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Schlug 03-19-2013 07:50 PM

Coming to Death Valley, Monument Valley: need some trip planning advice
I'll be heading from Windsor, Ontario to Death Valley in a couple weeks. I was planning on making the ADV rallye there on the 28th, but work isn't cooperating and I am just now having a set of Yamaha YZ forks to the Dakar and the Ohlins rear shock just shiipped today and won't arrive until the end of this week. I need to do a few things to the bike (new bars, handguards, tires etc) and be able to shake it down a few times before I ride 2400 miles in 4 days.

I should be near Monument Valley on the 2nd or 3rd, and Death Valley shorly the next day.

First, am I out of my head trying to ride that part of the country in the middle of winter? I am pretty sure I can get out of town and get myself south, and I plan on dropping through Missouri and down to Amarillo (friends) and then through New Mexico up to Monument Valley. From there up to Death Valley.

Having never been there, can anyone help me with places to stay, maps or resources I could download? I'll be on a BMW Dakar with TKCs and hard luggage. I should have a good suspension but that bike doesn't carry too much fuel. Should I carry my extra one gallon fuel can I bought in Newfoundland?

I will be loaded for camping, what is the weather like in early April? I can hotel it if I must. If anyone local cares to meet up for a ride and show me the place that'd be great, otherwise I'll be solo. I've read a handlful of ride reports and the place looks pisser.


Off Limits 03-19-2013 08:59 PM

i'd guess it all has to do with elevation. coming through utah you are at a higher elevation, but im sure during the day you should be ok. if you can get out of ontario canada, you should be fine the rest of the way. dont know about going over the rockies though.

joefromsf 03-20-2013 11:38 AM

The docs at this link are a great resource:

Note: I don't know how to navigate to that page or content from the DVNP website. I was only able to find it because I had a hard copy and googled some phrases from it. I would download the linked docs and print the top level page with definitions. Those docs should give you lots more ideas.

Best map of DV is the one by Tom Harrison Maps. The NatGeo one is good but its bigger and two sided and therefore a bit unwieldy.

April is a great time for DV. No need for a motel once you are there. I usually camp at Panamint Springs Resort as there are a lot of good day rides accessible from there. On site is an OK but expensive restaurant, gas and a meager store. No beer at the store, you can buy beer to go at the restaurant at the restaurant prices. The tent site prices for camping are very reasonable.

If you are going to be there longer than a few days and want a change of scenery, you may want to move base camp to Furnace Creek . If FC CG is full (or you prefer it quiet) go across the street to Texas Springs CG, as it is a no-generator campground.

Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells both have gas, restaurants and better stocked grocery stores.

There are also several remote campgrounds in DV as well as backcountry camping opportunities.

Do you have a GPS? Carrying a SPOT? I guess if you are doing that much slab you'll not be running knobbies? What is your range without the extra gas can? Dakar's are pretty miserly, right?

Schlug 03-20-2013 02:15 PM

Hey Joe, man you weren't kidding about being able to lend a hand. Well, I am not carrying a Spot. I do have a Garmin GPSmap 60CX which, while being very robust, is small and not good at routing. It will keep my tracklog and waypoints, etc and I have the North America Nav maps installed.

I don't know how much of Death Valley will be on those maps.

Should I get a Spot? I suppose I could.

The Dakar holds 4.6 gallons and averages about 50 mpg plus/minus depending on terrain, how it's loaded, and how it's ridden. I've done better than that and I've done a lot worse. let's say a comfortable 200 miles on the clock. Add another 50 with my one gallon fuel can.

I will be running TKC's. I will be spending anywhere from 3 days to 5 days out there. Due to the nature of my work I could be out for two weeks (figure 4 days out and 4 days back) which leaves 4 or 5 play days if I give myself an extra day to get home.

It could even be longer. I'll play that part by ear.

If I could stay at a campground where I could safely leave my tent and all my kit so that I could day ride, I would like that. But I can do it loaded. Either way. I can camp quite comfortably. What sort of night time temps should I expect?

Ratman 03-20-2013 04:57 PM


If I could stay at a campground where I could safely leave my tent and all my kit so that I could day ride, I would like that. But I can do it loaded. Either way. I can camp quite comfortably. What sort of night time temps should I expect?[/QUOTE]

Check your 10 day forecasts along your route. I'd expect that anywhere away from a coast at 5000 ft this time of year that 20 Degrees at night would be a cold spell and 40 degrees would be a hot spell.

.......then add or subtract 3.5 degrees per 1000 feet of elevation change.

Have a nice trip. This is a great time to go to those places. :clap

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Off Limits 03-20-2013 11:33 PM

Death Valley is cool either way. Loaded up with camping gear and going place to place is great and I would recomend that since you will be alone. Also I recommend heading north towards mammoth. Death Valley is really just a small part of the desert and there is lots to see all around that area.

Schlug 03-21-2013 02:16 AM

I have not considered Mammoth. I will check into it.

Any info at your disposal?

verge 04-02-2013 02:17 PM

We got some snow over the weekend in Mammoth. The paved roads are clear but the dirt roads still have a fair ammount. Most of the dirt roads are clear from Mammoth to Death Valley. The higher elevations have some drifts. Still too early for offroading north of Mammoth.

TUCKERS 04-02-2013 07:04 PM

North of DV is Beatty if you want a room. Casino prices.

South of DV is Shoshone, motel rooms, and food.

East is Pahrump...Casino rooms and such.

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