Wanting to ride Death Valley National Park but not sure about the heat...
My wife and I ride two up year-round in the south-eastern US except in the hottest part of the summer; we live in Atlanta, where the heat comes with high humidity which usually makes day-long rides very uncomfortable.
Of those who have ridden Death Valley, has anyone been there this time of the year when the temps are already approaching 100?F? My boss lived in Arizona for many years and he says it will be comfortable on the bike as the air is very dry...
Please send your comments, ideas or warnings this way; I want to hear as many opinions as possible.
The devil had opened up the gates to hell
Three years ago in July I rode to Lake Tahoe from Lake Havasu via Hwy 40 over to Hwy 395 through Lone Pine, Independence, Big Pine, Bishop, Mammoth Lakes and then to Tahoe. I departed at 3:30 am and was at 5000 ft altitude by 8:30 am.
Leaving Tahoe decided to cross through Carson City and then through Fallon to take Hwy 95 through Las Vegas and then home. I left after breakfast approximately 9:30 am. Getting close to Death Valley it was already 110 degrees. From Scotty's junction to Indian Springs the temps were 116 to 118f.
The speed and the heat literally burned the hair off my knuckles. I started with a dozen bottles of frozen water and they became so warm that even when they were poured over my head, there was little refreshment. Arriving in Las Vegas, I stopped at a casino just to feel the air conditioning. At home in Havasu my wife reported 111 degrees. Stayed in the casino until 9 PM fully hydrating myself, jumped on the bike (R1150 RT0) and rode the last 140 miles in temps that averaged 102 degrees.
Would I do it again? YES! But would certainly be more prepared. Wear white cotton gloves, white painter pants and long sleeve wicking T-shirt along with a bandana for the neck, a camelback and cool vest. I believe in all the gear all the time but going through Death Valley again will find me wearing just my brain bucket.