Re: Titus Cyn. and Telescope Peak Roads--Ranger comments

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Posted by RiverRat on October 31, 2002 at 11:53:42:

In Reply to: Titus Cyn. and Telescope Peak Roads posted by John on October 30, 2002 at 23:49:38:

I have noted in Death Valley the rangers, when talking about roads, take the average intelligence of the public and divide by at least 10. I know, they are covering their butts, but most assume (and talk to you as if) you are an absolute moron should you even consider any dirt road without high clearance 4x4. They even strongly recomend 4x4 for the dirt roads in the campgrounds [snide comment]. And save your breath asking about road conditions (standard answer: poor, 4x4, be prepared to die, etc).

I have been down Titus Canyon in a low slung (shocks were shot) Ford Maverick and a Toyota Corolla station wagon, both overloaded, have been to Gold Valley in the Blacks and Goldbelt Spring (turned back because it was winter and the spring freezes where it runs over the road, making an off-camber ice field) in the same Toyota, and been in South Pass through 6" of snow and out North Pass in an (also) overloaded Toyota Tercel. I have been turned back from the steep part of the Telescope Peak trailhead road from snow twice, but made it to the Charcoal Kilns both times. I was also turned back going up the steep part of the old road from Darwin Falls to Darwin in the Tercel.

Steep can kill you in a high-geared passenger car, when you need to keep your RPMs up, ride on the ridges, and dodge the potholes and rocks, all at the same time. If it is a nice car, and you want to keep it that way, you probably shouldn't. The Tercell was never the same after, but it was retired 3? 4? years later at 260,000+ miles and not as a result of the trip through Saline Valley.

[Amuzing campfire story about the Tercell: We were counting on fuel at Panamint Springs, but it was closed. We went to Charcoal Kilns, came out Emigrant Canyon road, only to find it closed about 20? miles in with a major gate. Back to the bottom of Panamint Valley, one eye on the fuel gage, trying to prop it up. Stopped at the bottom to take a ... er, to relieve myself, and the door was almost ripped off from the major blow that was going on. Lightbulb goes on. So, here we are, in the bottom of Panamint Valley, sailing along with doors open at a sedate 10-15 mph, the Joads going to Death Valley, getting lots of strange looks. Nope, didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, but it wasn't that long ago, either. Made it to the top of Towne Pass with NO fuel, but it is all downhill from there.]

Consider the weather (i.e., summer??), use adaquate tires, carry supplies and shelter, spare(s) and (I suggest) tire plug and foot pump or compressor for flats, shovel and jack for sand and if you have to build road, watch your fuel, have a mechanic check out the car before, know how to turn around or drive backward to a wide spot, know where you are and what direction to walk out, if necessary, and so on.

I think a key point is, know when to fold 'em. Don't assume you are stupid only because the ranger says so.

[The Fine Print]: RiverRat assumes no responsibility for actions taken on his comments. "Your milage may vary". The divide by 10 factor may be right. Stupid kills, don't be stupid.

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