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Old 03-07-2019, 03:46 PM   #21
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

The road varies a fair bit throughout the season. I caught it once just after a maintenance grade, and it was tolerable, I averaged 15mph or so. A few years prior it was brutal, probably 5mph. If I am going that slow, I will air down the to max, which is about 18 front 25 rear. It takes 20 minutes to air up/down, and is usually worth it at that speed.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:29 PM   #22
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midwestdrifter View Post
The road varies a fair bit throughout the season. I caught it once just after a maintenance grade, and it was tolerable, I averaged 15mph or so. A few years prior it was brutal, probably 5mph. If I am going that slow, I will air down the to max, which is about 18 front 25 rear. It takes 20 minutes to air up/down, and is usually worth it at that speed.


Lucky. We were pretty far from it being graded. I went down to 30. Prolly should have gone lower. Speeds between 10-50. I was falling behind the group too. I eas chasing a Tacoma and a sprinter with agile rip.










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Old 03-07-2019, 04:35 PM   #23
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

As a side note, a researcher finally found the cause of the rocks moving on the racetrack. Apparently a few times a decade, it rains/snows a fair bit in the racetrack valley. The resulting melt off covers the playa with a couple inches of water. At night it freezes. A bit more melt will run under the ice, causing it to float a bit (lifting the rocks). When a strong enough wind comes up, the ice breaks and bit, and starts to move. The rocks, which are stuck in the ice, get dragged along for the ride. Apparently the forces are strong enough to move even the biggest rocks.

https://www.livescience.com/37492-sa...ing-rocks.html
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Last edited by Midwestdrifter; 03-07-2019 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 03-07-2019, 05:00 PM   #24
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

Looks like a chilly morning there at Teakettle Junction. One day, I'll get there.

That Chebbie is one sad sight. "Speed kills"

In the DVNP office they used to have a mag wheel on display. The ranger said to me "This guy had one less spare than he needed, so he elected to drive out on the rim."
It had worn down to about six inches in diameter, barely larger than the bolt circle.
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Old 03-07-2019, 06:11 PM   #25
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

I hope I'm not de-railing your thread in posting this, but if you get the opportunity to rent or borrow a 4WD some time (Jeep/4Runner/Tacoma etc), there is some really cool backcountry in Death Valley. Except following a flood, Titus Canyon is do-able in any van.


But the most fun and beautiful parts of the park need something considerably smaller and more capable than a Sprinter.



Far steeper and slicker than it appears in the photos. All of us had to use momentum and the locking rear differential to make it





Eureka Dunes is accessible from the north, but I don't think most will try and get a Sprinter through Steel Pass for access to Tea Kettle Junction/Race Track. Terrawagen did it in their 4x4, but they incurred rocker body damage. And they had to rely on momentum to make it as the Sprinter low range isn't very low.

Two of the three times I've driven Saline Valley Road, the washboard was awful. At 5 MPH it was unbearable. I would throw it in 4wd and accelerate up to about 50 MPH, where it would smooth out. I can't imagine how miserable that would have been in my leaf-sprung van. But again, it hadn't been graded prior to my visit. At times that road is okay.

Darwin Falls, Uhehebe Crater, Titus Canyon, Scotty's Castle, Devil's Golfcourse, Ballarat, Badwater, Artist's Drive, Charcoal Kilns, Dante's View...some of the more known parts of the park can all be seen in a van.

My favorite though, Pleasant Canyon, definitely not. Goler Wash/Mengel Pass through Warm Springs Canyon....I dunno. Maybe? You'd have to count on momentum and possibility of body damage. There are certain trips where giving up the comfort of the van is worth the places I can access with the 4Runner. Also, it will fly over terrain that the van just bounces and rocks over.

I would encourage anyone that has not been to DV, to go. Just stay away during the hot season, haha.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:55 PM   #26
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

Wowsers, asimba2. Those pix induce considerable shriveling on my part. WAY outside of Frito's comfort zone. And mine!

I've talked to a couple of offroaders as they pass Eureka Dunes on their way out of Saline Valley via Steel Pass. They're universal in discouraging any attempt at that road in a Sprinter. So was a park ranger I asked. "No way", was his response, looking at Frito.

Most of Death Valley still leaves me speechless with awe, and that's after many trips going back to the 70s in a F*rd E150.

Here's a self portrait on the occasion of my 65th birthday. I officially became a senior citizen at Dante's View.

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Accompanied and assisted by "Cheeto", a 2019 Rad Powerbikes Rad City Stepthrough.

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Old 03-09-2019, 12:38 AM   #27
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

Great pics and fun time lapse. Will never forget spending weeks in a 4x4 in the backcountry with a friend that lived in DV for years and knew the area and many of it's hidden treasures. At several points the travel was so slow and the view was so spectacular I elected to ride on the roof for the pano-vision. Good times and hope to do it again someday.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:19 PM   #28
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

Quote:
Originally Posted by glasseye View Post
As a respite from boredom in the depths of a Canadian Winter, I made an Adobe Spark of a brief, but fun, trip to Death Valley in the spring 2018. Take heart, friends. Spring is just around the corner.

Image-dense. Not very suitable for phone viewing.

https://spark.adobe.com/page/3TNNg9XstEbAx/
Great report and pictures. That's quite a hike from Canada. I've been to Death Valley many times. Can't wait to go there in my Sprinter when it arrives.

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Originally Posted by canyoneer View Post
And got an $850 ticket for helping this family who got stuck on the shoulder.
WTF! Was that because you left the road to help pull his car out? I can't imagine a ranger being such a dick to ticket you for being a good Samaritan. Maybe his brother owns the local towing company.

Did you say the car was totaled? Just because of airbag deployment? Or was there other damage. So it had to be towed away anyhow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprinterPaul View Post
We aired down a bunch. But that racetrack drive is brutal. Some of those washboards make you feel like you are going backwards. At some point you just have to go super slow.
I would go down to 15 in my Chevy Suburban, and down to 10 in my Jeep Rubicon. It won't hurt the tires to go that low, but there is a point where you risk having a tire bead dismount. 30 lbs is still high for washboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glasseye View Post
You guys are killing me. I gotta go to The Racetrack.
The Racetrack is wonderful, but idiots are destroying it by driving vehicles on it, stealing the rocks, etc. It's really a shame.
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:58 PM   #29
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

Tire pressure is a relative measure. For a sprinter which can have 5klbs on an axle, 10psi is much too low for anything other than a soft sand recovery. The best way is to measure tire sidewall height at correct highway pressure, and drop that height by 25%. On a rubicon with big tires, you may only need 25psi for highway pressures, thats a lot different than a sprinter which may need 60psi+
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Last edited by Midwestdrifter; 04-21-2019 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 04-22-2019, 01:12 AM   #30
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Default Re: Travels With Frito: Death Valley, 2018

A dust storm in the Saline out my back window. Looks like it could be the Sahara. Travel in the more remote portions of Death Valley should be taken seriously and during the cooler months. People die out there.
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