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Updated May 24th, 2014
Please read the following carefully. There was a big change for 2013 due to the National Park Service.
From 1994 - 2012 There was a ride known as the Queer Biker Invasion of Death Valley. In 2012, the National Park told me that any group of more than 18 people (including groups such as a family reunions) must have a permit to hold an event in a national park. To get such a permit, the group must have liability insurance. So the last time the ride was held was in 2012. However, in 2013 many bikers still did the ride on their own in groups of less than 18. So here is the situation. There is no official Queer Biker Invasion of Death Valley any more. I am not the organizer, disorganizer or leader of any group of bikers who is going to Death Valley. I am still going to do the ride each year with a few of my close friends. Everyone else if free to do the same. What has changed is that everyone is officially on their own. I will travel with a few friends, stay at all the same places, make all the same stops, but I am not your leader. There is no "group", official or otherwise.
This ride has always happened on the weekend where Columbus Day is on Monday. The following are the dates that will happen during the next five years years.
Saturday, October 11, 2014 - Monday, October 13, 2014
Saturday, October 10, 2015 - Monday, October 12, 2015
Saturday, October 8, 2016 - Monday, October 10, 2016
Saturday, October 7, 2017 - Monday, October 9, 2017
Saturday, October 6, 2018 - Monday, October 8, 2018
The Basic Route - Here is what I am doing. Everyone is free to ride whatever route you want since this is not an organized or a disorganized ride. I and my friends will meet and leave Castro Street a little after 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and will travel East on Route 120 through Yosemite Park and over Tioga Pass, (at almost 10,000 feet it is the highest mountain pass in California) and then South on Route 395 to Bishop, CA where we will spend the first night. On Sunday, my group will ride through Death Valley (the lowest place in North America you can ride your bike) to Zabriskie Point where we use to hold a gathering at noon time for all other queer bikers who use to show up. After lunch at nearby Furnace Creek Ranch, we will head west on Route 190 to 395 south to 178 west to Kernville, CA where we will spend the second night. (For those who want to take the Panamint Valley Road, know that it is open but in poor condition.) On Monday, (Columbus Day) my group will return to San Francisco via deserted roads through the Central Valley and back roads through the coastal mountains. So here is a more detailed plan for what I am going to do that year. It is similar to the now defunct QBIDV.
Gathering Place: Castro Street between 17th Street and 18th Street, opposite the Castro Theater
Time: 8:00 a.m.
The Route: Bay Bridge to East on Interstate 580 for 49 miles (through Oakland, San Leandro, the Livermore Valley and over Altamont Pass), East on Interstate 205 for 15 miles, North on Interstate 5 for one mile, East on Route 120 for 164 miles (alternate Route 108 over Sonoma Pass), then south on Route 395 to Bishop, CA.
First Stop - about 80 miles - Manteca, CA - Route 120 and Route 99 will coincide for about a mile. Just as you get off of Route 99 there is a 76 Station on the right.
Second Stop - Big Oak Flats/Groveland for gas and lunch.
Third Stop - The intersection of Routes 120 and 395. Gas stop
Approximate mileage for Day One is 300 miles.
I will be staying at the Motel 6 in Bishop as I usually do.
Party Time in Bishop - As in the past, my group will probably eat dinner La Casita Mexican restaurant and bar on Main Street in Bishop. It has in the past turned it into the hottest and only queer biker bar for 200 miles in any direction.
Gathering Place: My friends and I will gather at the parking lot of the Motel 6 in Bishop.
Time: 8:00 a.m. sharp! (We will need to leave by this time in order to get to Furnace Creek Ranch by noon.)
The Route: South on 395 for 40 miles till Lone Pine. South on Route 136 for 18 miles, East on Route 190 for 90 miles to Furnace Creek Ranch for lunch. Then west on Route 190, South on Route 395, then west on 178 to the Kernville turnoff . The Panamint Valley Road open but in poor condition (wash boardy).
1st Stop - Gas at the Chevron station just south of Lone Pine before the turn off for Route 136
2nd stop - Overlook on the east side of the Panamint Valley.
3rd stop - Furnace Creek Ranch for lunch and gas
Approximately mileage for Day Two is 350 miles.
I will be staying at the Kernville Inn.
Day Three - Monday - Columbus Day - Kernville to San Francisco
Gathering Place: Kernville Inn
Time: 9:00 a.m. (time to sleep in)
The Route: Whatever we decide that morning. We will probably have lunch in at Perko's in Coalinga, and then head west on Route 198 for 35 miles, then north on Route 25 for 78 miles to Gilroy. Finally, it's north on Route 101 for the last 90 miles to San Francisco.
1st stop - Coalinga - Gas and food at the intersection of Route 33 and 198. Lunch at the Perko's Coffee House where we will stop for one final meal together
2nd stop - Hollister - gas at the Chevron station after you make the left at the light.
Mileage for day three - 350 miles.