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Old 05-06-2021, 07:04 PM   #1
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Death Valley

My wife and I are planning a three month RV tour of the western national parks starting with Arches and working our way clockwise to the Badlands. The dates we've chosen will put us at Death Valley the first week of June. My question, is it too hot that time of year to visit Death Valley in a motorhome? We will have full hookups and the motorhome has two 35,000 BTU air conditioners in a 35 foot motorhome. I'm new to RVing and wonder if the air conditioners will be able to maintain liveable conditions. I know that I need to cool down the motorhome before I arrive at Death Valley or at least cool it down gradually.
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:24 PM   #2
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Did a geology field trip there in March 40+ years ago, one of the students had to be rushed to hospital with heat stroke. We camped there in December. It is the hottest place on earth,
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:29 PM   #3
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I drove across Death Valley in late May years ago 117 F in a car with no AC .
Nearest shade is 200 miles to the north.
We didn't stay long.

If your coach is dark colors ( brown/black ) you won't be able to stay cool , and doing anything outside past 9 am is just about impossible .
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:36 PM   #4
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You can stay in Lone Pine west of Death Valley where it's not nearly as hot. We were very comfortable there in late September while it was 106 at the bottom. It's about a 75 mile drive but there's a great RV park just outside of town, Boulder Creek Resort. There's also a lot to see around Lone Pine. If you are an old western movie buff, the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine was location to well over 200 movies and shows. That area is still used in commercials. The movie museum in town is also well worth visiting.
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:50 PM   #5
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I've been to Vegas many times as well as Lake Mead and Valley of Fire, but the only time I've been to Death Valley was as a small kid. We were driving a station wagon and my dad had those old burlap bags of radiator water hanging on the rear view mirrors. All I remember it was hot, the Devil's Golf Course was hot, and everything was hot. Also my straw hat blew off into Badwater, the lowest point in North America, and my mom waded in to get it. Actually waded isn't the proper term, the little puddle was only a few inches deep.

I actually love the desert, but I have no great desire to return to Death Valley. Valley of Fire... now that is a great place to go! In fact there's a nice little RV camp area inside it. Many great little short hikes and beautiful scenery. Really cool petroglyphs too.
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:51 PM   #6
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Ok now I have to ask are you sure you have 2 35,000 btu air conditioning units the biggest I have seen is 15,000. Anything over that will be 240volt AC unit.

We are in AZ last year lived in our 40 and in 100 weather had to use a portable 3rd ac to keep cool.

I think if you drove though kept all ac units cranked and never turned them off you could make it but that time of year it would be too hot to visit any of the site after 9am.

You would also need to insulate all your windows with something like foil window shades.
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:55 PM   #7
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you are correct, there is a typo, two 15,000 BTU air conditioners
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Old 05-06-2021, 10:43 PM   #8
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Ok cool(pun intended) I was hoping you could point me to the where you got those big units. but alas no.
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Old 05-06-2021, 10:52 PM   #9
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Study the park's website for lots of good information including the average temperatures by month:

I'd recommend staying in Lone Pine, CA just outside the park and driving your Jeep into DV for a day trip. High temperatures will be hard on your RV.
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Old 05-07-2021, 06:58 AM   #10
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Mark, this might be an interesting read for you:
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Old 05-07-2021, 06:15 PM   #11
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Been through 3 times and all 3 had to run the heater on high to keep the vehicle from overheating...slow learner. Last time there was the smoking remains of probably a class got out with only what they had on. Might be better named than the Bad Lands.
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Old 05-08-2021, 06:56 PM   #12
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June is too late. May is too late in my opinion. I have been twice recently, both times in April. Weather was good one trip. The other trip was windy, like 40 to 50 MPH. Average temp in May is 100/72 (hi/lo) and 110/81 in June.
Lone Pine is also going to be hot in June 95/61.
Personally, I'd skip DVNP in June and hit Sequoia/King Canyon NP, Yosemite NP, and then Redwood SP/NP. It is a lot of extra to hit both DVNP and SEKI NP because you have to drive around the southern end Sierra Nevadas. I suppose you could cross over through Yosemite then drop down into SEKI before heading clockwise again.
Sounds like a great trip.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:22 PM   #13
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I live a stones throw South of Lone Pine and west of Death Valley. If you don't have a lot of vehicle heat management skills, don't show up between mid May and mid September.

Lone Pine will still be OK, and while the Owens Valley can hit 105 in late July that's only late afternoon, it is a dry heat, and it's pretty flat all the way from Olancha to Bishop. Lots to see and do there. If you want to cool off, go higher (-3 deg F/1000 ft of altitude)

You can cross the Sierras on the south side at 58, slightly north of that at 178 (both lead to Bakersfield), the Sherman Pass Road north of Inyokern (which will take you to Sequoia), then your next opportunity is Tioga Pass into Yosemite, Sonora Pass (steep) that goes to gold country, and then Monitor Pass, which takes you into the south end of Tahoe.

Figure out what you want to do and get reservations. A lot of people decided to get away from big cities and went camping last summer, and they've decided they like it.
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:58 AM   #14
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It will be the proverbial “hotter than hell” in DEVA in June. They start hitting 100 in late March/early April, and your ACs just won’t keep up with the heat. Stay somewhere else like Pahrump which is hot but a higher elevation. Drive into the park, making sure your radiator is in good shape. Even in a car for the day, carry significant water (gallon per person is best) and extra food. DEVA is one of my favorite places, but the valley is not for the inexperienced. Make sure you go to the high country though. A car with good tires can get to the charcoal kilns and a decent SUV can make it to Wildrose. Always check with the rangers to double check road conditions though.
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