I'm just back this afternoon from a trip out to Ely, NV on Highway 50, from my home on the Northern CA coast near Eureka. Weather was a little chilly, but otherwise very nice. Mountains are capped with snow, and the desert is actually green from the relatively wet winter.
By the time you get there, expect brown vegetation and HOT temperatures. Be prepared in whatever fashion you find works for you, and carry lots of water.
Much of Nevada is underrated for its scenic beauty due to most people only seeing it from their quick trip across the state on I 80, probably the most scenicly challenged major highway in the USA.
Try US 50 (east-west), US 93 (north-south), and you will get an entirely different impression.
You also might want to avoid State Route 375. It is VERY barren out there, and the gas station and "restaurant" that used to be in Rachel is now closed.
I agree with the previous comment regarding Death Valley in the summer. You might want to seriously consider holding back on visiting there until you can get out during the spring. Go to the National Park web site and they will keep you posted on the spring flowering season so you can time your visit for the best time. Don't worry about missing the hot season, 'cause even in April they often have 100 degree temperatures during the day.
If you decide to ride US 50, (yes I know it's in the center of the state), stop in Ely and get the "Highway 50 Survival Guide" by the Nevada Commission on Tourism. It's a neat memento in its own right, and if you visit the five towns listed in the booklet and send in the card, they will send you some cool mementos. When you visit Austin, NV, make sure to eat a meal at the International Cafe. If you find out what the deal is with the women's panties and bras hanging from the deer antlers in the bar, let me know.
Before going to Utah, get a listing of all the Utah State campgrounds, and plan on checking them out. They are generally in very scenic locations, or locations of some historical or scientific interest, and they are clean and cheap. Last year I paid $7 per night at most sites, with hot showers included!
Looking back on what I've written, I think you will get the most satisfaction if you develop your summer trip itinerary with an eye to staying in the higher elevations during the summer season in order to avoid the really serious heat that will be encountered at the lower elevations.
If you are truly a survivalist and are intent on challenging yourself, well, go for it, but remember not all survivalists survive their tests!