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I loved riding through Death Valley/NV/UT. Where next?

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I loved riding through Death Valley/NV/UT. Where next?

Old 06-13-18, 01:34 PM
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I loved riding through Death Valley/NV/UT. Where next?

Hi all.

I'm casting a wide net, I know. But I have one month to be out this fall and can go anywhere in the lower 48. I need some help narrowing it down.

Two years ago, I did my first tour. It was solo/fully loaded and was mid-September to mid- October. I started in Sebastopol/Santa Rosa, CA > Napa Valley > Central Valley > Yosemite > Lee Vining/Mono Lake > Owens Valley > Lone Pine, CA > Death Valley > Las Vegas > Lake Mead > St George UT, Zion NP > North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Four weeks, and about 1,100 miles. (80k+ ft of climbing!)

The highlight of all that was definitely Death Valley; especially Big Pine to Furnace Creek (in 3 days). Not only b/c it was beautiful, I actually liked the heat.

I have the same window of time this year -about Sept 15th to Oct 15th- and want to get back into the desert. (I don't necessarily need to cover all those miles this time) I know it's a tall and maybe over-generalized order, but where would you ride if you had a month and loved the American Southwest? Joshua Tree? The Mojave? Somewhere in New Mexico, maybe? Should I just go back to Death Valley?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Old 06-13-18, 03:00 PM
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Utah? I don't have concrete suggestions but check out The Radavist Rubber Side Up - he's in LA and loves riding in the desert. He's done some cool trips in that area, Owens Valley, Death Valley, the Sierra, and Utah as well - some more MTB than road. Might have route suggestions that capture your interest.

Endless Summer in Owens Valley: A Tale of Three Gargantuan Climbs The Radavist
Cycling Through History in Death Valley National Park The Radavist
A Sunday Spin on Artist Drive in Death Valley National Park The Radavist
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Old 06-13-18, 07:46 PM
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I'm not sure how much picturesque damage was done by forest fires lately, but following 89A south through Sedona
from Flagstaff, continuing south to Gerome and up over the mountains to Prescott and beyond is both a challenging
and beautiful ride.
I also love the desert and have ridden on some of the secondary relatively uninhabited roads south of hwy 8 between
Gila Bend and Tucson. I've been told the secondary roads east of hwy19 and south of hwy 10 to the New Mexico border
are great and interesting rides as well, probably better than the ones I did.
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Old 06-13-18, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Brett A View Post
....I have the same window of time this year -about Sept 15th to Oct 15th- and want to get back into the desert.....
maybe start at flagstaff (south rim), south thru phoenix, souther to organ pipe monument, then head east thru tuscon and suguaro nat park, even more easterer towards lordsburg, then north thru gila nat forest, los alamos, santa fe, then turn south to albuquerque for return flight or train.

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Old 06-14-18, 02:48 AM
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i'd say fly into slc and head in a generally se direction, hitting capitol reef np, canyonlands np, moab, arches np, mesa verde np. durango-colorado,
valles caldera national preserve (new mexico), bandelier nm, taos, santa fe and fly out of albuquerque or if enough time...ride towards/fly out of tucson
and add silver city (new mexico), chiricahua nm and bisbee, az along the way.

but since you loved the heat, isolation and scenery of death valley np, i'll suggest another route. fly into slc and ride north into south central idaho to
visit city of rocks national reserve, then angle over into nevada to hit the jarbidge wilderness, drop down to elko, head west to winnemucca, drop down into the
humboldt-toiyabe natl forest/pyramid lake/hawthorne/tonopah area, east to ely and great basin np, then down towards las vegas where you can incorporate
a little side trip into death valley and/or mojave natl perserve for old times sake before flying out of vegas. huge isolation. huge planning. big sky and big country.
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Old 06-14-18, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Lew View Post
I'm not sure how much picturesque damage was done by forest fires lately, but following 89A south through Sedona
from Flagstaff, continuing south to Gerome and up over the mountains to Prescott and beyond is both a challenging
and beautiful ride.

I also love the desert and have ridden on some of the secondary relatively uninhabited roads south of hwy 8 between
Gila Bend and Tucson. I've been told the secondary roads east of hwy19 and south of hwy 10 to the New Mexico border
are great and interesting rides as well, probably better than the ones I did.
just drove that entire stretch two weeks ago and it was still gorgeous. the area was under an extreme fire alert tho at the time and dunno if any significant blazes
started up/are continuing.
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Old 06-14-18, 09:47 AM
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Consider the Anza-Borrego east of Sandy Eggo. You can head east from there through the Imperial sand dunes and then on to other deserts either in Arizona or Mexico.
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Old 06-14-18, 10:30 AM
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Thanks everyone. I'll have the time later this evening to look at what you've suggested so far.. (Didn't want you think I asked and bailed)
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Old 06-15-18, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Lew View Post
I'm not sure how much picturesque damage was done by forest fires lately, but following 89A south through Sedona
from Flagstaff, continuing south to Gerome and up over the mountains to Prescott and beyond is both a challenging
and beautiful ride.
I also love the desert and have ridden on some of the secondary relatively uninhabited roads south of hwy 8 between
Gila Bend and Tucson. I've been told the secondary roads east of hwy19 and south of hwy 10 to the New Mexico border
are great and interesting rides as well, probably better than the ones I did.
I actually have a friend's house I could use in Flagstaff (He won't be home, but I have access). This could be a good framework for a Flagstaff to Sedona, Jerome, Prescott (visit friends) - south to through Tuscon - over to Silver City, NM (more friends) then back up to Flagstaff. Starting and ending in the same point has its advantages for sure,
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Old 06-15-18, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
maybe start at flagstaff (south rim), south thru phoenix, souther to organ pipe monument, then head east thru tuscon and suguaro nat park, even more easterer towards lordsburg, then north thru gila nat forest, los alamos, santa fe, then turn south to albuquerque for return flight or train.
Looks good. What would be the highlights/reason for the Albuquerque-Los Alamos - Santa Fe - Albuquerque loop? (Besides the obvious connecting of the towns from the Neil Young song "Albuquerque"?)
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Old 06-15-18, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
Consider the Anza-Borrego east of Sandy Eggo. You can head east from there through the Imperial sand dunes and then on to other deserts either in Arizona or Mexico.
Took me a minute: Sandy Eggo = San Diego.
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Old 06-15-18, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
i'd say fly into slc and head in a generally se direction, hitting capitol reef np, canyonlands np, moab, arches np, mesa verde np. durango-colorado,
valles caldera national preserve (new mexico), bandelier nm, taos, santa fe and fly out of albuquerque or if enough time...ride towards/fly out of tucson
and add silver city (new mexico), chiricahua nm and bisbee, az along the way.
This looks amazing. And the fact I've never been to CO or NM is a plus. I could visit friends in NM w/this plan.
Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
but since you loved the heat, isolation and scenery of death valley np, i'll suggest another route. fly into slc and ride north into south central idaho to
visit city of rocks national reserve, then angle over into nevada to hit the jarbidge wilderness, drop down to elko, head west to winnemucca, drop down into the
humboldt-toiyabe natl forest/pyramid lake/hawthorne/tonopah area, east to ely and great basin np, then down towards las vegas where you can incorporate
a little side trip into death valley and/or mojave natl perserve for old times sake before flying out of vegas. huge isolation. huge planning. big sky and big country.
There's a lot going on there. But you got my number with the heat, isolation and scenery. I'll see what it would look like if I massaged 400 miles or-so out of this list.
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Old 06-15-18, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Brett A View Post
Looks good. What would be the highlights/reason for the Albuquerque-Los Alamos - Santa Fe - Albuquerque loop? ...
awesome mountain scenery.
hot springs on public lands.
nekkit hippie chicks.
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Old 06-16-18, 11:26 AM
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Gobi desert, maybe Namibia?
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Old 06-16-18, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Gobi desert, maybe Namibia?
Fall in the US is among the hottest periods in (southern-hemisphere) Namibia. I cycled through at end of April 2013 and was surprised at how much it reminded me of deserts in Nevada. So except for the timing/cost this could be a good choice for someone who enjoyed deserts in Nevada, particularly if you are ok with some gravel road cycling.

One of the two photos below was taken near Panamint Springs in Death Valley and the other was taken in Namibia...



As far as other choices in the US west, most have been mentioned, but I'm partial to some of the canyon country in UT and would probably include them in a loop and take in a few of the parks like Capital Reef or Arches.
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Old 06-17-18, 09:41 AM
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Utah. Find a route that puts you on Utah scenic 12 at some point. That is one of the most beautiful roads I have ever ridden. And if you like that lonely feeling of the Mojave, you will love the area between Cedar City UT and Ely NV. That time of the year will give you hot but dry days and wonderfully cool nights.
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Old 06-18-18, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Brett A View Post
This looks amazing. And the fact I've never been to CO or NM is a plus. I could visit friends in NM w/this plan.

There's a lot going on there. But you got my number with the heat, isolation and scenery. I'll see what it would look like if I massaged 400 miles or-so out of this list.
it's a win-win. hit one and then do the other next time.
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