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Friday, January 20, 2017

Death Valley, CA - Merry Christmas

The plan was to spend Christmas and New Years in Death Valley.  Just to do it.

Up the pass before heading down to DV.

From Trona Pinnacles up over the 2 passes, got delayed at the one going down to DV proper.  Initially was block by DOT as "Road Closed" due to snow on the road and an 6-car accident.

The only options were to wait it out or drive the some 5+hrs around to the south entrance.  Elected to wait and then was told it'll be an hour or so to clear it.

Turns out that it's just someone 'Speeding??" and no snow on the road at all.

Finally :45min later, got going and headed down to Stovepipe Wells NP campground.

Pretty much a big dirt parking lot, no hookups at the park level, but private ones at the General Store area, limited.

Plenty of spaces open, and I chose near the tent campers thinking there won't be many of those.. Wrong.... they were filled up quickly and only sites with campfires.

I wanted to do the "North End" from Stovepipe and then knock off the south end at Furnace Creek.  I got a 10-day pass and was able to use it at both locations.

 They just give you a ticket, no space # on it so you can use/transfer to another NP in the area, not stuck in one spot.

Furnace Creek area is not far apx 20-30 min at most.  But????  the Pvt and  NP campgrounds were full, so had to hit the "Parking Lot" area.

Stovepipe Wells is a simple place, one General Store, Bar Restaurant across the street and several gift shops/motel.

Anyway, moving right along, did the Ubehebe Crater up north.

Drove through the Mesquite campground to check it out...

and then by the Sand Dunes.

Next day, did the Mosaic Canyon, which is right up the road from the Stovepipe campground which was fun. Smooth rock face, like marble.

Next day, did the Salt Creek,

and on to the old Borax Mining area, which was interesting in that they couldn't work it in Summer due to the high temps... Borax won't process  correctly in the heat, had nothing to do with the "Hu-Mannnns" and "Ani-mules" working it.

and then packed up and headed down to Furnace Creek area.

They have several campground in Furnace Creek, the private one, the  NP one

(previous trip, they have hookups too)

and then two others across the road, Sunset GG which is basically a big parking lot with stripes

and the Texas Springs which is more like a campground but no Generators...

While I was planning on doing the Southern sites, it never happened.  Kept debating on whether to "Off load" camper and go to them or just catch them on the way out.  Artists Point was reportedly closed due to water damage.

As par for the course, didn't do any of them, and just headed south "Passing By Them", but didn't stop, wanted to make it back to the "Q" or stop at Lake Havasu.

Nice drive down the southern area.  I'll do the southern part again sometime and knock them off.

Got off late in the morning, drove and as it was getting late, changed directions from Lake Havasu to the "Q" direct..

Couldn't really figure out where to land at night at Lake Havasu, so headed straight down to Q.  Hwy 95 is a two laner hwy, and you can only go as fast as the truck ahead of you, which is usually moving right along.

... and back in the Q, stayed at Hi-Jolly BLM just north of town, milepost 112..

Here for a bit...

Main Gallery Pics

Stovepipe Wells
Ubehebe Crater
Mosaic Canyon
Texas Springs CG
Sunset CG
Salt Creek
Borax Mining
Mesquite CG
Sand Dunes
Furnace Creek area

Quartzsite, AZ to Death Valley, CA

Merry Christmas.

I had planned to do this last year but didn’t work out, so doing it this year.  I dunno, just thought it was funny/different/unusual to spend Christmas Day in Death Valley, maybe the “Charles Addams” influence in me.

Left the “Q” (Quartzsite, AZ) after a good night rain and routed via Parker and US/CA 62.  Nice drive, had not been on the part west of Hwy 95 going to Las Vegas before.  A decent drive, pretty much nothing to see heading towards Twentynine Palms, CA.  

Getting closer to it the mountains appear and gave a sense of something might be there.

I’ve never been to Joshua Tree NP before so this was a first.  I was planning on going to the Hidden Valley campsite.  I was going to meet some friends there a few weeks ago, and glad it didn’t work out.  

The Hidden Valley campsite was reported “Full” with Rock Climbers, had no idea and when I got there, sure enough, Full.

There were two other campsites in the park, Ryan

and Jumbo Rocks.

Ryan was a little too rough but could be done, no trailers at Hidden Valley, 25’ limit,

So went onto Jumbo Rocks.  It was kinda unique in that they had little branches of sites off the main road for possible group camping.

Nice place crowded too, but some empty slots.  Looked like mostly for for car/tent camping but a few were available for trailers etc.  

They have little side lanes with several campsites which would be good for groups.

No internet available.  DISH, appears that would work, but mine is giving me problems so can’t verify if it’s good or not good.

On to Trona Pinnacles, Fish Rocks. (didn't see Fish Rocks, not really sure where it would be but possibly in this area. Didn't want to drive around for fear of getting stuck, mud/sand etc)

Trona Pinnacles was "Trippy"...  apparently a lot of films have been shot here including a Star Trek ones.  I can see why, it's like another planet.

It's quite unique and looks like a Mad Max setting.

I just parked in the main parking area as i didn't want to get "stuck" in mud/sand whatevers.  I don't have a 'Self Rescue' kit yet nor winch so staying on the cautious side of Adventure.

It's quite a place and would like to spend a week there just wandering around (with buggy or trail bike) on the roads there.  No ORV riding other than on the roads which is a good thing.

I just spent one night there but was able to walk around a little to get a better idea.

Driving through Trona was a little depressing.  I hate going though small towns and seeing them all boarded up.  The hopes and dreams of peoples lives shattered... so Sad... IMNSHO that is...

Then off to Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley, CA for Christmas and New Years...

Onward and upward to the passes and downward to the Valley.  Beautiful valley just before the DV pass.  Quite a view coming over the pass and dropping down into the valley... nice...   Only thing there was radar stations for the military flight practice.

Main Gallery Pics 

Jumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree, CA
Trona Pinnacles