No plan, No problem, One will present itself

Recce01

Adventurer
Day 3 continued

I made an agreement with my wife that if we made it to the gas station without running out, that she could choose where we would go next. I also felt bad that we didn’t get to go to the Crater or Scotty’s Castle, or the “Racetrack” for that matter. The Racetrack is a place where rocks seem to move across the desert on their own. This is something she studied in the past and was the original reason we even considered coming to Death Valley sometime ago, we just didn’t know at the time it was called the “Racetrack”. Funny thing was we were less than 1/2 mile from it twice and didn’t stop. Funnier yet, there are two race car drivers on a road trip that didn’t find something called the “Race Track” a priority, go figure! Either way we were enjoying the relief of having made it back to the hard black stuff. We made the decision to drive out through the Death Valley Park, and see the other sights on our way to the freeway home. We continued east on the 190 and blew right past Stovepipe Wells, both of us having a chuckle at the “tent” area off the side of the road. There is around a one-acre parcel that is fenced off where it is legal to camp with a tent in the park. So let me understand this correctly, there are hundreds and hundreds of miles of wide open desert in this park, but you have to bring a trailer to wet camp, or to dry camp you need to pile into this one acre parcel? That is ridiculous. We carried on enjoying the sights and amazing views and canyons the park had to offer. We decided to make a stop at Furnace Creek for some much needed R and R. We popped into this little café called the Forty Niner Café. After a quick bite to eat and a little shopping at the gift store we were en route home.









 

Recce01

Adventurer
Day 3 continued

We caught the 127 and headed toward Baker to catch the 15 Fwy. We were reminded that we were out on the road on a holiday weekend as we passed the Dumont Dunes recreation area. Wow those dunes were packed! We stopped for one last top off of fuel in Baker and prepared for the final leg of our journey home. It came over me as we entered the 15 fwy south that it was Sunday night and this was the main route back to California from Vegas. Uh Oh….. It started already, the traffic began to back up and slow to a crawl. We had come so far and been through so much already today, traffic was not on our radar until it was too late. My wife with her quick thinking had the map out and made the request that we exit the freeway and take some gravel side roads so at least we keep making distance. We exited Basin Rd., made an immediate right, then an immediate left. We followed the pavement for about ¼ mile before it dead ended. We went around the barricades and headed across the sand wash. When we came out of the sand wash we picked up a little trail and paralleled the freeway. We were amazed at how many cars were out off the freeway trying to get around the traffic. No my friend, your IS300 is not equipped to make this journey. We were trying to get to the power line road that paralleled the freeway all the way to Barstow. We found the old power line road which was a bit closer to the freeway and headed out.



 

Recce01

Adventurer
Day 3 continued

About three miles into our latest adventure we came across a plume of gray blue smoke and began to slow down to see what it was. When we looked off to the left we saw a truck down in the ravine and someone headed toward us with a flashlight. I am slowing to a stop and my wife is fumbling through the glove box ready to dispense the mace, LOL. As the guy approached my window I asked if he was ok, he responded by saying yes, other than just changing a broken tie rod and his truck suffering from a wasted cylinder, he was ok. It hit me right then that I knew that voice. I asked, “Is that Paul Michel?” He said, “Yes, who’s that?” I told him and we sat there laughing for a minute or two with my wife in the background saying, “can we go anywhere where you don’t know somebody!?” It was quite funny actually, I haven’t seen him since Dakar, Africa in 2006; we were on the same team. He was returning from an off-road race at Primm, NV and we just happen to run into him randomly. I guess great minds think alike!



We negotiated our way back to the freeway together and then caravanned down the freeway hitting all the shortcuts to avoid traffic along the route. Three hours later we turned up in our driveway very relieved to be home safely.



In total, over three days we traveled 813 miles and 160-180 were done off-road. This was one of the coolest experiences we have had in a very long time. Many of you may say we are stupid with our very limited preparation; others will call us lucky to have made the journey at all. Quite frankly I am aware of our shortcomings and how we used bravery (otherwise known as ignorance) to make up for them. We are very interested in learning more about over landing and expeditions. We are fortunate to have so many awesome locations within reasonable driving distance to go out and explore. We learned a lot from this trip, and are looking forward to the experiences we get to have in the future. Let the preparation begin, and the Adventure continue!





I want to say thanks for reading about our adventure. It was long, wordy and the photos were sub par, we will try to improve over time!

Regards,
Scott G.
the gravel crew
 

4x4x4doors

Explorer
It was a great read and the pictures were terrific. From my chair here in my living room, any picture of some place without pavement is good.

Keep it up and continue to share. We are a grateful audience!
 

GCRad1

Adventurer
Recce01 - Awesome read and plenty of LMAO moments!!!

Hey Gabe! The band is getting back together!:victory:
 

suntinez

Explorer
That was an awesome read, I'll be looking forward to more of your adventures. You packed a lot of stuff into a few days.

Can't believe you ran into someone you knew in a ditch off of Power Line Rd, that's crazy!
 

mudbutt

Explorer
Great read.... We did 4 days in D.V. last April and loved every minute of it..... Thanks.....

BTW you can camp just about anywhere in D.V..... There are rules of course.....:



More than 3 million acres of wilderness and over 350 miles of backcountry dirt roads are open to camping under the following rules:

Free voluntary permits for backcountry camping may be obtained at the visitor center or any ranger station. Solo hikers can fill out a Backcountry Hiking Form to provide detailed information in case a search is requested by a family member or friend.

Backcountry camping is allowed two miles BEYOND any developed area, paved road, or "day use only" area. Use pre-existing campsites and park your vehicle close to the roadway to minimize impact.

Due to our rough dirt roads, backcountry roadside camping is generally only accessible to visitors with high clearance or 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Backcountry camping is not allowed on the valley floor from Ashford Mill in the south to two miles north of Stovepipe Wells.

Backcountry campsites must be more than 200 yards from any water source to protect these fragile areas for wildlife.

Campfires are prohibited, except in fire pits in developed campgrounds. Gathering wood is unlawful and burning of wood is not allowed in the backcountry. Use of a low impact backpacking stove is encouraged.


There are other/more rules:
http://www.death.valley.national-park.com/camping.htm
 

SOAZ

Tim and Kelsey get lost..
About three miles into our latest adventure we came across a plume of gray blue smoke and began to slow down to see what it was. When we looked off to the left we saw a truck down in the ravine and someone headed toward us with a flashlight. I am slowing to a stop and my wife is fumbling through the glove box ready to dispense the mace, LOL. As the guy approached my window I asked if he was ok, he responded by saying yes, other than just changing a broken tie rod and his truck suffering from a wasted cylinder, he was ok. It hit me right then that I knew that voice. I asked, “Is that Paul Michel?” He said, “Yes, who’s that?” I told him and we sat there laughing for a minute or two with my wife in the background saying, “can we go anywhere where you don’t know somebody!?” It was quite funny actually, I haven’t seen him since Dakar, Africa in 2006; we were on the same team. He was returning from an off-road race at Primm, NV and we just happen to run into him randomly. I guess great minds think alike!
Regards,
Scott G.
the gravel crew
Nice trip report Scott. Gotta love DV. I met you a couple times when I worked for Donahoe. You were doing the Rally thing then. (I remember you telling us about running from "someone" in that UBER fast Scubie! Wanted one ever since! :smiley_drive:) Funny how the exploring/offroad community revolves around!
Tim
 

Justin

Observer
Great trip report. DV is amazing. I can feel your pain on the uncertainty of driving on snow in the middle of nowhere. I've only done it a few times and really don't look forward to doing it again. Prepared or not, there seems to be a thinner line between failure and success..
 

Lord Al Sorna

Harebrained Scheming
Excellent writeup and pics. I really enjoyed your writing style and sense of humor in this one.

Nice! :sombrero:
 

adventurebound

New member
Great trip report. We were in DV the same weekend. If you would have made it down to the racetrack our paths would have crossed. Our plan was to make it over hunter mountain but a stock 4-runner in our group did not feel comfortable after reading the weather report so we drove the long wash boarded road back to the crater.
 

Recce01

Adventurer
Thanks for all of the great compliments and insight guys/gals. We are very excited to get our rig set up a litle better and take on some different areas of the western USA. It is nice that some of you guys read the whole thing and posted comments, it makes the 8 plus hours worth of writing well worth it. It is actually really cool to write the story, as you get to relive every moment of your trip. It makes for a burned in memory, something I missed in the past :( I think next time I will have my wife write her version as well. It is amazing how different things stick out to different people sharing the same experience. When I hear her tell the story she focusses on things I hadn't thought of, so maybe next time you will get the his and hers versions :) Thanks again for reading!

Scott G.
the gravel crew
 

Recce01

Adventurer
Nice trip report Scott. Gotta love DV. I met you a couple times when I worked for Donahoe. You were doing the Rally thing then. (I remember you telling us about running from "someone" in that UBER fast Scubie! Wanted one ever since! :smiley_drive:) Funny how the exploring/offroad community revolves around!
Tim
HAHA! How ya doin Tim?! Its good to hear from you. I really missing sliding the rally car around the water resevoir, those guys would leave the gate open during the lunch hour. I could usually get 6 corners deep before the security guard would start after me. I only got trapped once, but that was the end of my fun. They didn't like the dust cloud that migrated through the local businesses :) I couldn't help it, perfectly graded roads in the middle of the city, had to get full boost and wheel spin, it was a rush! The older I get, the smaller the world becomes. I am sure we will cross paths again !!
 
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