Locrwln's Death Valley trip 2012

locrwln

Expedition Leader
Since the tires were installed on Monday, it felt wrong to not go out and get them dirty, so my wife and I decided that because we had a three day weekend with no other commitments, we might as well give the tires a test (even though I put about 30k on a set of Nitto TG's on my Landcruiser).

I left work early on Friday and did the final packing while waiting for the wife to get out of work. Once she got home we headed out. The plan was to head to Saline/Death Valley for some warmth.

We drove down US 395 into CA. We made it to Lee Vining and because it was getting late/dark, we turned right on Hwy 120 and down towards the south side of Mono Lake . We found a spot outside of the no camping zone and set everything up (which took about 10 minutes (we love our FWC by the way). Before falling asleep, I fired up the Coleman Catalytic heater and crawled into the sleeping bags.

Saturday morning, I woke up around 4 am because I noticed that my face was getting cold, I looked down and realized that the heater wasn't on, it had ran out of propane (small 1lb bottles). I got up around 6 am and looked at the thermometer inside the camper, 23 degrees. Good thing the sleeping bag is warm. I put a new bottle on the heater to help take off the chill while getting dressed and started getting ready. I started the truck and its thermometer showed 13 degrees, burrrrrr. We got packed up and headed for Bishop.

Moon setting over the Sierras.


Once in Bishop, we stopped for breakfast and a few last minute supplies that we had forgotten. After all of that was done, we headed for Big Pine and topped off the fuel tank. From there we headed up to and then down the North Pass road into Saline Valley .

At the beginning of the dirt, I aired down to 30 psi in the front and 35 psi in the rear. I figured I would try it there and see how it handled. That seems to be a pretty good combination for washboards for now. We made it into the valley and turned up towards the springs. As we drove in, there were a few rigs heading out, but overall it didn't look too bad. The lower spring had a few camps set up and there were a few more between the upper and lower springs. We set up camp and had lunch at the upper north spring and found a great spot. Did I mention the temperature when we got there was 78 degrees and there wasn't any wind? Yeah it was that good. The high for the afternoon was 82 degrees, still no wind.

Camp.



Had a soak after a little hike in the afternoon and just chilled the afternoon away reading. The weather was perfect and it was just too nice to do anything. Around 8:30, we took another soak under the stars, had the tub to ourselves both times.
 
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locrwln

Expedition Leader
Sunday morning, we took our time packing and headed back out the North Pass road and turned right and continued down the Death Valley road to Crankshaft Junction.

Stopped for the requisite picture.






Two years ago, my wife and I took the north road out towards Gold Point , Nevada . We ended up finishing the route in the dark in a rain/snow mix. We thought about taking it again to see everything in the day light, but decided to try a different route. We headed south approximately five miles and turned northeast onto the lower portion of the road that leads up to the mine site of Stateline and continues east towards US 95.

The actual California/Nevada Stateline.



We came upon Stateline (mine/town site) and didn't expect there to be anything there, but were pleasantly surprised at the buildings/shafts/foundations, etc. that was still on site. We drove up to one of the higher points of the site toward the scaffolding that is perched above a roughly 30 degree vertical shaft.





As we were looking around, we noticed the roof of a small cabin that looked like it was still in really good shape. Once we were done up top, we drove down to check it out and found this:


It is a first come, anyone is welcome to use cabin and it is in great shape. We looked around at the amenities and checked out the sign in book and various business cards attached to the cork board. After that, we were back on the road and heading east towards US 95. Because of the miles that we had covered and my puny factory 26 gallon tank, it was time to start looking for some fuel. We wandered through the many roads in the area steadily working our way east towards US 95. Once we reached pavement, I fired up the OBA, aired up the tires and turned south towards Beatty with the wife now driving.
 
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locrwln

Expedition Leader
We topped off the tank and headed back towards the Park. In all of the years we have traveled to DV, we have never traveled down Titus Canyon , so we decided to check that off of our list. Once we left the pavement, I aired down and the wife continued to drive.

We stopped in Leadfield and took a few pictures before continuing down the canyon. For anyone that hasn't done Titus, the road was in great shape, but you get your money's worth with all of the twists and turns.




We made it through the canyon and back to the North Park Road, where I aired up again and we decided to camp in the Mesquite campground.

The next morning, we packed up and headed out through Scotty's Castle back to US 95 and eventually home. We packed about 850 miles into our three day weekend and had a great time and this was truly one of those times that we were not ready to come home. We were both suffering from wanderlust bad on this trip and really enjoyed ourselves.

Hope you enjoyed the trip, we sure did.

Jack
 
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locrwln

Expedition Leader
Thanks for the kudos everyone. We had a great time.

We are really enjoying the new set up as well.

Jack
 

digitaldelay

Explorer
We topped off the tank and headed back towards the Park. In all of the years we have traveled to DV, we have never traveled down Titus Canyon , so we decided to check that off of our list. Once we left the pavement, I aired down and the wife continued to drive.
Hi Jack:

Awesome photos! Just wondering if you would recommend travelling Titus Canyon without airing down. I will be travelling this route on some fairly low-pro tires (P225/60R18) and I don't want to go much lower than the 33psi street pressure. By the looks of your photos, I'm thinking I should be OK. Of course, I'm not in a 3/4T with LT tires :)

Jason
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
Hi Jack:

Awesome photos! Just wondering if you would recommend travelling Titus Canyon without airing down. I will be travelling this route on some fairly low-pro tires (P225/60R18) and I don't want to go much lower than the 33psi street pressure. By the looks of your photos, I'm thinking I should be OK. Of course, I'm not in a 3/4T with LT tires :)

Jason
You should be okay, there was a bone stock GM Acadia(?), the big crossover SUV, below Leadfield and I am pretty sure he didn't air down. That definitely had low profile tires on it.

We did because like you pointed out, with full pressure (we drove a few miles at full pressure) it was pretty rough on the washboard portions.

Jack
 

digitaldelay

Explorer
Excellent! Thanks for the info. Now I just have to hope for dry conditions. I only have a 2-day window (Mar 27 or 28) for our Death Valley day trip from Vegas. I really want to do Titus Canyon, as this would be the only off-pavement section in a 3500 mile trip. I would have loved to see the Racetrack too, but if the washboard is as bad as people say, I think I will skip it.

Jason
 
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