Last night we stayed in Bakersfield. We were originally planning on driving straight to Death Valley, but it’s a long drive and I wanted to split it into a couple days as once I’ve been driving for 7 hours, I start to get a little loopy and I’d rather be doing something else. This also gave us the opportunity to drive off road for part of the day as we headed to Furnace Creek. We left the tarmac just north of Trona at a ghost town named Ballarat and from there we went through Goler Canyon and over Mengel’s Pass. From reading the topo map, I knew the terrain leading up to Mengel’s pass would be difficult, but once we started our descent on the other side, we realized the ascent was the easy bit. The descent was pretty terrifying and there were a couple sections where we thought we were fucked – sorry, there’s really no other word that quite captures how we were feeling. We picked a line down through the rocks and boulders and with Kate spotting me (she did a magnificent job) we finally made it to the bottom. From there it was a relatively easy drive through Warm Spring and then onto Furnace Creek.
On our arrival, we met up with my cousins from Australia – Greg and Julie accompanied by their children, Nicholas and Emily and Emily’s boyfriend, Ben – for a much needed martini and rack of lamb. It was great seeing them again.
Accommodations are quite spartan
Entrance to Goler Canyon
Finally made it into Death Valley
We drove down that
Tomorrow is another full day of driving to go see the Racetrack. More photos soon.
Wifey and I are doing a little road trip for Christmas. Tomorrow we’re heading to Death Valley (via Bakersfield – bleh) for a couple days of off roading and then it’s off to Vegas for some high grade eating and drinking. On the way back, we’ll be stopping in San Diego to visit with my family. We have some cousins here from Australia and they’ll be meeting us in Death Valley and Vegas and I’m really looking forward to seeing them, as I haven’t in a while.
I finally got all the parts I wanted to modify the truck for overland travel and yesterday I managed to finish off the install. I’m really happy with how it turned out and now we’re ready for some off road adventures, or the Zombie Apocalypse, whichever happens first. We have a Spot satellite device in the truck that will be tracking our progress and updating our position live on Google Maps so people can follow along – click here for the map.
List of mods done on the truck:
PRG Radflo 2.0 Coilovers
PRG Add-a-Leaf Springs
Bilstein 5125 Rear Shocks
Wheels and Tires
BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO
WeatherTech DigitalFit FloorLiners
Yaesu FT-2900R Ham Radio
PIAA 510 SMR Fog XTreme Fog Lights
PIAA LP 530 High Intensity LED Driving Lights
Shrockworks Rock Sliders
Shrockworks Oil Pan Skid Plate
Shrockworks Transmission Skid Plate
Shrockworks Transfer Case Skid Plate
Shrockworks Gas Tank Skid Plate
Truxedo Lo Pro QT
Bosch ICON Wiper Blades
Sylvania Silver Star Ultra Headlight Bulbs
CREE 5W High Power SMD LED Reverse Lights
Gear and Other Stuff
Hilift Jack Mounted to Utilitrack
BlueSea Fuse Block
Wifey, Colonel and I did a bit of camping for Labor Day weekend this year. We were up at Silver Lake in the Eldorado National Forest and we were able to get some fishing in, which was pretty awesome. Turns out that Colonel really, really likes fishing. We caught a few rainbow trout and we ate one for diner and it was delicious. This is definitely a site we’re gonna come back to next year.
Wifey and I went skiing at Northstar on Saturday and the conditions were awesome. It was a tad crowded but overall it was an excellent day and Wifey is progressing incredibly quickly – she’s already doing parallel turns!
I brought the GoPro to take some footage. Top tip: the adhesive on the GoPro helmet mount isn’t strong enough for it to be used for mounting the camera to your ski. I also didn’t tighten the hinge enough either. Fortunately the GoPro survived.
I wanted to install a CB Radio in the truck so I could talk to people in the 70s. Well that and they also come in handy when you’re on road trips. Truckers constantly talk on them while driving, warning other drivers of road and weather conditions and you can also get radios that can listen to the NOAA broadcasts and alerts so you know if you’re about to drive into some hairy weather conditions.
CBs require an antenna which in turn requires a mount. I wanted to mount the antenna on the utility track in the bed so it could be removed easily so I had to fabricate a bracket for the antenna mount. Off to the Man Shed!
I took measurements, cut the steel to length and then hammered a 90 degree bend in the long piece. Once the holes were drilled we were ready to assemble.
Mount and bracket assembled and ready to be installed on the truck.
Assembly installed on the truck. Once I have all the wiring figured out, I’ll pull this apart and grind off the rough edges and paint it to make it all pretty and rust proof.
Well, we’ve been home for almost two weeks now and as usual, I’m lagging with the post. Nothing really to say other than the trip was too short and we felt a bit rushed in some parts, but it was extremely fun and we’re already planning a trip to Death Valley in April.
Anyhoo, here’s some stats from the trip.
Total miles travelled: 2285.14
Total moving time: 40 hours 56 minutes
Average Speed: 55.8mph
Max Speed: 91.4mph
Total Ascent: 91,905ft
Max Elevation: 8843ft
Min Elevation: -243ft
More posts to come as we prep for Death Valley.