California National Park

From the Kern River to Death Valley National Park (Guided Motorcycle tours)

BODFISH

Bodfish is located 32 miles (51 km) east-northeast of Bakersfield. The place was named for George Homer Bodfish, who settled nearby in 1867. The Bodfish post office first opened in 1892, closed in 1895, and re-opened in 1906. The population was 1,956 at the 2010 census, up from 1,823 at the 2000 census.

KERNVILLE

The Kern River was named after artist and topographer Edward Kern, who accompanied John C. Fremont on his 1845 expedition. They camped at what was a fork of two rivers, now the middle of Lake Isabella. An 1858 gold rush led to the formation of a town briefly called Rogersville, then Williamsburg, which was in 1863 renamed Whiskey Flat after a bar opened. In 1864, the town was renamed Kernville.

After decades of planning, the Isabella Dam project began in 1948. As a result, Kernville was relocated upstream to its present location at the tip of the northeast fork of the man-made lake, along with certain historic buildings. Downtown visibly retains Kernville gold rush and Old West roots, attracting tourists along with the area’s natural scenery and outdoor activities.

LAKE ISABELLA

Lake Isabella (also called Isabella Lake ) is a reservoir in Kern County, California created by the earthen Isabella Dam. It was formed in 1953 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Kern River at the junction of its two forks at Whiskey Flat. At 11,000 acres (4,500 ha), it is one of the larger reservoirs in California. The area is in the southern end of the Sierra Nevada range and the lake itself is located in low mountains at an elevation of approximately 2,500 ft (760 m) where summer temperatures reach over 100 °F (38 °C) but low enough to avoid winter snows on the surrounding ridges.

OLANCHA

Olancha was established by Minnard Farley, who came to the area in 1860 and discovered silver ore in the nearby Coso Range. The name “Olancha” is believed to be derived from the nearby Yaudanche tribe. For processing the ore, he built a stamp mill just south of Olancha Creek. The remains of a stone wall from this mill still exists and has been designated as a California Historical Site (marker #796). The first post office at Olancha opened in 1870.

On August 11, 1969 Manson Family members Charles “Tex” Watson and Dianne “Snake” Lake settled down in Olancha two days after Watson had stabbed Sharon Tate to death. Here, Watson bought a newspaper revealing that it still was a mystery who committed the Manson murders and confessed to Lake: “I killed her, Charlie (Manson) ordered me to do so, it was fun”. This fact was witnessed by Lake during the Watson trial in 1971. Lake was shortly put into custody in Independence after complaints from Olancha inhabitants for swimming nude. After a few weeks the two of them left Olancha for the final Manson hideout in Death Valley.

IMPORTANT NOTES TO BOOK THIS MINI-TOUR

1-Los Angeles Bikers takes care of your Lodging reservation  once the Guide fee has been covered.
2-When the reservation is agreed upon, it is secured and a separate Lodging Paypal invoice is  sent out to the customer and is due upon receipt.
3-To rent your motorcycle, please visit this page and make your reservation on the web or by telephone.
4-All personal belongings must be carried on the bike
5-The mini-tour to Death Valley starts (and ends)  at 9:00 am in La Canada, at the Shell service station, bottom of Angeles Crest Highway ( See map here ). A MAP from your rental location to the Shell service station will be provided.


This 4 Day Motorcycle Tour covers the following places:

DAY 1
La Cañada/Angeles Crest Highway
Santa Clarita
Palmdale
Mojave
Caliente Creek Rd
Bodfish
Lake Isabella
Kernville
DAY 2
Weldon
Indian Wells
Olancha
Darwin (A Ghost Mining town)
Panamint Springs
Stovepipe Wells
Beatty or The Inn in DV
DAY 3
Beatty
Furnace Creek Ranch
Badwater
Ashford Junction
Death Valley Junction
Zabriskie Point
Ridgecrest
DAY 4
Panamint Springs or Ridgecrest
Randsburg (One more Ghost Town!)
Mojave
Rosamond
Lancaster
Palmdale
Angeles National Forest
Angeles Crest Highway to La Canada


  • Night 1: Kernville
  • Night 2: Beatty or Inn at DV (based upon availability)
  • Night 3: Panamint Springs  or Ridgecrest (based upon availability)

Guide fee per diem: $650
Big V-Twin: $149 /day + tax and insurance
Motel: bet. $100-200
Gas: ab. $25 per day
Food: ab. 40 per day

DEATH VALLEY

Death Valley’s Badwater Basin is the point of the lowest elevation in North America, at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. This point is 84.6 miles (136.2 km) east-southeast of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m). Death Valley’s Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest reliably recorded air temperature On Earth at 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913, as well as the highest recorded natural ground surface temperature on Earth at 201 °F (93.9 °C) on July 15, 1917.

Located near the border of California and Nevada, in the Great Basin, east of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Death Valley constitutes much of Death Valley National Park and is the principal feature of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve. It is located mostly in Inyo County, California. It runs from north to south between the Amargosa Range on the east and the Panamint Range on the west; the Grapevine Mountains and the Owlshead Mountains form its northern and southern boundaries, respectively.  It has an area of about 3,000 sq mi (7,800 km2). The highest point in Death Valley itself is Telescope Peak in the Panamint Range, which has an elevation of 11,043 feet (3,366 m).

GHOST TOWNS

Darwin

It is named after either Charles Darwin or Dr. Darwin French. According to Erwin Gudde, Dr French of Fort Tejon was with a party of prospectors in the area during the fall of 1850. Dr French also led a party into Death Valley in 1860 to search for the mythical Gunsight Lode via the local wash, lending his first name to the wash, canyon and future town.

Silver and lead discovery at the place led to the founding of a settlement in 1874. A post office opened in 1875, closed for a time in 1902, and remains open.  The town prospered when Eichbaum Toll Road opened in 1926, opening Death Valley from the west. When Death Valley became a National Monument in 1933 it was decided to buy the toll road to allow free access to the new park. In 1937 a new cutoff bypassed Darwin, isolating the town.

Randsburg

“Randsburg and Red Mountain sprang from old mining camps. In 1896, Randsburg was called Rand Camp, and Red Mountain was originally called Osdick. Johannesburg was established in 1896 as the planned service community for the mining camps. It was the only Rand area town laid out with straight streets and right-angle intersections. All three towns still retain remnants of the past and have been able to maintain their unique ambiance through their efforts to renovate and preserve their history.”
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