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Old 03-18-2014, 08:09 AM   #1426
browneye
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Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Man, one thing I would definitely worry about is the gearing and brakes on your RV. With all the routes into Death Valley, I think the only one I would even attempt in my motorhome would be through Death Valley Junction (yes, go all the way around). The grade down Jubilee Pass was a solid 9%. I'm pretty sure the same was true of Towne Pass (190).

I remember people talking about 9 mile canyon going to Kennedy Meadows as being such a treacherous and dangerous road. That's only 6%. My motorhome BARELY made it over the summit in first gear with the engine screaming its guts out. Not exaggerating at all--it crawled the last 1/4 mile to the summit. Another 100 feet of elevation and I would not have made it. Coming back down was also slow--first gear and taking the grade as easily as I could (25 MPH?). Anything faster and it would overwhelm the brakes in only a few miles. If that was 6%, I don't even want to try 9%.

Death Valley grades scare the crap out of me when I consider what could go wrong in a motorhome. There was a triple axle toyhauler blocked, jacked and left on the side of the road on the grade up Towne Pass on Sunday night. Those grades are very real. We don't notice them on motorcycles but, watching the elevation on the GPS click off tens of feet every few seconds is sobering.
Thanks! I think we're good though. It's made the trip to DV 3 times and 9-mile to KM at least a half-dozen. I have a workhorse chassis, 26K lb GCVW with a curb weight of about 17.5K, and the 8.1 GM with Allison trans. Brakes are 38' RV size on our little 31 footer. So it has no problem on the grades, up or down, with a 2K lb bike trailer. If we're pulling a car (used to have a Wrangler that weighed 4K lbs) we unhook and drive them separately.

Going out Panamint Valley Road from Trona is effortless, hence my concern. I'm okay with a few miles of gravel, we just keep the speed down, but if it gets all washboarded or exposed rocks, like Bessimer Mine Road, then it's a slow crawl. The suspension can't keep up and the thing shakes like a house. LOL.

We had a fellow on the RV forum asking about going west through Panamint on the 190 with a 43' diesel - we told him 'NO!'. LOL. And he was pulling a 20' trailer, not sure if that was for a car or harleys, or what.

From 2011, stopped in Trona at the rest area:

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Old 03-18-2014, 08:28 AM   #1427
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Originally Posted by spafxer View Post
I'm advising Don and Tony to go into Panamint via Olancha. If I were driving a big rig in I would go Trona Wildrose figuring the grading must be pretty smooth.

CAN ANYONE TELL US HOW MUCH OF THE TRONA WILDROSE ROAD IS GRADED GRAVEL? JUST WONDERING HOW FAR.

When are you going up Chris? I am going in on Wednesday and can call you with on the scene reports. I will leave Camarillo no later than noon.


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If they haven't changed it in the last couple of weeks I'd say 5 miles max and fairly smooth IIRC. Having gone both ways I would definitely go the Trona route in an RV.

Have a great trip!
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:28 AM   #1428
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Originally Posted by browneye View Post
I have a workhorse chassis, 26K lb GCVW with a curb weight of about 17.5K, and the 8.1 GM with Allison trans. Brakes are 38' RV size on our little 31 footer.
Gotcha'. Lots of margin on that chassis. That must be a pleasure to take on trips. Mine is much closer to the design limits and just does not do well with grades.

Don't be knocking 40 footers towing through Panamint. I was dating a girl once who was terrified driving down into Panamint from the Father Crowley Vista Point (she was afraid of heights and thought Death Valley would be a safe place to go). There was an old couple in a 38-40 footer, towing a Jeep Cherokee, that was getting away from us on the descent. I still remember the humiliation.
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:36 AM   #1429
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spafxer View Post
I'm advising Don and Tony to go into Panamint via Olancha. If I were driving a big rig in I would go Trona Wildrose figuring the grading must be pretty smooth.

CAN ANYONE TELL US HOW MUCH OF THE TRONA WILDROSE ROAD IS GRADED GRAVEL? JUST WONDERING HOW FAR.

When are you going up Chris? I am going in on Wednesday and can call you with on the scene reports. I will leave Camarillo no later than noon.


.
That part of 190 coming down into Panamint is REALLY steep. Don's is a pretty big coach, I would recommend he go Panamint Valley Road via Trona like we are.

We are leaving early Thursday, usually there by about noon or so.
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:30 AM   #1430
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Just got back from Death Valley 4 day weekend, found out that Saline Valley Rd to racetrack has a portion that has thick sand and very loose gravel and a narrow stretch that is a bit too much for large bikes like GS's, two friends went on it and turned back due to falling and getting hurt.

I opted to go through from the other side on Racetrack rd but did not go, due to the road condition for my bike and being on street tires and also the large loose gravel.

These roads are fine if you have smaller (650<) trail bikes and proper tires, but if you have large bikes be very cautious.

I hope this is a helpful post to some of you, I am disappointed by some of the early post answers that I got before I went, the suggestions was not accurate and after getting to Death Valley and talking to the riders there, I had a more accurate road condition report.
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:40 AM   #1431
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Originally Posted by achtung3 View Post
Just got back from Death Valley 4 day weekend, found out that Saline Valley Rd to racetrack has a portion that has thick sand and very loose gravel and a narrow stretch that is a bit too much for large bikes like GS's, two friends went on it and turned back due to falling and getting hurt.

I opted to go through from the other side on Racetrack rd but did not go, due to the road condition for my bike and being on street tires and also the large loose gravel.

These roads are fine if you have smaller (650<) trail bikes and proper tires, but if you have large bikes be very cautious.

I hope this is a helpful post to some of you, I am disappointed by some of the early post answers that I got before I went, the suggestions was not accurate and after getting to Death Valley and talking to the riders there, I had a more accurate road condition report.
Which pass? There are technically two ways to get from Saline Valley Road to the Racetrack Playa:
1. Hunter Pass through Hidden Valley, to Tea Kettle/Racetrack Rd
2. Lippencott Pass, to the Playa
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:43 AM   #1432
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Lippingcott rd
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:41 PM   #1433
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Something must've gotten lost in translation somewhere. I can't imagine someone told you Lippencott would be OK on a street bike.

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Old 03-19-2014, 12:44 PM   #1434
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I will be out there this up coming weekend, if you in the area and pass through Panamint Springs look for the washing machine drum fire pit in site 14 (last on on the right facing the street under the trees).
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Old 03-19-2014, 01:47 PM   #1435
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Roundtripping, Look at post #1381.

This past weekend Space #16

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Old 03-19-2014, 05:09 PM   #1436
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Originally Posted by spafxer View Post
I'm advising Don and Tony to go into Panamint via Olancha. If I were driving a big rig in I would go Trona Wildrose figuring the grading must be pretty smooth.

CAN ANYONE TELL US HOW MUCH OF THE TRONA WILDROSE ROAD IS GRADED GRAVEL? JUST WONDERING HOW FAR.

When are you going up Chris? I am going in on Wednesday and can call you with on the scene reports. I will leave Camarillo no later than noon.


.
We were just in DV this past weekend, and took Panamint Valley Rd south to Trona-Wildrose on our way to Trona. Where the two roads meet (aka "in the middle of nowhere") we saw a "Road Closed" sign on Wildrose headed north, back up to CA-190. We continued south on Trona-Wildrose, and quickly came to a stretch of road that was completely level, but completely unpaved and covered with gravel, for maybe a mile or two. We were on street bikes with street tires, and managed just fine.

Rol screwed with this post 03-19-2014 at 05:14 PM
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:24 PM   #1437
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We were just in DV this past weekend, and took Panamint Valley Rd south to Trona-Wildrose on our way to Trona. Where the two roads meet (aka "in the middle of nowhere") we saw a "Road Closed" sign on Wildrose headed north, back up to CA-190. We continued south on Trona-Wildrose, and quickly came to a stretch of road that was completely level, but completely unpaved and covered with gravel, for maybe a mile or two. We were on street bikes with street tires, and managed just fine.

Thank you for that.. About 2 miles of graded gravel for Trona-Wildrose Rd then.. Do able for most trailers/motorhomes.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:57 PM   #1438
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Roundtripping, Look at post #1381.

This past weekend Space #16

As far as I can tell you and Vacman were talking about different roads/routes.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:26 AM   #1439
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As far as I can tell you and Vacman were talking about different roads/routes.

Ya I was talking about the road from the crater to the racetrack. I also said I was told it was lucky I didn't come from the other way.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:21 PM   #1440
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Posting from Panamint springs road through trona is fine anyone should be able to drive Anything through there washboard in last 100 yards.
It is a nonissue
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