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Death Valley Adventure – Outfitter Call

Posted by on November 6, 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.

Just spoke with AdMo-Tours by telephone and got a lot of helpful information.

Q: What bikes do you rent for the Death Valley Adventure Tour?
A: BMW 1200 GS or 800 GS.

Q: Would a DR-Z 400 work?
A: They use those for their 3-day Dual Sport Tour, but not on the 5-day Death Valley Tour.

Q: What’s the difference between the two tours?
A: On the desert tour you negotiate rocks, boulders, and sand.  On the adventure tour you’re on dirt roads.

Q: What do you think the average speed would be?
A: Death Valley Park has a 40 mph speed limit. Outside the park, faster.

Q: If I brought a 400, that’s licensed, would it keep up with the group on the adventure tour?
A: That would be a possible concern.

(The person I spoke with was not the guide, but would ask the guide and call me back. I’ll update this once I know.)

Q: Would my buddy’s 650 work on the adventure tour?
A: Probably, but it might be too big for the Dual Sport tour. On the Dual Sport tour, he may have to skirt the rougher areas.

(Again, this question will be asked of the lead guide.)

The 3-day Dual Sport Tour goes from California to Las Vegas and is more technical terrain.

Q: What bikes do you offer for rental on that?
A: DR-Z400 or the KTM 450.

Q: Prices?
A: $605 to rent 400 or 450 for 3 days (Dual Sport Tour)

* All their bikes are actually rented from either a Las Vegas or California rental dealer.

Q: Actual Time in Death Valley Park?
A: 24 hours on Dual Sport Tour, 36 hours on Adventure Tour.

Q: On the 5-day tour, where are you the rest of the time.
A: Death Valley is just unique, but the rest is also very scenic, but not in the park. Desert terrain, mountains, hills, and bad lands (near china ranch, which is a date ranch in a desert oasis valley)

Q: Is a date ranch somewhere you take your wife on date night?
A: (Laugh) No, the kind of dates you eats, fruit.

There are lots of date farms in southern California.

Summary:

On the Adventure Tour you need a bigger bike.  But since the Dual Sport tour is more off-road oriented, the 400 class is recommended.

So I need to talk with Motospeedy to decide which of the AdMo-Tours itineraries has more appeal. The only caveat is that the 3-day Dual Sport tour leaves from California (Although they would work with us on a trip the opposite way.) Going west to east is fun because exiting the desert and coming into Las Vegas in the evening has an awesome feel because of the lights on the Vegas Strip, but the actual riding either way is spectacular. Their facilities are in California. (Their 5-day Adventure trip departs from Las Vegas, though.)

The decision on which bike to take comes down to which trip itinerary has the most appeal, so working that out is step one. I’m very curious to get the answer regarding whether the 400 would keep up on the Adventure Tour. It all depends on how much good road is taken and how fast (for how long) the group travels on average.

Q: Is the Dual Sport Trip less mileage per day?
A: No, same mileage, just rougher terrain.

Side note: Day-4 on Adv Tour is at Scotty’s Cabin, which is in the park.

Q: What is the best month for temperature.
A: April is better, but it’s hotter. 80 degrees. May is 90 degrees. Stay away in the summer.

Q: Why is April better?
A: Potential for having the spring bloom (desert flowers)

February Temp: Mid 60s – mid 70s.
March: mid 70s – mid 80s.

On neither of their tours do they bring a 650 class. They either offer the GS 800 or the GS 1200, or the DR-Z 400 or KTM 450. I got the idea, though, that this was only because these are the bikes offered by their chosen rental companies. Not to say the 650 would be a poor choice.

Sorry for the randomness of this post. The conversation was a give and take, and the various questions came up in a random order. I know that getting good information is often only limited by the quality of the questions. My specific goal with the call was to identify which bike is best suited to Death Valley. I got that answer. It depends on where you go, what terrain you intend to traverse, and what destinations you hope to reach. So designing our dream itinerary is the vital first step.

Some other time, I’ll ask about scorpions, etc., and other ways to die, which I’m sure are more important questions to ask. No, I’m not planning to show up on the perfect bike, but totally unprepared to face the desert threats that will actually kill me (like, oops, I forgot to bring drinking water, extra gas, or sunscreen; nor I didn’t realize my mobile phone wouldn’t work in the desert).

Relevant links:

Adventure Tour
http://www.admotours.com/american_adventure_tours/death_valley_adventure_tours.htm

Dual Sport Tour
http://www.admotours.com/dirtbike_tours/la_to_las_vegas_tour/la-to-vegas_standard.htm

Final Note…

All errors are mine.

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