start.

 One last look towards the highway....

 Mouth of Echo Canyon, now the road got a bit
rougher and replete with patches of loose, deep, gravel

 Lovely canyon walls

 Then I entered into the narrow portion of the canyon

Not a long time later, Scarlett and I emerged from the narrow walls of the canyon and it was here I saw a female runner run past into the canyon!  Tough lady.

 This is as far as I went, I'd read the rest of the road
was a lot tougher and being alone, I wasn't feeling up to it.

 Looking back towards Echo Canyon

So I turned Scarlett around, which was tricky since anything off the "trail" was basically loose gravel and sand, very easy to dig the pusher wheel in if you're not careful.  Also, when using reverse, take care to not accidentally disengage 2WD!  I did it and didn't realize it until some moments later when it seemed the road was much harder to negotiate!

 Back in the narrows of Echo Canyon
retracing my route back to the highway

At this point I spotted a feature for which Echo Canyon is known, the hole in the rock formation below.  I'd completely missed it on the way out and wondered about that since it's pretty obvious from this side:

So I kept going, then turned around again to find the other side of the hole formation.  Can you spot it in the picture below?

 Not easy to spot, especially when trying to keep the rig
inside the trail and not hit big rocks and/or get bogged down!

 One last shot of the magnificent rocky walls of Echo Canyon

Made it back out, no issues and lots of fun to be had.
My thanks to Mr C.O.B. for this route

I had time so once I was back on CA Hwy 190, I headed past Zabriskie Point and entered 20 Mule Team Canyon once again to see what I could see this time.

I elected to go for higher elevation, hiking up hills to get better vantage points:

 Above and below pics taken from what I believe is the
biggest hill in the canyon.  Not bad going up, but a 
bit vertigo-inducing coming down as the route is a
bit slippery due to loose sand and gravel.  

 Can you spot Scarlett?

Much further down, you can see Scarlett clearer.

I exited the park after finishing with the 20 Mule Team Canyon.  As I neared Death Valley Junction, home of the famous Amargosa Opera (yeah I never heard of it either), I rode perhaps another mile on CA 127 to pose Scarlett next to this interesting yet unnamed rocky hill.

Nearing the Longstreet Casino RV resort, I spotted the Solstice Moon rising above the eastern horizon:

A very good day of riding, no mehanical issues, no more dripping fluid from the final drive (yes, I did check it for correct level of fluid), and I checked off all the ride destinations I'd wanted to do this trip.

I'll be headed back towards Las Vegas tomorrow. 


RichardM said...

A great ride report. Many others seem to only emphasize the problems and how anyone less skilled than themselves would’ve walked out.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks RichardM

Spat said...

Some cool pics thru DV and narration thanks Dom

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Spat/John....