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Old 09-21-2015, 07:11 PM   #1
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Oregon to Death Valley – Hwy 190 Advice?

Hi All,

My wife and I are towing our 27’ FC from Oregon to Death Valley in about a month, planning to take US 395 south along the east slope of the Sierra.

I’ve driven into Death Valley from the East and South, but never from the West. CA Hwy 190 from Lone Pine to Stovepipe Wells looks like a quick direct route off of 395, but Mountain Directory West describes it as “difficult” for trucks and RVs – including a 5000 ft drop of 6-8% grades.

Has anyone towed a trailer from Lone Pine into Death Valley? Any advice or adjectives come to mind?

Thanks!

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Old 09-21-2015, 07:54 PM   #2
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I've gone the other direction-from Death Valley to Lone Pine. It IS a steep road. I have an '04 16' CCD towed with an '03 Ranger 4L V6. First gear and slow climbing out. Slow but easy. Especially since we were behind a bio diesel fueled Hippy bus that was going slower than us. Took the presser off of me being the slowest. Use your gears and pull over for the people behind you? Just this week we went from Lake Tahoe to Bridgeport, CA over Monitor Pass. A lot of first and second gear action never getting much over 30 mph. Luckily, little traffic. Enjoy your trip and, whichever route you take, it's not my fault :-) Jamie
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:16 PM   #3
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There are actually two passes going that way. The first going from Lone Pine to Panamint Valley near the summit is very twisty, steep and slow but the road is good. The other pass is between Panamint Valley and Death Valley. The last stretch of that pass is mostly straight but a steep downgrade for miles into Stovepipe Wells.

I towed my 28' from 395 in Olancha over 190 all the way into Death Valley last year and it's doable but exciting. I had an F250 Diesel with engine brake so that saved my brakes. Just put it in low gear and you should be fine. Very scenic.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:04 PM   #4
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A little off topic, but when you're headed out of Lone Pine on 190 toward Death Valley, you initially gain elevation. Some of the best views of Mt Whitney are from this part of the road. It is easy to miss when you're headed east, but look behind you from time to time. There's one spot where the view is absolutely spectacular. I wish I could tell you exactly where it is, but all I remember is that it is within 10-15 miles after you turn off 395.


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Old 09-22-2015, 09:20 AM   #5
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My last post may be in error. Looking at a map, the highway I was talking about with the views of Mt Whitney may be hwy 136, which connects with hwy 190. Hwy 136 is probably the way you would go to get to Death Valley if you're driving south on hwy 395 anyway, as it would be a little out of your way to go south of Lone Pine to Olancha to pick up hwy 190 directly.


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Old 09-22-2015, 11:35 AM   #6
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We did it in June, and NEVER do that again.

We are always out for a little adventure, but this is white knuckle drive and once on the road it hard to find a good turn-around point.
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Old 09-22-2015, 12:56 PM   #7
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We went down to DV the end of March of this year via Hwy 95. Jumped onto 95 from from Sparks and found the trip much easier than 395. The only concern I would have going in a month would be getting over the pass into Reno. If the snows don't come early, shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 09-22-2015, 04:20 PM   #8
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About a month ago, we traveled over Tioga Pass and drove to Pahrump, NV. We were north of where you're thinking of going (264 & 266, which were fine), but caution you to fill up with gas/diesel wherever you can as gas stations are few and far between, and cell service sparse (Verizon). We had 12 miles showing on our "range" readout when we made it to Beatty, NV. I won't belabor that one of our Goodyear Marathons blew that day! Weird day, 97 degrees in the shade, and it rained for about 10 minutes. We tow a 2005 International 25 SS with an '08 Tundra.
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Old 09-22-2015, 04:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtle View Post
Enjoy your trip and, whichever route you take, it's not my fault :-) Jamie
Jamie, ha! Then who am I gonna blame for my wife's white knuckles?
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:17 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the advice and suggestions! Dames, was it the steepness or narrowness of the road (or both) that was iffy for you?

TinShack, we have an F150 with a Tow/Haul mode that's pretty good on the downhills, but I'm wondering how much more "exciting" it might be for us than it was for you in your 250 diesel? I guess we can decide to find out or not.
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Old 09-22-2015, 06:30 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the advice and suggestions! Dames, was it the steepness or narrowness of the road (or both) that was iffy for you?

TinShack, we have an F150 with a Tow/Haul mode that's pretty good on the downhills, but I'm wondering how much more "exciting" it might be for us than it was for you in your 250 diesel? I guess we can decide to find out or not.
It's your call. Our friend followed us towing her 10' trailer with her Subaru and had no problem. She went home that way too. We went on to Las Vegas.

Here is a time lapse video of 190 headed west out of Death Valley. The valley at the 2:00 mark is the Panamint Valley. The the worst road curves are about the 2:30 to 4:00 mark. At the 3:38 point in the video is the rest stop at the summit where I took the photo below. The other photo shows the curves.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:20 PM   #12
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TinShack, awesome video! Those views of the Sierra toward the end are why 395 is famous.

The time lapse of 190 made my stomach flip - that slalom section, yikes! Does anyone make "I survived the 190" t-shirts?

I have to lie down now...


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Old 09-22-2015, 08:44 PM   #13
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TinShack, awesome video! Those views of the Sierra toward the end are why 395 is famous.

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Climber, yes it's beautiful and I love it over there. We just got back from the Owens Valley/395 last week. This pic is of my rig with Mt. Whitney in the background taken at Lone Pine Camp just outside of Lone Pine.

Another way into Death Valley is to take 178 through Ridgecrest which turns into Panamint Valley Rd. This takes you back up to 190 so you avoid the first twisty pass out of Lone Pine. You still have the other pass into Stovepipe Wells though. 178 was washed out about a year an a half ago. I think they have it fixed now but if you want to go that way I would find out if it's been repaved. Google Earth shows a long stretch of fresh pavement so it should be good.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:05 PM   #14
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We are at the Skamania Lodge right now. There is no more beautiful desert than Oregon east of Hood River. If you must quest to California for some reason, just use tow/haul with your diesel engine or use your engine break. Piece of cake.
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