2011 Adventure-Touring Expedition – Day 1

August 23, 2011
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

“You went 118 miles per hour!”

113  114  115  116  117  118... They can it Death Valley for a reason!
113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118… There’s a reason why it’s called Death Valley!

It took a moment to calm my wife down on the phone call, but she’d misunderstood what I said. I was talking temperature, not top speed. The idea of 118 degrees Fahrenheit doesn’t really register in most folks’ brains. It takes a second or two to process, doesn’t it?

Newsflash: It’s really hot in Death Valley, and our five-rider contingent absolutely roasted on Day 1 of MotoUSA’s 2011 Adventure-Touring Shootout.

We set a blistering pace on I-15, heading straight from Southern California to Cedar City, Utah. The highest temperatures came in the heat sink of Baker, California. And yet the 113-degree heat at Vegas felt even hotter as we slowed down our pace for increased traffic. You know the conditions are dire when 99 on the thermometer feels pleasant.

Why all the pissing and moaning? Because it was damned HOT! Easily the grimmest temps we’ve encountered on a ride. Our brains got a bit cooked too, with dehydration sapping concentration. And unless there really is a football-field-sized aquamarine pool and water fountain outside the Oasis Resort in Mesquite, I saw a legit Loony Tunes-grade mirage.

Now we’re up in the mountains West of Cedar City. Our final nighttime miles forgivingly brisk. All told we reckon the odometer turned about 450 miles or so. We’d walk out to the bikes and confirm the mileage, but it’s lights out after a long, hot day in the saddle. Updates on the way tomorrow.