I just made a run from LA to Vegas going out through the Mojave and Death Valley.
I planned to leave before sunrise. I was hoping to be gone at 4am, but didn’t get out until around 6:30. The extra couple hours would prove to be useful.
I mapped out a 440 mile route, almost all off road except the first 30 miles. On paper I estimated it to be around a 16 hour ride.
I hit the dirt as the sun came up.
This was going to be fun!
A few miles off pavement and the views were great!
I was doing my best to keep my speed up so I could complete the route in a day. However there were some long rocky sections that made it difficult to maintain pace.
There were also a large number of trails and tracks shooting off in every direction. It was very difficult to navigate and I ended up missing turns frequently and backtracking. There were no markings and everything looks more or less the same.
There were some signs of life scattered around! I’m sure a few of you can recognize these landmarks.
Trying to keep time. Petal to the proverbial metal.
This is what I wanted the whole trip – fast and smooth…..
This hill/mound was real cool looking, like an enormous ant hill. It isn’t very impressive on film.
Apparently I routed myself through some single track. WHEEE!
Time was now passing very fast, but the miles were not. I still had a LONG way to go.
It doesn’t get much better than this!
The terrain was pretty loose in most spots. It was fairly slow going and I had to muscle the bike through some tricky climbs.
I eventually came to an ominous hill and had to stop and think. The second section of the hill (top left of the photo) was extremely steep and looked real loose. I also didn’t know what the other side of the hill looked like. I doubted I could make it and wasn’t sure if I should attempt it. No one knows where I am, its extremely hot out, and I’m riding solo.
After a little thinking I decided. F**k it!
I gave it one good run – and didn’t make it.
Had to work real hard not to loop it.
My tires weren’t doing me any favors either…..
I dropped the bike a couple more times getting it turned around and back down the hill. I was completely out of breath so had to take a break for a few minutes. Did I mention the heat?! I couldn’t believe how hot it was.
After cooling down a bit I backtracked to find an alternate route around the hill. If I was out there with someone I would have given it another couple runs.
The day was disappearing quickly and I really wasn’t covering much ground. I found my way through a maze of trails out to a paved rode….
…. and slabbed it a little while to make up a few miles.
After an hour or so I dropped back into the dirt on new route. The dirt was much faster.
I stopped for fewer pictures as I plowed through.
At one point I hit a gully at a high rate of speed. I thought surely I was going down. I managed to hold it steady but the forks and shock both bottomed out very hard. The rear tire cut through the straps holding my luggage on and I had to stop and come up with a creative way to re attach it.
I covered many more fast dirt miles, then eventually cut back out to the road as the sun was going down so I could make it to Vegas at a reasonable hour.
I didn’t see everything as I had planned – but that’s what return trips are for.
Time to hit the tables!
….more to come….