Saline Valley Talk

Hosted by SPA, the Saline Preservation Association

Let's talk!

Register Calendar Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
tomi

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #1 
My rig is a '94 Bronco with 31in tires.  It could account for mileage discrepancy.  Each time I go I clock and reset the odometer at the SWR junction.  There was a time when I lived in Big Pine when driving in Friday night after work was a race to see how fast I could get to springs.  Back then my rig was an F250 4x4 with 33in tires.  It was a tank.  Today my pilgrimages are annual Fall/Winter and I enjoy taking my time.  Stopping at the gold mine, driving up crystal canyon, enjoying a mellow drive with a fattie in one hand and cold beer in the other.  I like taking my time, less wear and tear on rig plus isn't it about the journey?  -Tomi  

Attached Images
jpeg SWR-small.jpg (478.21 KB, 42 views)
jpeg GoldMineSWRsmall.jpg (418.99 KB, 37 views)
jpeg WizardPoolsmall2.jpg (219.03 KB, 48 views)

Salt Peter

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 571
 #2 
It is roughly 32 miles from pavement to the springs turnoff on northpass. 4 hours is on the longer side but I guess at a very safe speed or in a car not a 4x4.
tomi

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #3 
Having recently traversed both NP and SP the mileage breakdown. 

From Saline Wacoba Road junction to springs is 40 miles and takes roughly 4 hours to drive.  You can make up a little time coming down the long grade into valley and sandy road stretches. My personal best time is 3.5hours and damn near knocked the fillings out of my teeth.  

From Saline Valley Springs to Eureka Dunes over Steele Pass is 20 miles and takes roughly 4 hours to drive.  The road is a jeep trail climbing up the alluvial to the summit where the road improves all the way to the narrows. Once through the narrows it's smooth sailing to the dunes.  At the dunes the road has been graded from DVR to the dunes.  While one can make up time driving the dirt freeway at highway speed one might want to do a hose, cable and wire check under the hood as stuff will vibrate off.  Going out Steele Pass and returning to Big Pine add 20 miles to the trip.  Granted they are 20 paved miles.  
 
johnh

Registered:
Posts: 19
 #4 
Well, in the end we chickened out for our first DV drive in the FJ, and took North and South passes, with a detour to the springs. We had a blast! Steel next time... thanks to everyone for your comments and help, we'll make full use next time.
bmxmtbman

Registered:
Posts: 44
 #5 
Bob, you could be right. Maybe I was having so much fun it just felt like 2 hours. Although, 2 hours would mean an average speed of 12mph; not that fast. You can move down the washes on the west side, and up on top. On bikes I know we did it in 40 mins, as we timed it and went back and forth a bunch. Because apparently we have nothing better to do with our lives.
SilverBob

Avatar / Picture

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 385
 #6 
Bmxmtbman, I don't know what you drive, but 2 hours from the dunes to the springs is haulin' ass!  I could see that on a motorcycle, if you're really motivated, but not in a truck or SUV.

Last time I went out Steel Pass, I was in Bishop 6 hours after leaving the springs.  That was in a four cylinder Jeep Wrangler, towing my teardrop trailer.  I could probably cut an hour off my time without the trailer.

On the other hand, I'm sure I could easily spend two days just exploring around the area between Steel Pass and DeDeckera Canyon.  Even after dozens of trips through there, I still find something new to see each time.  I'd love to "re-discover" the REAL Marble Bath and get pictures this time!  Unfortunately, with the road closures,it would be quite a long hike.
RiverRat
 #7 
Yes, 5 1/2 hours for me, did it in '09, from Lower Warm Springs to base of Dedecera Canyon, do not know if the road has improved, worse, or the same.  I understand the Saline side road was raveled with a lot of rocks and few fines, small washouts, that was a real slow part.  Couple 3 or 5 point turns to get into/through the overhanging rock section while straddling rocks in the road, also v. slow.  The Eureka side speeded up, though it was the first time I had passed over anything like the bedrock steps, that was also real slow part, can't break the truck, it's a long walk out.  If the Pathfinder had a low range without 4x4, I would have used that, the high range was a little high for that road, for me.  We were single vehicle also, and I was trying to be x-cautious, plus lunch and some cave exploring, stopping for pix, spotting (and instructions to my spotter on what I wanted, agree on your arm signals), etc.  Tools and tirepatch stayed in their box, as planned, but available, safety first, that country is way out there, major coolness.  Didn't see anyone

Your milage may vary, and it can be a faster trip, but getting there is half the journey, and it was a pleasure trip, leaving Saline Valley tears at my heart, might as well enjoy the trip out.  Beats the snot out of a commute on I-5. 

Sidebar story:  We got to the base of the sanddunes in Eureka, the dryest part of bone-dry Eureka Valley, stopped for pix--and a UC field trip, probably UCLA geology, plant tax or ecology spring field trip, pulled up, the profs and TAs in the travel-alls, the students packed in vans, in their eyes you could see they wanted out to go run on the sanddunes.  Probably didn't know then that dune sand will find it's way into every orifice, and they were in the dryest part of bone-dry . . . .
bmxmtbman

Registered:
Posts: 44
 #8 
I agree with staying at the springs. Its awesome, probably the best part of Death Valley. In your rig it shouldn't much matter which way you go. My girlfriend, who has never driven off pavement in her life, negotiated the steps in a Tacoma, which has a significantly longer wheel base. She didn't break anything, and made it first try. She did it alone, as I was up ahead on a dirtbike . The rest of Steele is in great shape. I respect that some people take 5 1/2 hours to drive 20 miles, I wouldn't use that as an indicator. There is only about 300 yards of Low Range terrain. It usually takes me 2 hours from the dunes to the springs, and I do not drive as fast as many. On bikes it is about 40 mins. Don't break down, don't crash and have fun. Staying at the springs is an excellent idea. You might kick yourself if you don't.
Salt Peter

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 571
 #9 
^ yep all that ^

Savor Saline and the surrounding areas.
dmac

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #10 
Are you planning to do all this in one day? Why not camp at the springs for the night and then go on to Panamint Springs the next day. Seems a shame to rush and not stop and enjoy the springs for an evening. Stop at Eureka dunes and get some pictures. Then  I would  go from Eureka over Steele pass and down to the springs. Use a little caution and use a spotter if you have one and the steps can be done in less than 10 minutes and then enjoy the drive down to the springs, 2 maybe 2 1/2 hours and you could be soaking and looking at the Inyos  for the evening. The next day you get to deal with the washboards on Saline Valley road and the climb up and over South Pass which will make you happy you spent the night at the springs as opposed to rushing and beating yourself and your  vehicle up cause you're in such a hurry to get to Panamint springs.
johnh

Registered:
Posts: 19
 #11 
@Riverrat... "Took me 5 1/2 hours in 4-low" - do you mean from Saline Valley to Eureka? Or further (or less)?

Thanks... and thanks to others also for replies so far (keep 'em coming).

John
RiverRat
 #12 
For a newbee, I think it is easier to go from Saline to Eureka on Steele Pass.  The drops down the bedrock stairs in Dedecera Canyon was easier for me to go down (with a spotter).  Probably would have turned around approching from the Eureka side.  Anything tall might be trimmed by the overhanging rocks on the Saline side.  Took me 5 1/2 hours in 4-low (stock Nissan Pathfinder, truck tires on standard rims).  Bring extra food, fuel, water, tirepatch, pump, jack, chain, come-along, tools, take your time, etc
bmxmtbman

Registered:
Posts: 44
 #13 
Do it. Totally worth it, so much fun, even if you finish in the dark.
Salt Peter

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 571
 #14 
Your rig sounds capable. Steel pass will put you either on SVR from Eureka or vice versa. Any way you slice it, the day will be long.
johnh

Registered:
Posts: 19
 #15 
We're planning to drive from Bishop to Panamint Springs next Friday. (I have a Toyota FJ Cruiser with underbody protection, oversize tires etc and reasonable though not huge DV offroad experience). I'd prefer to drive via Steele Pass but I'm wondering whether it's really reasonable to try and do this in a single day? It looks to be about 90 miles offroad. The alternative of course is the Saline Road which is quite a bit shorter.

Would appreciate people's thoughts on this...

Thanks...
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.

Chat Room

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