What do you think is the best way to get to Las Vegas? Right, riding the dirt on a dirt bike!
Lately it’s rather seldom that I get to guide a tour across the Mojave Desert. May 1th tour was a special tour because it ended right in time for the Las Vegas Endurocross followed by the 2013 Supercross finals.
11 riders joined us to explore the most exciting route to Vegas. Us, means: John our mechanic and chase van driver, Russell and Justin our sweep guides, and me, Uwe Diemer as lead tour guide. The group consisted of a great bunch of guys with a fantastic spirit for adventure and some good riding background. One rider, an accomplished street bike rider, managed quite well with hardly any off road experience. There was a father and son team, some individuals, some business friends, etc. We celebrated a rider’s birthday during the tour and much more.
Ahead of us 450 Miles of unforgiving terrain! The tools for the job: KTM EXC 450 and Suzuki DRZ 400.
When I founded AdMo-Tours I scouted the routes we riding today. Fantastic routes you would hardly imagine to find in Southern California. Over the years we needed to make minor adjustments due to permit requirements with land management. But all in all it is the same layout I created about 15 years ago. You could say I know every rock and grain of sand along the way. Nerveless I’m still getting carried away by the scenery while riding the canyons and mountain ridges.
It is 9am on Wednesday May first, the engines start to rumble and roar at our AdMo headquarter in Wrightwood, California. One last briefing to inform the riders about the today’s routine and off we go! The Adventure begins by zigzagging through trails along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains just north east of Los Angeles. Within a short time we are trough the last suburban areas crossing the open desert. Almost Dakar style riding takes us along Joshua trees and Creosote brushes face to face with jumbo jets at a commercial aircraft scrap yard, yep….jumbo jets in the middle of the desert. Believe me, this is a really cool place.
After lunch we riding some remote single trails and amazing canyons to get to the sacred desert riders site of Husky Memorial. This is where in 1987 family and friends of Jim Erickson cemented his 390 Husqvarna into the ground and scattered his ashes to the four winds and blue skies of the desert.
Continuing our awesome riding on well over 100 miles of trails that lead up and down hills and swept through sand washes and across dry lake beds got us to former factory Kawasaki motocrosser Goat Breker. He is now the owner of Goats Sky Ranch. I have stayed at that place since many years, long before Goat bought it; man has it changed! It is now a dirt biker hub. Goat is a fantastic host providing a superb meal each time we there. You never leave Goats Sky Ranch hungry!
Day 2 has always been my favorite, crossing the Panamint Range at 4300 feet elevation to drop into Death Valley ending up 200 feet below sea level. Combine this awesome landscape with some open riding (no trails at all) through a designated OHV area and some historical sites (like a 1967 X-15 crash site or the infamous Barker Ranch) or terrain features like the Trona Pinnacles (to name a few). In other words we combine best available dirt bike riding with the areas history and most spectacular landscapes. The Riders did great. A phenomenal day is ending with a very scenic loop through the colored landscapes of Death Valley National Park. We are ending the day with cold beer and lots of moto talks.
The final day leads us from Death Valley to Sin City, from below sea level across a set of 500 feet tall dunes into the pine forest and along red rock canyon before riding the bikes down Las Vegas Strip right into the middle of the glider and action of Las Vegas. The adventure leads us into Echo Canyon and to the remaining of Inyo Mine. Some towers and building are still standing from the 1907.
That ride across the Funeral Mountain range follows in some way the route of the 49s. Unbelievable, how one would have been able to traverse that rough terrain some 160 years ago. It’s a challenge for us on a dirt bike including one rock-step-up where some of our riders helped each other to get the bikes through safely. To the other side of the mountains we reach an area of about 5 square miles with 300 to 500 feet tall dunes. Interesting to see this pile of sand right in the middle of the valley. The highlight is to ride the dunes. As usually I take the riders to an elevated section overlooking some easy dune terrain. I tell them all about how to read and ride the dunes, the danger of the shire drops on one side of the dunes, etc. Unfortunately one rider crashed hard. We needed to call help for him (the cell phone worked otherwise we would have used our satellite phone). That was the end of the ride for our customer John. He was air-lifted to the hospital in Las Vegas to treat his broken rips. Get well soon, John!
At the first Casino Hotel of Nevada State Line we finely get some lunch, burger for everyone to get it done fast. We have to cover lots of miles on that final day so we needed to do some dirt road riding to make up some time. It was a welcoming change after all riding that desert to get challenged by some washed-out trails through pine forest just west of Las Vegas. After so much riding it seems almost welcome to be forced onto pavement for the last 30 or so miles. It allows enjoying the evening scenery along Red Rock Canyon before making our way to the Strip.
We are ending right in time before the evening shows starting. What an accomplishment, the accumulated mileage is almost 7000 miles on dirt! Everyone’s grin on the face lets me tell they all enjoyed the tour at least as much as me.