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Help me plan a *lonely* trip through the SoCal desert

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Old 05-11-2013, 10:12 PM   #1
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Help me plan a *lonely* trip through the SoCal desert

OK, guys, so next month I need to be in San Diego for what can best be described as the "Dilbert Approved Pointy Haired Boss Management Conformance Training."

I'll be spending all week saying things like "We need to take a step back, and up-level our discussion to consider how the proposal can best truly delight the customer." I'm an adaptable guy, and I long ago made my peace with the need to conform in order to succeed.

But the training ends on Friday at 2PM, and I swear I'm going to drive back to San Jose without talking to a single fucking human being.

So I want the loneliest route possible from there to here. Here are the minimum basic criteria:

Leave San Diego at 2:30 PM on a Friday.

Arrive in San Jose not later than 10PM on Sunday.

Camp in lonely spots with no other person for *at least* half a mile where campfires are permitted. 4x4 roads are great insofar as they carry me away from other people. I've got a fairly capable lifted locked and armored rig, but I'm not particularly seeking technically demanding 4x4 trails for their own sake. Rather, it's all about the quiet and the isolation.

My first thought is something like this:

http://goo.gl/maps/cfzcP (4x4 roads not shown - only the nearest paved routes)

Which goes thru
Anzo,
Joshua Tree National Park - taking to Old Dale and Gold Crown road into the Pinto Mountains where I'd camp on Friday night.

Then thru Mojave National Preserve on paved route 127
into Death Valley National Park from the South on Harry Wade Road, then out via Big Pine Road and Tule Canyon Road to the North. (Would cucomungo canyon be better??)

Somewhere just north of Death Valley on those 4x4 roads is probably the place to start looking for a 2nd night's camp spot.

From there, then, pretty much minor and major paved roads back to civilization:
264, 6, 120, 395, 108, and etc...

Assume for the sake of argument that I'm reasonably self sufficient, with a good supply of tools and recovery gear, camping and emergency gear, and 15 gallons each of water and gas.

Your thoughts?
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:31 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'll look him up.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:35 PM   #4
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Your route is even more desolate than I would have suggested.
Being alone, I would have held you more to the paved highways with some side trips, but you know your comfort level.

Just be prepared for Death Valley. It's 108 here in the Pomona area right now. Next weekend is forecast a bit cooler, but DV has it's name for a reason.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:51 PM   #5
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Go through Palm Springs and maybe take a ride up the tram? It's pretty up there and you can definitely get some fresh air and peace up there. Either way enjoy,
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:55 PM   #6
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Go through Palm Springs and maybe take a ride up the tram? It's pretty up there and you can definitely get some fresh air and peace up there. Either way enjoy,
Fresh air? Yes.
Peace? No way.

That place is as crowded as Disneyland. Unless you intend to spend a night backpacking on the mountain, you're never going to be more than 50ft from another person.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:06 PM   #7
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Yea the congestion at the tram has gotten ridiculous. The national park is what I would call anit-climactic. If you have never been though it would be cool to see. There are people all over in that thing though. You can only camp in designated places which will be close to other people. I don't have much other info than that. If you go from JT through Kelso you could stop at the dunes there.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:24 AM   #8
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Not to hurt your plans but I personally would head for the hills! lol

Seriously though, Death Valley earns it's name that time of year; The Sierras are perfect that time of year. Some of the places that come to mind is Monache Meadows/Kennedy Meadows and continuing up the Eastern Sierras and maybe bouncing off of the Inyo Mountains and explore a deep mine or hot springs and then cruising thru one of the passes back to the Coast.

Another alternative would be Sierra National Park. This is the same flora and fauna as Yosemite/Sequoia National Park - only Wheeling Friendly!!! Shaver Lake is a good point to launch from... so much to do there. DV is probably my favorite place to escape with the truck and the Sierra National Park is a close second.

Another good place would be the Big Bear area.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:25 AM   #9
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... otherwise you trip looks great if you were to do it sometime between October and April.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:38 AM   #10
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395 Corridor

There are plenty of great places to explore and camp along the 395 corridor, then cut across (west) Hwy 88 to the Bay Area.

If you get to the Gardnerville/Minden area of Nevada, a must do/stop is the JT Basque restaurant........arrive hungry!!!!
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:13 AM   #11
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I looked at the map and it looks like a fantastic trip to me. I like how the trip involves desert and the Sierra Mountains. Take lots of pictures when you go and share them.

I'd change the course map a little bit to go through Borrego Springs, in San Diego County. The scenery is much better that way, and you'll be amazed at the Santa Rosa Mountains as you drive by. It's worth it!!!

By way of personal reference, I've done Mojave Road during July. I traveled clear through Saline Valley (DVNP), and traversed through the Yuha desert during middle August. These places are extreme in the summer months. All of this was off-road and done solo. No other people, and no other vehicles. That said, there is nothing wrong with driving through them provided you're prepared for it. I carry all the requisite vehicle recovery gear that I require and the normal life safety equipment needed for self rescue.

One thing I would not do though is, I would not drive off-road in Death Valley Proper in summer though. I'd most definitely stick to the pavement in that part of the park.

PEOPLE
When I was traveling through Saline Valley in August, I saw one truck going north, it was about 10 miles south of CA-168, and then nobody else for two days. During my Mojave Road trip in July, I had a brief conversation with the gal at the Cal University research property out there. The next day I saw one guy in a mini-van chilling the f-out in some random wash, and a couple at the Kelso dunes parking area. Then nobody for the rest of the day.

During the Yuha trip I saw one truck going west, it was carrying a few passengers.

I'm always amazed to find people out in the desert in summer, but there they are. This is one of the reasons I like to backpack into wilderness areas.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:20 AM   #12
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Sounds like a great trip Steve!
I have no input other than I completely understand your reasoning, have fun and good luck.
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:05 PM   #13
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Jealous...
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:26 PM   #14
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Jealous...
Don't be *too* jealous. Remember, the only reason I'm taking the trip at all is because I have to be in that all week training.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:35 PM   #15
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Sounds like a great trip Steve!
I have no input other than I completely understand your reasoning, have fun and good luck.
x2

hell I just had to watch a 1 hour ethics video this morning and that's enough to make me not want to talk to people for a few days, can't imagine a whole week of stuff like that
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:34 PM   #16
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Will be real interested in your route, and what it was like . Always want to go out, out and away.

Pictures and a small one page report in power point will be fine.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:52 PM   #17
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Will be real interested in your route, and what it was like . Always want to go out, out and away.

Pictures and a small one page report in power point will be fine.
rotfl. And with a TPS report cover sheet.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:35 PM   #18
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Reported Temp today:

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Old 05-14-2013, 07:03 PM   #19
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Bit chilly today ehh?
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:52 AM   #20
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rotfl. And with a TPS report cover sheet.
We better see the stapler in the pictures or it didn't happen.
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