Ivanpah Road winds its way northward through the New York Mountains as it drops down slowly into Ivanpah Valley

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 5: Caruthers Canyon to Nipton

38.35 miles, 3:13 hrs, 25.7 mph max, 11.8 mph avg

Elevation: 5900 feet to 4400 to 4900 to 2700 to 3000

The downhill slowly begins and becomes increasingly scenic as Ivanpah Road winds its way down out of the New York Mountains and into the Ivanpah Valley.

Once out of New York Mountains, Ivanpah Road slowly descends the foothills to the valley floor below—a wonderful ride

The washboard surface is tough at times as I gain speed and bump and rattle a lot, often exceeding 20 mph. The road never gets really steep though.

This is a great test of my bike's robustness and I have the feeling that the manufacturers of the equipment I'm using would be proud to see their products performing so well under rough conditions. I'm just happy that nothing has detached itself from the bike yet!

I'm riding a five-year-old Trek 8000 "racing mountain bike" (whatever that is), equipped with lightweight Old Man Mountain front and rear racks, and seven-year-old saddlebags made by Jandd (rear) and Ortlieb (front). The comprehensive overhaul done on the bike by the folks at Bicycle Express in San José just before the trip is no doubt helping a lot too.

An SUV passes by, the driver waves, and a cloud of dust is left behind. This is the first motor vehicle that I've seen since leaving New York Mountains Road many miles ago.

Three motorcycles coming toward me where the pavement ends is a surreal sight, since I've only seen two motor vehicles so far today

The views open up slowly; the gravel road ends and pavement begins. I stop to take a photo of this important change of road surface, and I see three motorcycles heading up the road towards me.

I wave, expecting them to keep going, but they stop to ask me if this is the road to Cima. Well, I explain, sorta kinda. One can get to Cima this way, but it's the back road, much longer, and much more scenic. And unpaved.

This isn't what they were looking for. They missed their turn-off to Cima via Morning Star Mine Road many miles ago, and they weren't expecting the pavement to end.

Back on the bike, it's nice to have miles of pavement ahead of me for the first time in a few days. I convert instantly from a mountain biker to a road cyclist.

The motorcyclists stayed behind to chat with each other for a bit, but they've finally turned around, and pass me one by one, each one waving as he goes by.

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