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Thread: Death Valley, mid-July. Am I crazy?

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  1. #1
    '11 R1200RT '12 F800GS BlackDenis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Victoria, BC

    Death Valley, mid-July. Am I crazy?

    I'm planning a trip around the various canyons and twisties in ID, NoCal, NV, AZ, CO and UT starting early in July and taking about a month.
    I would appreciate any advice about the *hot* places. I have a mesh jacket, KULA vest and am aware of the necessity to hydrate. I've heard from some riders that Death Valley could/should be crossed at night. Just how bad is it?
    Degeneracy can be fun but it's hard to keep up as a serious lifetime occupation. R. M. Persig

  2. #2
    Tourmeister gr8ridn2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Kern Valley CA
    Last Year on my way to Sedalia for the MOA Rally I crossed Death Valley at 0300 hrs. It is three hours from home so I decided to leave at midnight to make the crossing bearable. It had been running 116 F during the day. My crossing at 3:00 am showed a temperature of 108F at Stovepipe Wells with a full moon. Doable but still very hot. Got into Las Vegas at sunrise and intended to make it to the higher elevations of Utah by mid morning. St George UT was still hot but the higher elevation of Cedar City UT was at a very nice 80 F. Made it to my destination, Torrey UT at 1:00 PM that first day.

    This isn't the first time I have had to cross Death Valley in the summer. My take away is plan on mostly night travel until you reach higher elevations. Death Valley is one thing, but the deserts farther east will continue to wear you down with extreme heat. Plan your fuel stops wisely, not many stations open in the region in the wee morning hours. As always carry plenty of water and continue drinking even though you might not feel thirsty.

    Enjoy the ride and experience the solitude of this unique area.
    2018 R1200RT W - Continent traveler
    2016 S1000XR - Smile Maker
    1976 R90/6 - Just Plain Fun

  3. #3
    Nick Kennedy
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Telluride Colorado
    Going into Death Valley at anytime day or night in July on a motorcycle is being foolish and could easily turn into a major or fatal issue if you had a mechanical problem or went off the road. If you doubt this advice, check the night time lows temps for last year and then for fun look at the highs, scary stuff really.
    Much better from October - November, March- April.
    So to answer you question, yes would be crazy to go in there mid July!

    Here is a excellent article on riding in hot weather
    Last edited by NICKRIDES; 06-05-2013 at 02:16 AM.

  4. #4
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    DV this week:)

    115+ days and not bad 85-90 at night. Its quite nice at first daybreak as the sun rises, BUT be no snail getting out of there before mid morning! If you happen to hit there and the temps rise too quickly for a safe depart, JUST find Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells and hide out for the day. The 120 range kills you and the bike. Tires really suffer mid day heat in DV. Both have pools and nice retreats from mid day, out in the open. You will find many tourists still, mostly from other countries needing their DV Summer experience. US locals stay away and ride it a LOT in Winter. Randy

  5. #5
    Peter D dunc723's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Nashville, TN

    Just wondering...

    ...what you decided. I heard this week it was something like 132 F in Death Valley.
    When life throws you a curve, lean into it. (Seen on a t-shirt at MotoGP Indy)
    '06 R1200RT, '12 F650GS, '04 K1200GT (Sold)

  6. #6

    How hot do you like it?!

    We rode it in September a few years back and hit 129F on the way in. We ended up just wanting to make it to Furnace Creek as fast as possible but the tires were going off so quickly we had to keep the speed down. To be honest, I'd wait until the winter to do this ride just so you can enjoy the fantastic landscape properly... It *is* fantastic though

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