RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: Death Valley Daze part 1

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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Death Valley Daze part 1

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Buzzcut1

Norcal

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Posted: 12/30/15 08:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The title sums it up, what an excellent adventure. Our original plan was to go snowshoeing in Yosemite for Christmas but the weather forecast kept changing from snow to rain and back. Neither Ruth nor I were that interested in Wet dogs, and valley rain, so we then thought about going to the Hope Valley Snow Park off hwy 88 at 7000' but the forecast turned ugly two days before departure for a full blown winter storm warning in the Sierras. That little voice in my head said only a dummy would intentionally put themselves up there with winds of over 50mph and heavy snow. Time for plan 3, someplace we had not been, out of the storms path and still only be a one day drive to my fathers house in Los Angeles to spend Christmas with him. Death Valley became our choice. We called the park and there would be plenty of campsites available. The Logistics: dump the snow gear with the exception of tire chains ( we still had a pass or two to drive over), and add in desert hiking gear. With stops for fuel and food I estimated it would take 10-11 hours of driving to reach Furnace creek.

So on Sunday morning it was up at 4am to feed the dogs and have a cup of coffee then load the final personal gear and the 3 furry kids. We hit the road at 5am, hmmn seems we had the company of many like minded Holiday travelers as the roads were anything but deserted heading east on 580. It quickly thinned out as most folks kept heading east to Tahoe while we went south on I5.

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We drove south on 5 until hunger got the best of us and at Ruth's insistence we stopped at Harris Ranch
http://www.harrisranch.com/index2.php for breakfast some 146 miles from home.

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The morning menu is somewhat limited as this is more of a family steakhouse but I have to say they make a mean biscuits and gravy plate.

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We hit the on premises bakery for some goodies ( we really should have bought a whole bunch more of their cookies) then it was back on the road. As an aside this was the first real road trip in the F350 Dually and I am sold on it.

We stayed on 5 until we hit hwy 58 to Tehachapi some 100 miles later. It was on 58 that we got the first inkling of how magical the trip would be. The first 300 miles of the western edge of the central valley is nothing to write home about

the Omen

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yep we filled up with 30 gallons of #2 serious Score!!!

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Leaving the flatlands behind we climbed up Tehachapi Pass skirting the leading edge of the storm that would pound the Sierras. The 6.7L Ford diesel engine let us climb the pass at whatever speed that Ruth wanted to drive. I shot photos.

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bit cold out

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Wind farm on the summit plateau

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Major Train route

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did I mention that I love trains?

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by the way 58 is where they had the flash floods earlier this year that turned the freeway into a sea of mud and even turned a TC onto its side

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this bridge is still out but a detour was in place

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Finally into the high desert we did a 3rd driver swap on hwy 14 and proceeded to drive north along the base of the Sierras from Mojave up to Olancha on 14 and 395. There is something to be said for 12-14,000 foot mountain peaks rising up out of the high desert floor

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heavy holiday traffic

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Just before turning east onto hwy 190 and Death Valley we came across my kind of place. We bought many bags of very tasty jerky from them.

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The Sierras and a playa with water in it from 190 looking north onto 395

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the Panamints, Death Valley be way yonder...

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Getting ready to drop into the park above Panamint Springs

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Awesome Gorge

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the happy couple. Ok so Ruth forgot her sunglasses in the truck and is squinting big time LOL me I forced my eyes open for the shot but couldn't see squat for a few minutes afterwards

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first long steep grade where I really appreciated the gear select option in the transmission. Picked a gear for the speed I wanted and hardly touched the brakes all the way down the grade

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On the other side of that ridge lies our destination

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We stopped at the Stovepipe Wells Ranger station and purchased our 2016 parks pass then made our way to the campgrounds at Furnace Creek. They have limited full hook ups so we tood a dry site on an outer loop. After 11 hours on the road we were beat.

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beautiful sunset as we walked the dogs

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It was 34* Monday morning, inside the Lance we never turned on the furnace during the night. We kept the cabover hatch cracked and the fantastic fan over the dinette running all night. We were almost too hot in the bed with the flannel sheets and thick down comforter. With the two of us and the three dogs it only dropped down to 58* inside, we tend to like it colder than that at night.

It was an overcast morning but beautiful

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Lap time with Kozmo in the crowded campground......

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We started walking about and paid a visit to the Visitor center where we purchased a Field Guide to the birds and some nifty hats.

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We went over to the Furnace Creek Ranch and checked out the Borax Mining Exhibit. Very cool.

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The ranch also has stables so we booked a twilight ride out onto the Playa It was a kick.

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Wyle E Coyote joined up with us ( we ran into the roadrunner a bit later)

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me and Ruth

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Sunset on horseback out on the Playa it was dead quiet and drop dead beautiful with the setting sun peeking in and out of the clouds.

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By the time we reached the stables it was pitch black out and the temps had dropped into the low 40s. We enjoyed the 20 minute walk by headlamp back to the camper.
Buffalo burgers and beer for dinner, followed by walking the dogs and an early turn in to end the day.

* This post was edited 12/30/15 10:31pm by Buzzcut1 *


2011 F350 6.7L Diesel 4x4 CrewCab longbed Dually, 08 Lance 1055, Torqlift Talons, Fast Guns, upper and lower Stable Loads, Super Hitch, 48" Super Truss, Airlift loadlifter 5000 extreme airbags


NVR2L82AV8

Las Vegas

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Posted: 12/30/15 10:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing...GIDDYUP! Nothing like the serene desert of Death Valley this time of year -- simply spectacular! Sounds and looks like you all had a blast!! Doesn't that DRW Diesel make all the difference in the world?


2013 AF 990
2003 F350 6.0L 4X4 DRW, Oil bypass filter, Coolant Filter, Blue Spring fuel pressure mod, DELO ELC, DashBoss Bluetooth engine monitor, EGT/FP gauge, SuperSprings, torklift hitch/tiedowns, 48" SuperTruss, fastguns, Kenwood CMOS Backup Camera.

jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 12/30/15 10:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice trip!


'10 Ford F-450, 6.4, 4.30, 4x4, 14,500 GVWR, '06 Host Rainer 950 Dbl Slide, Torklift Talon tiedowns, Glow Steps, and Fastguns. Bilstein 4600s, Firestone Air Bags, Hankook DH-01 225/19.5 Fs, Curt front hitch, Energy Suspension bump stops.


willi4nd

Northern Kentucky

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Posted: 12/31/15 04:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics ..great adventure !!


New to the RV world and loving every minute of it.
2015 Nissan Frontier 4x4 6 cyl
2015 Trail Runner SLE 22


gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 12/31/15 05:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the fantastic pics. I feel like I was there with you.
DV is on my list. [emoticon]

RoyB

King George, VA

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Posted: 12/31/15 05:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I liked your $10 cap - I have a large collection of those as well... When you add all the costs getting there it sure adds up more than $10 haha...

Thanks for all the pictures...

Roy Ken

brirene

midwest

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Posted: 12/31/15 07:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent! Gorgeous pictures.


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“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." Miriam Beard


monkey44

Cape Cod, MA and Central Fla

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Posted: 12/31/15 08:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DV-- my all time favorite camping adventures. We went last year, first time in awhile. I once lived about 300 miles away, and traveled the 4x4 trails often.

A natural beauty found few places on earth exists right here in the valleys and hills and mountains of the park. Each time I see something like this thread, can't wait to get back!


Monkey44
Cape Cod Ma & Central Fla
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bka0721

Republic of Colorado

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Posted: 12/31/15 09:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Always great to see and visit Death Valley. As well as seeing the park from a Truck Camper's perspective. Thanks for bringing this up for those looking for a place to get away to, during the winter months. Plus, seeing a parent is always a wonderful Christmas opportunity.

Thanks.

b

fpoole

PNW and Beyond

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Posted: 12/31/15 11:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the photo tour...
I like those as it gives a perspective on what is actually out there and what to plan for..

The "Horsing Around" looked like fun and will put it on the list. heheh, and will look forward to the Burgers N Beer...
"Beer", it's what's for dinner...

fun trip, thanks..


Frank Poole
Roam'n ROG (Retired Old Geezer/Goat)
2016 RAM 5500, C/c, 6.7 Diesel, AISIN HD 6-spd, 19.5 DRW, 72 Gal fuel, 4x4, 10’ Alum FB, 440 Amps, 4.10 Axle
2016 AF 990 640-Solar/10-6v Batts
GlowStep Stow N’ Go, E-Bike
RS1 Buggy
frank

Pooles website


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