I hadn't been to Death Valley in years, but the Hiking Club at work had organized a trip and I decided to take my DR350. Who knows, I could always ride by myself and know that at least someone knew where I had gone.
I decided to ride the West Side Road. It was ~40 miles of dirt road on the west side of the valley. I told the others at the campground that I would be back around 12:00 p.m.
The first few miles were on pavement and I just enjoyed the feel of the bike on a smooth surface. As I turned off onto the dirt road I took in the beauty of the valley. It was a perfect day to be riding.
Since the road was smooth as it crossed the dry lake bed, I moved the bike around some to get the feel of the street-oriented tires on the dirt. So far, so good. I was a bit nervous since there was no one around if I dropped the bike. Take it slow and easy.
The road was actually in good shape. There were sections of sand and washboard which I rode with some trepidation. I was stopping now and then to take pictures but because I still couldn't kick-start the motorcycle, I dared not turn off the engine. It was a bit of a bother, leaving the engine running while I took pictures. The engine was getting fairly hot even with the external oil cooler. The downside of riding a air cooled engine in the desert.
About 20 miles into the ride, I looked at my watch and realized that my time was quickly running out. I hopped back on the bike and rode along the washboard track much faster than I wanted to. But it was almost noon and I was a long way from being back at the camp.