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Thread: Death Valley, mid-July. Am I crazy?

  1. #1
    '11 R1200RT '12F800GS BlackDenis's Avatar
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    Death Valley, mid-July. Am I crazy?

    I'm planning a trip around the various canyons and twisties in ID, NoCal, NV, AZ, CO and UT starting early in July and taking about a month.
    I would appreciate any advice about the *hot* places. I have a mesh jacket, KULA vest and am aware of the necessity to hydrate. I've heard from some riders that Death Valley could/should be crossed at night. Just how bad is it?
    Degeneracy can be fun but it's hard to keep up as a serious lifetime occupation. R. M. Persig

  2. #2
    Tourmeister gr8ridn2's Avatar
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    Last Year on my way to Sedalia for the MOA Rally I crossed Death Valley at 0300 hrs. It is three hours from home so I decided to leave at midnight to make the crossing bearable. It had been running 116 F during the day. My crossing at 3:00 am showed a temperature of 108F at Stovepipe Wells with a full moon. Doable but still very hot. Got into Las Vegas at sunrise and intended to make it to the higher elevations of Utah by mid morning. St George UT was still hot but the higher elevation of Cedar City UT was at a very nice 80 F. Made it to my destination, Torrey UT at 1:00 PM that first day.

    This isn't the first time I have had to cross Death Valley in the summer. My take away is plan on mostly night travel until you reach higher elevations. Death Valley is one thing, but the deserts farther east will continue to wear you down with extreme heat. Plan your fuel stops wisely, not many stations open in the region in the wee morning hours. As always carry plenty of water and continue drinking even though you might not feel thirsty.

    Enjoy the ride and experience the solitude of this unique area.
    2013 R1200 GSW

    Riding is the art of throwing yourself at the ground and missing

  3. #3
    Nick Kennedy
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    Going into Death Valley at anytime day or night in July on a motorcycle is being foolish and could easily turn into a major or fatal issue if you had a mechanical problem or went off the road. If you doubt this advice, check the night time lows temps for last year and then for fun look at the highs, scary stuff really.
    Much better from October - November, March- April.
    So to answer you question, yes would be crazy to go in there mid July!

    http://www.ironbutt.com/ibmagazine/I..._62-66_Hot.pdf

    Here is a excellent article on riding in hot weather
    Last edited by NICKRIDES; 06-05-2013 at 02:16 AM.

  4. #4
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    DV this week:)

    115+ days and not bad 85-90 at night. Its quite nice at first daybreak as the sun rises, BUT be no snail getting out of there before mid morning! If you happen to hit there and the temps rise too quickly for a safe depart, JUST find Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells and hide out for the day. The 120 range kills you and the bike. Tires really suffer mid day heat in DV. Both have pools and nice retreats from mid day, out in the open. You will find many tourists still, mostly from other countries needing their DV Summer experience. US locals stay away and ride it a LOT in Winter. Randy

  5. #5
    Peter D dunc723's Avatar
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    Just wondering...

    ...what you decided. I heard this week it was something like 132 F in Death Valley.
    "It's a simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes, it rains. Think about that."
    - Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh
    R1200RT (die Schonheit), K1200GT (das Tier)

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    How hot do you like it?!

    We rode it in September a few years back and hit 129F on the way in. We ended up just wanting to make it to Furnace Creek as fast as possible but the tires were going off so quickly we had to keep the speed down. To be honest, I'd wait until the winter to do this ride just so you can enjoy the fantastic landscape properly... It *is* fantastic though

  7. #7
    Mike V. #30064 30064's Avatar
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    All good recommendations and suggestions from experienced riders. I'm not going to suggest when, what or how to cross that area of the world.

    I've done it 4 or 5 times in the past and just returned home from a 2-week ride from San Diego to Harrison Arkinsas in the Ozarks, and back on my 35 year old airhead. I ran I-40 from AR7 all the way home through the plains and desert in a little over two days. I know better but your options are limited out there, and I finally decided from Grants NM to run the last leg home - not prolonging the misery. Getting in and out of southern or central California does not leave you with a lot choices. Pick your poison (routes).

    During the peak summer months ... It's hot. It's long. It's uninhabited. It's a bit violent. Nick's post is painfully accurate. My only advice as previously mentioned is; take advantage of gas stops, hydrate often, stay fully covered and well vented, ride a properly maintained machine and body with intelligent nutrition. Listen to your body and machine, and for heaven's sake don't do anything heroic. I hear there's a certain beauty out there, not sure I've found it in June or July.

    If you're well prepared with healthy body and machine stupid is only a relative term.

    -Mike V. / San Diego
    Mike V. / San Diego
    MOA#30064 / ABC#11027
    78 R100/7 [orig. owner] / 81 R65 [restored]
    ABC-MOA-AMA-VBMWMO / http://tinyurl.com/4df7hgs

  8. #8
    '11 R1200RT '12F800GS BlackDenis's Avatar
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    Still on the way..

    In Lewiston, ID at the moment. Going through Oregon and to NoCal. Zigzag down to Yosemite and then north around to NV. Hoping to head to Vegas and over to the Grand Canyon. Any thoughts that the NV side will be any better?
    Degeneracy can be fun but it's hard to keep up as a serious lifetime occupation. R. M. Persig

  9. #9
    Moondog
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    yep, ya r...

  10. #10
    '11 R1200RT '12F800GS BlackDenis's Avatar
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    Unhappy Didn't go there after all

    When we were in Fortuna a few days ago, Redding, CA and the various deserts were 120 F and higher. Did the CA#1 Leggett to Ft. Bragg and CA#30 to Willits and then turned tail and went up the coast.

    Next year I will organize for May/June.

    Many thanks to those who posted their advice.
    Degeneracy can be fun but it's hard to keep up as a serious lifetime occupation. R. M. Persig

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