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Crossing the desert at night


Bill_Walker

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Bill_Walker

For us Southern Californians, crossing the desert is pretty much a necessity in order to get anywhere to the east. I generally try to avoid riding at night due to poorer visibility and the possibility of wildlife encounters (no, I don't mean being tempted to stop at bars! grin.gif). But on daytime trips from San Diego to Torrey, I've encountered temps as high as 117 degrees Fahrenheit. With evaporatives, I can handle this, but I have a riding buddy that some of you met in Torrey who really has a problem with the heat.

 

With that being said, does anybody here have any wisdom to pass on regarding crossing the desert at night to avoid the heat? In particular, I'm thinking about I-15 between San Bernardino, CA and St. George, UT. Too many desert critters, or Vegas drunks? Too hard to see debris on the road?

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ShovelStrokeEd

Bill, shouldn't be all that big a problem. Enhanced lighting will help with most of it. Coyote are, in general, too shy/smart to present much of a problem and there is very little that is larger out there so you can squish 'em with impunity.

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ericfoerster

My Dad and I have done numerous desert crossings in the late evening/night and we enjoy it. Fuel is a concern in the samller towns because some stations close. Other than the fuel it is well worth it because of the lower temps.

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I've done that road many times at night. Its a much nicer ride at night- cooler and less traffic. As long as you're on the freeway, you won't have any problem with animals.

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Rocket_Cowboy

+1 on the night time crossings. Last year when me and a friend rode the coast-to-coast-to-coast in under 100 hours, we specifically planned to head east across the desert at night in order to ease the impact. The only problem with that plan ... we went right through it on our return route west in the middle of the day, and it was hot.

 

But I enjoy night rides through the desert, all the more so when there's a full moon to help light things up. The moon will bring out more critters, but you can also see 'em better.

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Hi,

 

Lighting is important,get some Motolights or Piaa's to suppliment the low beams,or upgrade to HID.

 

It can still be toasty out there,remember rolling into Vegas several times when it's still 98 at 1130PM.

Use a cooling vest!

 

JR356

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I very much agree with additional low beam lighting if riding on the freeway. I love motolights, but prefer focused lens clear fog lamps. I've also ridden an FJR with HID low beam with severe cut-off and felt well informed about the road surface, and didn't upset the motorists.

 

Off the freeways, I want at least the output of PIAA 910s. Several HID units are available. Their cost is less than the plastic lost to a failed encounter with sand anywhere, or water in a dip.

 

Best wishes with you choice.

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Bill, shouldn't be all that big a problem. Enhanced lighting will help with most of it. Coyote are, in general, too shy/smart to present much of a problem........

 

True, El Coyote is a smart animal but my brother-in-law had an incident with one at about 4:30 in the morning 8 months ago on Hwy 138 near Pearblossom..Riding his Harley on the way to Vegas one ran out and into the side of the bike just ahead of the brake pedal!! He didn't even see it coming.... Didn't put him down but it was close...

Living farther north than San Diego (Ventura County) we leave at about dawn to head across the desert and miss the heat until later and then it's wet t-shirt time or a damp vest.....We'll be doing just that on the 28th when we head to Montana and environs...We both have Motolights too for somewhat better illumination and I got a safety vest with 3M reflective tape, etc. to wear in the early AM......

 

Phil.........Redbrick

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russell_bynum
For us Southern Californians, crossing the desert is pretty much a necessity in order to get anywhere to the east. I generally try to avoid riding at night due to poorer visibility and the possibility of wildlife encounters (no, I don't mean being tempted to stop at bars! grin.gif). But on daytime trips from San Diego to Torrey, I've encountered temps as high as 117 degrees Fahrenheit. With evaporatives, I can handle this, but I have a riding buddy that some of you met in Torrey who really has a problem with the heat.

 

With that being said, does anybody here have any wisdom to pass on regarding crossing the desert at night to avoid the heat? In particular, I'm thinking about I-15 between San Bernardino, CA and St. George, UT. Too many desert critters, or Vegas drunks? Too hard to see debris on the road?

 

Lights.

 

I ran the big-ass PIAA 910's on my RT, on EMP brackets over the mirrors. You can only run those when there are NO other vehicles around, but for crossing the desolate desert (think "Kelbaker Road at midnight"), they were the ticket. I could run almost the same pace at night as in the day time. I kept one of them a little loose on the mount so I could reach up and angle it up about 45-degrees so it would be looking into the corners when the bike was heeled over.

 

 

Personally, I love riding through the desert at night. It's one of my favorite places to be. I love setting out at sunset and watching the colors slowly fade to grey, then black. Then the stars come out they're so close it's like you could flip up your face shield and catch one on your tongue like a snowflake.

 

 

For the interstate...that's going to be too busy to use any real lights. Go with Motolights or something like that aimed low enough that you can keep them on all the time without annoying/blinding other drivers.

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Bill_Walker

I've got a set of PIAA 1100xs under the oil cooler. I run 'em all the time during the day, but I often turn them off at night as I've occasionally been "flashed" by oncoming traffic. And I run the stock RT fog lights. Good enough, you think?

 

Of course, I rode through Joshua Tree at night one time, but that was behind Jamie and with Leslie riding sweep! I was well cared for.

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Crossing the night desert is fine excepting for possible UFO encounters. As Jefferson Starship sang, "Have you seen my saucer ?"

 

Wooster

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Can you time your exit with a full moon (or nearly full)? If so, that will provide an incredible amount of light in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention some of the best desert views you'll ever remember.

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You will find desert highways filled with interstate truckers at night. Professional drivers know the advantages of night driving, especially around traffic choked LA.

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DavidEBSmith

Critters on the road aren't my concern at night, it's tire gators. Black rubber on dark pavement is tough to spot, and the road crews aren't as diligent about removing them at night. You either need to have lots of auxiliary light so you can see them, or slow down and not overdrive your lights.

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Bill

I have run up I-5/Rt. 99 in late summer towards Fresno at night and it was certainly cooler. Actually it was quite pleasant and we made good time. I did have the aux. lights ON for better visibility. No problems at all.

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In place of the aforementioned "big ass PIAA 910" I've gone with Trail Tech SCMR16 self contained HID spotlights on EMP mounts up high (supporting PIAA 1100s low under the oil cooler) on my RT.

 

The light output of the Trail Techs is nice, and the mount allows for reaching out there and turning them a bit to illuminate the sides of the road as needed. $150 a light, I like them quite a bit. Will need to put some more miles on them at night in real desolate areas, but they look to be a good choice and the current draw is low.

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.........Personally, I love riding through the desert at night. It's one of my favorite places to be. I love setting out at sunset and watching the colors slowly fade to grey, then black. Then the stars come out they're so close it's like you could flip up your face shield and catch one on your tongue like a snowflake......

 

 

Russell......You missed your calling....What a great description... thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

 

Phil..........Redbrick

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Crossing the night desert is fine excepting for possible UFO encounters. As Jefferson Starship sang, "Have you seen my saucer ?"

 

Wooster

 

+1 on the UFO encounters. I'm still sore from the last probe they stuck in me. blush.gif Even a Russel seat offered no relief! bncry.gif

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There are deserts where there are deer. That's how Larry Grodsky died in dry West Texas, at dusk. Photo of the location:

 

crashscene2.jpg

from this site, where the poster visited the crash location between Ft. Stockton & Marathon.

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sebjones906

<I-15 San Berdo to St. Geroge> The only way to cross the Mojave Desert is at night. Traffic is less, critters are not a major problem any more that any other road. Worst time to be on that highway is late afternoon on any Sunday....... everyone is on their way back to LA after loosing their money and they are tired and surly. Note: rooms in Mesquite are less expensive than St George. cool.gif

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Dick_at_Lake_Tahoe_NV
Critters on the road aren't my concern at night, it's tire gators. Black rubber on dark pavement is tough to spot, and the road crews aren't as diligent about removing them at night. You either need to have lots of auxiliary light so you can see them, or slow down and not overdrive your lights.

 

Yup, Gators are real hard to see at night. I hit one just outside of Rawlins, WY about 11PM, went right over the top of it--the bike bobbled a little but that was it--Pretty Lucky on that one. Sure does get your attention.

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