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Suggestions for Death Valley?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Butlerkid, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Karen
    I will have 2 full days in Death Valley Oct 19 and 20. I've been there a couple of times, but never managed to be at the best places at the best time.

    We will be traveling in a Ram 3500 diesel truck with 4 WD and camping in an RV in the Furnace Creek campground.

    Anyone been to the Racetrack? I'd love to be there at sunset, but wary of trying to drive out in the dark.

    I'd love some suggestions as to where to go and best times to be there.

    Thanks!
    Karen
     
  2. West

    West

    Jan 2, 2012
    Vancouver BC
    Will be looking forward to your photo set, as I'm tentatively planing on going through there sometime in Jan or Feb next year.
     
  3. 480sparky

    480sparky

    May 27, 2013
    Cornpatch
    Never been there, but I've heard the Racetrack is for really rugged, high-clearance 4WDs. And 'consumer' 4WD may not be up to the task.

    Death Valley at night = zero light pollution. I spent a night at Stovepipe Wells. It's eerie how dark it gets. Would be a good night for astrophotography.

    Plan on getting cold at night if you're camping.





    And................ you can sing "Happy Birthday" to me while you're there.
    birthday9.gif
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  4. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Karen
    Thanks, Ken. We have really heavy duty tires (and they are brand new!) on the Ram 3500.....because we tow a 5th wheel. And because we tow, I'm sure hubby will be nervous about going on seriously rough roads. Don't know why...... (The last time we were there I managed to slice a tire while driving our Aerostar van when we were just almost at the remote kilns!!!!!! :eek: )

    I'm hoping to do some night photography.....I'm quite a novice at that. But it will be too late in the year to see the Milky Way... :( 
     
  5. 480sparky

    480sparky

    May 27, 2013
    Cornpatch
    Since you're towing, I've heard you NEVER come in from the west on 190. Whether that's true or not, but I recall hearing stories of it being so steep that even when downshifting you can loose your brakes. This was back in the 80's, so you might want to do a bit of research. Maybe things have changed.
     
  6. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Karen
    Thanks, I'll definitely need to check it out. Right now heading east on 190 is the plan......:eek:  The truck does have a "jake break" to gear down the transmission. I seem to remember that drop into Death Valley being pretty steep and LONG!
     
  7. 480sparky

    480sparky

    May 27, 2013
    Cornpatch
    I also recall making the mistake of parking under a tree for the night. I don't know what kind of tree it was, but in the morning my rental car was 50% covered with drops of sap. Harder than a rock when dried. By the time I got back to Vegas, it took $28 in quarters to wash it off. No damage, but it was a PITA.
     
  8. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Karen
    What a waste of quarters....in Vegas! LOL!

    Thanks, Ken. I'm reading the internet about the roads.....hubby would be happy to skip Death Valley......Hmmmmm....
     
  9. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: 
     
  10. 480sparky

    480sparky

    May 27, 2013
    Cornpatch
    Yeah, but it was a rental and I would have paid dearly for turning back in covered with the stuff.

    Don't skip it, though. It's well worth the visit. Artist's Palette, Dante's View, Ubahebe Crater, Badwater, the borax mines, Zabriskie Point... all worth it. Scotty's Castle..... meh, not so much. Interesting story behind it, but I could have spent the two hours elsewhere.


    Just do your homework, be well-stocked and have plans b, c and d. Maybe even e and f. Given my druthers, I'd spend a couple weeks there.
     
  11. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Karen
    I've towed on 9% grades......but they were generally either really wide (4 lane highways) and/or only a few miles long. I tend to be really, really cautious when pulling our 35' 5th wheel. The jake brake is handy and I'll make sure the brakes are in "almost new" condition!
     
  12. I think my favorite spot was sunrise at the Badwater Salt Pans. Zabriske Point is fantastic--I hit that at sunrise as well. Scotty's Castle has a great spiral staircase--one of my favorite shots of the trip. The Mesquite Flat Dunes provide numerous photo opportunities--I hike out on the dunes at sunset. Rhyolite is a ghost town that offers interesting images. I went out to the Racetrack as well...and rented a vehicle to get there. It's fairly rugged.

    I only visited Death Valley once...and that was early on in my photography travels! To view some of my pictures (and get an idea on those locations), I've compiled some images in a collection on my site:
    Death Valley

    Best of luck...

    Glenn
     
  13. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Karen
    Thanks, Glenn! I truly appreciate the where and when info!!!! Unfortunately, Scotty's Castle is closed until 2020! Flood damage and restoration.....
     
  14. I'm imagining the fuel consumption of your big rig. Aside from the obvious natural beauty of Death Valley, this is a lasting impression from our two-day trip there in 2012. The national average that year was $3.60.


    Mike 2012-03-16--634-S.jpg
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    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  15. Approaching wine prices :rolleyes: , well cheap wine!
     
  16. I'll be following this thread as my wife and I have had Death Valley on our bucket list for quite a few years.

    When would be the best time to catch the Spring wildflowers in bloom - Early February, or later?
     
  17. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Karen
    The time can vary quite a bit. Some years are much better than others. Really depends on the amount of rainfall. Follow real time updates for best info.
     
  18. Of course I know all of that, but when you have to plan several months in advance you have to depend on "usual" conditions.

    On the NPS website I found some pretty good information.
     
  19. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Karen
    Our travel is mid-Oct...so I haven't been focused on wildflowers.
     
  20. Of course.
     
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