RIDING VINTAGE HARLEY CHOPPERS ACROSS DEATH VALLEY
Over the last century, many motorcyclists have ridden to and across Death Valley each year. Death Valley is an unforgiving place with temperatures reaching well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the scorching summer day.
Yet, it still attracts visitors from around the world for its beauty and the feeling of the vast isolation where elevation dips under sea level.
100 plus choppers show up to a bar on the way to Death Valley
Troy Critchlow was one of whom were attracted to this landscape among many others. Troy decided to take few of his friends into Death valley on rigid choppers over a decade ago to show his friends why he was so attracted to this desolate corner of earth.
Since Troy's first Death Valley Run (DVR), it grew year after year in numbers of choppers from a small group of few good friends to where you meet like minded people.
Unfortunately Troy passed on few years back, but the tradition continued. Every year, the route slightly changes and so does the faces.
Groups meeting up before taking off towards the desert.
The ride itself becomes a test for your chopper in the boiling heat, arduous climes, and limited resources. Tools, parts, roadside repairs, helping hands and sharing knowledge are all part of this run like any other runs.
I personally like the runs rather than shows or events where you park your bikes and talk about them. I like to see them run, hear, and even experience the troubles. Through these runs I've made many friends although I may see them only once a year or fewer, I do remember them more.
Thats a lot of oil in them cups!
Riding in the blazing sun!
With 360 degree views of absolute isolation to night sky full of stars, shadows appear from the full moon that lights up the desert like daylight. A shower of shooting stars rain on us not allowing any sleep. Before you know it the sun comes back up.
The road extends as far as you can see like a ribbon laid down on earth. The sky and the mountains bears a hue that you will not see anywhere else, while the deafening silence pierces your senses. Every year leaves a mark in your memory.
Ryan Grossman's Harley Panhead just before nightfall at camp.
Photographing here in Death Valley, though it sounds very cliche, there is something really special about it. The said scenic advantage, plus there is always something going on or about to happen.
Most of the time I am not quick enough to capture the good stuff but here are my late-to-scene images. I am hoping you can feel the dry breeze in Death Valley from my images and inspire you to roam to where you have never ridden.
Spring is here. Change your oil, grease your wheels, get your ride going. I recommend getting together with your friends or alone and hit the road to see this absolutely beautiful country. There is so much to see out there.
Film Photography & Words by Ken Nagahara
PHOTO COLLECTION: RIDING MOTORCYCLES ACROSS DEATH VALLEY
Flying in the desert sun.
Don't mind the oil drips. Just means theres some still in the motor.
Its all about the memories made between friends.
Through the bars.
The wild wild west.
Any bit of shade to keep cool.
Smiling ear to ear.
Crucial gas stop. Not many gas stations point A to point B
Some site seeing.
The Death Valley Lounge.
Just dudes being dudes.
Always something to look out in the vast nothingness.
Those rolling mountains.
What looks like an endless road of vast nothingness.
The joys of film...
Sometimes it comes out with really cool effects.