Registered: 1491697245 Posts: 4
Ha ha...Reminds me of the first time I made it out to the springs. Started out on a bicycle camping trip from the Bay Area to Albuquerque, But when my bike frame got mangled getting a ride over Tioga Pass, I decided “A real adventurer never calls home for rescue,” and continued hitch-hiking down 395, and walking on the PCT for a week, leaving the high country just before an early snow in October.
Hitched rides down 395 to the juncture with Death Valley Hwy, with the next ride only going 30 mi ea to help a couple fix the brakes on their colorful bus... The woman was convinced once I told her I hoped to visit the springs that it was destiny, because it was a Friday afternoon, and there’d be people coming up from LA on the Olancha Cutoff. At first they dropped me off on the highway, but then came back an hour or so later and suggested a better spot - at the corner of Olancha and Hwy 190, and waited with me. I was sitting in the back of the bus next to the woman who’d said it was meant to be, and as a car sped round the corner, she instinctively stuck her thumb out the window. The car screeched to a halt, and a young German woman called out, “Ya, someone needs a ride?” So I explained I was heading about 30 mi up the road to a juncture with a dirt road going North...She and her boyfriend seemed to be OK with it, but when I told him about 20 min later that we’d reached the spot, he turned around and said, “Yes, I know. But we’ll take you anywhere you want to go - preferably somewhere safe. And, in case you made some bet or promise you can, be assured we would never tell a soul. But of course, if you insist, we’ll let you out here.” “Well, this is the spot, so I’m going to get out here. That’s the plan.” They smiled incredulously, but with a glint if amusement. I waited about an hour before my next ride arrived - a couple guys from SF looking for a ghost town - and the snacks the Chinese guy’s mom had bought in Chinatown at dawn that same morning included a shrimp dish, somehow forgetting her son was allergic to shellfish...so I can also say I got fresh Chinese delivered to me in the middle of the desert. After a couple hours on the washboard, I began to wonder how we’d locate the “rock painted white” in the desert to mark the place to head off the main road. A truck came from the opposite direction and passed by. “We’ve got to stop he next vehicle and ask for information,” I said. “What kind of information?” they asked. “Any kind of information on a road like this is useful information, and especially from someone coming from the opposite direction about road conditions ahead, and to see if they know how to get to the springs.” The next car was a 2wd rental car driven by a young German acoustical physicist who’d flown to the Bay Area for a conference from Paris, where he attended Ecole Polytechnique, and decided to make a dash out to the Grabd Canyon with the intention of trashing the rental on some random roads through the desert, perhaps even thinking it a shortcut. I told all of them they really had to check out the springs before going on to their other travels, but we still weren’t sure where we were supposed to turn or if we’d already passed the turnoff. Just then, a pickup truck with a couple women who’d come up from LA on the Olancha Cutoff pulled up behind us, and when we asked for directions to the springs, they said, “Sure. Just follow us!”
Registered: 1477952468 Posts: 39
Their tow vehicle seemed well prepared for the trip, good tires and good ground clearance, it's just that they were totally unaware of what the road would be like. That was a Bowlus Road Chief trailer they were towing, those things are expensive!
That same trip out I was stopped by a woman at Lee Flats wanting to know if she was on the right road to the Race Track, she was driving a rental SUV and wanted to know if she should take the Lippincott road or Hunter Mountain. While I was talking to her an elderly couple drove up in one of the rental Wranglers and asked if they were on the right road to go to the Race Track via Lippincott. Both had spoken to someone from the Parks service and were given the directions they were trying to follow. The woman at least had a full size spare, even if they were street tires, and the elderly couple had no experience with 4 wheel drives.
Registered: 1426626960 Posts: 32
.... something, something, something-or-another that the roads are too easy now days and used to be a deterrent for the underprepaired.
Registered: 1477952468 Posts: 39
I was heading out South pass on the 19th and could see this thing sparkling in the sun way up ahead of me. When I caught up to them they were crawling along at about 10 mph, bouncing that poor, beautiful, trailer like crazy on the cobble and rocks going through the canyon. First timers. They had given up trying to make it in at the Lippincott turnoff and turned around. They weren't aware of the North pass so I told them I'd come in that way the day before and it was almost Prius-able. I was just wondering if they went around and made it in from the north and if anyone saw them. Seemed like nice enough guys, I just hated to see that cool trailer getting bounced around, but they said it was holding up fine.