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Old 03-27-2019, 10:19 AM   #1
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Death Valley Days

As part of my trip this year to Alaska I have left Tucson and am headed north. I decided to re-visit Death Valley National Park along the way.

I have been going there for much of my life as I grew up in San Bernardino CA. and came here when it was just a National Monument.

I have seen all of the iconic sights and this time was looking to get off the beaten track a bit.

I stayed this time at Stovepipe Wells which I like better than Furnace Creek. Smaller, less crowded and not as busy it's also closer to the places I wanted to be this time. I stayed 6 days which seems like a real anomaly. In some ways DV seems like a big lake where the geese (the campers) fly in in the afternoon, Land, eat and take off in the morning in a big flock. it seems the vast majority spend only one night in camp.

Just a word of advice for those heading there soon in any diesel powered vehicle the concessionaire running the Gas Pumps at Furnace Creek has diesel priced at $5.37/gallon. This is ridiculously greedy price gouging at it's worst.

If you are staying at Stovepipe wells it is the same distance about 28 miles to drive out to Beatty NV (just over the hill) and get your fuel at the Arco there for $2.97/gal instead. (see my post about the subject of National Park Concessionaires)

For any of you that are heading there be sure if you have the right kind of vehicle to go out the north road to Ubehebe Crater and on to the Racetrack. The landscape is worth the long drive on the dirt road. Scotty's Castle has been closed for more than two years due to damage by a flood. That road is completely closed off. But there is much more to see in DV than that building.

I drove out the Racetrack road to Teakettle Junction and went up the Hidden Valley Road (turn left at the junction) to the Lost Burro Mine. This is a real treat as the mine and the buildings are intact and looks like the miners just left yesterday. Also the mine has not been barred or closed off. There are still shelves and debris in the mine and you can explore as far as your bravery allows.

Since I had brought my tent with me we camped out at Lost Burro Gap about halfway up the road between the junction and the mine. Wven though this is Death Valley this can be COLD at night as the elevation is much higher than the valley.

To my mind the best map of the park is the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Topographical Map of Death Valley. It shows all of the primitive roads with accurate mileages between important points.

Wifi is not good at SW's but it was workable from the Saloon which has a few plugins if you need them.

DV will get too hot for most visitors soon, but April is still very nice and not too hot. So if you get a chance go.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:25 AM   #2
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BTFT: Great post! I appreciate you sharing. I've driven through DV when it was hot hot hot (in a mini-van) but at some point I would love to explore the area as deserts have their own beauty.
Thanks again.
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Old 03-27-2019, 04:14 PM   #3
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Death Valley is one of my favorite places! We love to go during the 49ers Encampment in November each year. We have stayed at Sunset, Fiddlers (both in the Furnace Creek area) and Stovepipe Wells. The mountains are so beautiful, and there is lots of historic sites to visit.

Regarding the fuel prices at Furnace Creek, the fuel supplier is NOT a National Park concessionaire. Due to a quirk in the land authorization, the land there is privately owned, not federal. They can charge anything they want, and they do. NOS concessionaires have limitations on what they can charge for cost.
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Old 03-27-2019, 04:19 PM   #4
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Thank you for the clarification about the cost of diesel.
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Old 03-27-2019, 04:23 PM   #5
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I was in DV last month. Several roads were closed because of 1/4" of rain. They got 1/2" after I left. I would guess Death Valley Days who not be affected but if your going for the landscape you may want to call ahead. Scotties Castle is still closed.
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