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Old 05-07-2015, 05:55 PM   #1
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Mojave Road and Pismo Beach

Just finished two days on a crossing of the Mojave Road starting at the Colorado River moving West. Beautiful couple of days. Road conditions were fine. The first day was mostly rocky dirt road. I ran 30/35 psi front/rear and 4wd but that was mostly for comfort. The only short pitch I avoided was the descent into Watson Wash (mile 49.5). This short steep hill had a series of alternating 2-foot deep pot holes on the left and right on the down-slope leading to a narrow chute at the bottom. The chute looked, to my eye, to be just a bit too wide for my SMB to straddle and a bit too-off-camber for me to try solo. The next day became much sandier after crossing the Aiken Cinder Mine Road. I aired down to 21/28 front/rear and had no issues over many miles of sometimes quite soft sand. No issues with Soda Lake. The only place I ran into traffic was near Afton Canyon Campground where there were two water crossings about 15" deep which were no problem for me (or for a bunch of two-wheel drive vehicles, either).

I'm going to give a thumbs up to the Delorme Inreach Satellite communication system. I was surprised how often I had a cell phone signal but I wouldn't call it reliable. The Delorme allowed two-way texting and included a link to a map with my position - I saw it when I got home and it was very accurate and very cool! Great emergency communication device when you're alone and miles from anywhere. I just got my ham radio license and most frequencies are limited to line-of-sight. This felt much more reliable.

Sometime prior to this I had taken my SMB to Pismo Beach to test it in beach sand. I ran it in 4wd at street pressure (60/80) for miles just fine, then stopped to enjoy the view and was stuck. Kept airing down until at 20psi in all four tires I drove out with no further difficulty. I make it sound like a relaxing experiment but in fact I had the poor judgement to get stuck below the high tide line and, I admit, I was a bit frantic trying to air down as the tide began to wash the the beachside tires of my vehicle. After all, what harm could waves of salt water do to my vehicle?

I later took Tom's Badland Adventures Beach Driving Course which I highly recommend. It was a really fun day to see what a Sportsmobile can do in sand. I wound up riding on 16 psi all around and had no issues with traction or broken beads and we were going up, down and sideways all day. Good to know what you can do!
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Old 05-07-2015, 06:20 PM   #2
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Re: Mojave Road and Pismo Beach

I really like that trail. I took my time doing it and wrote about it on my web site. I also avoided that bad section. I think it changes from year to year. Did you take the wash from Afton CG into the Manix wash? Worst part of the trail IMO.
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:19 AM   #3
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Re: Mojave Road and Pismo Beach

Yes, I did do Manix Wash - it was fine, much like the other washes that day so some storm must have improved it since you drove there. By the way I weigh just about 9,800 lbs loaded for camping (but without wife!)...
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Old 05-10-2015, 03:28 PM   #4
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Re: Mojave Road and Pismo Beach

I think the worst part of the Mohave is the silt just past the travelers monument. Last time I went through in the van it was hard to pick the right route
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:29 PM   #5
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Re: Mojave Road and Pismo Beach

Yeah I almost got lost traveling at night through there. Thankfully I had tracking software. There are so many trails in that section it's easy to get off track.
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