Last year the trip to Death Valley came and went and I decided not to go. I regretted that decision and was determined to go this year. I’ve wanted to start going on trips that have more miles per day and this seemed like a good trip to start. The last day was 500 miles, 100 more than my longest day. Being February, I was not sure of the weather. Heated gear is wonderful in the event of winter riding.
I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into by going. I had not ridden with anyone in the group, so I was not sure of pace, frequency of stops, etc. Patrick, the ride leader starts early. Kickstands up at 08:15, so I had to be up at 6:15 to get the bike loaded and ride over the hill to meet the departure time.
I was pleasantly surprised how the details all fell into place. The group’s pace was right on target for me and the weather down the coast was no less than spectacular. We had blue skies all the way there, almost a bit warm.
58 on the back side is known as the “roller coaster” for its whoop-de-do carousel back down to the valley. It was a fun ride. Total mileage for they day was about 350. We got in at 6. Starting early and sticking to plan does have it’s benefits. I can’t say I was impressed with the town of Bakersfield. The hotel was a standard best western. The dinner at the hotel restaurant left a lot to be desired, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.