Thanksgiving Advice

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neil d
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Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Post by neil d » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:17 pm

I'll resurface here to reluctantly agree that DV is tough with only one night. Even from Lee Vining you are looking at 5+ hours to get to Racetrack. Although that does get you there for the low light conditions, which really is the optimal time, both evening and early morning.

One thing to note is that camping is a bit tough around Racetrack, as I believe they discourage dispersed camping 'right out front'. I know there is a primitive campground at the end of the road, right before it goes over Lippincott Pass. That is just a short drive from the playa.

For continued travel to the south you would want to exit over Lippincott rather than reversing course all the way back to the pavement. Your rig looks sufficient for desert travel and I did the pass in a full-size truck a few years back with no issues and only one minor pucker moment. But road conditions famously change in DV, you would want to check conditions closer to your date. But that Lippincott exit to Saline Valley road south to 190 is quite pretty (again, probably 3 hours to pavement) and goes through one of the best stands of Joshua Trees I have ever seen.

From what you are describing I don't think you would be disappointed with a run to Racetrack Playa.

Other, easier alternatives exist much closer to the pavement. Driving the park north to south, just pick a canyon to drive up and spend the night. I'm most familiar with Cottonwood Canyon behind Stovepipe Wells (great petroglyphs in Marble Canyon) and Hole in the Wall east of HWY 190 (slot canyons!), but any canyon you can drive into will readily offer it's charms (lots of options along the West Side Road).








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eyemgh
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Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Post by eyemgh » Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:10 pm

neil d wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:17 pm
I'll resurface here to reluctantly agree that DV is tough with only one night. Even from Lee Vining you are looking at 5+ hours to get to Racetrack. Although that does get you there for the low light conditions, which really is the optimal time, both evening and early morning.

One thing to note is that camping is a bit tough around Racetrack, as I believe they discourage dispersed camping 'right out front'. I know there is a primitive campground at the end of the road, right before it goes over Lippincott Pass. That is just a short drive from the playa.

For continued travel to the south you would want to exit over Lippincott rather than reversing course all the way back to the pavement. Your rig looks sufficient for desert travel and I did the pass in a full-size truck a few years back with no issues and only one minor pucker moment. But road conditions famously change in DV, you would want to check conditions closer to your date. But that Lippincott exit to Saline Valley road south to 190 is quite pretty (again, probably 3 hours to pavement) and goes through one of the best stands of Joshua Trees I have ever seen.

From what you are describing I don't think you would be disappointed with a run to Racetrack Playa.

Other, easier alternatives exist much closer to the pavement. Driving the park north to south, just pick a canyon to drive up and spend the night. I'm most familiar with Cottonwood Canyon behind Stovepipe Wells (great petroglyphs in Marble Canyon) and Hole in the Wall east of HWY 190 (slot canyons!), but any canyon you can drive into will readily offer it's charms (lots of options along the West Side Road).
I think the Racetrack and other remote areas of the park are probably best left for another trip when we can give them their due. Plus, I’m not sure I’ll have the rig set up properly. We have a good full-size spare, patch kit and a Viair so we can fix a reasonable flat and air down to keep our fillings intact, but a second spare and extra fuel would be ideal for the boons. I’m still strategizing how to do that and probably won’t have it done by then.

For this trip, just passing through, I think that’s a really good strategy. I’ll look up those canyons. It looks like Big Pine Rd. is paved. The big question, enter there or down at Panamint Springs? I need to do the math on fuel, but I think we’d be good either way without a spare tank. Thanks!

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bobby49
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Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Post by bobby49 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:44 pm

eyemgh wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:10 pm
It looks like Big Pine Rd. is paved.
I don't know the current status, but the last time that I drove through there the Big Pine Road was paved on the north end, then not paved in the middle. The section from Crankshaft Junction to Ubehebe Crater was very rough for an ordinary FWD sedan. Back then, when I inquired about that road at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, they just said, "It's a bad road" and would not say anymore.

Gasoline is a tricky thing around DVNP. Once you get east of US 395, the few gas stations can hold you up on fuel cost.

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Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Post by eyemgh » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:33 am

bobby49 wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:44 pm
eyemgh wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:10 pm
It looks like Big Pine Rd. is paved.
I don't know the current status, but the last time that I drove through there the Big Pine Road was paved on the north end, then not paved in the middle. The section from Crankshaft Junction to Ubehebe Crater was very rough for an ordinary FWD sedan. Back then, when I inquired about that road at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, they just said, "It's a bad road" and would not say anymore.

Gasoline is a tricky thing around DVNP. Once you get east of US 395, the few gas stations can hold you up on fuel cost.
I think we *could* do it that way, and probably will in the future, but it seems like the smart money is on entering on 190, staying in one of the canyons for the night and connecting to 127 at Death Valley Junction.

Thanks for helping me work through this!!!

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bobby49
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Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Post by bobby49 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:44 am

eyemgh wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:33 am
I think we *could* do it that way, and probably will in the future, but it seems like the smart money is on entering on 190, staying in one of the canyons for the night and connecting to 127 at Death Valley Junction.
If your vehicle is up for it, you could duck off 190 and go up to Dantes View. First time visitors to DVNP ought to go up there for a photo.

The small alternative to that one is to go south from Furnace Creek, past Badwater, to Hwy 178. That takes you east over Jubilee Pass to Shoshone. Then you continue south on 127.

I use Hwy 127 in March when the wildflowers are in bloom.

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eyemgh
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Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Post by eyemgh » Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:02 pm

bobby49 wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:44 am
eyemgh wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:33 am
I think we *could* do it that way, and probably will in the future, but it seems like the smart money is on entering on 190, staying in one of the canyons for the night and connecting to 127 at Death Valley Junction.
If your vehicle is up for it, you could duck off 190 and go up to Dantes View. First time visitors to DVNP ought to go up there for a photo.

The small alternative to that one is to go south from Furnace Creek, past Badwater, to Hwy 178. That takes you east over Jubilee Pass to Shoshone. Then you continue south on 127.

I use Hwy 127 in March when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Perfect! I'll look at both.

As for the vehicle, it's suitable for all but the narrowest and most technical parts of DVNP...assuming nothing goes wrong. I don't have all contingencies covered yet though. Given those routes, we'll be better off than most who do them. I'd rather have fuel and two spares for being off the beaten path for prolonged miles. We drive stretches of rough road in OR, but if it really hit the mechanical fan, two flats, neither repairable in the field for example, we could walk out. That's not a great option for the park.

Thanks!

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Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Post by bobby49 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:42 pm

This happened a long time ago, but there was a famous story about a family of tourists who drove a rental car from Los Angeles to Trona, and then tried to come over the rough passes into the southwest part of the park. They were following some old paper map, and they did not realize that the faint dotted gray line on the map meant that the road was awfully bad. Eventually, of course, the car gave out and those folks tried to walk to safety. That didn't work out either.

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Re: Thanksgiving Advice

Post by eyemgh » Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:20 pm

bobby49 wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:42 pm
This happened a long time ago, but there was a famous story about a family of tourists who drove a rental car from Los Angeles to Trona, and then tried to come over the rough passes into the southwest part of the park. They were following some old paper map, and they did not realize that the faint dotted gray line on the map meant that the road was awfully bad. Eventually, of course, the car gave out and those folks tried to walk to safety. That didn't work out either.
We live very close to the place in OR where the family following a phone based mapping route died in the winter. It's VERY sad, but in both cases, some pre-trip preparedness would have saved all of their lives. Hopefully, we'll never have to trigger it, but we have a PLB.

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