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Death Valley Adventure – Meeting Notes

Posted by on September 23, 2012
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Bob Ward

Fiction author with a zest for adventure travel. Blogs, tweets, videos, and pins for research and fun. He also hosts Ward's Adventure Travel Research & Trip Journal, a weekly podcast available on EFN, iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and more.

My notes from the meeting with MotoSpeedy are sloppy, unorganized, and random bullets, but I’ll jot them down here to record the topics we discussed in the exact order we discussed them.

1st planning session 21 Sept 2012

1. Setup base camp in Las Vegas

2. Take Titus Canyon westward towards Death Valley

3. Use guidebook: California Jeep Trails – Southern Region

He has two aluminum bike ramps

Motel stay, no camping…we dare not camp

The rechargeable batteries on his GPS unit have an 80 mile range, so it must be plugged into the bike via SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) connector, which he has yet to purchase.

Cell phones are useless–no towers in Death Valley

Recommended to carry two liters of water

Need rear luggage rack

What does one gallon of water weight?

He plans to use his pocket vest to carry his essential gear…e.g. fuel in an MSR bottle.

Honda 650 gets 55 miles / gal @ 60 miles / hour

Backpack would be better than his vest

Yes, most riders use a backpack

Keep bike spartan regarding weight

Distance between gas stations requires bikes to have 200 mile range

Possible tow vehicle: 1996 Caprice Classic with 4.3L V8 @205 HP

Weather and climate research (per Wikipedia):

Temp in March: 80 degree high, 50 degree low (average)

He bought a motorcycle specific siphon

Perhaps we need to go in February: 72 deg high, 46 deg low

Pavement is 30 degrees hotter than ambient air. Critters warm at night on the road. No night riding due to active wildlife and the possibility of colliding with something, e.g. desert tortoise

He feels the need to purchase specialized video camera, such as GoCam to mount on his helmet. This is typically done. All riders should be so equipped.

What is the amperage draw for all connected appliances?

Titus Canyon is popular with hikers, bikers, etc. One way from Vegas to Death Valley. Very busy in spots.

Motospeedy “Death Valley / Mojave Desert…same thing.”

Big Horn Sheep, Kit Fox, Coyote, Desert Woodrat, Black-tailed Jackrabbit, Bats, Roadrunner, Horned lizard, Scorpion, Tarantula (often seen crossing the road in Autumn)

California. What to see. Ghost towns, cabooses for tourists, Charles Manson House was in Death Valley

Las Vegas is one of the easiest places to make a home base, as it’s only 90 miles away.

The male black widow gets laid once in his life. The female eats him afterwards. The black widow spider may have hourglass, two red dots, or no markings at all.

Death Valley is all federal land, governed by park services…?

Trail difficulty rating is from 1-7.

Start with 1s and 2s. Penalty for failure is high.

Sand = Treachery

400-600 mile break in maintenance on new Dual Sport bike must be performed prior to trip. Must start that now!!!

DR-Z400s: 2.6 gal tank x 65 mpg = 169 mile range

Brand of aftermarket tank:

3.9 Gal tank by Clark

**Safari Trail Tank by Acerbis, 4.5 gallons (available colors: white, black, blue, yellow, more)

Color matters on dirt bikes, especially when needing to see / find them in the woods


Rabbit Valley/McInnis Canyon Dirtbike Accident

**Helmet cam must have audio. Cam should have audio on/off function to avoid annoying wind noise on highway.

What happens if you f-up? Break a leg? Don’t go alone!

Idea for possible consideration:

Rent bikes & hire guide

e.g. $140/day for Honda CR250 departing from Las Vegas

Search out dirt bike rental and tour operators Book private guided event, see Death Valley Adventure: Length 6 days, Location Nevada & California, Mojave Desert

End Notes

(Obviously, there are many holes and inaccuracies, but my intention here was to record, almost verbatim, the random things we discussed. Feel free to leave comments regarding any of the bullet points you have interest in or knowledge about.)

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