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  1. #1
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    bike route - Barstow to Vegas

    hi
    to start cross country tour in July, we're going LA to Vegas. Best route so far seems Barstow- Fort Irwin, to Tecopa, on to Las Vegas .

    Other than the obvious heat issues, I have the following questions
    1. Anybody know about civillian lodging in Fort Irwin, and Tecopa
    2. Condition of roads, amount of traffic , Barstow-Ft Irwin, Ft Irwin-Tecopa , Tecopa-Vegas
    3. Services, food, gas, ice, etc available along this route
    4. Alternate route from LA-Vegas

    thx
    Charlie
    www.bike4friendship.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lesper4's Avatar
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    July!?
    Socalcycling.com is doing a ride form Palm Springs to Vegas next month. You might want to contact them on routes. Maybe try facebook as that is where I saw the link about the ride (invite only).

  3. #3
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    I saw a lone cyclist along the 15, just west of Zzyzx, CA on my way home from Death Valley on Sunday morning. Not the most pleasant ride (blech, not even close), but at least the shoulder's wide and the asphalt quality is good.

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    If you're not in the military, your chances of getting permission to cross Fort Irwin are probably slim. You'd have to call the base and try to ask them very politely. (You probably don't want your cross-country trip to end in an army prison.) Assuming you can get the permission, there is a Landmark Inn in Fort Irwin.

    Roads from Barstow to Fort Irwin and the 127 to Tecopa are in good condition, with very little traffic. The road from Tecopa should be virtually deserted. Once you're in Nevada, 160 is fairly busy. The back road out of Fort Irwin is unpaved.

    As far as alternates, the route through Ridgecrest-Trona-Furnace Creek will add about 60 miles to your trip, but you avoid the military base and you stay on the asphalt for the entire duration.

    You are technically allowed to ride on the freeway shoulder between Barstow and Las Vegas. This is obviously unpleasant and you'd have to do that for about 95 miles. http://g.co/maps/en6cn One big problem here is that I don't see any shoulder in the mountain pass east of Baker.
    Last edited by eugenek; 03-09-12 at 01:53 PM.

  5. #5
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    You might want to consult the touring forum. I know a lot of cross country cycle tourers follow the ACA maps (Adventure Cycling Association) when they go - at least the first time around. I looked at their route map and they don't have anything through Vegas. http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/RouteNetwork.pdf

  6. #6
    Senior Member triplebutted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
    I saw a lone cyclist along the 15, just west of Zzyzx, CA on my way home from Death Valley on Sunday morning. Not the most pleasant ride (blech, not even close), but at least the shoulder's wide and the asphalt quality is good.
    I saw that guy too!!!! I was like "insane"!! Besides being illegal. I'm pretty sure bikes can't be on the I-15. And I saw a guy as well on the 10 a month ago. Fully loaded. Ahhh, memories on when I was a fully loaded bike tour guide for AYH.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by triplebutted View Post
    I was like "insane"!! Besides being illegal. I'm pretty sure bikes can't be on the I-15.
    Well, actually part correct, and part incorrect. Bicycle traffic is allowed on I-15 where ever there is NO alternate route available. Between Barstow and Vegas there is no other direct route. BUT, although it's not quite my definition of insane, it would be VERY unpleasant.

    To the OP, being a local, I have to ask about your bike experience, and the rationale for choosing to ride in a VERY inhospitable climate in July. We commonly refer to late June, July, and August as the season of the 100-and-stupids. The nominal temperature on the Mojave at that time of year range from the low-100's to the high 100-and-teens. Last years records indicate that there were 32 days during that period where the temperature exceeded 110. With this as background, you are facing a ride of approx. 110-115 miles to get to Primm, NV. Along the way you have just Yermo [ 10 miles from Barstow], and Baker[ 50 miles further] that can be banked on for services. There ARE occasional/seasonal convenience stores between Yermo and Baker, and then again between Baker and Primm, but they should not be relied on. Your questioned route that included diverting north to Tecopa, and thence into Vegas would add about 100 miles to your trip, and, in Tecopa the only commercial services available are 2 hot springs mineral baths, and several RV/camp sites; no stores. The nearest would be in Shoshone some 15 miles farther north.

    Once you have arrived in Primm there are many facilities, and farther north on the 15 near Jean there is the opportunity to bail off the Interstate and take a parallel road which turns into Las Vegas Blvd as you approach LV. Any of those "roads" that appear on some road maps - AAA for example - and seemingly parallel 15 are typically unpaved, "bladed" gravel roads that are desolate - no traffic, and of course no facilities of any kind. That's why the 15's shoulder is legal for cyclists. Mention was made of going through Ridgecrest and Trona and Furnace Creek, but that would just take you out of the frying pain and throw you into the fire. Death Valley is called that for a reason!

    IMHO, I think you should reconsider the timing of your ride if it's imperative to got through Vegas. I have crewed on RAAM which is in June from Oceanside and our route is more southerly, crossing CA south of the Salton Sea and then crossing the Colorado River into AZ at Parker, continuing NE towards Flagstaff and into southern UT before crossing the Continental Divide. That routing was selected because of the availability of services in somewhat sparsely populated areas, and of course, low traffic volumes.

    YMMV
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    Mention was made of going through Ridgecrest and Trona and Furnace Creek, but that would just take you out of the frying pain and throw you into the fire. Death Valley is called that for a reason!
    He would have to ride at night. If he checks out of the hotel in Ridgecrest/Trona area at 7 PM, and he is in a really good shape, he has a shot at getting to Pahrump before the desert crosses the boiling point in the morning. (We're talking about 170 miles and 9000 feet of elevation gain, but hey, if you want to do a cross country tour, you should be prepared ... )
    Last edited by eugenek; 03-10-12 at 02:53 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by eugenek View Post
    He would have to ride at night. If he checks out of the hotel in Ridgecrest/Trona area at 7 PM, and he is in a really good shape, he has a shot at getting to Pahrump before the desert crosses the boiling point in the morning. (We're talking about 170 miles and 9000 feet of elevation gain, but hey, if you want to do a cross country tour, you should be prepared ... )
    He would have a max of some 14 hours total. At that time of the year, the "boiling point" [passing thru 100] is about 0900; that would also not be 0900 in or near Furnace Creek; add 10-15 for that location.
    YMMV
    -dg
    The thing about the cold is that you can never tell how cold it is
    from looking out a kitchen window. You have to dress up, get out
    training and when you come back, you then know how cold it is.
    -- Sean Kelly

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 200miler View Post
    He would have a max of some 14 hours total. At that time of the year, the "boiling point" [passing thru 100] is about 0900; that would also not be 0900 in or near Furnace Creek; add 10-15 for that location.
    YMMV
    -dg
    He'll just have to tough it out then, I guess? If he doesn't make it to Pahrump by 0900 and he has to pedal under the scorching sun with temps in the 100's for a few hours, that still beats having to do the same on the I-15 shoulder, or trying to ride the I-15 at night, or trying to use this "shortcut" from Fort Irwin to Tecopa. The RAAM route has more services, but it adds another 100 miles on top of the length of the Death Valley detour. The only other option I see is the 62 to 95, which does not seem to have any advantages over Ridgecrest/Furnace Creek.

    By the way, the OP seems to be from New Jersey.

  11. #11
    Despite all my rage, I am rooftest's Avatar
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    I can't stand riding on freeways, (the noise level is really high), but I'd probably go with the the freeway for that ride. Any other routes are probably so lightly traveled that if you ran into a huge problem that stranded you, the first person to pass would find your body.

    If you take the I-15; remember that the law says you have to take each exit and then re-enter. This is also much safer if there is any amount of traffic. (and there will be.)

  12. #12
    Half Fast mwandaw's Avatar
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    It has already been said, but I'm going to say it again. PLEASE reconsider riding from LA to Vegas (and beyond) in July. You are asking for trouble, and I don't mean inconvenience. I mean potentially fatal trouble.

    Every ride has its risks, but on a ride like this one little problem could get out of hand very quickly and very dangerously.
    Last edited by mwandaw; 03-15-12 at 09:49 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Recalled this thread yesterday and decided to check what happened to them. Looks like they went from Los Angeles straight to Phoenix via Indio/Blythe on the shoulder of the 10.

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