Another Death Valley Trip in the history books. 6th Annual, 6-day tent camping blitz through 250+ dirt miles of fun. This time we did the North Western portion of the park. A part we haven't been to before. It was more scenic this year than the usual mine and man-made equipment than past years. Different but just as cool. Lot less drinking this year but the shit talking was a'plenty.
Left San Diego and drove up to Lone Pine to drop off the tow rigs.
Drove from the Boulder Creek RV Resort to the West side of the 395 into the Alabama Hills. Checked out a few little things here and there but everyone was itchin' to do more driving in the dirt. So we continue on.
Made it to the backside of Japanese internment camp/Manzanar memorial and stopped for a quick smoke and picture.
Got to a cool little spot and setup camp for the night.
Woke up the next morning and headed out. The nights were cold (low 40's) but daytime temps were perfect (high 70s/low 80s). We took off down the pole road that paralleled the 395. Fun pole line road. High speed switch backs and straight aways. No real gnarly bumps and some pretty good water crossings to make it interesting. Made it to Big Pine, filled up ice and gas and headed into the park.
Once in the park, we took a dead end trail to a saddle lookout up in the hills/mountains. Pretty rad spot but had to get going before it got dark. Bombed down a long graded road, hitting speeds of 60-80 miles an hour. Ran into some old German codger who looked at our rigs and scoffed, saying, "Hope you have lockers on your trucks...". Fuck you old man!!! I got 4X drive!! (which I will find out that I didn't later on down the trail).
Found new camp and woke up to see this in the morning. Again night time temps were cold, making sleep pretty miserable. We headed out down the trail and came up on our first big obstacle: dry water fall. Most of the vehicles had no problem tackling this but my truck and the full size Silverado was another story. The Silverado went first. Quickly realizing that it was not going to make it on it's own. We got the winch out and started pulling. We finally got it up and out of the way narrowly escaping severe scrape-age and smashing and snapping of rocker panels and front axles. I learned quickly that my truck is a lot wider than it used to be and that my 4XDrive isn't working anymore. After looking at it later, we think that the manual hubs weren't engaging. Oh well... Fix that shit later. Fuck it! Pull my ass up with the winch. Let's get going!!!
(Oh ya, our faggy color for the annual shirt was piss yellow this year. Another guy and girl couple ran up on us and had to wait. I could tell he was a little irritated that we were trying to pull a pig up such a narrow spot, plus we had all matching gay-ass colored shirts on. His girl wanted my nuts, I could tell)
Venturing on, we rolled up on a sunken bathtub. Once we got to the end of the trail, we were treated to some natural hot springs. The first was really "el naturale" over grown and nasty. The next ones were man-made and was sweet!!! We jumped in and to our luck there was a shower with hot water and soap/shampoo. After being there for an hour or two, we voted to keep going instead of staying the night there. Some people were pissed about leaving.
That night we were running low on fuel and looking for a campsite. In our search we found an abandon mine shaft. Fucking scary as shit since it went so deep. We were joking that Blair Witch kid was down there and what-if we saw a little girl run across at the bottom. Fuck that! We bailed. We continued up the road and up and up we went. We gain massive altitude as people started hitting their gas warning lights. Drove past some abandoned shacks and finally found camp. We went on a little night trek to see what we could see. Found another shack on the top of a peak.
Next morning, we walked around camp and found another dope shack with a great view as well as showed some of the other guys the shack we found the previous night. Filled up the rigs with our extra fuel tanks and headed back down to Big Pine to load up on ice, gas and buy blankets or something. It's was fucking cold at night.
Once restocked in Big Pine we headed back in. Drove through some dope meadows. Super pretty up there and the temperature was perfect. Some long straight aways for me to test out my suspension. The rear end is better but I think I need to drop down a valving. My front can't keep up which was expected.
Setup camp and planned on staying there for two nights. First time we ever stayed in one campsite for 2-nights. It was nice. Next day was a slow to start but got up and going. Drove to a peak that overlooked Owen's Valley. On the way back the FJ Cruiser had some kind of weird limp mode problem. Went into it like 4-5 times. After fiddling with it, it finally self-corrected and went made it back to camp. The smoke from the fires was coming back into the valley which made the sun look big in the sky.
The next morning was our last. Woke up and headed back to Lone Pine to get the tow rigs. And... of course I got a flat on the way out. On top of my check engine light coming on and some new grinding noise that only happens in 4th and 5th and slew of new rattling noises. The truck held together by everyone's surprise as well as my own.
On the way home we called to check on one of our friends and he said he was having alternator problems. Once we caught up with him at Ketner Junction, we learned he also was pissing tranny (gender confused) fluid. So we unloaded the Cher-o-kee and put that pig up on one of the trailers and drove home. Once in SD, was treated to one of the craziest lighting and thunder shows I've ever seen. I would have to say, it was a good day.
Badass trip! My pops and I do a dualsport ride in/through DV every year and the loop you guys did is the same loop we did last year, including the badass cabins, saline hot springs, and Owens overlook. We'll be out there on the bikes again in about a month.
@dose they were in dedeckera canyon - runs from saline valley to the eureka dunes (or vice versa).