Cheryl and I headed out to Death Valley N.P. at 6:00 A.M. on the 7th of March for a quick 4 days, three night, four wheeling maiden voyage in the Sportsmobile. We went over the Sierras via highway 50 and South Lake Tahoe to highway 395. We ran into a lot of snow but no ice on the roads. Fueled up at Big Pine CA and then headed out Death Valley Road on our way to Eureka Dunes and Steel Pass.
On Death Valley Road looking back toward Big Pine
We stopped at the entrance to Saline Valley Road (north pass) and it was closed due to heavy snow. So we will have to go out the South Pass if we make it through Steel Pass and Dedeckera Canyon into Saline Valley.
Eureka Dunes are huge and the mountains around them are just beautiful.
We spent the night on the back side of the dunes a short distance from Steel Pass.
We headed toward Steel Pass about 8:00 the next morning.
When we got there it is a beautiful view looking back at Eureka Dunes.
We parked at the entrance to Steel Pass. I told Cheryl when we check it out I will not try it unless I know we can make it through, not, I think we can do it.
We took about an hour to check it out and take pictures, the pictures really don't show the steepness nor the narrowness of the pass. After walking the pass I knew we could do it.
Looking back at Steel Pass
I would drive up to each step, get out and we would make a plan on how to navigate the step.
This is the first real four wheeling I have done sense the 1980s when I had my Jeep CJ-5. Wow! what a difference, the Sportsmobile is 24' long and weighs in at a little over 10,000 pounds. It's amazing how it just crawled over everything it came to without any spin of the tires
The third of the 4 steps was the biggest challenge. It is narrow at the bottom and widens at the top. I measured our wheel base at 81 inches. The bottom of the step is much narrower than our wheel base, so I knew I would have to drive up on the rock wall and do a heavy rub on the sidewalls of the tires.
Cheryl did a great job spotting for me and trying to take pictures at the same time.
I would not want to go the other way with our Extended Body Sportsmobile, I believe there would be a lot of scrapping in the back bottom.
Very minor damage
A nice view looking back at Steel Pass and Eureka Dunes
Dedeckera Canyon was also quite interesting, some real tight spots where we rubbed the side walls on both sides. The 26 miles from Steel Pass and through Dedeckera Canyon is a beautiful drive, we took our time, 6 hours to get to the lower springs in Saline Valley where we spent the second night.
Saline Valley and the Inyo Mountains way off in the distance
Lower Springs and Palm Springs and the Salt Lake at the base of the Inyo Mountains
About 8:00 the next morning we headed out to check out some things in Saline Valley. We drove north on Saline Valley Road about 10 miles and four wheeled up to Crystal Ridge to check out what crystals may be found. Lots of crystals but it would take hard rock mining tools to get to them
I did find a Scorpion while I was digging around looking for crystals
Just below Crystal Ridge is the Waucoba Tungsten Mine. They mined copper in the late 1880's and also mined tungsten during World War II
Old oil can
We then headed back south on Saline Valley Road and stopped at the turn off to the hot springs. Somebody did some art work on the rocks to identify the turn off to the springs
We moved on south about another 25 miles and found a place to pull over for the night. We had a great view of Saline Valley from the south just before going over the mountains to highway 190. The next morning we stopped at highway 190 and aired up the tires and put the front sway bar disconnects back on.
We fueled up in Lone Pine and had a great hamburger and then headed home. We got back home at 8:30 Wednesday evening the 10th of March