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May 29 & 30

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Joined: 17 May 2017
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:01 am 
Post subject: May 29 & 30

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Yes, Memorial Day, it just worked out that way.

When I was a kid I had a book called Strange Stories & Amazing Facts, I think by Readers Digest. It had a section on the Racetrack and I've been fascinated by it and Death Valley every since .. .and lurking on every site. My daughter is graduating high school today and we've decided to squeeze in one last family family vacation for her and my son.

Memorial Day we'll be in Vegas and get an early start, coming in to Bonnie Claire from 95 & 267. (I was convinced on TripAdvisor that our Ford Escape wouldn't make it on Racetrack Road, so this is my second option. No Grandstand for me. Sad ) I'm hoping to stop by the Hard Luck Mine Castle ... which reminds me I need to mail Randy. Then through Beatty for lunch at the Happy Burro, through Rhyolite & the sculpture garden before a little trip down Titus Canyon. Depending on the time we may hit Ubehebe before ending the day late at Panamint Springs.

Day two will be over to Badwater and the other main tourist areas in that area and another night in Panamint Springs.

It's been difficult finding the road conditions for Titus Canyon road, especially the initial desert stretch from Beatty, but I've got a spare, two cans of fix a flat, a plug kit, and 10 gallons of water.
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Death Valley Dazed

Joined: 30 Jun 2015
Posts: 284
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:30 am 
Post subject: Airing down an option?

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One trick I now use when driving a standard vehicle on the backroads of the park instead of renting from Larabees Jeeps is to air down the tires to like 15-20 lbs. I bought a twelve-volt air compressor/tire pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter that inflates the tires back up to 32-36 in just a few minutes each tire. Costing less than a hundred bucks I think?

I actually drove my old Honda 2001 Accord out to the Race Track playa and back in this manner two years ago. I drove slowly and carefully around the larger rocks and washouts in the road. No flats and no problems. Did the same procedure with the same car driving to the Kilns and to Mahogany Flats on a hike to Wildrose.
Life begins in Death Valley
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Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 11:46 am 
Post subject: Tires

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I don't know much about tires. But, there have been posts that warn against airing down passenger car tires. They say the sidewalls are not strong enough to take it. Maybe one of the off road experts can help us here.
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Death Valley Resident

Joined: 09 Feb 2008
Posts: 1801
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 5:02 pm 
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So, with so many of these roads... it all depends on how you drive and how much you're willing to tolerate or risk with your (possible rental) vehicle.

I've driving Titus some number of times in a rental sedan. I find the worst part is the two-way stretch right at the bottom as you cross alluvial fan to pavement! I've driven similar vehicles to the Racetrack twice. On the second trip there was a lot of fresh gravel from some recent downpour and I had to try to keep one tire on the center for clearance and it was touch and go for a half mile or so - but you can't turn around in many places on that road, the berm is too high. As expected, on the way down with gravity on my side it was fine.

You don't see a lot of sedans on those roads. I drive pretty carefully. I usually have fix-a-flat, a compressor, and a tire plug kit (which I've never used but hope I could figure out).

That being said, on recent trips I was much happier being a passenger in friends' Jeep or Outback.

The Racetrack is very special. It was one of the first places I went on my first trip to DV, some 27 years ago. If you hike up the very good trail to the mine on Ubehebe peak the views into the Saline are wonderful, will always be burned into my memory. Oh and on that first trip I had my daughter who was 3 1/2 at the time Smile Of course we had plenty of food and water and it would have been a different kind of adventure had we had car trouble. But we didn't.

I've also had a friend "rescue" people in a high clearance vehicle who got multiple flats out there on the Racetrack Road. So... go figure.

I too have doubts about airing down tires on sedans.

But many people are uncomfortable driving vehicles that require care on those roads and want something bigger / stronger. More power too them (pun not intended). Everyone needs to figure out their own comfort zone. To me, sometimes driving there is part of my adventure.
My Death Valley panoramas:
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