Saline Valley Talk

Hosted by SPA, the Saline Preservation Association

Let's talk!

Register Calendar New Posts Chat
 
 
 


Reply
 
Author Comment
 
SilverBob

Avatar / Picture

Moderator
Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 233
 #1 
Michelle and I arrived home safely last night at about 10:00 p.m.  We drove in the North Pass on Friday, out Steele Pass and back on Saturday and then out the South on Sunday.  That's about 135 miles of dirt roads, most of which barely qualify as roads.  I'll get pictures up in a few hours, but here's a quick synopsis. 

The North Pass is now MUCH WORSE than we found it last month!  There are new washouts starting halfway between the pavement and Marble Canyon.  There are now so many small washouts, ranging from a few inches to a foot deep, that we couldn't even count them all.  The big news is that the big washout at Willow Creek is no longer the toughest part to get through!  There's a new one just a few hundred yards south of there that really made us work to get past.  It took 5 1/2 hours from Big Pine to the Springs.

I have no idea why the NPS lists Steele Pass as "Impassable".  The worst part of that road is the first several miles from the Springs up to Mitch's van.  It's very rough and rocky, but since Mitch was able to pull his trailer out with a stock F150, it's clearly not impassable.  Above the van, you drive in the wash the whole way up to near the Petroglyph Canyon, where you pick up the old road again.  Somebody has tied green ribbons along the way to help keep the traffic on the same track.  The further up the canyon you go, the less rain it got.  By the time we reached the top of the pass, there was no sign that it had rained at all.  We drove through DeDeckera Canyon toward Eureka dunes and found the narrows to be in standard condition.  There was no damage there at all.  We got back to Palm Spring from the narrows in exactly three hours.

South Pass is probably the best bet to get to the springs for most people in most vehicles.  Yes, it's rough across the valley floor, with dozens of small washouts, but we didn't encounter anything that would stop an average full-size 4WD truck or SUV.  It appeared that the storms hit the northern part of the valley but not down this far south. Once we started up the alluvial fan the road was pretty much as it has been for years.The Grapevine Canyon part of the trip is much better than it was last year when Michelle and I checked it out.  There has obviously been a lot of volunteer rock filling going on there.  I was able to drive all the way out in 2wd, High Range.

By the time we got to the Lippencott turn off, Mark's Jeep and my truck were both down to just over 1/4 tank of fuel, so we didn't attempt to check it out.  We did look across the valley floor with binoculars, and we couldn't see any sign of road damage on that part of the road. 

The biggest problem getting in via South Pass may actually be the Bat Rock Road.  When I get the pictures posted you'll see that it's severely washed out in several places across the valley.  These are big and deep enough to "catch" small SUV or car type 4WD vehicles (i.e. Subarus, Rav4s, etc).  They could also severely damage the plumbing under any size motorhome that was lucky enough to make it that far. 

All in all, we had a lot of fun on this trip.  The temp got up to 106, the winds were light, the springs were not crowded, and we got to see first hand the power of nature!  This report is valid today.  If it rains again, all bets are off!

Pictures to come in a few hours!
Linz

Registered: 09/03/13
Posts: 6
 #2 
How exciting! Looking forward to seeing the pictures - thanks for the reconnaissance!
Sparky of SoCal

Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 35
 #3 
SWEET,ugly torn up roads are not for everyone but there are enough of us to think of these conditions as almost perfect!
Sam D.

Registered: 01/18/11
Posts: 420
 #4 
Thank you, Silver Bob!
Please report on the depths of water crossings. They always give me trouble.
Big Jeff

Registered: 08/08/13
Posts: 62
 #5 
Another thanks to you Silver Bob, without your true spirit to recon the situation we might have continued to be somewhat in the dark, but now some of us have a better understanding of the conditions in Saline Valley.   Sam, you should carry an extendable pole to probe the murky depths of what lies beneath[idea].   And remember AWD is not the same as 4WD.
Wombat

Registered: 03/27/13
Posts: 17
 #6 

 

Thank you so much Bob!!!!!

So, a South Pass Rod → Hunter>  Hidden Valley -> Racetrack -> Lippincott -> Saline Valley -> Steele Pass and then back to the 395 trip is liklikely  just now!!! Woo hoo!!!

Oh, and is there anything Lee needs?

 

Candace66

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 9
 #7 
Thank you for the detailed report!

If I understand it correctly, sounds like passenger car access to the Springs is not possible these days!  (I realize you didn't check out Lippencott, but in my experience that's never suitable for a passenger car anyway.)
winks

Avatar / Picture

Registered: 09/01/13
Posts: 37
 #8 
This is wonderful news. The Valley is at its best when uncrowded, so now is the time to go before word gets around. Yeah, I'm selfish and admit it! [wink]
Tule

Avatar / Picture

Registered: 03/08/10
Posts: 98
 #9 
Great report Bob.  I agree with the comments made here about the road conditions lighting the load at the springs.  The concern I have is Georg and Ria won't be able to get in this Oct.  Has anyone spoken to them about this?
SilverBob

Avatar / Picture

Moderator
Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 233
 #10 
I got an e-mail from Georg and Ria last week.  They saw my post from last month's trip and figured that there was no way they'd get their trailer in to the valley.  The good news, they wrote, is that the roads will probably restrict the number of visitors enough that we might not need a camp host up at Palm Springs.  I tend to disagree with that part.  In my experience, folks who have the abilities and equipment to deal with these road conditions usually tend to camp at Palm Springs, rather than at Lower Warm.  Maybe that will change as the single crapper up there gets full [biggrin]!
Tahoe Tammy

Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 17
 #11 

Thanks for the update SiverBob.  Guess I won't be bringing in Frank this fall.  May have to fly in with Dave.

Lyrically Driven

Registered: 09/09/13
Posts: 5
 #12 
Poor Frank the Tank, all lonely at home. [crazy]

Hiya Tammy!! Motorcycle Rob here.


Thanks for the report Bob and friends!!!
TRAUMAhead

Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 15
 #13 
Thanks for the reports.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wombat
So, a South Pass Rod → Hunter>  Hidden Valley -> Racetrack -> Lippincott -> Saline Valley -> Steele Pass and then back to the 395 trip is liklikely  just now!!! Woo hoo!!!

Did that route backwards 3 years ago all while doorless in a Jeep, never again! (Going doorless to DV) http://www.flickr.com/photos/roguephotonic/sets/72157625190307052/
Wombat

Registered: 03/27/13
Posts: 17
 #14 

Yeah, doorless is fun . . . when it ain’t dusty!  

Big Jeff

Registered: 08/08/13
Posts: 62
 #15 
In past posts some of the people with big trucks have volunteered to pull the drags, thanks to any of you who take on this daunting task.   Also Silver Bob mentioned that the NPS was providing Lee with a new truck, I wonder if they would allow him to use it for a little Drag Racing Saline style.
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Chat Room

Appreciate the forum? Value SPA's efforts? Donations to the Saline Preservation Association are tax deductible!

Powered by Website Toolbox - Create a Website Forum Hosting, Guestbook Hosting, or Website Chat Room for your website.