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Unread 01-04-2017, 12:18 AM   #1
BlairB
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Default December 2016 Death Valley Trip

In what is seeming to be an annual tradition I headed out to the desert to spend a little bit of time escaping from work and exploring the beautiful parts of Death Valley. My fiancée (and dog) decided to skip the cold weather this time and it turned into a guys trip with John, Adam, Stephen and myself. We departed on December 28th, and all returned home on December 31st.

In all we covered around 275 miles of dirt over the 4 days we were there, so it was a quite a bit of driving covering all levels of trails that can be found in Death Valley.

Here are some of my photos from the trip, as well as a recap of the areas covered. Excuse the photos, just finally upgraded from a point-and-shoot and still have no idea what I am doing.

Day 1

Stephen left Sacramento around 4am, with the rest of us meeting in Whittier leaving around 8am. Our first stop was Boron Air Force Base/Prison, which was a first for me. It has an interesting history and was abandoned in 2000 (although not entirely).





As is always the case when very near a paved road, the site has been quite a bit of vandalism- some being very creepy, although it did make for some cool photo ops!







We also checked out their Vehicular Component Factory, which had an extra creepy basement.







From Boron we headed towards the Trona Pinnacles outsite of Trona. It seems very much like what you would imagine the moon to feel.











From here we topped off our tanks in Trona and headed into the park taking Slate Range to our first campsite, Keystone Mine. We did get a little nervous as we found some pretty muddy sections right off the trail. Thankfully we didn’t face anything too bad while on the way to our campsite.

Our campsite for the night.





Day 2

We woke up and had a leisurely breakfast outside of the mine. I did take the opportunity to snap a few shots of my truck posing.





The view from the top of the mine.



The area does have a quite a few trams and steel cables still around. Stephen, being an engineer, took a look with his expert eye. Didn’t exactly look to be highly calculated, but it was still there!



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Unread 01-04-2017, 12:18 AM   #2
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After departing the mine we made the short journey to Barker Ranch, the infamous home to the Mansion family. The main house and workshop burned in 2009, but the foundation is still there, along with an outbuilding.







After Barker Ranch we crossed Mengel Pass, which is one of the spots in the park you have more than a dirt road. Nothing overly challenging, but a fun change.



From here we checked out the three cabins in the area; Russell Camp Cabin, Stella’s Cabin and the Geologists Cabin.







View of Stripped Butte from Geologists Cabin



Never made it back out from the cabin.



The cabins are also filled with a ton of cool artifacts, photos, etc…















From here we covered quite a bit of ground, passing Stripped Butte, burro’s, and eventually taking West Side Road north across some of the lowest parts of Death Valley.





We finished the day heading into Echo Canyon and stopping at Inyo Mine.



Cool outbuilding built into the hill.



Still lots of machinery to take a look at.







It is amazing to see how parts are repurposed.



We camped in the Canyon and settled in for a slightly colder night.





Day 3

We left Echo Canyon and topped off our tanks again in Furnace Creek, which was less expensive than I was expecting! From here we headed to Rhyolite for a quick visit to their ghost town.





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Unread 01-04-2017, 12:19 AM   #3
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After Rhyolite, we headed to Titus Canyon, one of the most beautiful roads in the park. We got some good news while in Furnace Creek- this road had just opened after being damaged by the last storm.





Leadfield





Leaving Leadfield we had quite the surprising, coming across a Hyundai Sonata banging over the rocks, and lifting a wheel at the slightest dip. After talking to them we discovered they were a European couple who had no idea the road was so rough. They had previously been stuck on a rock for some time before someone helped get them off of it. We ended up escorting them to the end of the canyon to make sure they were able to get out safely. Wish I had photos, but hopefully someone else will chime in with them.

From here we headed far North to Eureka Dunes. After some discussion we ended up taking Steel Pass in the dark, during the rain. No photos from me, but it was definitely an adventure. The hardest part was staying on the road in the wash leading to the warm springs.

After some time “lost” in the wash we ended up camping near the Lower Warm Springs.

Day 4

This was our final day and when we all headed towards paved road. We woke up and hit the road around 8:15am.

Took a quick shot at Bat Rock.



From here we took the South Pass out of Saline Valley Road. It was a cold morning and the clouds kept low for a lot of the drive.



As we gained elevation we faced a little bit of snow.







After a few hours we finally hit paved road again and it was time to air up.




All and all we had a great trip- nice weather, lots of interesting sights, and great company. I was even home in time to make my NYE dinner reservations!

Hopefully some others will chime
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Unread 01-04-2017, 11:56 AM   #4
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Very nice Blair. Looks like a fun trip. Bummed I couldn't make it. Do you track your route by chance? I really want to go back to DV soon.
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Unread 01-04-2017, 02:24 PM   #5
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Nice!

Did you update your rear springs to accommodate the new bumper and extra weight?
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Unread 01-04-2017, 03:28 PM   #6
05sport4x4
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Blair thanks for the invite as Adam and I both had a great time. Your photos look much better than any of mine but I will post a few later today.

Here are a few that I have of the Hyundai in Titus canyon. I could not see it most of the time and don't have any of it lifting it wheels but Stephen might have something better.





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Unread 01-04-2017, 10:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey View Post
Very nice Blair. Looks like a fun trip. Bummed I couldn't make it. Do you track your route by chance? I really want to go back to DV soon.
Next time you will have to join in. I do have some tracking- I also have all the routes to upload onto Google Earth if you want.

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Originally Posted by t-rex grrr View Post
Nice!

Did you update your rear springs to accommodate the new bumper and extra weight?
Thanks! Yep, this was my second trip out on CSS rear springs. I had All Pro 3.5" before and they couldn't handle the weight. My truck is pretty heavy in the rear, I have drawers, a fridge, bumper, full jerry cans, wood on the roof, wood in the trasharoo for part of the trip, water tank in the 2nd row etc...

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Originally Posted by 05sport4x4 View Post
Blair thanks for the invite as Adam and I both had a great time. Your photos look much better than any of mine but I will post a few later today.

Here are a few that I have of the Hyundai in Titus canyon. I could not see it most of the time and don't have any of it lifting it wheels but Stephen might have something better.
Glad you guys could make it! It was a very fun trip, we will have to do another one sometime soon.
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Unread 01-05-2017, 12:53 PM   #8
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Another trip soon! I'm ready for another DV trip.
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Unread 01-05-2017, 10:05 PM   #9
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Awesome report and great pics! Thanks for sharing!
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Unread 01-06-2017, 09:27 AM   #10
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Awesome pics Blair
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Unread 01-06-2017, 11:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bt216 View Post
Another trip soon! I'm ready for another DV trip.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DawgRunner View Post
Awesome report and great pics! Thanks for sharing!
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Originally Posted by momo.75 View Post
Awesome pics Blair
Thanks guys! Definitely need to do another trip out there soon.
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Unread 01-08-2017, 12:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05sport4x4 View Post
Here are a few that I have of the Hyundai in Titus canyon. I could not see it most of the time and don't have any of it lifting it wheels but Stephen might have something better.
While it looks neither safe nor frugal I have to say I am impressed by where some people manage to get low clearance cars; it reveals an armored 4Runner to be overkill sometimes.
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Unread 01-09-2017, 02:49 PM   #13
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While it looks neither safe nor frugal I have to say I am impressed by where some people manage to get low clearance cars; it reveals an armored 4Runner to be overkill sometimes.
I agree low slung vehicles can go a lot of places where a lifted truck is not required but we escaped the canyon without any damage but we can not say the same for car. We have no idea what the underside looked like or what damage may have been done to the systems under there but the front bumper took a hit that split it (low down on the drivers side) and will require a complete replacement that will be costly once painted and installed.
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Unread 01-10-2017, 09:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
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that does look like a great couple of days. my dec was spent driving the beaches of the outer banks from the va state line to ocracoke. the obx looks to be no where near as exciting.

is there an after market relocation solution for the windshield wiper fluid reservoir? i too love my demello front bumper but have only figured out to wrapping the old wheel well cover up around it. otherwise it all hangs out like some saggy old pair of pale bollocks.
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