Death Valley, Mojave, Nevada in January

Discussion in 'Americas' started by cmattina, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Just looking to get some opinion on the weather in these areas in mid-late January.

    I realize i can look at weather averages, but honestly, i did that last time and it FELT like it was 10 degrees Celsius hotter than it was supposed to be the entire time. I find in areas where there are pretty drastic changes in altitude, weather averages can be misleading.

    I have bikes stored in Vegas, and am just looking for some options that time of year. Might go up through Red Rock to Pahrump, through Death Valley, and down to Mojave.

    I presume there is no way to get into Utah that time of year via I15 or highway 91... or is it all snow there anyway (Toquerville Falls)???
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  2. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    As you probably know, it varies day to day. I've been on some rides that just going across the pass at Spring Mountain on a bike was sketchy because of icy conditions, other days it was cold, but completely dry. When conditions were good, I have done that loop around Death Valley - Pahrump - Furnace Creek - Badwater - Shoshone and back to Pahrump. I assume that if you can get across Spring Mountain, the passes in Death Valley will be similarly passable on a bike. Are you planning on taking 178 south through Ridgecrest or go all the way to 395?

    Gustavo
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  3. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    The loop out of Pahrump is similar to our plans. We'll be coming from Vegas, so probably won't be going very close to Ridgecrest. Maybe as far west as panamint spring.

    What time if year did you go Pahrump loop?
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  4. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I've done that loop at different times, including during the first two weeks in January. Last year, though, January 4th, this was posted on NV-160 before the pass on the way to Pahrump:

    [​IMG]

    And there was visible snow on the mountains. A week later, no problem.

    Gustavo
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  5. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Winter road conditions down there means snow covered, i assume? Very different standards of roads in the American southwest versus where I am.
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  6. holckster

    holckster dougholck

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    In my younger days (pre Global Warming - lol) we used to annually ride Death valley in late January to beat the heat.
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  7. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Yes, typically means snow/slush/ice on the road. In a car, it's not a big deal. Since I didn't have to go there and it seemed cold enough as it was in the valley, I didn't go to find out which one it was that weekend... :muutt

    Worth mentioning that there are plenty of very cold days in the SW during winter. But if it's dry, as long as you have the right gear, those are actually some very nice rides.

    Gustavo
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  8. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Okay... I am starting to get a little hesitant to go in January... Now, keep in mind, I am booking hotels, flights, and vacation time off work. This is not really the kind of think i can play by ear. So, i am just looking to do some 'risk management here'

    I am reading that some of the roads into DV (day light pass, jubilee pass) can be completely snow covered in January. What would you wager this to happen? 10% chance? 50/50? very likely?? Obviously, nothing is certain and anything can happen... just looking for an opinion

    Lastly, if i recall, the day heats up quite quickly, thus, extending the (comfortable) riding time. For example, where i live, if the average daily high is 15 degrees Celsius in April, that means for about an hour around 4 pm it will be that temperature... otherwise it will be cold. Whereas in the desert, it gets pretty close to the daily high pretty early in the day? Correct?
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  9. holckster

    holckster dougholck

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    Where's the Adventure in knowing ALL the variables ?

    If DV gets nasty, head south.
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  10. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I was reading your last post and was thinking exactly what @holckster said. You don't have to ride to DV, do you? You can ride south through the Mojave Preserve, toward San Diego. I have done that around X-Mas/New Years and sure, some of the roads at higher elevation could have snow/ice there too (again, depends on what system went through recently), but there are a ton of other roads to explore.

    If I didn't mention it above, would you have guessed these were shot between X-Mas and New Years?
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    That last one is at the turn off to the Mt. Palomar Observatory. The road to the observatory had ice in the shady parts, but that's well over 5000 ft. Everything else was just perfect for riding.

    Gustavo
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  11. larryboy

    larryboy Stable genius.

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  12. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Was planning a couple days in Mojave and couple in DV, only have about 7 nights total, including one arriving in Vegas and one the night before departure... this is why i did not want to venture too far from Vegas. It's not the uncertainty that concerns me it is the non refundable hotels/flights.

    Don't knock my planning. :photog Put it this way, I've spent about 20 weeks or so touring around Ireland and Scotland over the past 10 years. I've only had rain for about 4 days total... No exaggeration.

    Looking at the map, nothing was really jumping out at me beyond those two places, besides Red Rock and Joshua Tree. i was assuming that the San Bernadinos would have snow if DV did, perhaps that's incorrect? It is also a bit far considering our schedule. but perhaps doable...
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  13. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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  14. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    I am not so adventurous when it comes to $$$$
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  15. DelBoy1150

    DelBoy1150 Fill your hands!!!

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    Hi Guys, this is great, I am planning a trip just oppisite direction! Im flying into LAX on January 31 and collecting my bike in Sana
    ta Clarita and heading to LV I was planning on seeing what weather is at the time but my feeling was to head to DV which I already done two years ago. Maybe now after seeing your pictures I will head to the Mojave... can you recommend road numbers twisty as you can find.
    Also where are you storing bike in LV i will need to store my GS there for a few months...
    D..
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  16. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    I am storing at cubesmart on Meade. Make sure you bring your registration and insurance documents. It also has to be in your name as the unit holder. I think their prices were reasonable. I also think your GS will fit fine in their 5x10.

    I put mine in storage at the end of Sept. Hopefully there are no surprises to when I pick it up.

    As for weather, I think December through February are just a bit of a toss up there.
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  17. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Let me clear something up. There are no twisty roads (for any reasonable definition of twisty) for at least 100 miles around LV that don't involve a state/national park with very low speed limits or racetrack (obviously, with no speed limits :lol3). The roads through the Mojave are nice, scenic, interesting, what ever, but twisty they are not.

    The twisties in the pics above are from the greater San Diego area - Palomar in the Cleveland National Forest and San Bernardino National Forest. Basically zoom in on the area south of I-10 and east of I-15. Look for squiggly lines and Bob is your uncle. When I was there last time, CA-243 had snow, and as I mentioned earlier, the section to the Palomar Observatory had ice.

    If these signs are up (as opposed to being turned sideways), probably smarter to turn around and find an alternate route:
    [​IMG]


    Gustavo
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  18. Dirt survivor

    Dirt survivor Adventurer

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    Here in the high desert winter is considered riding season for dirt bikes, but some of us love it when it rains!
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  19. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Definitely seems like the best time. Just a little manic with the weather. If I lived near it wouldn't be an issue, planning flights and hotels months or weeks in advance makes it difficult
    #19
  20. FTL900

    FTL900 White and nerdy

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    Gustavo nailed it on twisty roads around Las Vegas. Other than the cloverleaf at the end of Summerlin parkway, it's national or state parks, and not a lot of twisties there other than inside Red Rock canyon park.

    January (and winter) differs largely from year to year. Some years we ride right on through the entire season. Earlier this year we had a record snow in February. So it's really hard to second-guess it more than a few weeks out.
    I-15 to Utah is typically open all year round. I've only heard of temporary closures for flooding and that's a very short closure. Farther up into Utah, I dunno, I don't live there.
    [​IMG]
    I'm in the same boat trying to plan trips several months to a year out, so I just go with the climate model and hope for the best. We've been rained out now and then but most of the trips turn out pretty well.

    If the Spring Mountain pass is snowy, you always have the option of going around it... northwest out of Vegas on 95, then turn at 160 or at 373 to go back south. It's farther in mileage but about the same riding time.

    Or the other option is farther up 95 to get into DV, going through Beatty and into the Stovepipe Wells area. The red area on the map is the actual pass going over Spring Mountain, they've been doing construction up there causing minor delays from time to time. We're actually looking at riding that this weekend, into Furnace Creek for lunch. They finally finished all the renovations there and it's very nice.
    DV map.jpg

    Another option is always heading south into Arizona... it's nearly always warmer to our south. The Kingman-Oatman-Laughlin loop is a very popular day ride, altho I found it easier to detour around Laughlin through Needles. That's about a 250 mile day ride.
    #20
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