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Major Tom

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 #1 
I just got a call from Fun Fun Debbi, Friday night, 5:45. She encounted a foot and a half of snow drifted on the south pass before turning around. She called from Keeler. Word from Bishop is that it started snowing about 9 this morning. More will be posted as I hear it.
DVExile

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 #2 
In South Pass 11/4 and out 11/9.  Did it in the dark both ways, actually much easier to see all the bumpy spots in the dark with headlights - though I did overshoot the bat rock turn off on the way in! 

No issues in a 92 Toyota Long Bed 4x4, just slowish going.  Through Lee Flat nice and smooth.  Gully above Lee Flat rocky like it has been for a few years.  To the pass from there pretty nice.  Grapevine very slow, three miles took me 40 minutes on the way in.  This where a 2WD could get stuck coming out.  Across the valley is lots of little ruts across the road.  Speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down.  Very tiresome.  I used much more gas than usual and a few other people commented on the same.  First two miles or so of bat rock has some deep dips, then pretty smooth from there.

Way in 3 hours from 190 to lower springs.  Way out 2:40.

Wednesday night at the springs there were only two of us there!  Very nice.  Quiet week until Friday.

One person coming in South Pass with a pop up camper on a Nissan did catch their tail end pretty good and had to do some work on their tie downs (a few broke).  Most folks coming in unscathed.  A two wheel drive van made it out Friday via South Pass as well.

Friday tons of people came in, almost all from South Pass but a few from Lippencott and a few from North Pass.  Too crowded for my taste, but it was time for me to leave anyway!

siouxsie998

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 #3 
O.K. No more fears. I know the south rd. the best. It is grapevine canyon that concerns me. I have come in that way in my old Toyota P.U. many times; with far less clearance at that.I have prayed my self out both the North and south pass. I was blowing a motor coming out the North in 02. Actually that mini van died in front of Ray's motel in Independence. Got 2 flat tires years earlier going through the grapevine [the 2nd. flat any ways]. Lucky for me; a 15" spare off a ford trailer fit my Toyota. Actually just before I left camp we were discussing how it is best not to be the last out. I now try to carry 2 spares.
   Thank you Seth. A friend of mine, that repaved the 190 a few years back, says it's the Marble mnt.s that makes for the calming aura. I frequent various springs, but have found none other to be as spiritually up lifting. Cures depression, slows down anxieties and makes life worth living for me.
  One other ? How cold is it getting at nights. 20 years ago, we came for Thanksgiving. In the morning our kids were playing frisbee with the ice on top of the puddles. Was hoping to get out a couple of weeks ago. Trying to get in before it gets any colder.
Big Jeff

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 #4 
There is some interesting info on water content and quality at the Springs in the link below.

http://forum.salinepreservation.org/post/water-quality-and-potability-4547384?highlight=water+test

You can thank Major Tom and others for their research.   Seth, where as Lithium is used to treat clinical depression I hope Your Boys will be OK.   But if anyone needs Lithium for their condition I would not recommend trying to drink enough Saline water for Your dose because You will die of Hyponatremia
(water intoxication) first.   The rough calculations work out to 3000 liters of Saline water to approach that
900 mg a day minimum.

(boy do I need  to get a hobby)
SethW

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 #5 
Skip the winch Siouxsie and buy an extra spare, the extra spare will more likely be needed.  South pass is not technical just rough and slow.  North pass will save time depending on if you are traveling from north or south of the valley.  North pass is more technical driving below the Narrows but much faster in the newly graded area, and with the description of your rig it should be no problem.  Even with no 4x4 going in (downhill) should be easily manageable.

Funny that you mention spiritual release at the springs, someone said the waters have high contents of Lithium, I tend to think more spiritual but awesome either way.  Even my 5 and 8 year old boys seem more mellow in that environment!

Enjoy the drive and the soak.
siouxsie998

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 #6 
Thnx 4 that report. I have a newer Tacoma. High clearance, great snow tires short wheel base and no camper or trailer. Lived in mnt.s 40 years.Have boards, shovels etc.Think I will at least purchase a small winch. In much need of that Saline spiritual release, that only the springs call truly full fill.  One ???
 Did you have 4x4?
Salt Peter

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 #7 
WOW!
Great report. Thank you for sharing. I bet there were many times when you wondered if you would ever get out of there.
graytortoisetenttrailer

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 #8 
The gray tortoise made it to the springs. After an unexpected delay in Lone Pine we camped at the top of south pass at the corral so we wouldn't get caught in the dark in the canyon. Good decision number 1 -if you have any doubt in your vehicle, driving skill or never have been the road before- wait til daylight. South pass was as bad as I thought it would be but do-able. Our new tundra lacks the clearance our tacoma had-and we have a much longer wheel base- most every wash we came to we had to shovel, pile rocks and say a prayer. (good decision #2 brought shovel) Some areas were very narrow and twisty-and then the Bat road. The washes were tough- one in particular was un-doable- fortunately we found where others who couldn't make it went around. Total time in from top of south pass to the springs 7 hours.

The weather was never better-and I have never seen it so quiet - especially on Halloween - what a blast!

Then when it came time to go home (11/1). They say if you can make it in you can make it out-true- BUT- pinch points were much worse going out in those same washes. Lots of shoveling rocks and used boards we brought and found (good decision #3 -found a great board and picked it up). Time to springs to county road - 2.5 hours! Time out to top of south pass total 7.25 hours- thanks to the jeepsters who helped stack rock, set and re-set the boards on the last wash, then patiently waited to make sure we made it to the final ascent. Just when we're thinking we were golden- KABAMMM! Sounded like we hit a boulder in the road - but there were no boulders on that last narrow straight-away to the top. That was the sound of the steel breaking as the trailer's right leaf spring snapped. Then a lovely grinding noise of the wheel well corner gouging the tire as we crept up to a spot where we could assess the situation. As the sun sets, we jacked up the trailer - broke off the corner that was gouging the tire and put on the spare tire which was smaller (I forgot to mention that earlier the spare tire holder had broken off and luckily we discovered it before the spare fell off). We hit pavement 7:45- Lone Pine 8:30. Breaking land slow speed records=Total time from springs to pavement 9 hours 45 minutes. I felt like I was on an episode of "Survivor" and survived. The gray tortoise makes it home! [biggrin]

The morale of the story- if you have the right vehicle (HIGH CLEARANCE-GOOD TIRES-SHORT WHEELBASE-no sweat! We had low clearance and long wheel base-and lots of patience. Would we do the South Pass again? NEVER.  We'll wait til the North Pass is good again! Was it worth it? You bet![thumb]




SYNCRO

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 #9 
Came in So. pass on 10/11. As rough as ever. More washboard thru Lee Flat than I remember, from there thru pass and down Grapevine cyn very rough. The road in Grapevine cyn looks more like a streambed than a road. Beware of" surprise bumps" on what appear to be smooth sections of the valley rd..
After talking to many who came & went during our stay, in many types of vehicles, reasonably cautious drivers had little problem with the road. Good tires essential & clearance is a plus. Bat rock rd is also full of "surprise bumps" particularly right after you turn off the county rd. Keep it slow and you'll be fine.
siouxsie998

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 #10 
I am planning a trip in soon. I have come up south pass for 25 years, often exiting through the North. This spring I stuck w/the North pass. I am an experienced mnt.rd. driver. My 2012 Toyotta tacoma prerunner; however stocked w/new Beefy 16" snow tires and low 1st gear, is 2 wheel drive. I will be well equipped, bringing chains, boards, spares and all. Life and travel under these conditions is however relative. I hear horror stories from 4x4's, and then someone such as my self just being cautious and experienced, says no problem. What vehicles are succesfully making it in and what are not. Not interested in hearing from the bad news bear. But don't want to be the fool stuck in the mud. Thnx Sioux
Salt Peter

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 #11 
That's a long day but a great drive.
mchef

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 #12 
Salt Peter,

Yes, correct, we went out through Crankshaft Crossing, past Eureka Dunes, and ended at Big Pine. All that road was smooth and easy.

-m
Salt Peter

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 #13 
Great report thank you. My travels to the sacred salty place is soon to come. You say you went out to Big Pine Road via the Racetrack and Ubehebe. So did you go out north past crankshaft junction and then past Eureka Dunes?
graytortoisetenttrailer

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 #14 
Thanks for the south pass update. We will go for it tomorrow. Slow but sure we can make it. We have good clearance and we're thinking more people have been in since the suburu went thru. We will post when we get back in coverage. We are well prepared for most anything.


mchef

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 #15 

Hello all,

I wanted to post a trip report to add to the “what vehicles are acceptable for travel to the springs” question. I and three friends left from Bishop on Saturday October 5th for the springs. We had a 2012 Toyota 4Runner and 2013 Subaru Outback. Both vehicles had full service spares (and many tools, tow straps, shovels, etc) but were otherwise stock. We went from South Pass down through Grapevine Canyon then out to the springs.

The 4runner had no problems, though we left it in 4high. The Subaru did fine too, though we certainly took care. There was a washout in grapevine Canyon that we laid two boards in. The boards made the washout a little less deep and kept the Subaru nose from scraping. In general, we took Grapevine canyon slow with the Subaru.

There were a couple washouts on the road to the springs immediately after the turn from the main road that I crossed at an angle with the Subaru, or deviated a few feet from the main road. The AWD felt essential a few times and we certainly had many instances of minor wheelspin as the vehicle found its footing. That said, I can’t recall scraping bottom or the nose/tail of the Subaru. I’m sure we needed all the lift though (the newer Outbacks have more lift than the older ones). A full service spare, though unused for us, feels essential. It was a bit challenging, but mostly a lot of fun.

We exited through Grapevine canyon on Saturday the 12th and then took the left to the Racetrack. Hunter mountain, Hidden valley and the road to the racetrack where in very good shape and were easily passable at good speed. We then went from the Racetrack to Ubehebe crater and exited on Big Pine road. All of these roads were also in excellent shape.

Of course, your mileage may vary and the roads will change. A new Subaru seems to currently make it, but I would not wanted to have any less capability. We saw an old Mercedes sedan out there that had opened some vein and left a track of fluid in the road. Lee was working with the owner to get it back in running shape. I was amazed how far the owner had gotten.

We brought a little rubber raft to perhaps join (inaugurate?) the Saline Valley Yacht club. The lake was probably 1-2 inches deep though, even 50 feet out, so we settled for walking out and marveling at the feeling of nearly walking on water.

-m

 

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