For those that gave advice, I thank you

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Posted by AB in UK on November 26, 2003 at 12:27:48:

If you’re interested, here’s a brief intro to my SoCal holiday.
With Jet lag I was on the road from near LAX at 3am, reached Ballarat at about 2pm, after breakfast in Ridgecrest and a trip out to the Trona Pinnacles.
Returning up the road from Ballarat, while floating on the wash boarding, I snagged a rock and ripped open a sidewall in the tyre. Didn’t blow it, but it wasn’t good for my planned excursions. Returned to Ridgecrest to be told that he knew of no-one supplying tyres for Suzuki Grand Vitarra’s. Rental had lent me a pup. While the car seemed quite capable, tyres would obviously be a problem.
Camped at Panamint Springs, chatted with the two nice ladies there, but was still on British time, so bed early. Visited Darwin Falls, quite pleasant. As I crossed PV and up Towne’s pass, I came across a car perched on a boulder in the middle of the road. Must have been one hell of a surprise to him.
Bummed around DV, Badwater etc. and spent the night at Furnace Creek campsite. Next day, began the route to Chloride City, but was concerned about the tyres – I know, I was being a bit of a wimp, but rental companies accept one blow out, not two. Rhyolite was interesting, then made it through Titus Canyon just as the sun set. Camped at Mesquite springs. I visited Ubehebe Crater and began the road to Big Pine. Turned back after a short distance because I was again concerned about remoteness, now a Tuesday, so fewer people around. Headed south and over Emigrant Pass, stopping off at Skidoo on the way.
I stayed in Lone Pine that night and then it rained and rained. Had hoped to try some of the route to Cerro Gordo, but with very low cloud I headed off towards Lake Isabella to change car in Bakersfield. Rejected that car and decided to hold out for a new tyre, found one in Barstow on the way to Mojave Desert NP. With new tyre I was less concerned about off road conditions.
I moved on to Joshua Tree NP and then down to Borrego Desert SP. These two were much better than I had expected, mainly because I hadn’t expected to spend much time there and therefore hadn’t researched them as much.

Given all the help and advice from the DV talk site, I feel I missed out on quite a bit of DV, especially Saline Valley. But that is the problem with rental cars, you can’t pick what you will get and if you insist on better quality tyres, then they know that you’ll be in breach of contract.
All in all though, I had a good two weeks, and will return sometime soon. I guess that I’ll be earlier in the year so as to get more evening light.

Once again, thanks for all your help, it was much appreciated. I at least knew not to overstretch the vehicle or myself. It kept me safe and sane.


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