Day 9 – 2018 Western States Tour


Day 9 route

Days distance: 398 miles
Total trip distance: 1,723 miles

The weather varied throughout the day. Temperatures started in the 50s, getting up to 79 in Death Valley when the sun broke through the clouds, and then as low as 41 briefly at the pass at Mountain Springs, just outside of Las Vegas before rising up again to the 50s.

It also rained off and on throughout the afternoon. Most were short-lived showers but in the evening, after leaving the park it rained more heavily and persisted for the rest of the ride, resulting in some flooded streets in Vegas.

Highway 178 from Bakersfield past Lake Isabelle was a fun road. Good surfaces and while there was a bit of traffic, most of it was oncoming and did not bother me in the least. The canyon road follows the Kern River.


Hwy 395 turns from one lane in each direction to two lanes each direction. It is actually considered a freeway for a while, surprisingly. Lake Isabella is one of the area attractions.


East of Hwy 178, I traveled north first on Hwy 14 and then Hwy 395, also known as the East Sierra Scenic Byway. It was colder here than expected. I think if the road was 1000 feet higher in elevation, it would have been snowing instead of showering.


Turning east onto Hwy 190, I started to get close to the park entrance.


This was my first visit to Death Valley National Park.


Entering from the west, visitors descend a steep winding road. It had all of my favorite components including a good surface, little traffic, and great scenery.


Park roads take you over one pass after another with dramatic valley landscapes between each.


I found it difficult to capture the grandeur of this place with still photos but that won’t stop me from still posting them.  🙂




Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the country at 282 feet below sea level.


Visitors are able to walk out to the salt flats that are created by a spring (according to wikipedia) located here.


I continued south from Badwater Basin to exit the park near Shoshone.



Because I extended my ride once entering the park, I arrived at my destination after dark. Usually I’m off the bike before dark but on this day, due mostly to the ambitious extension of my ride, I ended up entering Las Vegas after sunset and after traveling through successive rain storms.

I’ll be in the Las Vegas area for the next few days attending memorial services for my younger brother who unexpectedly died last week while I was on the road. My next travel post will be Day 12 when I head back to the west coast to continue my tour.

3 thoughts

  1. I am very sad to hear about your brother and hope you are doing OK. Your travels are the first thing I read in the morning here in Hawaii. I feel at times that I’m riding pillion and you’re explaining to me as we cruise along. Sending much affection, April

  2. Blessings to you and your family, Keith. Sorry to hear of the passing of your brother.

    Your descriptions and photos bring back quite vividly those sprawling vistas from and surrounding Death Valley. Still takes my breath away. Thank you for sharing all this.

  3. Keith, I’m happy to see your posts and the wonderful photos from the road that I, too, enjoy so much. Your blog reminds me I need a road trip soon. And, I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. Stay well. – Jaemie

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