Death Valley Riding Condition

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by 2on2off, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    I finally talked my wife into riding with me to Death Valley on the street bike so I want to make sure she has a good time.

    We will be riding over highway 155 through Shirley Meadows and into Lake Isabella and then on highway 178 to Ridgecrest.

    Then we will ride in Death Valley on Saturday and Sunday.

    Has anyone recently been on highway 155 through Shirley Meadows? I'd like to know what condition the road is in and how much snow is on the side of the road. We will be riding through that area this Friday about 5:00 p.m. and I don't think there will be any ice on the road but would like to hear from anyone who has ridden it lately.

    My wife decided recently to start riding with me again so I made a deal with her that if she would really ride with me, I would let her pick out the bike that is most comfortable for her while sitting behind me. We tested four street bikes, including the new BMW K1600LT, and after selling my BMW R1200GSA, which wasn't that comfortable for her, this is what she picked out. She wanted to know why I never bought one before. Now she loves to go riding with me and this will be our 4th trip. She is very comfortable and going longer distances is no problem for her now.

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    P.S. We will be dressed warmer than in the picture. A happy wife = a happy life.........and I get to ride more.
  2. C5INC

    C5INC Adventurer

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    Watch for fellow Montana'ians! Blue Dodge pulling a white trailer from Helena to Mesquite, NV tomorrow. Tiger XC, Wee-strom, GSA. Day riding from Mesquite for a week. Have fun!
  3. christian

    christian Long timer

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    Your wife need to talk to my wife.... :rofl
    I'd buy that to have her ride with me..:freaky

  4. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    I gave up at 2,000 feet last Friday, no way in hell I was gonna make the 6k summit with snow that low already.

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    The shaded section near the cabins on the west side is always icy this time of year, skip the stress and ice, take 178 and keep her happy. :deal
  5. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    Rob:

    Thanks for the update. You never know what to expect this time of year.
  6. northleftcoast

    northleftcoast Adventurer

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    Anyone know if the Pleasant Cyn/South Park loop is relatively snow and ice free?

    We'll be camping at Panamint Springs and riding Sunday-Thursday Morning. Looks like a little moisture possible Tuesday/Wednesday, but otherwise dry the next few days.

    Thanks
  7. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    Decided to chance it today and ride highway 155 through Shirley Meadows.

    The sigh was out that said "Extremely Icy Conditions next 10 miles". It was a warm day and no storms so we went for it.

    There was no ice or snow on the road today but there was a lot of sand on this road, with some wet spots.

    It dropped from from 60 degrees at the bottom of the hill to 40 degrees at the summit where the pass reaches 6,100 ft

    We reached the Alta Sierra Ski area at 6:00 pm and rode to Lake Isabella and then into Ridgecrest.

    Larryboy was right in that we should have taken 178 instead of 155. The sand made it a very slow ride and any lite rain with freezing temps would have made this road unrideable.
  8. LeDakaR!

    LeDakaR! Banned

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    Yeah larryboy!:deal
  9. dirty adventurer

    dirty adventurer Been here awhile

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    I'll be heading out for the next couple of days (maybe a week) looking for snow on my xr400.:evil

    Cerro Gordo is on my llist.

    I'll report back......if I make it.:eek1
  10. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    There is a 30% chance of rain at Panamint Springs Tuesday and a 30% chance of snow there on Wednesday this week.

    Panamint Springs is at 1,900 ft elevation and the surrounding mountains go up to 10,000 ft. Cerro Gordo is over 8,000 ft so if you are looking for snow this week, you will probably find it.

    Send pics.
  11. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

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    Per NOAA, I am not seeing the snow at PSR... but South Pass/Hunter Mtn is expecting snow.

    I'll let you know when I get back.
  12. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    My wife had a great time riding with me to Death Valley. The weather was perfect.

    For any of you heading to DV from Central California this time of year, I would recommend highway 178. The road is in excellent condition and the west side has some great twisties right next to the Kern River.

    We took highway 65 coming from Reedley to avoid freeways. It takes longer but is much more scenic.

    To complete this ride on some very nice two lane, take highway 180 from the Fresno area to highway 245 and head south to Woodlake and then connect to highway 65 as you cross highway 198. Then connect to highway 178 in Bakersfield and head east to highway 14 near Ridgecrest.

    This was my first "All Street" ride to Death Valley so it turned out to be a very different and very good experience. It was really a scouting trip to find out what my wife liked and didn't like as we plan to take two or three other couples we know to Death Valley in April.

    HIghlights for my wife were:
    1. Rhyolite near Beatty
    2. Artists Drive near Bad Water late in the day brought our all the colors
    3. Furnace Creek
    4. Panamint Springs Resort
    5. Highway 178
    6. Highway 190
    7. Quality Inn, Ridgecrest
  13. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    We had a great time for my wife's first trip to Death Valley. The whole trip was about 800 miles and that is the longest trip she has ever taken with me on a bike. We rode 350 miles the last day and I have to say we were both very comfortable on the Goldwing. I just wish Honda could make their controls more like BMW's.

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  14. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    That forecast for snow at PSR was from weather.com

    NOAA is probably better.
  15. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    It rained very hard yesterday in Reedley and that is 60 miles due west of Mt. Whitney and Lone Pine.

    I'm guessing the Saline Valley Mountains, South/North Pass, Hunter Mtn and Cerro Gordo potentially saw some heavy snow.

    I will be good to hear from Dirty Adventurer and Traveltoad about the conditions.
  16. northleftcoast

    northleftcoast Adventurer

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    Snow last night to 4000' in the White Mts and Panamints. Windy today in the Owens and valleys to the east. It was sprinkling at PSR this morning when we left. 2-3" of snow at the southern end of Saline Valley Road and Hwy 190, looks like more up on Hunter Mtn. Sunday we were sweating at south pass and lippencott in long sleeve shirts. Glad we timed it when we did.

    Pleasant Cyn and South Park Cyn were free of snow on Monday except a 30' section of ice at the top of South Park. A few days of warm weather will probably brim it back into shape.
  17. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

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    We will be trying to get through South Pass on Friday...
  18. Lost Roadie

    Lost Roadie Rider

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    Thanks for the report, I'm heading out tomorrow to DV and will see what the storms brought. Was snowing heavily on the trails @2500' late yesterday afternoon outside of Ojai so the snow level was indeed low with this storm.
  19. Lost Roadie

    Lost Roadie Rider

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    Maybe we'll see you there Aaron, will be on a white 650GS and CRF250L...
  20. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

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    Sweet... we will be on 2 x Super Enduros... Yamaha 450 Rallye... KTM 660 Rallye... KTM 640 Adventure... KTM 640 ... Honda XR650.... DRZ400 ... and a couple more.