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  1. Default Greetings from the UK.....

    So I guess when I come out to drive from Las Vegas to LA and then up to San Francisco this August, I should avoid Death Valley as I will be on a Harley Davidson??

    Any tips for a more suitable route I could survive?

    Many thanks


  2. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dichsc
    So I guess when I come out to drive from Las Vegas to LA and then up to San Francisco this August, I should avoid Death Valley as I will be on a Harley Davidson??

    Any tips for a more suitable route I could survive?
    Hmm.. how comfortable are you in riding in 100 F weather? As was pointed out in another thread, the real difference with Death Valley is that its 20 F or so hotter than the surrounding deserts. So, even if you avoid Death Valley, you'll be in 100 F heat during the day. Even the Central Valley in California will be at least in the upper 90's in August.

    Having said that -- its very doable, if you're careful. You might consider moving your riding time to the early mornings, and find somewhere coolish for the afternoons, and then ride in the early evenings. That would be cooler. Plus a lot of water.. lots and lots of water down the throat, particularly if you're wearing your road leathers.

    Ask around, there are moderators on this board who are much more familiar with the LV-DV route than I am. But I think if you left LV at dawn or slightly before, you'd be in Death valley within a couple of hours. Then you could ride through, enjoy the sights and be out of the valley by 10ish or 11 I'd guess. Another hour or two of riding puts you on the eastern side of the Sierras at a much higher elevation (as a rule of thumb you'll lose 3 deg F for every 1000' of elevation). I did a quick check on Bishop CA (3-4 hours from Furnance Creek, in the middle of DV) on that has an almanac feature for previous year's weather. The average high for (example) 15 August is 70F, although last year they were at 93 F. That's ridable weather, although I'd still be pouring down fluids, just in case. The high is at about 3 pm, although its started getting hot by 1 or so. Pull in, find a nice room and relax in the pool with a cold drink during the heat of the afternoon.

    Going up the eastern side of the Sierras should be somewhat cooler, and if you go across either at Reno/ Tahoe or Tioga Pass (near Yosemite National Park), you'll be even higher, and at a good temp.

    Your other alternative would be get up early and head for the California coast -- avoid the deserts and central valley as much as possible. With a 6 am start, by noon you could be coming into the coast somewhere like Ventura or Santa Barbara , or a bit later if you wanted to include some cool rides through some mountain roads. Then you could ride up Coast 1 to SF -- stopping in Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Hearst Castle, Big Sur, Monterey, etc.

  3. #13

    Default a bit more about signal mirrors

    I would hope no one ever has to use a signal mirror but if it is ever necessary there are substitutions you can use. Aluminum foil will reflect light very well or even a broken glass bottle could work. If you become that desperate you could always break your rear view mirror off and use that. A signal mirror is not obsolete at night you can use a flashlight as a light source to signal for help!

  4. Default

    This isn't so much a safety tip as a money-saver: Don't pump gas mid-day -- it expands and you get fewer gallons for your money. Instead, pump gas early in the morning or late in the evening. Will it make a huge difference? Not really, but every little bit helps.

    On the subject of clothing, there's a reason we Southerners always wear white: it reflects heat. Again, not a huge amount -- it's not up there with the "drink lots of water" tip -- but there's a significant difference between wearing white and wearing black!

    I'll second the sunglasses too. My mother just had cataract surgery, and her doctor says that excessive sun exposure AS A CHILD does more damage to your eyes than anything else. It does stand to reason; they also say that sunburns before age 18 raise the possibility of skin cancer.

  5. Default

    Desert Travel Tips: Staying safe,comfy and happy.

    • Avoid heading out in the summer. In most cases, spring and fall are the best seasons to visit. Time your walking in the early morning and late afternoon when the sun is not as intense. Hit the trail early, then take a long siesta in a shady place until the temperatures drop.

    • Know what the water conditions are and where you might be able to find water. Don't count on finding water, however, as a spring that is listed as running and of good quality may have dried up since the last field check. In general, carry one gallon of water per person per day.

    • Keep a weather eye skyward. Thunderstorms in the distance may mean flash flooding in a canyon through which you had planned on hiking. If there are thunder clouds visible anywhere near your vicinity, stay out of washes and gullies!

    • Biting flies can be bothersome. Carry a good insect repellent of 30% Deet.

    • The sun is usually intense. Wear a hat with a visor and light, loose, long sleeve shirts and long pants. Sunscreen all skin that is exposed. Remember to reapply sunscreen periodically, especially to bare legs after a stream crossing.

    • OK, so it may look altogether funky, but if you are more concerned about staying cool while you walk and less concerned with looking cool, take a page from the British desert explorers who traveled upon the hot sands of the world under a "brolly" or umbrella. There's a lot to be said for always walking in the shade.

    • Carry a multi-tool with you at all times. Should you suffer the misfortune of direct contact with a yucca plant or other desert cactus and have to resort to a bit of "spine plucking," you'll be grateful for the gripping and pulling power of a needle-nose plier.

    • Hydration systems that rely on one large bladder of water stored inside a pack or other carrying container are all the rage these days, and I must admit, they are convenient. Most have a drinking nozzle so that all you have to do is walk and sip, sip and walk. There is one minor risk with such as system, however, that could turn into a full-blown nightmare--what if the container develops a leak? While I do rely on a bladder system myself, I also back it up with two or more "hard" bottles, such as the wide mouth one quart Nalgene variety. If I do spring a leak, at least then I have some reserves to keep me alive while I work my way out of the pinch.

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