Monday, November 16, 2009

Motorcycle Camping in Death Valley

Over this last weekend our riding club did an overnight camping trip to Death Valley. We stayed at Furnace Creek Campground.

You can see my photos posted here:

(this link opens up a new window)

Death Valley is always thought of as being hot, and if you're not from around Southern California, you might think it's a good place to visit to get away from the cold. But as it turns out, Death Valley gets cold this time of the year, though I'm sure it's still warmer compared to North Dakota. But then, when you've spent much of your life in SoCal, well, it's cold.

Artist's Drive, Death Valley, CA

I've mentioned before on this blog that I've been dieting and slowly losing weight. Thus far, I've lost 70 pounds over 18 months. But for this camping trip, I decided to splurge and let loose. I had an omelette, potatoes, biscuit and gravy, pork loin, louisiana hot links, bacon, beef jerky, cookies, trail mix, grapes, beer, wine, whiskey. And that was just Saturday. I won't bore you with Sunday's consumption.

But yet this morning, when I weighed myself, I gained no weight, nor lost any. I weighed just as much as I did when I left Saturday morning.

"How could that be?" I wondered.

I didn't really exercise at all during the trip, not nearly enough to burn that many calories.

I'm chalking it up to the "magic of motorcycle riding".

I've written before on how riding motorcycles somehow seems to burn more calories than you'd expect. You might think it's a sedentary activity of just sitting down. But the fact is that after a long ride, I feel very tired, not just mentally, but physically also.

I mean, when riding a motorcycle there's a lot of muscular activity taking place, more so when going through the twisties. As I'm navigating through these curves, my right foot is always hovering just above the foot brake, ready to depress when needed. And if you think about it, the whole time your foot is like this, you're actually tensing up a muscle in your shin.

In fact, your whole body is on alert, ready to react immediately, whether for a hard lean, an immediate stop, or shifting the weight of your body. It'd be worth an experiment to ride through the twisties and then be conscious of what muscles are tensed up.

I remember watching the documentary, "On Any Sunday" and it was said that motocross is the second-most physically demanding sport, second only to soccer. But of course, that's motocross, with all of its crashes and beatings. But I have to think that there's still something about a street motorcycle moving at 50mph through a series of twisties that makes you use up almost every muscle in your body. Yet at the end of the day you might think all you did was sit on your butt.

But let's not forget about sleeping. Did you know that a man weighing between 150-175 pounds will burn about 500-600 calories, just sleeping for eight hours? You'll burn more depending on how much work you've exerted during the day. While you sleep, it's restoring energy to your muscles, growing new cells, and repairing tissues. I think a full day of motorcycling sets up a full night of calorie-burning sleep.

View Death Valley Ride, Nov 14-15, 2009 in a larger map

Well, the campout was a lot of fun.

You know, the deserts of California are known for their miles and miles of straight roads, but we managed to stray off the beaten path and get on some of the lesser-traveled roads, and enjoy some good riding. Add to that the comraderie, the sharing, the helping out, and it's the kind of weekend a guy would ask for.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos. Looks like awesome riding. I tried to organize a motorcycle camping trip this past summer but between getting divorced and going to Sturgis there was just no time. This is still something I desperately want to do. It really looks like a good time. Until then, I guess I'll have to camp vicariously through you and your riding club.

    Yeah, it sure is the kind of weekend THIS guy would ask for...


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)