Author Topic: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please  (Read 3379 times)

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Offline AndrewC

Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« on: November 23, 2010, 04:33:14 pm »
Inspired by this and this I'm now contemplating a trip over there sometime next year.   

I'm thinking a 4 week camping tour , probably flying to Las Vegas from Heathrow with BA (if they are still taking bikes free) hoping to include Zion, Grand Canyon, Canyonlands and as much else as I can squeeze in. Return either via looping back to Vegas or possibly from Phoenix.

It's very early days yet, so I'm just asking here for initial tips, what to see, where to go etc.

When to go ? I'm thinking spring (Apr/May) or autumn (Sept onwards ?) Ideally I'd like to avoid the hottest part of the year.

What are the best maps / guidebooks to use ?

Is it possible / practical to use a bus to get from Las Vegas to a closer start/finish point ?

What are the campsites like ? Do they need to be booked in advance ?

All advice welcome, I've only toured in the USA once before when I did Seattle to San Francisco in 2009. I'm not a technical mountain biker but am quite happy on dirt roads and jeep tracks. Previous tours have included crossing Iceland's lava deserts and the Manali - Leh route (with Cass from the 1st link)

Thanks

Andrew

Offline aggie

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2010, 06:17:57 pm »
The best place to start is in St. George, Utah.  You can get there on Delta from Salt Lake City or on United from Los Angeles.  This puts you much closer to the parks.  April should be a good time to go.  It shouldn't be too hot or cold although it could be either. 

Adventure cycling has two maps you may want to look at - Grand Canyon Connector and Utah Cliffs Loop.  The cliffs loops has about 50% off road riding.  Another map you may need is the atlas by DeLorme.  You can make a nice loop through all the parks in southern Utah from St. George using paved roads.  There are plenty of campgrounds so you shouldn't need to make reservations but they are always advisable if you are going to stay at a campground at a National Park.  If you go off road be prepared to take several days worth of food and water some areas are pretty remote.  One dirt road that is awesome is Hell's Backbone outside Boulder, Utah.  Another neat road is the Burr Trail that goes from Boulder into Capital Reef National Park.  You can then head south to Bullfrog and visit Glen Canyon Lake and the National Recreation area. 

A large from St George could take you through Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Capital Reef NP, Canyonlands NP, Arches NP as well as the Glenn Canyon National Rec Area and the Grand Staircase National Monument.   The route I'm thinking about is about 1000 miles that is most road riding but about 25% is off road.

Offline AndrewC

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2010, 06:45:48 pm »
Thanks, St George looks a good start point, I've just found a regular shuttle service  from the airport at Las Vegas . Hopefully I can book a hotel room to get over the flight from England and put the bike back together.  Leave the bike bag there and pick it up on the way back.

Offline Galloper

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2010, 06:27:25 am »
I'd recommend a Golden Eagle Pass.   Costs $80 but gets you into most National Parks without paying the local charge.   There are a few exceptions, Carlsbad Caverns comes to mind, but good for all the main parks in Utah and California.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2010, 07:19:39 am »
It's no longer called Golden Eagle, but is still a great bargain at $80. http://www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm

Fred

Offline aggie

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2010, 11:23:18 am »
The national park pass is a good deal especially if you are traveling by car.  It does cover any entrance fees charged by the national parks, BLM, and forest service.  It doesn't cover camping fees so those are extra.  However if you only enter a couple of parks by bicycle it is a better deal to pay per location.  For instance, these are the fees for entering by bicycle Zion $12, Bryce Canyon $12, Capital Reef (Scenic loop only) $5, Canyonlands $5, Arches $5,  Glenn Canyon National Rec Area $7, and Grand Canyon $12.

Offline AndrewC

Re: Nevada, Arizona and Utah 2012 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 02:52:03 pm »
Thread resurrection  :) - I didn't make it in 2011, but now have a flight from England to Las Vegas booked for October 2012 and am planning a 4 week circular tour, hopefully similar to this one in Denis Koomen's wonderful video http://vimeo.com/34303784 

Lots of questions to ask, but plenty of time to prepare.

1) Whats Mccarran airport like for handling bikes & bike access ?

2) Can anyone recommend a cheap & clean place to stay for the first night or so, somewhere to recover from the 10 hour flight & check my bike out ?  I see there are a couple of Travelodges near the airport.

3) If I need any assistance or spares what Vegas bike shops are recommended ?

4) I use an Trangia alcohol stove when touring. On my last US trip I was burning Heet (yellow bottle) in Washington & Oregon, but it became hard to find in California. Is it readily available at gas stations in the south west ? If not, what alternatives are available ?

5) Are insects likely to be a problem in October ?  Any other wildlife to be aware of ?

6) Water - I'll be carrying a couple of large bottles on the bike, and some platypus bladders as well. Is there sufficient available surface water to make a filter worth carrying ? 

7) What's cellphone coverage like & who is the best provider ?  I make look into getting a local sim.

All advice gratefully recieved.

Offline Galloper

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2012, 07:12:17 am »
Only one I can help with is where to stay.  There's a Motel 6 close to the airport which I've used a couple of times and am happy to recommend.   

Offline aggie

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2012, 10:03:25 am »
As I've traveled this area I don't remember many places where you could use a water filter.  I always made sure I stopped at any place that had water to refill any empty water bottles.  There also shouldn't be any insect problems.  I have Verizon and they have pretty good coverage in the area.  However many parts of the area are pretty remote and you won't get any cell phone coverage.  The closest bike shop to the airport is Bike World.  Haven't used them so can't say how good they are.  Don't know about your stove but there are a few towns along the way and many have stores that carry hunting and camping stuff.   At the higher elevations (Bryce Canyon) it will start to get pretty cold so you should be prepared for some cold nights.

Offline Bclayden

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2012, 11:43:43 pm »
FYI: T-Mobile does not work well in remote areas in the US.  I use T-Mobile and will be crossing NV next week on US 50 expecting 3+ days without service. 

Actually, now I think about it, might be nice to not have service for 3 days.

Wildlife is very timid in the high desert and not to worry about.  After much desert camping I can offer one bit of advice: Check your shoes in the morning before you put your foot in. 
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 12:01:35 am by Bclayden »

Offline indyfabz

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2012, 06:43:00 am »
FYI: T-Mobile does not work well in remote areas in the US.  I use T-Mobile and will be crossing NV next week on US 50 expecting 3+ days without service.

Remote areas?  T-Mobile doesn't work all that well in the fifth largest city in the U.S. I sometimes had to leave my house to get a decent signal. In rural MT last year, my GF had several dead zones with AT&T. I had Verizon and had far fewer dead zones.

Offline MrBent

Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2012, 03:48:44 pm »
Re. fuel:  It's more expensive, but you can simply by cans of denatured alcohol at most hardware and paint stores.  Fortunately, you can usually find it in 1 qt. cans.  Higher elevation areas in Utah will probably have the Heet.

Scott