Death Valley 2019

Discussion in 'Americas' started by pegbeater, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. pegbeater

    pegbeater Been here awhile Supporter

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    New member and my first post, so hopefully this is in the right forum.

    A little background: Not super experienced off road. Have done mud, sand and lots of sierra back roads. My time is mostly spent in the northern sierras, on and off road around Tahoe and Reno. I ride a 2000 Aprilia Pegaso 650 cube and have put about 35K on it in 4 years. I have tusk aluminum panniers, bark busters on the bars, bash plate, adjustable rear shock and am currently running k60's. I have an engine crash bar on the way.

    So, I am planning on taking a trip to Death Valley at the end of February. I have been to the valley this time of year before, but not on a bike. I was looking for some trial advice, sites to see, map recommendations (I dont use GPS), and possibly trails to stay away from.

    I am down for just about any terrain, the only thing that make me nervous is rock craws or ledges going up. So any advice would be great. I will be there about 10 days so I will have plenty of time. Also will be camping from the bike. Also wondering if I am making a big mistake taking this bike to the desert. I dont see a lot of them around, although its been really reliable for me.

    Thanks
    #1
  2. Davethestick

    Davethestick Long timer

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    First things first. At the very least have a smart phone with downloaded offline maps. This way you will be able to see where you are in a desperate situaiton. Most people have smart phones with GPS but if you dont, get a used one on ebay for $50 and download some offline maps of your chosing. Or learn how to use a GPS which really is what you should be doing in the back country but I digress. Secondly, buy physical maps. Electronic devices fail and a new to death valley rider solo could be potentially dangerous.

    Now, Lots to see - especially with 10 days (Jealous). Check out some of the ride reports around here @larryboy @rider914 have some exceptional ones from over the years. Pictures are a 1000 words and you can really see what kind of terrain DV has to offer and if something looks appealing you can check it out.

    Where will you be setting up base camp (or not)? With 10 days, you should have the time to see most popular things. The majority of the death valley trails can be done on nearly any motorcycle however I'd advise having some kind of dirt oriented tire and dirt oriented safety gear, especially if alone.
    #2
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  3. pegbeater

    pegbeater Been here awhile Supporter

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    85514BD6-0D21-462B-863B-6876E3BF4776.jpeg I do have a smart phone, just have never been keen any gps function. So I can download some maps. My biggest issue is finding any maps that are comprehensive of all the off-road trails. Most of the maps I find are the gps style. I was hoping to get advice on a preferred paper map of the area.

    My k60’s are at the end of their life, so I just got these. Really interested to see how they hold up

    Not sure where I might base camp. Depends on the info I get here. I will probably migrate at least a few times.

    Thanks for the info
    #3
  4. larryboy

    larryboy Stable genius.

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  5. pegbeater

    pegbeater Been here awhile Supporter

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    Awesome!! Thanks, that’s just the type of map I was looking for.
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  6. pegbeater

    pegbeater Been here awhile Supporter

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    Also, could use some input on headlight upgrades for the Pegaso?? Possible offroad spotlights or running lights/projectors. Best bang for the buck. I have been poking around for a few days and know there are lots of cheap options as well as the stuff around $200. Really would like to spend as little as possible.

    And....if anyone would like to meet up or ride along on this trip, that would be awesome too. My son has expressed interest, but he would be in his jeep. I would be leaving from Roseville CA. I would like to ride down 95 or 395, but that will depend on the weather over the pass. the alternative would be to go around through Bakersfield.
    #6
  7. Black Cat CO

    Black Cat CO Been here awhile

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    My friends and I are planning a DV trip probably around Later January/February, not sure exactly what date yet. Will keep you posted, we’re coming from high county Colorado, can’t wait for some desert riding. We’ll probably be looping out from a base camp in St. George Utah area and be in Death Valley for a few days. I’ll keep in touch.

    On your tires, I have mefo explorers which are pretty similar to the ones pictured above (at least in tread design) not sure of compound. The explorer rear is really pretty good, I have about 3000 miles on it know, about a little better than half life left on a large mix of all terrain types riden. Seems to be really predictable (mud is its weak point). The front mefo explorer is fair overall but I won’t use it again, it’s good on pavement and hard pack, ok on gravel by design poor in sand and mud. Not a predictable front tire for my most riden terrain and personal preference. Mileage on the front is fair, less then half life left on same mileage.

    The article I read the other day something like “what’s the best adv bike? The one you own.” Was a great read.
    #7
  8. pegbeater

    pegbeater Been here awhile Supporter

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    That would be great to be able to ride with other members, even for a couple of days.

    I have Hedenau K60's on the bike now. Second set, well second rear I guess. Anyway, got about 13k out of the first rear and will have about 10k on this one. The ones pictures are the Mitas E07. They are supposed to be pretty similar to the k60's as far as longevity goes. Looking forward to trying the slightly more agressive tread pattern. My bike takes a 130 80 17, but the tire I have now is a 140. I though I would like the larger tire because it had a center strip as the 130 did not. The strip is great for prolonging the tire on the street, but useless in sand, mud or grass when fully inflated. Better at 15 to 20 psi, but still not great. Soooo, my new E07 is a 130, also without the center strip. Hoping this will hook up better in the mud, sand and grass (not that there will be much grass in the valley!!).

    I have had a little interest locally, but no one willing to commit yet.

    Planning on the last week of Feb. This will all depend on local weather, work, family etc. But that is the plan so far.

    I also read that thread a while back. This bike is just such an unknown to most people. Was hoping to get some feedback from current or previous owners.

    I am planning on going either way!! Whats adventure without unknowns!!!

    Just hope there is no snow, on the road anyway:D
    #8
  9. pegbeater

    pegbeater Been here awhile Supporter

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    01370E9F-3D8E-4867-9F7F-F38A3A53D28E.jpeg
    #9
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  10. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    First, Welcome n00b! Always be safe out there, but have fun too.

    There is also the annual DV n00bs Rally if you are ever interested: https://advrider.com/f/threads/2019-death-valley-noobs-rally-march-28-31.1345779/

    As for tires, E-07s are good 50/50 tires but no more. I've been running E-07 Dakars on my Sertao for the last couple of years. They are better on and off-road and last much longer than K60s, but the front will drift and slide around on loose stuff. Still better than a K60 up front but not a real knobby. They are great tires for getting to DV and back and for many of the dirt roads in DV.
    The E-07 and K60 fronts suffer from the same problem: spaces between tread blocks are not wide enough to kick out debris when riding. The rear tires don't suffer the same problem and seem to be okay off-road (but not in sand or mud).

    There is no perfect tire for long slab rides to then softer off-road stuff. I tried a MotoZ Tractionator Adventure tire up front with and E-07 Dakar rear last trip to DV and it didn't seem to drift nearly as much as an E-07. But the downside was the MotoZ hated grooved pavement and got unnerving at speeds above 70MPH.

    The E-07 will be fine as long as you don't push to hard and fast on loose stuff. I put 9,300 miles on a pair of E-07s this summer. The rear was toast as I had the wheel bearing go bad and scallop the thing badly on one side. The front will easily go another 2,000 to 3,000 miles.

    Before heading to DV, make sure you and the bike are in tip-top shape. Make sure chain, sprockets, brakes, cooling are all up to snuff. Always carry water and just enough gear to survive a night out in the desert. I carry an InReach, but it could still be many hours before help may arrive.

    I carry the National Geographic map of Death Valley. Pretty good detail.

    There are lots of campgrounds in DV, but most are dry.
    #10
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  11. pegbeater

    pegbeater Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks for the info on the E07s. I did have a bit of trouble with the front K60 not tracking well in dirt also. I figured the E07 would be similar because the tread is that same chevron pattern. Its not so bad that I havnt learned to compensate for it with a little extra throttle when riding. I dont get really aggressive. Im getting older and tend to be a little more on the safe side. Falling off or over tends to have lingering consequences now days!!:doh

    Just got my Tom Harrison map in the mail today. It seems to be pretty complete as well. I did see the National Geo on online too. The only thing that is not on it that I will add later is the gas stations around the park. I figure a ranger can give me that info. My bike has a 5 gallon tank and I plan on carrying an extra 2 gallons. That should give around a 250 mile range.

    The plan is to camp out for several days at a time. Pack enough food and water for about 5 days, and then hit civilization to stock up and possible laundry. I backpack a fair bit for several days at a time, so I already have a lot of light, warm gear. Dug out my dry bag from my rafting days to store things that will not fit in the panniers and will use my solar shower for drinking water as well. It is 4 gallons. Probably bring at least one 1 liter bottle as well.

    Getting ready for some maintenance on the bike. Both sprockets are in pretty good shape. I always carry a spare front and retaining clips (lost one before when riding). I will double check the chain before leaving. Dont think I will bring a spare. Maybe a couple of spare master links? Im usually pretty good with the tools and spare tubes, patched, pump etc.

    Although if there are any 'must haves' as far as gear goes, Im all ears.

    The one think i dont have that I am considering are riding boots. Dont want to spend a ton of money though. And I usually just wear my hiking boots.
    #11
  12. Black Cat CO

    Black Cat CO Been here awhile

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    That pic must be around Tahoe, I’ve never seen snow banks that high in to many other places.
    #12
  13. Black Cat CO

    Black Cat CO Been here awhile

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    4090C0F2-14D2-4E77-83D0-39CE5A9FC0C3.jpeg If you can spring for boots definitely do so.
    I did some rides with work/hiking boots before I could afford to get riding boots It wasn’t too bad but obviously they don’t offer the protection or riding stability that a purpose built boot does.
    I run Forma full MX boots, so far they are awesome. They were great bang for the buck. They make an adv version of them too that has more of a hiking boot sole, I wanted those but they were out of stock at the time.
    My opinion is get a full moto type boot if protection and riding is the name of the game.
    I watched a guy we where riding with have a light slide out, wearing the lower cut, less protective adv boot break his ankle by being bit by his hard panniers (ouch). He was on a heavy GS 1200. I think he would have faired better with a more rigid hard armored boot.
    To his credit he rode the entire rest of the ride (white rim trail and more)with crutches strapped to his bike. Watching him squeeze his busted ankle into his boot every morning was painful
    #13
  14. Black Cat CO

    Black Cat CO Been here awhile

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    04FC68D0-F514-4371-8BC7-B3CCFF8AE54D.jpeg Here’s Scout, my trusty stead.
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  15. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    The only gas stations open are Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs. Beatty is next closest. Scotty's Castle is still closed.
    #15
  16. larryboy

    larryboy Stable genius.

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    Shoshone, Trona, Olancha and Dyer are also within range for DVNP exploring.
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  17. pegbeater

    pegbeater Been here awhile Supporter

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    :clapNice. Thanks for the gas info. This is what I needed.

    That pic is near Tahoe. Old hwy 40 at donner summit.

    Like the bike. Looks like a workhorse!!

    I will look into some boots after the holiday. I would rather be safe than sorry.
    #17
  18. Black Cat CO

    Black Cat CO Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the ⛽️ stop info, very helpful.
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  19. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    Late Feb will be a crapshoot. Still could be snow in the higher elevations like Hunter Pass.

    Lots of cool stuff to see in DV.

    As mentioned, the Nat Geo map is good.
    #19
  20. Black Cat CO

    Black Cat CO Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the info. Besides higher elevations is everything else rideable? Do the lower elevations consistently get snow or is it more a freak event?
    #20