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Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:17 am
by eyemgh
We are headed from Ashland, Oregon to the Palm Springs/La Quinta/Indio area to see our son and friends over Thanksgiving. Rather than shooting down I-5 we figured we'd head to Susanville and take 395 down. We have a Four Wheel Camper with winter tires and many years of snow driving experience. We are staying one night in JT, but could stay one or even two nights along the way if there are interesting places to stop. We're just not sure how the potential snow will impact things. All of the tubs at Benton Springs are booked as are all the sites that can be reserved in Death Valley. Any suggestions on itinerary? We need something for the night of the 21st and 22nd, ideally two different places, since setting up a camp to hangout outdoors will be limited based on the temperature. We'll spend the night of the 23rd in JT. Thanks!

Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:08 pm
by blaybelay
Maybe check out The Laurel Lakes 4x4 Trail near Lake Crowley. Could be fun. I've heard it gets really crowded in the summer. Not sure what to expect in the winter. This is a rather difficult 4x4 trail though.

Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:09 pm
by c9h13no3
eyemgh wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:17 am
We are headed from Ashland, Oregon to the Palm Springs/La Quinta/Indio area to see our son and friends over Thanksgiving. Rather than shooting down I-5 we figured we'd head to Susanville and take 395 down. We have a Four Wheel Camper with winter tires and many years of snow driving experience. We are staying one night in JT, but could stay one or even two nights along the way if there are interesting places to stop. We're just not sure how the potential snow will impact things. All of the tubs at Benton Springs are booked as are all the sites that can be reserved in Death Valley. Any suggestions on itinerary? We need something for the night of the 21st and 22nd, ideally two different places, since setting up a camp to hangout outdoors will be limited based on the temperature. We'll spend the night of the 23rd in JT. Thanks!
You can camp anywhere 1 mile from pavement in Death Valley. So unless you really want the bathroom and water facilities, I'd just camp wherever. Joshua Tree & Death Valley are great spots in November (so I've heard, never driven that far south).

Late November is certainly not the Sierra's best season. The foliage is all dead, fall color is gone. Snow has usually hit the upper elevations and closed the passes but hasn't arrived in high enough quantity to really justify skiing yet. I'm usually hanging out at warmer, lower elevations (Yosemite Valley, Pinnacles NP, Big Sur, Redwoods, Point Reyes) and waiting for real snow cover. The Bay Area's Indian summer (is that term racist now?) is generally quite nice. Peakbaggers I know like the Southern Sierra (Olancha to Owens Peak) during the shoulder season, but at least from the pictures I've seen, I don't find the dry desert scrub landscape very scenic.

Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:10 pm
by rlown
Don't forget chains. Sometimes even with 4wd, they are required.

Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:36 pm
by eyemgh
c9h13no3 wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:09 pm
You can camp anywhere 1 mile from pavement in Death Valley. So unless you really want the bathroom and water facilities, I'd just camp wherever. Joshua Tree & Death Valley are great spots in November (so I've heard, never driven that far south).

Late November is certainly not the Sierra's best season. The foliage is all dead, fall color is gone. Snow has usually hit the upper elevations and closed the passes but hasn't arrived in high enough quantity to really justify skiing yet. I'm usually hanging out at warmer, lower elevations (Yosemite Valley, Pinnacles NP, Big Sur, Redwoods, Point Reyes) and waiting for real snow cover. The Bay Area's Indian summer (is that term racist now?) is generally quite nice. Peakbaggers I know like the Southern Sierra (Olancha to Owens Peak) during the shoulder season, but at least from the pictures I've seen, I don't find the dry desert scrub landscape very scenic.
Very cool to know about Death Valley. We want to boondock anyway.

The timing is based more on Thanksgiving than seeing the eastern sierras. We just figured we'd avoid I-5. We may rethink though and do more of an S shaped route out to the coast and then into the desert.

We typically carry 4 wheel chains. In many years of schlepping our son around to ski races and training we got by with 4 wheel snows most all of the time. Occasionally though, especially in CA, we'd be forced to chain even when it wasn't necessary.

Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:45 pm
by eyemgh
blaybelay wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:08 pm
Maybe check out The Laurel Lakes 4x4 Trail near Lake Crowley. Could be fun. I've heard it gets really crowded in the summer. Not sure what to expect in the winter. This is a rather difficult 4x4 trail though.
Our rig would make it through there just fine. I'd do that in a heartbeat in predictable weather, but I worry a bit though about getting stuck by a fluke snow.

Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:16 am
by wildhiker
Is the campground at Grover Hot Springs State Park south of Lake Tahoe open in November? I think the hot springs themselves are generally open and really a treat in the cool weather.
-Phil

Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:20 am
by eyemgh
wildhiker wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:16 am
Is the campground at Grover Hot Springs State Park south of Lake Tahoe open in November? I think the hot springs themselves are generally open and really a treat in the cool weather.
-Phil
That's exactly the type of tip I was hoping for! Unfortunately they have (understandably in the short term) closed all reservations due to the wildfires. :crybaby:

Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:44 am
by c9h13no3
eyemgh wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:20 am
That's exactly the type of tip I was hoping for! Unfortunately they have (understandably in the short term) closed all reservations due to the wildfires. :crybaby:
Not a fan of the free hot springs along 395? Travertine, Buckeye, and the multitude of pools near Mammoth east of 395?

Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:27 am
by eyemgh
c9h13no3 wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:44 am
eyemgh wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:20 am
That's exactly the type of tip I was hoping for! Unfortunately they have (understandably in the short term) closed all reservations due to the wildfires. :crybaby:
Not a fan of the free hot springs along 395? Travertine, Buckeye, and the multitude of pools near Mammoth east of 395?
Not that at all. My familiarity with the eastern sierra consists of non-stop trips to and from Ashland to Mammoth for ski races. I’ll look those up. Thanks!