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Old 08-18-12, 12:02 AM   #1
josh.capelle
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bay area to vegas best route to take

Hey everybody, I'm thinking of taking a week+ to ride down to las vegas from palo alto, ca. I have a couple routes already in mind and was wondering if anybody has done them before. They both go up sonora pass, but the first one heads east through tonopah and rachel, kind of skirting around area 51 and finally dropping down into vegas. The second one, after going through hawthorne, nv, cuts south to go through death valley (parallel with highway 95 and west of area 51) and finally through pahrump to vegas.

Just wondering, if anybody has done this, what the most interesting route would be.
I'll probably be doing this in the fall.

Thanks!
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Old 08-18-12, 03:11 AM   #2
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For what it is worth, here is report for trip I took from San Jose to Las Vegas: http://www.mvermeulen.com/vegas/index.htm

I stayed in Central Valley to Bakersfield and then went over Walker Pass and then into Death Valley on Townes Pass. This was first week of May and already getting warm in floor of Death Valley.
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Old 08-18-12, 08:03 AM   #3
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Similar routing as mev that took me through Vegas. Lots of fun. Bit of angst.
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Old 08-19-12, 12:01 PM   #4
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You're doing Sonora Pass for the challenge, right? It's the toughest route over the range.
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Old 08-19-12, 11:49 PM   #5
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Yeah for the challenge and also the fact that less cars go on sonora than tioga. I was really wondering though what's more interesting-going through tonopah on et highway through rachel or dropping south through death valley.
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Old 08-20-12, 01:21 PM   #6
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Yeah for the challenge and also the fact that less cars go on sonora than tioga. I was really wondering though what's more interesting-going through tonopah on et highway through rachel or dropping south through death valley.
I used to live in the east bay -Walnut Creek area- and now am retired to the desert of Southern NV - LV area. I still spend a fair amount of time back in the BA, doing neutral support of ultra rides. Over the past 10 years I've driven every reasonable route between these points and would recommend the following: Cross the Bay and go out thru Livermore towards Stockton, with the aim of connecting up to CA88 and going out thru Jackson, thence over Carson Pass and down into NV at Minden. Then it would be south on 395 past Lee Vining, and Mammoth, into Bishop and the Owens River Valley. At Long Pine you would take 136/190 east thru Death Valley to DV Junction, and then Stateline Rd over to Pahrump. The remainder would be on NV160 over Spring Mountain Pass and into LV valley.

Your initial thoughts about Sonora Pass and then either via Tonopah/Rachel, or via Hawthorne [not sure how that one pieces together], will put you out into some VERY primitive areas, devoid of anyplace to readily obtain supplies. Unless of course you plan on carrying EVERYTHING consumable, and camping along side the hiway!

Using something like the 88/395 core route would put you on good roads, with reasonable shoulders, and most importantly, thru places to get food/fluids, and to find a motel when you want one. Using US95 in NV would not be a good idea. It is a typical high desert inter-city hiway; 70MPH, minimal shoulder [unless you count rumble strip!] and fairly heavily trafficked; the principle route between LV and Reno/Carson City/Tahoe area, popular with both the semis, and the RVers.
YMMV
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Old 08-20-12, 01:34 PM   #7
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Anything in the western Sierras you want to see on the way there?
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Old 08-20-12, 06:57 PM   #8
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I used to live in the east bay -Walnut Creek area- and now am retired to the desert of Southern NV - LV area. I still spend a fair amount of time back in the BA, doing neutral support of ultra rides. Over the past 10 years I've driven every reasonable route between these points and would recommend the following: Cross the Bay and go out thru Livermore towards Stockton, with the aim of connecting up to CA88 and going out thru Jackson, thence over Carson Pass and down into NV at Minden. Then it would be south on 395 past Lee Vining, and Mammoth, into Bishop and the Owens River Valley. At Long Pine you would take 136/190 east thru Death Valley to DV Junction, and then Stateline Rd over to Pahrump. The remainder would be on NV160 over Spring Mountain Pass and into LV valley.

Your initial thoughts about Sonora Pass and then either via Tonopah/Rachel, or via Hawthorne [not sure how that one pieces together], will put you out into some VERY primitive areas, devoid of anyplace to readily obtain supplies. Unless of course you plan on carrying EVERYTHING consumable, and camping along side the hiway!

Using something like the 88/395 core route would put you on good roads, with reasonable shoulders, and most importantly, thru places to get food/fluids, and to find a motel when you want one. Using US95 in NV would not be a good idea. It is a typical high desert inter-city hiway; 70MPH, minimal shoulder [unless you count rumble strip!] and fairly heavily trafficked; the principle route between LV and Reno/Carson City/Tahoe area, popular with both the semis, and the RVers.
YMMV
-dg
Hey thanks for the info. Yes, definitely do not want to take 95 for that reason, but I do like the primitive areas and that's the reason I chose that first route. I think I have it planned out though where I could stop at motels every night and not have to camp out by the highway.

So it would be either sonora to hawthorne (b/c there are hotels in hawthorne), then hawthorne to tonopah (more hotels) and then tonopah to rachel (another hotel/motel)--or, instead of going further east, just cut down vertically through death valley. Just wondering what's more interesting to see death valley or the et highway. Primitive ar
Why do you recommend 88 over sonora pass?
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Old 08-20-12, 07:02 PM   #9
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Anything in the western Sierras you want to see on the way there?

no, mostly just interested in doing some desert riding and checking out the mono lake area on the eastside. I wanted to do sonora pass cause it looks really difficult.
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Old 08-21-12, 08:01 PM   #10
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Why do you recommend 88 over sonora pass?
CA88 has a nice remoteness to it, and yet has services available. Lots of towns, campsites, convenience stores, etc., and a moderate gradient suitable for touring riders. Low traffic volume also contribute to its appeal. Crossing over the Carson Spur, and then Carson Pass is really impressive. Once you hit Minden and turn south on 395, you have a nice smooth, albeit hilly, ride into Lee Vining. At that point you can either elect to continue on 395 and do a Death Valley "tour", OR, swing east on CA120 [carry supplies! There's nothing available until Benton] and connect with US6 to head to Tonopah. CA120 across the Mono Basin and over Sagehen Pass is a pretty nice piece of roadway; big repaving project this summer. Which ever you end up doing, enjoy!
YMMV
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Old 03-11-13, 12:15 PM   #11
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You might find this thread useful
Thank you for the right direction, raybo


Hello !
I have decided to hit LV from East Bay also, good info here already !!!! I'll be doing it in very beginning of May and will have a "support vehicle". Looks like Yosemite is out of the question since all passes will be, most likely, closed.

Has anyone done it already? !!!


-------------------------


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
Similar routing as mev that took me through Vegas. Lots of fun. Bit of angst.
nice report, loved it !!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mev View Post
For what it is worth, here is report for trip I took from San Jose to Las Vegas: http://www.mvermeulen.com/vegas/index.htm
........

great Report, thank you for sharing

Last edited by toxicburn1; 03-11-13 at 06:43 PM. Reason: eliminate multiple posts
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