We were up at the crack of dawn. Scoot had spent the night visiting with his cousins, but was ready to go. Leaving town around 5:30 for a short distance there was heavy traffic. The military must go to work early here.
We cruised along until we came to an intersection. I stopped and got out the map to study it a minute. I had not seen another car for 40 minutes and all of sudden here comes a truck. What are the chances? He stopped to see if I was ok and I asked him about the two routes to death valley. He did not recommend the other way as the last time he did he said "I lost". So we saddled up and followed him up to CA-190.
We entered the park and then did a refueling. Behind us was the mountain we crossed last time but avoided this time by coming via CA-178. The grades on the western slope are 9% and we would have slow going at that. Ahead of was the Towne Pass at 5,000 feet that we had to cross again.
Scoot had been acting a little strange and was losing power up the hill, so we pulled over and cleaned the air filter again. This seemed to help some.
In Stovepipe Wells we fueled and while we did, we met and talked with several people. One was a tribal elder and she said there were only about 20 members of her tribe here in the valley. One was a Park Service employee and he had been in Death Valley for 22 years. There wer also several European visitors, some on Harley's, and by the time I thought of the camera they were all gone but this nice couple from Holland.
We headed on down the highway until we ran into Emily and Melody. Emily works with troubled youth at a 24 hour a day boarding school. She thought holding the STOP sign was a great change for a while, but she was eventually going back to the boarding school.
Off we rolled and came to Furnace Wells. The sign says -190 feet. This place has been here forever and the Hollywood people used to come here with their girlfriends. It even has a golf course here in the desert.
It is home of the "20 mule team Borax" commercial. The 20 mules pulled 24 tons of borax at 2 miles an hour for 10 days to the rail head. Only the older readers will probably remember these commercials.
We climbed up the mountain and down the other side to Death Valley Junction were there is a stop sign. As we pulled away from the stop sign, Scoot started to shake. I stopped and tried it again with the same results, so we limped the 100 yards or so to the Amargosa Hotel/Cafe/Opera House in Death Valley Junction. I did a little examination and decided it was something to do with the internal belt system that drives the rear wheel. So.....limp into Vegas at 127 miles; work on it here in 100 degree heat; or call the tow truck. I opted for the tow truck.
I went inside the hotel and met the 83 year old owner that had been here, in the middle of nowhere, for over 40 years. She had come here on vacation from New York City, where she was an artist and dancer, and decided this was the place to be. I was allowed to sit at the "staff table" in the cafe with Lynette, Ruthie, and Theresa. There was a lot of laughter and good times in this small town. Like every place, these people are genuinely nice. If you pass this way, don't miss it, which you can easily do.
Progressive Insurance said it might be 4 hours to get out here in the boonies but Rick was there from Pahrump within the hour. We loaded up and headed for Vegas. So, what is a $10 tow insurance policy worth here in the desert.......$800! I think I got my money's worth.
It took Rick and I about 1.5 hours to get to Pat Clark Motorsports. They immediately jumped on Scoot to find the problem. Good thing I did not decide to work on it in the desert as I did not have the parts. The little rollers had had a melt down and chewed up the housing. It was too late in the day to get parts from Vespa, so we called a dealer I had done business with in San Diego and they are overnighting the parts. These guys at Pat Clark Motorsports, Bill, Troy, Irish Mike and Fabian are great. They even offered to take parts off a new Vespa to get me back on the road. That was nice, but I was not going anywhere today anyway.
you rode what from where?!
They recommended the Boulder Station Casino which is way off the strip and not far from Pat Clark Motorsports. It is a nice place but one of those places that can stick it to you. The room is quoted at $48, but after the add-ons, is $68. This is the norm here.
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