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Vancouver to Death Valley, round two!

22 April 2018

A few weeks ago we headed down on another Death Valley road trip.

Heading out from Vancouver, Canada, we slabbed it on I5 down to Oregon, and then headed east along the gorgeous Columbia River, to find a wild campsite on the north side of the river at the end of the day.

The next day we headed south east and enjoyed great views of the local mountains.

Climbing up into Oregon's mountains, we pulled over for a break, and I decided to take a quick shortcut through a tiny-looking patch of remaining snow.

Within a few metres we had sunk in and settled down on the skid plates. With a bit of luck and some vehicle rocking, we got out without having to pull out the recovery grear.

The roads continued to deliver great scenery.

Things got even better as we made our way south (along Highway 395); we had a non-stop fill of pictureframe-ready views (and cows, oh so many cows).

After directions from locals, we settled into camp for night #2, along a river, just a few minutes from a tiny town.

We didn't take much photos the following day, so we jump straight into camp for night #3.

This site is just off the highway, along one of the many trails in the area. It's situated in a spot which was clearly (and recently) devastated by a forest fire. Beautiful area, and incredibly dry.

The morning greeted us with even more fantastic photo opportunities.

Overlooking the Mono Lake Basin.

And Mono Lake itself.

We then entered Death Valley and headed towards Eureka Dunes.

At the dunes we met up with a friend of ours - Steve - who had come down from northern Alberta a few days earlier. We enjoyed some cold beverages and hiked the dunes to enjoy a gorgeous sunset.

The day wouldn't be complete without a campsite shot.

From the dunes we entered Steele Pass and went over the four ledges without incident. The canyonside was incredble!

The Marble Tub viewpoint (Marble Tub itself now missing in action) proved - yet again - to be a good spot for a break.

Entering Saline Valley, we settled in at the upper springs and enjoyed a relaxing evening. The hotsprings-fed showers provided some much needed relief from the accumilated dirt & grime.

The next day we visited the salt lake.

Entering Lippincott Mine Road.

Shortly after this photo we encountered an oncoming first-gen Tundra. The driver poorly pulled off the road, refused to back up to a spot that would allow us to safely pass, and insisted on spotting our trucks right then and there.

That "spotting" resulted in an immediate near-drop of Steve's truck's rear wheel off the side of the road, and in a subsequent 45 minute recovery using both our winches. Never trust a stranger to spot your truck.

We eventually got past and enjoyed the road once more.

Stopped at Racetrack Playa.

The rocks put on a good show as they raced towards the finish line.

The scenery wasn't bad, either.

Quick stop at Teakettle Junction and another to air up at the viewpoint towards the end of the trail.

We settled into a motel in Beatty, NV for the night. A hard day deserved some proper showers.

The next morning we visited the local Ghost Town.

After breakfast we proceeded into Titus Canyon.

Exiting it, we headed south and found a place to camp. No photos from that night.

The next day we reached Mojave Desert, and did about 80% of the route in some 5-6 hours.

Camp was set overlooking an incredible canyon.

Steve had to leave the next morning, but we continued on and wrapped up the remainder of the trail in about an hour. From there we headed back north and settled in another gorgeous area.

Heading towards northern California's coast, we camped next to another river.

And eventually got to the coast, enjoying the usual touristy pull-outs along Highway 101.

While relaxing at one of these pull-outs, a truck pulled up, and I recognized the driver as a completely random guy I had talked with outside of a Motel 6 on my last year's trip to Death Valley. What are the chances? Small world!

Tired from all the driving, we spent two nights in a state campground and enjoyed the local park and river.

The drive along the coast carried on the viewpoints tour.

All in all, an excellent trip! Only wish is for more time and an even slower pace next time.