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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Death Valley Caravan Report pics & postmorti by jefe & Rick

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petekerwien

Camano Island, WA

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Posted: 04/06/08 10:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for posting. Got to put that trip on our bucket list!

silversand

Montreal

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Posted: 04/07/08 05:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

I bought 2 new front tires just before the trip after checking out the old ones. They had cracks all the way around the sidewall...


Jefe:

What kind of tires were you using and how old were they/mileage when the sidewall cracked all the way around?

BTW: great post-mortem!

Silver-


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rhode trip

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Posted: 04/07/08 05:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jefe,
I always enjoy your posts, thanks. Very interesting trip.


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FarcticOx

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Posted: 04/07/08 06:50pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jefe, Thanks for a great report. We're hoping to do a Death Valley trip next year. You think a dually could at least do parts of it? Loved the pictures.
FarcticOx


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Reddog1

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Posted: 04/07/08 07:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

silversand wrote:

Quote:

I bought 2 new front tires just before the trip after checking out the old ones. They had cracks all the way around the sidewall...


Jefe:

What kind of tires were you using and how old were they/mileage when the sidewall cracked all the way around?

BTW: great post-mortem!

Silver-

I had the same problem with my previous four sets of tires (three different brands), each set was less than two years old. I really liked the tires, but was afraid of the cracks. That is what finely pushed me to buy the 19.5 tires. I do not yet have a single crack.

I do not know if it was going to a commercial tire, or simply a more expensive tire.


Wayne

jefe 4x4

West Slope, Northern Sierra Nevada

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Posted: 04/07/08 09:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Silversand wrote:

"What kind of tires were you using and how old were they/mileage when the sidewall cracked all the way around?"

jefe writes: They were 3 and 4 year old BFG, AT, KO's, 285x75R16's (the same as yours) with maybe 30K miles. Had more than 1/2 the tread life left. There were stress cracks around the bead (not my first choice) and where the white lettering stripe is covered by black. Also, there were cracks in the voids between the tread lugs. That Cummins diesel engine weighs 1022 lbs. by itself (aka, "the boat anchor"), and with the aftermarket steering brace and winch mount and winch, and camper on, there are hundreds of pounds of extra weight up there. Who knows? I've had these tires before and wore out a set and never saw the cracks like this.
regards, as always, jefe


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jefe 4x4

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Posted: 04/07/08 09:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FarcticOX,
Yes, if you do the air down thing, you can do all of it (ahem...all 6 tires too). My single wides are within a couple inches of the width of a Dodge duallie. Do you have 4WD? It would be handy, especially for the transfer case gears. If not, maybe 90% of the trip is do-able.
There seems to be a lot of support, at the moment, for a return engagement to the Valley of Death, next spring. I could be there.
Frankly, I would do the trip much differently, if I was to attempt it again. Less long distance bad road running and a more destination oriented run.
regards, as always, jefe

pjay9

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Posted: 04/08/08 06:12am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jefe...have you posted about your centering brackets? Very interested! Great posting, makes me think of my times to DV, but without so much advanture that you had. Nice job of telling the story. Sitting at Boyd's RV resort on the water at Key West, lightening storm last evening off over the Atlantic sat out and watched it...spectacular! Capt PJ


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BobTowne

Fairfield, CA, USA

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Posted: 04/08/08 10:20am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics and write-up. Thanks for sharing.


GreatWhite
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RickW

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Posted: 04/08/08 02:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, after eating Jefe’s dust for five days, I made it back to civilization. He is a great caravan leader and I would follow him (almost [emoticon]) anywhere in a TC.

First my postmortem: This was the first test of my rig on rough jeep roads. Tires need upgrading but everything else worked well. Four wheel low gear was needed to get up and down some of the steep spots, but no slipping or skidding. Clearance was OK. I did tweak a jack on a rock and then discovered I could redirect my mirrors to see the bottom of the jacks and observe how close I was to obstacles. I also need to use more bungy cords inside when on rockin’ & rollin’ roads to keep things from spilling. Jefe made short work of my two flat tires. I now own a suitable tire repair kit and compressor. Even with airing down the tires, it was a rough ride on the washboard roads with the Timbrens in back.

We went where 99% of Death Valley visitors never go. If we saw two or three others on these jeep trails, it felt like rush hour. Lots of flower photo ops which kept Jefe waiting for me a few times. The warm springs at Saline Valley takes a long, patient drive on washboard roads, but was very relaxing to get in the water. I see why some hang out there for weeks. Some even fly in.

After leaving Jefe and Jeannie in Bishop CA, I went back down through the Panamint valley and to Wildrose and the Charcoal Kilns. You can see Death Valley from the ridge. There was snow on the ground at the campsites and the wind was a bit brisk. Two hikers had just climbed Telescope peak. It took them 8 hours and they needed crampons for the ice. Next day I went down to the ghost town of Ballerat and listened to George tell stories from the last 50 years. Lots of 5ers and trailers with OHV’s camped there. From there headed north and spent the night at Pleasant Valley north of Bishop. Just my luck to have a beaver snacking outside my TC door next to the Owens river. Next morning, got up early, caught (and released) a couple of trout and headed home. All in all, a great trip.

Some more pics:

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Thanks again, Jefe and Jeannie


Rick
04 GMC 1500 4X4X4
04 Sunlite SB

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