Terry's 10th Annual Death Valley Run 2/15/03-2/17/03

This year is the 10th year Terry Johnson held the informal Death Valley run. For this year, Terry planned a 3 day run into the dessert.


There was quite a showing of 4Runners in this year's event.Rick's rig followed by Kirk's, then mine and Roger's. All white in color with varying degrees of build.

Right off the start, there were two vehicle failures. Shane's 1 year old MSR ignition module blew. Luckily, Rick had a replacement. Carlos's Montero refuse to idle. He had a really tough time keeping the engine from dying while going thru the rocks.

Tougher parts of Plesant canyon to make thing interesting.


At the top of the canyon, the ghost town building served as a garage to fix the Montero. The problem was that the gas pedal cable was pulled during the body lift.

My truck going back down the canyon. Not much compression on the rear OME springs on the right, but drop was better on the left side.


Titus canyon. Terry's favorite spot.

A view down the Ubehebe crater. After that, we went to the race track.

This is the second time I have visited the race track, but the lake bed was wet, so you could not walk on it. Both times, I have yet to see a moving rock. The mud at the lake bed was quite slick. Once you break thru the crust, the mud underneath is very slippery.

Lippencott mine rd. This is the road that scares quite a few drivers and passenger.Brett in the Bronco left the group, and came by the same road earlier in the day. He had a very tough time going down the narrow road in his full size truck. One of his tire was cut on the sidewall.

At the bottom of the Lippencott road is Saline valley. Most of the people left after the second day. 6 of us camped at the "naked hot springs" The people at the hot springs were quite a bunch of characters. The Minesota man who blocked the road with his rental van two years ago gave us a glimsp of what people are like down there. We saw a full height flag pole moving and waiving behind the hills only to realize someone tied the full length US flag right in the middle of the front bumper of his truck, and drove around the camp site. As the sun started to set, another party took the cap off a propane can and lid the gas which shot a 30 foot flame into the air. It was quite spetacular. After dinner, an explosion shock wave ripped thru our camp. I almost hit the deck thinking our gas torch had exploded. It was someone lighting a stick of dynamite nearby.

The next day, we made our way out of the Saline valley.

Lineup on top of Steel pass north of Saline valley. Elevation is only about 4000 feet.

Roger looked for the elusive marble bath on top of Steel pass. Thanks to GPS coordinate, he spotted it in the canyon behind the rocks. Everyone hearing about the commotion ran down the canyon to see the curiosity. The bath tub is filled with sparkling blue marbles making it look like water.

It took an hour and half to make it out of Saline valley. Then it was another hour and half to reach Eurika sand dunes. This valley is very desolate since not many people come this far. These dunes are some of the tallest in N. America. It would be really nice to come back and camp in the summer time out in the open air when there is no moon.

At around 4pm, we made it out of Death Valley. Terry, Kirk and Ashley took the northern route home passing thru the snow in Tahoe. Don stayed in Big Pine at the recommended Best Western Inn where for $40, you get buffet breakfast. Rodger and I had dinner at Taco bell, then he went up Bakerfield home. I was in no hurry to get back to work so soon. I drove across the state to hwy 1, then went north along hwy 1 to the bay area.

Hwy 1 was quite a nice drive. Along the way, there was a crop spraying helicopter that skimmed feets above the ground and turned just feets away from power line. Stopping at a beach, I walked within several feet of a sleeping sea lion half burried in the sand thinking it was a piece of wood until I turned around. He was still sleeping luckily.

There was not a cloud in sight the whole way up the coast. This made it tough to get back to work on Wednesday.