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Death Valley Off-Road Adventures

Discussion in 'Off-Roading & Trails' started by Crom, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    So we're back from Death Valley and I have to say that was one of the best trips of my life aside from my 14 y/o daughter's attitude. Will post pics up soon-there are quite a lot of them. Three cameras worth clicking away all the time.

    Day 1 was from Vegas to Beatty, Rhyolite, and Furnace Creek via Titus Canyon. The weather from Vegas to Beatty was quite windy and my tonneau was coming up on the rear right corner. Secured it with both a bungee and tiedown. Beatty is a desert rat town IMO. Filled up and initially passed Rhyolite. So glad we turned around and checked it out. Now that is some serious DV history. Sad to see the original pictures and how it was booming once so long ago. The art there is great and leads to some fun photos. While I was there another taco pulled up. He had a white access cab with King suspension. I asked him if he was gonna run Titus Canyon with the current possibility of rain. He had no issues and said he would be there in about 30 minutes. So since someone was gonna be running the canyon after us I decided it was worth the chance and I am so happy to have experienced Titus Canyon. The road to the actual canyon part is much of the length. Some desert flat road leading up to a windy road through picturesque scenery. When you get into the canyon part it is incredible. If you are able you should definitely experience this road. Once out of the canyon we headed to Furnace Creek to check in. I didn't make it to the Natural Bridge, Badwater, or Artists Drive (closed), just too tired after the long day. Had dinner in the 49er Cafe, over priced of course but good none the less.

    Day 2 was long as well but well worth it of course. Filled up the Taco then picked up my interagency pass from the visitor center and checked out the very small and quiet airport. Oh yes I shall fly out there sometime just to get a different vantage point on DV. Packed up and got on the road north. There is some road construction going on in certain areas within the park and delays for one way traffic happened about three times. We stopped at Stovepipe Wells and hiked up Mosaic Canyon. This is a small slot canyon which has some awesome rock formations. Hell everything seems interesting in DV. Had lunch at the Toll Road and it too was pretty good for what it was. Cheaper than Furnace Creek too. Also, the small motel seemed better from the outside than the Ranch at FC. Continuing on I made a wrong turn at the Ubehebe turn off and wound up at Scotty's Castle. Again, I'm glad to have seen the castle even if we didn't take a tour. I will be back to check it out more another time. Once on the road to Eureka Dunes we were to enjoy the long washboard road. Holy crap that was intense. A jeep was heading the opposite way and we could see him miles out. Got to Crankshaft Junction and headed West for the dunes. This part of the drive got smoother. It is windy and more like a mountain drive. Passed some mine remnants which were very interesting. Then on the way down to the final turn to the road for the dunes the road is actually paved. It is strange, there are portions which are paved here and there, then there are long stretches which are not. Arrived at the dunes to find there are stone picnic tables with fire pits and grills. We got the last open spot and set up camp.

    It took some time to get everything unpacked and while my gf started dinner I kept at the set up and unpacking...well after some photography. It was a little breezy and my mosquito net for the truck was blowing all over the place. Later we enjoyed some wine and a fire. About 11pm we decided to go up on the dune. Laying there under the stars above the campgrounds was incredible. I can't believe more people don't talk about or do this. Try it and you will have a memory for life. Guess it has been too long since I've seen that many stars and never from such a vantage point. I do regret not doing any night photography but it was very cold and I pussed out.

    Day 3 started before day break when my daughter asked me to set up the camp toilet. I was attempting to share the beauty of the natural world with her but just don't think she took it in that way. Did some morning photography with the sunrise from the mountains east of the dunes and also the dunes of course. We had breakfast and got all packed up. I tried out the camp shower and will recommend the Porta Privy from Outback over the Guide Gear pop up shower. They looked almost the same online but the porta privy supposedly has pockets inside for stuff and outside for sandbagging it to make it more heavy. If you get one make sure to use the tent stakes because ours blew down and tipped the toilet over...thankfully no crap was in it, just urine which was cleaned off when I showered. Too much info? While packing up we were treated to two A-10 Warthogs doing maneuvers. I'd heard jets for a while yet none were in sight. These two seemed to be using us as targets and they would dive right towards us and then peel off over the mountains and dunes. It was great and I regret not getting any video of it and only a few pictures with my point and shoot. We set out towards Inyo and that took about an hour passing through some snow speckled mountains. Found the entrance to Saline Road up there too. Got to the 395 and made our way back to the OC.


    Couple of questions for those of you have spent some time in DV. What is the usual technique for the washboard roads? About 5-10mph or 40 and above. In Steve Greene's book he says either are ok but the high speed will take a toll on a vehicle. When we were on our way to Eureka Dunes the initial stretch of road was almost all washboard. I started out at around 5mph but just couldn't stick with it so sped up to 40 and above. Saw a couple of passenger van/Subie style vehicles on their way out back towards Ubehebe (which was closed :( ) and they were hauling ass so I figured what the hell. It is fun yet un-nerving going fast on those roads. All kinds of rocks hitting what I hope are my sliders...haven't had a close look at the Taco yet. Taking it to get cleaned up in a couple hours after I get most of my pics selected on photobucket.
     
  2. Crom

    Crom [OP] Time is precious; use it wisely

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    Congrats on your trip. I'm so glad you had a good time. :yay:
     
  3. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    And here are some pics...spent the day downloading to photobucket and then detailed the Taco. Enjoy

    The load for 3 people...should we really have this much? Remember half of the bed is also holding my sleeping platform contraption...and the cab too was pretty full
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    x3
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    The weather to the west where we were headed on the way from Vegas...the winds were hellacious on the way up
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    Hit 30K on the way...had to document the moment
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    More WX
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    Creech AFB would it be bane or burden to be stationed there
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    Beatty
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  4. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    Rhyolite
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    Bottle House
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    Titus Canyon
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    Let the daughter wheel it for a while...she did pretty good as did the GF when it was her turn
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    Leaving the WX behind
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    Lounging and watching the rocks and sky pass by
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  5. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    Titus Canyon Cont.

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  6. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    Titus Canyon Cont.

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    I expected more vertical canyon walls from what I've read but the whole trail is awesome in its own right.
     
  7. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    Day Two
    Furnace Creek to Eureka Dunes


    Mosaic Canyon
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    This marble slab was so cool and refreshing...DV really must suck during the summer

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  8. Rucas

    Rucas 1st gen > 2nd gen

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    wow your trip was basically identical to the one i did. TONS of fun!
    Especially weaving through the canyon.
     
  9. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    Oh I'm not done yet...more pics to come, enjoyed dinner just now...stay tuned...did you post your pics?
     
  10. Rucas

    Rucas 1st gen > 2nd gen

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    ill post a few, i went in december.

    ETAV8R How was the weather?
     
  11. Rucas

    Rucas 1st gen > 2nd gen

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  12. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    The weather was pretty good. Daytime temps were around 75 at Furnace Creek and 65 at Eureka Dunes at about 530pm when we got there. During the later hours of the evening it was cool and breezy. I was cold in my sleeping bag with long underwear and a fleece blanket between myself and the bag. It was all worth it though...how bout some more pics

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    The long road before the mountainous climb to Eureka
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    At Crankshaft Crossing and the long road up to that point
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    from LOTR..."and they call it a mine"
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    Desert Flora
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    The Dunes
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  13. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    Day 3
    Morning at Eureka Dunes and heading home via the Inyo Forrest


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    The campsite
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    And of course caught a wingless airplane on the way home, when I was on the way home from Mojave a few months ago I also took a pic of an airplane on a trailer...strange. Hope you enjoyed my pics. Looking forward to all the other Death Valley trips members will post up.
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  14. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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  15. ywen

    ywen Well-Known Member

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    Titus is perhaps the easiest route that can be considered "off road". Pretty no doubt but probably won't satisfy those looking to "wheel". U can take a sedan thru it when washouts are not bad.
     
  16. HBMurphy

    HBMurphy Ban Pending

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    You had asked about washboard roads... Considered 'common courtesy' to many to put your truck in 4wd why traveling down them since it tends to not make as many wash boards - remember that the drive shaft is not 'constant velocity' so it tends to result in washboards. Also when you are hitting more whoopy roads, modulation of the accelerator and brake (when needed) can smooth things tremendously - using the shocks to their best.
     
  17. ywen

    ywen Well-Known Member

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    pix from my last two trips to DV with my rental Sportage and Santa Fe

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  18. ETAV8R

    ETAV8R 4th MAW

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    Nice work Ywen. I do regret not doing any nighttime photography but oh well. Did you have any lighting from the moon? Seems very bright but you do have stars and they tend to get blown out with strong lunar illumination.
     
  19. ywen

    ywen Well-Known Member

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    thanks. Yes I had some moon light but it wasn't too bright as you noted.

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  20. Plannerman99

    Plannerman99 Well-Known Member

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    I must go here sometime soon
     
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