The Impossible Route: Death Valley starts in Yuma, AZ along the Colorado River. One of the highlights of the ride will be Picacho State Park. After leaving Picacho, our sand skills will be put to the test on Indian Pass Road. The trip to Blythe travels along a portion of the historic Bradshaw Trail. This trail was created in 1862 by William Bradshaw, and was the first trail that crossed the Riverside County desert all the way to the Colorado River which allowed gold miners travel to La Paz, AZ. The end of this section will conclude traveling through farm country and ends in the town of Blythe, where we will reevaluate our life choices and second guess riding bikes as a pass time.
DOWNLOAD STRAVA ROUTE | VIEW STRAVA RIDE | EXPLORE ROUTE BUILDER
Day 2 takes us north from Blythe, parallel to the Colorado River which is the border of California and Arizona. Shortly after starting, we leave the pavement and hit dirt at the fascinating Blythe Intaglios which were discovered in 1931. These giant pieces of art are similar to the Nazca Lines in Peru and the shapes are believed to have been formed prior to 900 AD.
Traveling west, the route nestles at the foot of the Big Maria Mountain Wilderness before turning back toward the Colorado River. After traveling through this desolate area, we hop onto Highway 62 where we will see structures of times long since past and the Shoe Tree “gas station” before getting onto Cadiz Road. Cadiz Road will connect us to the “Mother Road” or better known as Historic Route 66. Route 66 travels 2,448 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica.
Finishing day 2 is gonna give us a good idea of just how IMPOSSIBLE this route is. If you want to see 2 broken men wiling to sell their bikes for a warm shower, Sahara is the place to be.
If we make it that far, should be one of the “easy” days. We will ride out of the low desert and into the Mojave National Preserve.
Entering Mojave we will see the Goffs Schoolhouse and Cultural Center. This unique place at one point housed 16,000 troops during WWII. We then head into the Granite Mountains. These granitic rocks have eroded into unusual rounded shapes that include spires, perched boulders and curved cliff faces. The rocks in this area represent the roots of ancient continental-margin volcanic systems. Most are late Mesozoic in age (80 to 180 million years old) and were formed at a depth comparable to the Andes Mountain chain in South America.
Some of the sites along the route include the Government Holes, which were wells dug so people traveling across the Mojave would have access to water. Then we ride the two tracks in the midst of the Joshua Trees. This section ends in the small gambling town of Primm, Nevada. Where we will bet everything we have on red, the same color our ass is gonna be. Because day 4 is by far the hardest of the trip.
This is gonna be a pivotal point in the trip, It's the longest day with the most technical riding of any of the days. Leaving Primm we pass through the middle of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. This monstrosity is a 377 megawatt solar complex using mirrors to focus the power of the sun atop power towers.
The first big technical climb comes just after Ivanpah up to the Colosseum Mine. This rocky steep climb is MEANT TO BE RIDDEN BY MOTORCYCLES! Leaving the mine we will travel along the power line road to Excelsior Mine Road, which leads you into the Kingston Range.
Next is the the small town of Tecopa, the home to many unique hot springs and fascinating people. We will, for sure, be dipping into that hot spring to wash away are thoughts of death.
The Ibex dunes will be our first taste of Death Valley, this route was made for dirt bikes, so riding this section may not be possible. So…we walk, hike, crawl, or roll over them. This section ends in Furnace Creek and IF we make it here, finishing this INSANE ride might…MIGHT just be possible.
This one is seriously #@#%$!, after the longest day of 160mi/270km we then have the biggest climbing day with 12,000ft / 3,700m over 100mi/160km through the heart of Death Valley.
The route takes us into Titus Canyon, which is a deep limestone-walled slot canyon. This road travels in a one-way direction past the ghost town of Leadfield, which boomed for less than a year in 1926.
We then pass by Ubehebe Crater which is a large volcanic crater 600 feet deep and half a mile across that exploded possibly as recently as 300 years ago.
When traveling the Racetrack road we will come to the famous Teakettle Junction. IF we get through this day, there “shouldn’t” be any more days that live up to the difficulty of the back to back IMPOSSIBLE days of 4 & 5.
TBH dude, just writing this all has me terri-cited, the new emotion of feeling so terrified for the time of our lives.
The “EASIEST” day on the this Impossible route takes us over Lippincott Pass. Lippincott is a steep, rocky and off-camber descent that is gonna challenge our gravel bikes BIG TIME, but the views down into the Saline Valley floor will be incredible.
At the junction of Saline Valley Road and White Mountain Talc Road the route will continue up to Cerro Gordo Mine. This road is a steady climb through a deep rock wash and finally a smooth two-track up to 8,000 ft. We finish in Lone Pine and ideally this is will be a sub 6 hour day…at least that’s the plan.
The LAST DAY! If we make it here its gonna feel amazing to know we are just 90 miles from glory. We leave Lone Pine out through the Alabama Hills which is said to be the highlight of this route. These unique rock formations were chosen for the set of many old western movies.
A stop on this route will take us to the Manzanar War Relocation Center which was one of ten camps where Japanese-American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were incarcerated during World War II. Traveling through the Owens Valley floor, just off the route is the Reward Mine. The trail leading to the Reward Mine is steep and rocky with embedded boulders. We can ride into the mine for more than a quarter mile to get unforgettable shot.
The route takes us up Mazourka Canyon where we top off on Papoose Flats. There is a short descent into Wyman Canyon where we cross a creek several times to a lookout of the entire valley. The Silver Canyon descent will test our steep downhill skills.
Now there is technically another day on the BCDR route, but its more of a parade lap and only 40 miles. So we are gonna end it here in Bishop, as we may lose a day or even 2 with unexpected issues.