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Death Valley, Las Vegas, Mojave Desert: the infernal trio


at the entrance to Death Valley, Towne Pass

One month: One ride. After our visit to Joshua Tree National Park in January, direction Death Valley, Las Vegas and the mojave Desert in February.

The Valley of… Death (yes, it’s scary)

At first glance, “desert”, “death”: we imagine something very dry, very hot. Carcasses of animals on the side of the road, smoking tar and mirages of oases in the distance... In fact, it was in the rain that we left Los Angeles.

For this new road trip, we are (well) accompanied by my parents. My father rented an HD to live the American dream to the end. A 360 kg, 1700 cc Road King. That's all ? For us, it's the Super Tenere that we're starting to get to grips with.

Road Trip Death Valley, Las Vegas and Mojave Desert

The Super Ten and the Road King accompany us on this new road trip.

It is in the rain that we leave in the direction of Panamint Springs, a mining “town” that dates back to the conquest of the West. It is now the destination for travelers who, like us, have not reserved their campsite several months in advance... On paper, it's around 4 hours' drive. But that's not even counting LA's terrible traffic.

On the road, we leave aside a labyrinth of tracks dedicated to off-road vehicles: Jawbone and Red rock canyons, California. Spoiler alert: they will be the subject of our wrinkled of April.

We don't really linger, especially as the weather is threatening towards the North. We don't want to end up soaked like soup, especially since there's a strong wind.

entrance to death valley

The Super Ten, the Road King and us escaped the storm.

The “routourne” will turn…

It is only when we move further inland towards the East that the sky clears, the wind falls, stars in our eyes, butterflies in our stomachs. The landscapes begin to take shape, and we cross a premier pass. At the top, the Father Crowley Vista Point. Small view of a very nice canyon, known to aviation enthusiasts since it is a military training base.

Then we go back down to the Panamint Valley where we will spend the night. This time, it will be a cozy little chalet. But be aware that it is possible to camp with your own equipment or with that available on site.

The campsite, a restaurant, a gas station: this is the “city”. That's all. There is “nothing” else to do here than walk at the gates of Death Valley, and soak up the magnitude of the landscapes.

Panamint Springs Valley

Welcome to the Panamint Springs Valley, at the gateway to Death Valley.

We are still not in the Death Valley Park, but we have a glimpse of what awaits us and we are already won over. At night, we witness the spectacle of a starry sky like never before. I even decide to go out around 3 a.m.… But it was better at 10 p.m. Who knows why (I'm not an astrophysicist).

And if not, Death Valley?

Ok, ok, that’s okay, I’ll get there… The next morning, the adventure begins (again). Morning wake up, " continental breakfast » they say. We get on the bikes. East direction on the 190 still, to cross another pass, the Towne Pass. We leave the Panamint Valley to enter that of death. The view is breathtaking.

at the entrance to Death Valley, Towne Pass

Welcome to Death Valley: at the top of Towne Pass, view of the valley.

Premier stop at Ranger Station Stovepipe Wells to fulfill our privilege. Unlike the majority of parks in the United States, there is no physical barrier here where you pay. Just honest people unburdening themselves at the counter of an office lost in the desert. As with many national parks, it's $25 for motorcycles and $30 for cars. We opted for the $80 annual pass which gives the right to enter all parks in the United States… In addition, this pass can mention two owners (so we can share it with family or friends who visit ).

A few kilometers further, stop at mesquite Dunes, in Death Valley. You can walk around freely there, as long as it's not too hot. Speaking of which, the best time to go there is from November to March, if you don't want to end up crimson on the side of the road.

The Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley

The Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley.

Direction…under the sea

Then we leave the 190 for a road that goes down to the heart of Death Valley. Quite a descent since we find ourselves more than 85 meters below sea level!

No need for a mask or snorkel, that said, it's about Badwater, the lowest point in North America. A desert expanse... Well, not so much, since a spring supplies this basin, which is extremely rich in salt. Hence the name “bad water”. Avoid consuming it if you don't want to end up more dehydrated than you already are. Common sense will prevent you from doing so anyway. All joking aside, take water, I know a camel that died there… We didn't find a water point on the road, so don't skimp on the bottle. You know which one I'm talking about.

Badwater, in the heart of Death Valley, on One Month One Ride

Badwater, the lowest point in North America (don't forget the water).

Where is the exit ?

There are many things to do in Death Valley, like Shifting Stones remotely controlled by our extraterrestrial friends (this is not a joke). Or Artist's drive, which is a one-way loop offering cool views of Death Valley and various geological structures. But, we'll put that aside for next time... In the evening, we were expected in Las Vegas to attend a show of penguin jugglers... Really? But no, we had just booked one night in a hotel there.

To leave the park, we continue our route towards theAshford Junction on the 178. This is an old road, noted as " lost highway " on the butler card that we use. These are maps designed for bikers, with a system of rating the roads based on the virolos and the beauty of the landscape. I highly recommend it if you are visiting the United States.

Family road trip to Death Valley

With family in Death Valley.

We clearly tell ourselves that we are alone in the world, and that we would not like to break down... Precisely, the fuel gauge indicates the reserve. If it's over for us, we'll have to siphon gasoline from the Road King's big tank. At least we have a solution…

In the distance, a city appears, we are saved.

We stock up on the long-awaited… But totally overpriced in the town of Shoshone (yes, Shoshone). By the way, if you can, don't fill up with gas around the Park but rather inside. The prices are more reasonable there.

Vegas, baby

A little (infectious) American coffee, and off we go. focus on Las Vegas, city of all eccentricities, passing through Pahrump. The beginning of the road is similar to Death Valley, but once you pass Pahrump, it's more boring than a campaign rally. So, we pull on the rope so as not to fall asleep at the wheel of the millstones.

After a very long straight line, we cross Red rock canyon (Nevada, this time). We see the snow even though we were below sea level a few hours earlier…

Then, we end up on the Strip, its lights, its noise, and its Americans pouring beer over their heads (true). We return to the hotel for a refreshing shower before hitting the casino carpets. No suspense: we didn't win. The next morning, we make a detour to Fremont street, in the Downtown Las Vegas. It's less effervescent than the Strip, but still just as improbable.

Las vegas baby!

Las Vegas, Baby.

That's it for the city. We have seen enough! We are going back on an adventure.

Welcome to the Mojave Desert

Welcome to the Mojave Desert.

We. Wanna. Dessert! Uh… from the desert!

To finish our loop in style, we opted for the mojave Desert. This is a nature reserve southwest of Vegas. Just after crossing the border between Nevada and California, here we are on this road which will take us to the heart of the reserve. Listed again lost highway » on our Butler map.

In the heart of the Mojave Desert

We recommend the Butler maps, intended for motorcyclists with ratings of the roads according to the virolos and the beauty of the landscapes.

Here, the landscape is dominated by joshua Tree forests. You remember, this tree which gives its name to the National Park where Mathilde and I were in January ? In short, this is all very beautiful. There are even big piles of sand on the side of the road. We can take a few photos there and pretend we've been on the trail, the real one, a good adventurer's trail.

Sand track in the heart of the Mojave Desert?

Sand track in the heart of the Mojave Desert?

After several Insta photo stops, here we are in Kelso. This city in the heart of the desert is actually a former railway depot. It was created in the 19th century to assist in the construction and maintenance of a railway line which today crosses the entire desert. As a legacy, there remains a building transformed into a museum telling this story. You can ride horses there (see photo), and learn about the fauna and flora present in the Reserve.

Kelso in the heart of the Mojave Desert

Horseback riding in Kelso, in the heart of the Mojave Desert.

So it's climbing

After this cultural stop, we decide to go to the kelso Dunes that we had seen from afar... And, without really knowing what we were venturing into, here we were, climbing the highest dune in the area!

From a distance, it doesn't seem like it's far... But, casually, with the sun beating down, themotorcycle equipment and the absence of water (the Death-Valley-without-water experience not having served us a lesson), it's not simple. That said, it's worth it... Walking on the crest of the dune offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of the reserve. Time to catch our breath right at the summit, and we painfully return to our mounts.

Kelso Dunes in the Mojave Desert

The Kelso Dunes in the Mojave Desert.

It's getting late and night is falling, we finish our cruise from the reserve to return to the highway. This will lead us to Barstow, where we will spend our last night in a very typical American motel. The one that smells like toilet freshener, and there are pancakes for breakfast.

The legendary Route 66

Our adventure is almost coming to an end, but we could not complete this new road trip without treading the asphalt of the legendary Route 66. We didn't choose Barstow by chance: it is a drop-off point crossed by the famous route. So head to Victorville through the hinterland.

Here, all the businesses proudly display a “Road 66” sign. Between us, it's not really authentic anymore... I imagine it's not the best part of Route 66, but nothing special to see here. Oh yes ! The “Bottle Ranch”: the fruit of a boundless imagination combined with an overdose of hallucinogenic mushrooms (probably).

Bottle Ranch, Route 66

Bottle Ranch, along the legendary Route 66

After 1,313 kilometers exactly, it’s time to go green. One again road trip unforgettable where you'll be amazed. It feels good to ride. If you want to know more, do not hesitate to contact us and follow our adventures @onemonth.oneride on Instagram. Waiting for, wheel you well !

Max, one month one ride.

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One month one ride

Max is a passionate motorcycle enthusiast. Me, Mathilde, I am passionate about traveling (and food). It was as a duo (or trio with the Super 10) that we decided to go live and ride under the California sun. History of discovering the country, the culture… and the American culinary wonders. So here we are as a duo summarizing our crazy... or rather our earthy, sunny, and wonderful adventures. Also follow us on Insta.

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