Death Valley Jan/Feb 3-4 Days

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by nasher75, Nov 12, 2021.

  1. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

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    I spent three Thanksgivings 2017-2019 staying in PSR enjoying Death Valley on pavement with some very light offroading (gravel roads here and there).

    Not sure about February, but I imagine January is a lot like late November, i.e. it's going to be cold mornings and nights, and definitely a chance for inclement weather which risks shutting everything down. After two wonderful weeks in 2017 and 2018 with perfect cool weather, Thanksgiving 2019 in DV was a wash-- monsoon-driven snow closed passes and precluded trail riding, and it was too cold for more than one night in PSR's tents, my brother and I gave up and spent money for the Oasis motel to keep warm. Real disappointment-- my third time in DV, it was supposed to be the most off-road focused trip yet, and the only time we got offroad was the two gravel miles to mouth of Titus Canyon (which was unfortunately closed on the entrance side due to snow and ice).

    Anyway, endorse all the comments above. In the mild season, riding pavement or gravel roads within view of the pavement is as safe as anywhere else on Earth, at some point there's always traffic to flag down. Off-road, however, bring a buddy, a sat beacon, a first aid kit, a day's worth of survival supplies, tire gear and pull straps, etc., and try to leave everything else behind, i.e. stow your gear at your campsite, go light!

    During the hot season... wouldn't know, I'm not riding in DEATH Valley then!
    #21
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  2. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial Supporter

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    A big thank you for the advice and link to the DV road conditions thread. I’ll be sure to update it myself with whatever we experience.

    I’m thinking ~240 miles might make for a very long day if the roads between Racetrack and Panamint Springs are in rough shape. Although we’re good with rocky, rutted hills on fully-loaded big bikes, having just completed the AZBDR with many nearly day-long stretches of them, we wouldn’t mind a break. Snow, of course, would make it maybe a little too challenging.
    #22
  3. CA Stu

    CA Stu Peace and Love

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    De nada!

    There used to be a regular January Rally at Furnace Creek, Death Valley Daze. Done lots of loops out there and I think that the slab to Beatty and back Titus Canyon is skippable on your proposed ride.

    It's a well traveled graded dirt road and guaranteed you'll meet traffic on it. It's the kid of thing you'd ride by yourself if you were bored. :augie

    [​IMG]

    This is an old pic, but it was taken after the snow on Saline Valley Rd. It was about 6 inches thick, fresh snow, which is fine for traction and riding through, it's the ice underneath you have to watch out for.

    [​IMG]

    Have fun!
    #23
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  4. goldentaco

    goldentaco Been here awhile

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    The worst of all the roads is the ride from Ubehebe to Racetrack. Miles and miles of endless washboard that you can't ride around. Either go slower or faster and then faster to smooth it out. Lippencott just has a couple rocky sections to take it slow on but as mentioned you're' goin down hill so it isn't really worrysome. It's just that it is narrower with a steeper drop off than what most people encounter without it being singletrack. Saline is a breeze, Titus it beautiful. You'll have fun.

    J
    #24
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  5. OCLandspeeder

    OCLandspeeder Been here awhile

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    This is pretty much what I did when I went solo on my DR650. I didn't want to take too much risk off road. There's already plenty to see riding on pavement.

    Titus Canyon from Rhyolite was fun, scenic, and pretty easy. Lots more chances of running into other people there too if you end up needing help. Don't forget to visit the ghost town of Rhyolite. Since I stayed overnight in Beatty, this was a no brainer.

    I also did Aguereberry Point / Eureka Mine from Emigrant Canyon Road. It was a nice road, and the dirt was hard packed gravel. The mine itself was interesting. Saw minivans and SUV's on the dirt roads.

    Ubehebe Crater was really cool, although a long drive from my starting point at Beatty. And the Racetrack road was right there. I took the road to the Racetrack but got tired of the endless washboard. I think I got about 15 miles in and turned around. Not due to the road, although that didn't help as it was shaking my bike to bits at the speeds I was at, but mostly because I was concerned about my fuel range getting back to Stovepipe to fill up.

    Keep an eye on your fuel and keep track of your available range. Gas stations are few and far between. If your bike can do 200 miles to Reserve, you're good up to a point. I think at one point I did a very long leg of 187 miles from fuel stop to fuel stop, and I had to use up an extra gallon of fuel I had brought with me. That was barely enough and I was sweating it. It's not all uncommon to need 150 miles between fuel stops.

    One last thing, if you're heading out there in January, it's COLD! I went at end of December and it was 25 degrees in the mornings and evenings. I was always thankful I had heated jacket liner and gloves and I rarely took them off! There was no way I could tolerate anything below 50 degrees for long periods.
    #25
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  6. goldentaco

    goldentaco Been here awhile

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    This ++. 2019 in May I was camping at Wildrose. It was aournd 32, 34 at night. One morning, it was 32 and just starting to sprinkle at camp. Rode down to Stovepipe for breakfast and before dropping down into the valley, it started snowing then sleeting. I rolled into the parking lot 15 mins later helmet packed with sleet, fogged up and still freezing but it was 75 and everyone was in shorts looking at me like I just got beamed down from some other universe.

    J
    #26
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  7. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    #27
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  8. el Pete

    el Pete toda su base

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    Similar experience coming down from Aguereberry Point. It was fun when it was lightly snowing on the point, a little concerning when we passed Skidoo, and it was a really uncomfortable ride a couple miles later when the snow was completely covering the road and packing up in my helmet. By the time we made it so Stovepipe, we were frozen...

    Lesson being - things change fast in DV.

    IMG_3364.JPG
    #28
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  9. Exfiredude

    Exfiredude Adventurer

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    View attachment 3302670 View attachment 3302670 View attachment 3302670 Just went Beemer 1200gs trip 11/1. Stovepipe Wells campground just opened. Saloon has great food and great stop for cold beer, meal, and takin in a football game. General store fine like 7/11. Fuel 87 octane only @ $5. Furnace creek is $8. Scottys Castle road still closed. Camped last day in Searles Valley watching the air show heading back to Edwards AFB
    #29
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  10. OCLandspeeder

    OCLandspeeder Been here awhile

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    Agree about the food at the Saloon. Delicious. They have outdoor seating also. The General Store was also well stocked with good stuff (when you're out that way junk food is so good!). And yes 87 only fuel. Finally, the views of the mountains there, especially at sunset, is amazing. I love DV.
    #30
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  11. nasher75

    nasher75 Adventurer

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    Wow, been busy last several days and it was nice to come back and see all the responses and advice. I think I will Follow most peoples advice and stay on road or light gravel if I end up going alone. Also planning to look into the Noob rally option. PSR Cabin rates are almost double the rates that are listed on the front pages. I had my sights on staying at the Miners cabin, but no way at $300 per night.

    Either way, I'm holding off planning this trip as I'm learning that I don't really have any options to respring my 950S and it needs it desperately. It's fun to ride, but easily and harshly bottoms out even on rough paved roads. Konflict looks like my only hope since he called back and said he had a plan for my bike, but now he has fallen off the face of the earth. I'll probably give it another month or so before I start making plans to shitcan the Multi and look for something else.

    Either way, thanks to all who took the time to give advice and suggestions for day routes.
    #31
  12. OCLandspeeder

    OCLandspeeder Been here awhile

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    Try staying at Beatty, NV. That turns out to be ok when I did that. Staying at Beatty requires you to take Daylight Pass Road, which is actually very nice. Also Beatty isn't that much farther than say, Stovepipe Wells, as long as you end your day in the park near Daylight Pass Road. Finally, Beatty hotels are affordable and places to eat are not too bad. And they have a couple of brand name gas stations in town that carry premium fuel and supplies. Rhyolite is just a few miles from Beatty. The entrance to Titus Canyon is just a few miles from Rhyolite (Titus is one way direction and you enter from the Beatty side).
    #32
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  13. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    Thank you for this post. I’m headed that way in a few weeks and I’ve been following this thread as it’s developed.

    I’ll be doing a little light DV riding, thinking I’ll be in the area Dec 6th for 3-5 days. I’ll be on a Tenere 1200 running road biased tires (but I’m not afraid of gravel). If anyone is on the area and wants to ride hit me up.
    #33
  14. tahoeacr

    tahoeacr Long timer

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    I think I have some extra 990S fork springs laying around I'll sell you cheap if that helps. I strongly suggest you change plans to go during the Noobs Rally. There are so many riders there you can easily hook up with a group or ride alone and still have peps on the trail. If that isn't possible, send me a pm in January or keep this post active. Maybe I can get away and ride with you. I'll be snowed in by then and dying to get out to warmer temps(anything above 30).
    #34
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  15. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    I've attended the Noobs rally as well. Absolutely worth the price of admission. Great time, lots of people to ride with
    #35
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  16. nasher75

    nasher75 Adventurer

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    Was just combing through the Noobs Rally thread and to me it just looks like a massive gathering of party people. No offense and I think it looks like a great event, but just not my cup of tea.

    I prefer solo or small groups, but I still understand I'm not exactly prepared or experienced to do som of this terrain on my own, so maybe my trip will just be a paved exploration to see what's out there.

    I'll definitely hit up @tahoeacr when the time gets closer to see if you want to join...
    #36
  17. Davethestick

    Davethestick Long timer

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    Party people.... :rofl
    #37
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  18. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    not offended at all. don't let the trash-talking by an active few make you think it's a party. that leads to misconception.

    this is the only event where the noobs shine. we provide encouragement, as much support we can so they can enjoy riding DV, and become better riders. no official rides, but there are very good riders who volunteer a day or two to lead and sweep. no one is getting paid, they just give back or forward to the community. it's more a healthy social event where we meet like-minded people, make friends, and future riding buddies.

    i see a lot of people riding together now met at the noobs. most of my friends and people i trust were from the noobs.

    we also have Jimmy Lewis for the past many years come to the rally and show everyone how to become a better rider.

    during the event, we do the Saturday Night Raffle, lots of people contribute to charitable causes and 100% of the money is donated. that's the only party i could see, but for a good reason.

    quiet campfire talk is common. of course, there could be exceptions but that's limited to a few and isolated. they exist in all rallies.

    it is a riding event with a cause!

    p.s.

    riding solo is good for the mind until a breakdown or injury in the middle of nowhere.

    last month, i was in Panamint Springs and there's a solo rider from the Bay area whose bike broke down. he has money but having difficulty getting someone to give him a ride. moment like this, we all wish we have a riding buddy or a friend to call (many parts of DV have no phone service). luckily, i was not in a hurry to go home and was able to drive him to where he could be able to retrieve his bike.
    #38
  19. nasher75

    nasher75 Adventurer

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    Thanks... I'll be the 1st to admit that often, 1st impressions and appearances are not accurate. I appreciate your response and will take this into consideration.

    I'm also overwhelmed at the generosity of this group. I have already had several members PM me offering to ride DV during my planned trip or even to join them on some local dirt rides to get more experience and confidence.

    As a matter of fact, I'll be heading up North on Friday to meet up with one of the members here who has offered to show me some dirt riding and join for dinner.

    Great community here!
    #39
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  20. CA Stu

    CA Stu Peace and Love

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    Joel, you are a giant among men. :thumb
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