Home » 2015 Solo Cross Country Motorcycle Trip

NV160 to Death Valley, NV

Saturday, May 9, 2015 - 12:45pm by Herb
190 miles and 6.75 hours from our last stop - 2 night stay


Herb with Bike in Red Rock CanyonHerb with Bike in Red Rock CanyonSpirits were high as I backtracked the bike to the start of the loop through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. In previous visits we had usually just parked at pullout for a climbing destination, and then hiked in. Leaving the park was usually at the end of a long day so we never really had the time to slowly travel the loop and enjoy the views from the road.

I stopped at a parking area and started to photograph the bike with the rocks in the background. Someone else noticed my Jersey Plates, and offered to take a photo for me so I wouldn't have to generate another awkward selfie. I thanked him, and continued my ride up the backside of Death Valley on 160.

Szukalski’s "Last Supper"Szukalski’s "Last Supper"I soon arrived at Pahrump, and more specifically a McDonalds for their hearty full breakfast of eggs, sausage, muffins, pancake, and coffee. It seemed right at the time to get a high calorie breakfast so that I could extend my riding time through the afternoon.

As I was considering my possible excess of calories, I noticed a thin muscular guy carrying two of my breakfasts to his own table. When saw his cycling shorts, and the bike outside I realized that the caloric requirements for cycling far exceeded those of riding a motorcycle. I would have to try to get back into a regular schedule of exercise once this trip was over.

Lady Desert: The Venus of NevadaLady Desert: The Venus of NevadaI continued my ride up through the town of Beatty, and then down to the Ghost Town of Rhyolite and the Goldwell Open Air Museum. I had seen images of Szukalski’s "Last Supper" and wanted to see it in it's original setting.

The museum did not disappoint. I had the entire grounds pretty much to myself, and was able to wander around and photograph the various sculptures in their natural setting against a sky with darkening clouds. I enjoyed it so much, that I repeated the trip 3 weeks later with Lolo in Rhyolite, NV.

A short ride up the road, and the Ghost Town of Rhyolite appeared. I ran around trying to capture the abandoned buildings in the shifting light, and then headed out on 374, and then 190 to enter Death Valley.

Honda ST1100 in RhyoliteHonda ST1100 in RhyoliteI had been anticipating the ride down into Death Valley since the start of the trip in NJ. I was surrounded by colorful cliffs as I dropped down a mile in elevation along a near perfectly smooth 2 lane deserted highway. Landmarks that I had visited with Lorry and the Boys whizzed by with new found appreciation when viewed from the perspective of two wheeled travel.

The air temperature rose rapidly with the descent and I adjusted the vents on the jacket to maintain comfort at 55 mph. I felt that I had truly ridden to the West, and was feeling somewhat accomplished, and maybe a bit smug with myself.

Motorcycle Camping in Furnace Creek DesertMotorcycle Camping in Furnace Creek DesertIt was late-afternoon when I finally pitched my tent in the Furnace Creek Campground, and situated my Kermit chair in a position that would allow for a good view of the oncoming clouds and eventual sunset. I had purchased some beer in Pahrump, so I thought that the best course of action would be to consume them while they still were a bit cool.

At dusk, dinner was prepared and I retired to the quiet of the desert breeze in the bushes surrounding my site.

Tomorrow held the promise of another "world class" motorcycle ride. West out of Death Valley, and then up the iconic highway 395, tracing the spine of the eastern sierra. I fell deeply asleep, with dreams of 2 wheeled ecstasy.

NV160 to Death Valley location map in "high definition"

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