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Updated October 8, 2013
Please read the following carefully. There is a big change for 2013 due to the National Park Service and the government shutdown.
Status of the ride - There is no official or unofficial Death Valley ride this year. Last year the National Park Service 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. Since this has always been a loosely disorganized ride, I am not willing to do the work necessary to get insurance and permits. So the Queer Biker Invasion of Death Valley is officially no more. What that means is this. There is no 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 with a few of my close friends. Everyone else if free to do the same. What has changed is that everyone is 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..
Government Shutdown - The government shut down will also affect the ride this year. Here is what I know. Yosemite and Death Valley are closed as National Parks. However, the roads through them (Route 120 and Route 190) are open. We may pass through the parks, but we are not allowed to stop and "recreate" in the parks. So what that means is this. Zabriskie Point and the parking lot will be closed. There is no gathering at Zabriskie Point this year. However, Furnace Creek Ranch and the Chevron station next to it are open because they are on private property. So the goal this year is the Furnace Creek Ranch. If you decide to do the ride, you can meet up with others who are doing the ride at Furnace Creek Ranch at noon and get lunch there. It is likely that Olmstead Point in Yosemite will also be closed, so no stopping there.
Road Closure - The Panamint Valley Road to Trona and Ridgecrest is closed. There was a storm in August that washed out a section of the road. So to get from Furnace Creek Ranch to Kernville, you need to take 190 west to 395 south and then take 178 west until the turn off for Kernville.
Weather forecast - The forecast is for perfect riding weather. There is no rain in the forecast and the temperatures are going to be moderate. So it won't be too hot, it won't be too cold. It will be just right.
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, October 12, 2013, 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, October 13, 2013, my group will ride through Death Valley (the lowest place in North America you can ride your bike) to Furnace Creek Ranch where we use to hold a gathering at noon time for all other queer bikers who use to show up. After lunch at 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. On Monday, October 14. 2005, (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
Date: October 12, 2013
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.
Date: Sunday, October 13, 2013
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 .
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 - Kernville to San Francisco
Gathering Place: Kernville Inn
Date: Monday, October 14, 2013 (my birthday)
Time: 9:00 a.m. (time to sleep in)
The Route: Whatever we decide that morning. We will probably have lunch 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.