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Old 01-13-2012, 08:41 AM   #1
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Saline Valley trip December 11'

We made our annual trip to Saline Valley again last month. The weather was great this time with only a few windy nights, usually after dinner. The springs were a ghost town! It was probably the fewest campers that we have seen in years. I'd guess that at any one time during our 9 day stay there were no more than 25 people there. We did get a chance to meet fellow SMB owners Jim & Chris (1BADRV) and enjoyed chatting and hanging out. Another dark blue SMB showed up as well but we never met the owners.

We enjoy the slower more scenic route across highways 6 and 50 through western UT and NV. There are lots of cool places to explore along this route and there is almost no traffic. We boon docked our first night east of Ely Nevada in Spring Valley a few miles from the highway. Although a bit cold out it was a nice spot with a view and had a great area for some frisbee with the dog.


The next night on the road was spent at Benton Hot Springs near the California/Nevada border. This is a private campground and each campsite has its own private hot springs tub.


The next day we headed into Bishop, topped off the tanks and headed into Saline Valley via the North Pass. The road was in excellent shape this year and the washboard was not bad at all.










Looking south into Saline Valley










Azlo's bed up front. It worked quite well and satisfied him enough to keep him off of our bed.


Azlo covered in dirt after a bit of fetch.




Once we hit pavement again on the way out I noticed a driveline vibration and suspected a rear u-joint. The vibration got worse as we neared our stop for the night at Benton. I removed the driveshaft in the morning and sure enough it was the rear joint. Two of the caps were dry as a bone. Apparently I did not lube it as often as I should have. Luckily I had a spare and did a poolside u-joint replacement with a 22mm socket and a hammer. Good times!





We were happy once again to have the SMB and its comforts! Just before the trip I replaced the rear axle with a full floater and threw on some E range Toyo MT's. The Toyo's made a huge difference in handling over the BFG's and having the full floater gives me peace of mind. There is less wandering and overall mushiness now with the new tires. We also added a subwoofer and an amp before this trip and that made great difference in the sound.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:58 AM   #2
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Re: Saline Valley trip December 11'

Thanks for sharing. This is one place in DV I still haven't been to.

How hard was it to replace the U-Joint?

steve
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:26 AM   #3
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Re: Saline Valley trip December 11'

X2... Looks like you had a great trip Saline, now I wanna go back. Good move on having a U-joint, I gonna get me one now.

So why haven't we been there Steve
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: Saline Valley trip December 11'

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Old 01-13-2012, 07:59 PM   #5
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Re: Saline Valley trip December 11'

Hi Saline! Great report, I appreciate it as its been on my mind for awhile. Just curious on your Toyo's upgrade from BFG; did you have the MT's or the AT's before?
Pat
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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Re: Saline Valley trip December 11'

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatO
Hi Saline! Great report, I appreciate it as its been on my mind for awhile. Just curious on your Toyo's upgrade from BFG; did you have the MT's or the AT's before?
Pat
Thanks! I had the AT's. These Toyo's are a bit noisier than the BFG's but worth it my opinion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cellularSTEVE
Thanks for sharing. This is one place in DV I still haven't been to.

How hard was it to replace the U-Joint?

steve
Not hard at all. Just some elbow grease. A 22mm deep socket is about the perfect sized for the U joint caps. Don't try and use a regular 22mm though. I smacked my hand twice with the hammer before I realized I had a deep socket.
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:20 PM   #7
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Re: Saline Valley trip December 11'

Great report and pics, thanks!

We just rolled into the driveway about two hours ago from a four day trip to Saline and the backcountry of north DV.

That area is my favorite of all the places I've explored thus far.

We also came in via north pass and it was in excellent shape. Much better than prior years. Many reports said that south pass is in very poor shape, and those were confirmed by some campers at the springs.

We did not go up lippencott, but were told the road is in good condition.

R
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:00 PM   #8
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Re: Saline Valley trip December 11'

Great pics, dying to get out there again. I'll be out west in late May, but I'm afraid it may be a little too hot for a Saline Valley run....
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:31 PM   #9
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Re: Saline Valley trip December 11'

Benton Hot Springs looks great. I've been past that place many times and never thought to stop. Your report does bring back a not so fond memory of blowing both tires on the passenger side as I crested the summit of the south pass. PJPV was right behind me thank goodness. A new BFG A/T costs almost $400 in Lone Pine!!! I carry 2 spares now for long trips off pavement.
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