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Pahrump, NV to Santa Barbara, CA

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Pahrump, NV to Santa Barbara, CA

Old 03-26-20, 09:38 AM
  #1  
Pazazz
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Pahrump, NV to Santa Barbara, CA

Yep, I did this solo tour last March over five days. Why? Because my daughter lived in Santa Barbara and I thought it would be fun to combine a short tour with a visit to see her.

After spending a fair amount of time on Bike Forums trying to glean any sound routes from point A to B, I concluded I must be the only person to have ever attempted this journey. Yes, I got some tips on various sections, but this wasn’t your SF to SB down Big Sur ride (which I did a couple years prior). In case anyone is interested in biking in these areas I’ll provide some highlights, and lowlights.

Pahrump, NV. I flew in from Seattle to Vegas and Ubered out to Pahrump because NV 160 was closed to bikes due to construction. The Uber ride was pretty cheap from the airport and there was a fair amount of construction so it would have been a nasty ride, if at all even possible. Spent the night with a Warm Showers host – first time ever trying this method. Have hosted before.

Day 1) Pahrump to Death Valley, 65 miles. Bell Vista Road onto CA190 into Furnace Creek where I camped @ Texas Springs Campground. Good roads with a lot of downhill (obviously!) but wicked headwind that forced me to peddle downhill into the valley.

Day 2) Death Valley to Olancha, CA, 101 miles, almost 10,000 ft of climbing. Stay on CA190 and head west. Hard to get lost! Good biking road due to low traffic. Some areas with not great shoulders but again, cars were few and far between. The last 8 miles into Olancha were hell thanks to a side wind that forced me off my bike. Semis tipped over on the interstate that night and the campground I was going to stay at prohibited me from camping. They were concerned about me hunkering down (or blowing away) in my tent. If Olancha is your stop you may want to secure a room at one of two motels there in advance. Also, limited options to eat.

Day 3) Olancha, CA to Mojave, CA, 91 miles. CA395 south then right on CA14. 395 is a highway but doesn’t have near the traffic as I-5 that also runs north/south through CA. The shoulders are very wide, clean of debris, and, believe it or not, 90% of the truckers would get over in the passing lane when they came upon me. Seriously, I felt a lot safer on it than many of the pastoral roads I ride on in my neighborhood. Add in I had an amazing tail wind from the storm the night before. CA14 was OK. Not great, but rideable – nasty rumble strips didn’t help.

Day 4) Mojave, CA to Ventura, CA, 109 miles. I wound my way west of Mojave and got onto Tehachapi Willow Springs Road south to the San Francisquinto Canyon Rd. There appears to be three options to get over the small mountain range into Santa Clarita. I didn’t find a ton of info what was the best so opted for this route. Prior to starting the climb, a guy in a truck at a stop sign, yelled, “You’re going up Death Road!”. How comforting. So, was it that bad? The road didn’t have much of a shoulder and wasn’t in great shape but, thankfully I was heading west at 11:30 AM and the traffic was minimal. At 5:00 PM, it may have been a different story because this road, as well as others, is used for commuters heading into Lancaster. Great downhill into Santa Clarita where I then got on CA126 into Ventura. Good shoulder but, as expected, a fair amount of traffic.

Day 5) Ventura, CA to Santa Barbara, CA. 35 miles. I could have ridden into SB the day prior but motels are cheaper in Ventura. Rode the bike path the entire way – best part of the trip!

Summary: Would I recommend this route? No, but it was an experience and I had some memorable moments, to say the least!
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Old 03-26-20, 11:15 AM
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Sounds like a fantastic trip! Thanks for the route.
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Old 03-26-20, 06:38 PM
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I never would have thought of going through Death Valley (yes it does get windy during the spring out there). Seems like its far out of the way if you're traveling towards Santa Barbara. Anyway, sounds like an interesting trip; any chance you'll post a longer trip report on crazyguyonabike.com?
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Old 03-27-20, 07:59 AM
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For what it is worth, I did a similar but different route a bit ago: Bicycle Tour; Las Vegas by way of Death Valley

I was coming from San Jose so initially was further north:
Day 1: San Jose to Dos Palos
Day 2: Dos Palos to Visalia
Day 3: Visalia to Bakersfield (after this one could overlap)
Day 4: Bakersfield to Kernville
Day 5: Kernville to Ridgecrest
Day 6: Ridge Crest to Panamint Springs
Day 7: Panamint Springs to Furnace Creek
Day 8: Furnace Creek to Pahrump
Day 9: Pahrump to Las Vegas.
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Old 03-30-20, 10:30 AM
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Hi,
I'd be glad to post this report to crazyguyonabike. Curious what additional details you'd suggest I add?
Thanks

Originally Posted by skidder View Post
I never would have thought of going through Death Valley (yes it does get windy during the spring out there). Seems like its far out of the way if you're traveling towards Santa Barbara. Anyway, sounds like an interesting trip; any chance you'll post a longer trip report on crazyguyonabike.com?
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Old 04-01-20, 02:11 PM
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Hey, I’m in Oxnard now, just rode back down from Ventura. I thought about going further North, before all the coronavirus mess, but changed my mind for now. 🙄😉

I had some major headaches lately, because my iPhone 7 died on me too. And it seems like there are no decent iPhones at the phone stores, lol, so I bought a used 6+ off craigslist, and eventually got it activated in my name today. 👍

I recently rode a lot of the places you mentioned, but eventually circled down South to I-8, and San Diego. The coast wasn’t bad, coming North, but they’re supposedly closing a lot of beaches & parks now. 😒 Bummer.
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Old 04-04-20, 09:57 AM
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That ride from Ventura to Santa Barbara is pretty sweet. 👍 I had intended to get back North of Ventura just a bit, then camp somewhere last night, but that road just suckered me into riding, late yesterday afternoon. 😁 I got up to Rincon, pretty easily, before it got dark on me, so just crashed there. Now doing coffee in Carpinteria, with 12 miles left to Santa Barbara. 😎
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Old 04-04-20, 10:33 AM
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That trip up from Furnace Creek up the Panamint into the shadow of the Sierras is one beautiful route. I've done it in a car, and it's a challenging climb up. Definitely a lot of vertical, for cycling.

Late winter and early spring is a nice time to consider the trip, too. Can be quite beautiful, however parched and desolate it might otherwise be during the hot season.
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