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Trip Report: Death Valley - February 14 2014 - February 17 2014 #1069344 02/19/14 08:30 PM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 16,227
off-roader Offline OP
Web Wheeler
*****
Trip report on a trip organized by CAP510 aka Carlos this past weekend. We had ~18 rigs on this trip including 6 Montero's, 5 Land Cruisers, FJ's, Jeeps, Pathfinders, etc.

Good fun by most all (except me on the last day). 64GB of raw video to sift through along with lots of pics which I'll post up as time permits.

Day 1 I missed where Carlos said to meet at Trona Pinnacles since I based my info on what was shown on the maps he put up. Had no clue where the pinnacles where anyways even if I did remember he mentioned them. So day 1 we (my HS buddy who flew out from Las Vegas to San Jose for the trip) drove in from the Bay Area arrived just after 2:00 am. After searching for Carlos for a couple of hours, we simply stopped where we were by the original meeting spot and slept in the front seats of my rig since there were no smooth campground spots there to set up a tent. Carlos arrived later that morning with the rest of the crew though.

First day on the trail I had a bit of a miscombluberation when i took the wrong line on what should have been an easy turn up hill on a trail switchback. My rig was teeter tottering back and forth so i quickly told my friend not to move lest he throw open the door and the weight shift be enough to roll us over. Once the rig settled down, I told him he could jump out and he was out quicker than lightning & happy to be out of there.

I called up to have someone come back down the trail so I could winch off of them. Carlos drove down and I used his bumper to winch off of and get back on solid footing. I have video of the winch out which I'll post up later.

After finding camp later that night in the valley a mile or so from the bottom of the mountain range below the Pass (?) we stayed up late chatting around the camp fire. During the night we saw lights from a rig as it came down from the pass. It was moving extremely slowly and it was only much later that we surmised it must have been damaged and limping out of the pass. Not sure what happened but it was literally moving at less than 5 mph.

The trails the following day were incident free but on the 3rd day when I left a couple of minutes behind. Once I was ready to go, I drove off quick to catch up with them not realizing he had taken a certain turn off the trail I drove right past it doing 35-55 mph off road. About a mile or so later I hit a rock on the rear passenger tire which blew out a 2" square patch of sidewall & an additional 6" gash to the tire tread.

By the time I was almost done changing tires, 2 other vehicles going in the other direction had stopped by so i asked them to notify Tyson and the 2nd half of our group of my predicament so they would know where I was so I would be stuck doing DV alone.

Tyson and the group finally arrived as I was finishing up putting the spare on. Not knowing where exactly Carlos and his group was (didn't know if they waited or not), I elected to continue on with Tyson's group to do the easier trail over to the hot springs. We got there without incident (albeit via a long slow bumpy road).

Tyson left that evening since his son had a project to finish for school and his wife had to work the next day. The following day I drove out with 3 other rigs and on the way out, my engine suddenly developed a loud terminal knock (rod knock?)... It still starts and so Juan strapped me all the way to the trailhead where AAA could pick me up. Unfortunately Verizon had no signal there but luckily ATT did. I made a call to AAA and they told me they would have a tow truck there in 2-3 hours. At this point I told the guys to go ahead while I waited for the tow truck. It eventually arrived just before sunset and rather than have them tow me all the way home, I stayed under my 200mile limit (AAA Premier membership) and had them tow me 3+ hours into Bakersfield. In the mean time I rang up my friend Michael (aka Grasscat) who was kind enough to get out of his warm and comfy bed to hook up his trailer and drive the 4 hours from Livermore to Bakersfield to meet us there so he could tow me home.

When he got there we discovered his trailer was a 2 wheel kind so we first drove my rig onto the trailer then undid my rear driveshaft. We also discovered his trailer straps were just a tad too short to reach around my 35's but I discovered we could just barely fit them if I completely aired down my tires which I did. Then once strapped in, I aired them back up just enough to apply tension to the straps so they weren't too loose.

By that point it was already 2:00am when we got back on the road. After a long grueling drive, we reached my place at 7:00 which was just early enough that my friend Eric could catch the train back to catch his flight home that morning. I stayed home and slept yesterday rather than sleep at work. So currently I'm w/out a rig but luckily I have friends who I commute to work with who can give me a ride to and from the train station while I swap in a 2nd motor I recently purchased from Carlos.

We hope to begin the swap process this weekend as I'm sure I can't rely on these rides to and from the train station for too long.

If any of you NorCal folks want to help with the R&R process, please let me know as any help will be greatly appreciated. As usual, I'll be taking as many pics and video as possible.


Off Roader
98 Montero with the Winter Package
89 Montero minty clean and reserved for overlanding trips or Cars and Coffee events
96SR (3.15:1 xcase, 35's) gone to the rust gods
96SR Build Up Thread
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Re: Trip Report: Death Valley - February 14 2014 - February 17 2014 [Re: off-roader] #1069345 03/02/14 11:10 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 918
motero Offline
Rock Warrior
Wow, you will never forget that trip.


99 Montero....15mpg! Sold (so sad)
02 Jetta TDI....48mpg!
03 2500 Ram QCLB Cummins....18mpg
02 2500 Yukon XL, We out grew the montero, at least it has one locker.....13mpg (sold)
01 montero limited
Re: Trip Report: Death Valley - February 14 2014 - February 17 2014 [Re: off-roader] #1069346 03/02/14 11:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 448
jdavis Offline
Mudrunner
Sounds like a great adventure! Can't wait to see the pictures and videos <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />

~ Jon


95 Montero SR
33 x 12.50
Aussie Locker
OME Heavy Duty Coils & Torsion Bars
ARB Front Bumper
76" Trail Gear Rock Sliders
XRC-9.5K Winch
Re: Trip Report: Death Valley - February 14 2014 - February 17 2014 [Re: jdavis] #1069347 03/03/14 03:35 AM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,160
Lloyd Swartz Offline
Web Wheeler
Sorry to hear about your engine. Seems to be a ridiculously common theme lately.








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