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Thread: Wanting to ride Death Valley National Park but not sure about the heat...

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  1. #1
    Registered User amtoro's Avatar
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    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.
    '04 R1150 RT

  2. #2
    BMW Rider
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    Heat in Death Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by amtoro View Post
    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.
    Never been to Death Valley yet but I have ridden in Nevada and Mexico in 112 degree temps. Fun? Not really. Would I do it again? Yes! Make sure you bring plenty of water just in case you break down.

  3. #3
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    I've ridden to and around Death Valley every winter and spring since 1984. It certainly is drier than the southeast, but it's still hot. Here's Exhibit A

    The answer to your question depends on your gear (some stuff vents better than others, some worse), your habits (can you arrange something on the bike so you can drink liquids as you ride, are you willing to stop more often than you might in cooler weather), and your body's personal tolerance for heat.

    Because I don't like heat and when in it my discomfort monopolizes my attention, I try to avoid riding places where the temps >90?F. There are exceptions - transiting the Central or Sacramento Valleys to get to more interesting riding, for instance. But if I've a choice, I'll look for higher/cooler, or a different season.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  4. #4
    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    The heat never bothers me.
    But that's me.
    Other people starting whining and complaining at about 90 degrees.
    I never heard of weather where it's 'too hot to ride'.
    It is dry, but it is very warm.
    Some people think nothing of it, some people can't stand it.
    dc

  5. #5
    Rally Rat
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    heat

    Dry heat is a silent killer. You do not appear to sweat, but your body looses lots of water that immediately evaporates. An evaporative cooling vest works great, as well as a camelback. Keep hydrating, when you get thirsty, it is too late.

    Age and body condition caught up with me, I had to give up riding this year.

    By the way, I have 2 Silver Eagle Evaporative Cooling vests that I used in this type of climate. They are the old and new version, both work well. Anyone that wants to buy both of them for $50 plus shipping, drop me a line.

    Tom Barnhart
    Port ST Lucie, FL

  6. #6
    Registered User amtoro's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for your input; our gear is vented but not full mesh and considering that we were planning on renting the bike in Las Vegas (time limitations prohibit us from riding all the way from Atlanta), the cost, added to the likelihood of an uncomfortably hot and long two days in DV are making me think twice about taking two wheels this time. Maybe the next one.
    '04 R1150 RT

  7. #7
    Innkeeper
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    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.
    Good Luck

  8. #8
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    Death Valley is awesome

    Quote Originally Posted by amtoro View Post
    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.
    I have been through DV 10 or more times. At that time in my life I was in top condition and travelled hard, fast and light(fantastic memories). I would definitely plan my trips more carefully now but why worry. Cell phones and GPS make life much easier now. You are usually never more than 100 miles from someplace or another. I blew a fuse after midnight once and travelled 90 miles with no headlight beam. I finally stopped never finding a gas station or motel. I was alone and there were no lights anywhere. I remember being amazed. It was so dark. I wasn't properly prepared. Couldn't get to a campground, couldn't read my map (remember those).Went down a gravel road until I came across these kilns. I was lost and had missed the camp ground. The next morning I realized why. There was a green sign that said CAMP a table and barrel. I spent the night on the ground next to my 1976 R 90S. At 5 AM I woke up thinking a baby was crying. It was a jackass standing over me bellowing. He probably figured I was the jackass. And he was right. DV is a good place to be prepared for anything! You can run into anyone out there. But don't miss the trip because of fear. Just plan well and get ready to be awed. I guess I envy you and your wife. I am sure you will have a great trip and great memories and stories for future travelers. Best to you. JJ

  9. #9
    rsbeemer 22600's Avatar
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    Water and plenty of it

    Quote Originally Posted by amtoro View Post
    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.
    I can say this, your boss is one tough guy. I've ridden in DV but it happened not to be that hot at the time. The hottest was between Las Vegas and Barstow Ca. It was 108 to 110 F. Anyway, back to your question.

    Most has already been said; take plenty of water and I don't mean just a couple of bottles. Take more than you need; you may need it.

    I would buy some high tech cooling gear, cooling vest or whatever your pocketbook can endure.

    A small packable nylon sun shade might be good. It's hard to find shade once you hit West Texas. If you did have a breakdown in DV, you would need some shade.

    Of course, GPS , compass, etc. you could go on and on, might need a trailer soon.

    I've had none of these things on trips except water in the big gallon jugs and did just fine. I kept a gallon sitting in my tank bag and one tied on behind.

    Go and have fun.
    1978 R100rs MOA#22600 125cc Kymco
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

  10. #10
    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    I went thru' Death Valley yesterday. Highest was 114 degrees. No big deal really. The big item was the wind.
    Coming thru' Panamint Valley the wind came very close to blowing me over sideways. I was down to real low angle to hold it down and it almost flopped me out. Maybe that's it. I was too low, but it was severe. And sand storm also.
    Nice today coming over from Beatty to Ely.
    dc

  11. #11
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    Death Valley is a super ride, fall, winter and spring. What's that saying about mad dogs englishmen and noon day sun. DV is not fun in summer 115-120 degrees are common temps, asphalt has to be 30 degrees hotter

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