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Death Valley March 25-29

Old 03-29-2005, 08:18 PM
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Death Valley March 25-29

In attendance:
- BulldogYota (the Organiser) and his girfriend, and Bliksem
- Scottiac (our DV expert and trip coordinator), his mom and fiancee
- ExPat, his wife and kids (I still can't believe he fit it all in his Runner!)
- Good Times (with a cooler full of very good steak)
- Bob98SR5 and his mom's great Korean BBQ
- Chiefiji (flying solo)
and myself (also flying solo)

This was my first venture with people from YotaTech and it couldn't have gone any better. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting any of the guys (and gals) above knows that they are all very nice, intelligent, good people, and we all got along great.

Bob98, GoodTimes, Chiefiji and myself caravaned in from LA, and we arrived in Stovepipe Wells Friday night. None of us had been to DV before, and were caught offguard by the crowds and camping restrictions. No big deal, about 5 miles east of SPW we found what appeared to be a great camping area with table/restrooms, and no other people! To good to be true? Well, we set up shop, had great food courtesy of Good Times and Bob98. We enjoyed the views of the full moon lighting up the desert floor below us. ExPat showed up a few hours later.

When we all woke up the following AM, a park ranger told us we were in a day-use only area and had to pack it up. Met up with Scottiac and Bulldog in SPW, and then ran Saline/Lippencott/Racetrack/Ubehebe. Nothing hardcore, just scenic trails in the beautiful back country. Things really got interesting after the Racetrack. Bulldog decided to pick up the pace a bit as we were behind schedule. What unfolded next turned into the Death Valley 500. All six 4Runners were flying through the DV backroads at pre-runner speeds, but Bulldog and ExPat were so far out in front of the rest of us it was mindboggling. I think these guys got some rallying experience sometime in their lives.

Sunday we got an earlier start. Bob98 and Good Times had to go home in the AM. The rest of us headed south to the West Side Rd., up Warm Springs thru Butte Valley and Mengel Pass, and down Goler Wash, then thru Ballarat. That was an unbelievably spectacular day. So many variations in scenery and terrain. We (or at least myself) got into 4-low once or twice which was nice. Chiefiji and I cut out of there at that point as we had to return to the real world, so I'll let some of the other guys take it from there. Anyway, enough with the blah blah...

First pic is Chiefiji rounding a very wide part of the Lippencott, next is Bob98 at the same bend...
Attached Thumbnails Death Valley March 25-29-roll3003.jpg   Death Valley March 25-29-roll3001.jpg  

Last edited by RBLACAUSA; 03-29-2005 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:25 PM
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few more pics...

ExPat's bone-stock 2004 4Runner SE, and my slightly lifted carbon-copy at Mengel Pass.

ExPat had some pretty cool Toyotas when he lived in Australia. He obviously also had lots of wheeling and camping experience as evidenced by how well he and his family handled the long days and transitions in and out of camping mode...Also a pic of the most photographed rock at the Racetrack...
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:28 PM
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few more pics

...our illegal camping at the day use area...and airing down before heading out on Saline Valley Rd....and a Joshua Tree bloom...
Attached Thumbnails Death Valley March 25-29-roll2018.jpg   Death Valley March 25-29-roll2019.jpg   Death Valley March 25-29-roll2020.jpg  
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:35 PM
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and more...

here Scottiac is returning from running a recon up the hill just east of the Mengel Monument at Mengal Pass. As usual, its much steeper than it looks...What you can't see is his front tires hugging a large rock while his front skid massages it...Striped Butte...some of the world famous DV wildflowers...
Attached Thumbnails Death Valley March 25-29-roll1007.jpg   Death Valley March 25-29-roll1003.jpg   Death Valley March 25-29-roll1001.jpg  
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:55 PM
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Devil's Golf Course, looks like the surface of the moon...the Desert 5-spot flower...Tea Kettle Junction
Attached Thumbnails Death Valley March 25-29-roll3010.jpg   Death Valley March 25-29-roll3021.jpg   Death Valley March 25-29-roll3019.jpg  

Last edited by DealMaker; 05-07-2005 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 03-29-2005, 09:11 PM
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I have been eagerly anticipating a report from you guys! I had read though the planning thread thinking about how cool this outing would be, and no doubt you all had a great time. Looking forward to seeing more pictures roll in.

Generally, day use areas are signed as such, but was this one not? Doesn't sound like it, which is interesting, unless upon entering the park it (signs/maps/visitors center) mentions to camp in designated areas only, which very well could be.
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Old 03-29-2005, 09:15 PM
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Thanx for posting. Nice write-up, better than mine normally are. I have about 1.2GB (Yes GB) of pics to sort through still, so I will post sometime tthis week. Hope the other guys post as well. I have a little video as well, and I think Scott and Mark will have some too.

DV500, sounds interesting (I have driven with rally guys and would not even attempt it, they will be doing 100mph on that road). We should make it an annual event
I used the GPS to navigate and gave you guys all the incoming traffic and tricky spots I have my Garmin GPS track log if you want. So I can look up the highest and average speeds we did. Honestly I was just pushing so we can get to campgrounds before dark, but we didn't succeed in the end. Sunday was definitely more fun.

ANyhow expect my write up, with pics and hopefully a little video later this week.

Monday we all did our own thing in the morning and we met up for lunch. A very tired Mark headed back home, while Scott and I explored Cottonwood Canyon and Marble Canyon. Both were very cool, but not up to Goler Wash for scenic rating. I'll try to post a few temp pics a bit later tonight.
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Old 03-29-2005, 09:35 PM
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Darren, there are published restrictions on where you can and cannot camp, but we didn't really have all the info nor did we see anything that said Day Use Only. Because the place was so crowded, I think the Rangers were giving quite a bit of leeway, and in all honesty we really did think we were in a permitted campsite. You really should to go to DV and capture the once-in-a-lifetime flower scenery with your fantastic photography skills. There is probably more diversity in the terrain in the Panamints/DV/Saline/Eureka Valleys and mountains than in any other region in the world. One could seriously spend a very long time exploring that place, which is my goal.

Bulldog, You're welcome and thanks for the complement. I was going to let you do the honors as you were the one to get this trip together.
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:24 PM
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Ok a couple of quick pics

Saturday we did Saline Valey, Lippencott, Racetrack, Ubehebe Crater.
Mark herding some cattle


Start of lippencott


Mark working his way up lippencott


Letting a lone 2nd gen through on its way down





Henry enjoying a little of camber


I will see what is up with these rocks


Group pic (Teresa took it so she is missing)
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:31 PM
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SUnday West Side Rd, Bute Valley Rd, Mengel Pass, Goler Was, Ballarat

Flowers




Butte Valley Rd with everybody going a bit off camber



Local traffic cop stopping me for speeding


Butte Vally rd to Mengel Pass


FUn spots in Mengel Pass


Some flexing going on




Start of Goler Wash, really hope the video is going to work out well
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:32 PM
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RBLACA, thanks for the compliment! I'm definitely wanting to head out there. I'm actually tentatively planning for either next year or 2007, but this year is booked solid. It wouldn't be too bad of a drive from here. Some of the pictures of this year's bloom that I've been seeing have been killing me! One of my buddies lives out there and has a few shots, such as this, that he's taken recently. No, not Death Valley, but nonetheless, you're right about the flowers.

Nice pictures, Andries!
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:36 PM
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Monday

Goofing around in the valley and Cottonwood/Marble Canyon

Flowers in the Valley itself. I thinnk this Death valley thing was just marketing. Doesn't look very dead


Cottonwood with Scott




Bliksem in Marble Canyon



Cottonwood with Yotas


4R in Marble Canyon
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Old 03-29-2005, 11:12 PM
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Awesome!!!
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Old 03-29-2005, 11:47 PM
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Awesome pictures guys!!!
I wish I could have made it... hopefully next time
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Old 03-29-2005, 11:50 PM
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ok...here come some of my photos but first an apology!

I was sick as a dog and still am (no offense Blitzsm!). I'm sorry I wasn't more "involved" during the trip but I felt just awful. I was happy to play follow the leader and all but just wasn't up to much socializing. I didn't even have one alcoholic drink the whole time!!!! Sorry guys

Despite that, I had a great time and I was very impressed by the knowledge of Andries (Bulldog) and Scott (Scottiac) especially and their leadership on the runs we did.

I was also very pleased that my "heavy weight" truck with 2 adults, 2 kids and a full payload of cargo managed to get thru everything pretty much unscathed. I wish I had better photos (read: Any) of the more difficult sections but we seem to be more busy negotiating them than admiring them! My video didn't come out to well either, just too much shaking and lurching around.

And boy...4Runners do handle really well, even at a fast pace. I have raced Porsches for several years and I can honestly say I was very impressed with the handling at 60+ mph on curving dirt roads, many with washboard surfaces. Props to Bulldog for setting this pace too!

Anyhow, thanks guys and girls...hope we can get together soon.

Now those photos

Last edited by Expat; 03-30-2005 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 03-29-2005, 11:53 PM
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Arriving around 9.30pm we found the guys already set up in a very quiet resting spot. The next morning was very scenic and peaceful until the staff of the park came to clean up the bins and toilets and told me to pack up quick because the Ranger will fine us if we appear to be camping! OOPPPSSS!



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Old 03-29-2005, 11:55 PM
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Chasing Bulldog was a regular affair



The only times we had a chance to talk to him was during one of several stops to air down/up over the weekend.

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Old 03-29-2005, 11:56 PM
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Joshua Trees in bloom



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Old 03-29-2005, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Expat
ok...here come some of my photos but first an apology!

I was sick as a dog and still am (no offense Blitzsm!). I'm sorry I wasn't more "involved" during the trip but I felt just awful. I was happy to play follow the leader and all but just wasn't up to much socializing. I didn't even have one alcoholic drink the whole time!!!! Sorry guys

Despite that, I had a great time and I was very impressed by the knowledge of Andries (Bulldog) and Scott (Scottiac) especially and their leadership on the runs we did.

I was also very pleased that my "heavy weight" truck with 2 adults, 2 kids and a full payload of cargo managed to get thru everything pretty much unscathed.

And boy...4Runners do handle really well, even at a fast pace. I have raced Porsches for several years and I can honestly say I was very impressed with the handling at 60+ mph on curving dirt roads, many with washboard surfaces. Props to Bulldog for setting this pace too!

Anyhow, thanks guys and girls...hope we can get together soon.

Now those photos
No probs, I felt sorry for you on Sunday already. You started looking a bit worse for wear, but you were a big sport nevertheless. All we can do is just hook it up next time then
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Old 03-29-2005, 11:58 PM
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Lunch at Racetrack





Tea Kettle Junction



Ubehebe Crater?


Last edited by Expat; 03-30-2005 at 12:12 AM.
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