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Old 01-27-2011, 01:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Recent Beta on Goler?

Hi Folks - This may sound like a touron post, but bear with me... as I am just trying to determine if what I would like to do is reasonable given my circumstance, or if I am an idiot.

I am trying to put together a little camping trip for the family in March that would take me through Death Valley. I would like to exit DVNP through Warm Springs/Buttle Valley/Goler Wash to Ballarat.

Here is some info that may be pertinent to why I am asking the question, and may affect how you respond:
  • I will have along a 2 1/2 year old and a 4 month old Baby (this is really my concern)
  • I will attempt to limit my driving to shortish stints (2 - 3 hours). While I could enjoy a full day exploring in the truck, I am sure the kids won't find that pleasurable.
  • At this point, I will be travelling solo - no other vehicles will be in my party.
  • I will be driving a lifted (w/ 35's), but otherwise stock quad cab F250. Here is a pick for reference.
  • I am a wheeler, and have a good deal of experience in the wilderness - mountaineering, camping, blah blah blah. I am not some nignog city boy (not that there is anything wrong with that ).
  • I have NEVER been to the Death Valley/Panamint area. I am hoping that this first mellow trip is one of many to come (that will someday include bringing the jeep down for actual wheelin)
  • I understand the rules when travelling this remote portion of the state - extra fuel, water, food, etc etc etc - basically be prepared, as the consequences are potentially high.

So here's the questions:
  1. In terms of difficulty on getting through Goler, I understand that in a lot of cases you could probably take a subaru through. But obviously rain plays a big role in the exact condition. Any recent info on the condition of the road this winter? (obviously it could change substantially in the next month)
  2. Assuming a straight through drive (not that it's what I am planning - but trying to get a point of reference) how long does it take to drive from Badwater Road to Ballarat on this route? How many miles (approx.)?
  3. Am I a complete idiot for even considering taking a baby in this remote part of the country on a solo trip? Does this road receive decent traffic, or is it REALLY pretty remote?
  4. Are the miles of washboard roads going to play more of a role in regards to the families enjoyment of the drive as opposed to actually getting through the canyon?
  5. Would you do it if you were in my position? If not, other recommendations?

Thoughts, opinions, recommendations?

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Old 01-27-2011, 06:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Your vehicle will make it. Goler has been in pretty good shape the past few years.

Dont take the baby. Especially without another adult.

Dont take kids when you are solo. If anything does go wrong you wont feel half as bad watching yourself die as watching your kids die.

Now, have another vehicle along and its a slightly different story. The 4 month old should still stay home though. 18 months was when mine started.


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Old 01-27-2011, 10:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by OTR View Post
Your vehicle will make it. Goler has been in pretty good shape the past few years.

Dont take the baby. Especially without another adult.
Good feedback. My doubts are exactly why I posted this...

And just to be clear, there will be another adult (my wife) - but no other vehicles.

After thinking about this a little more last night, avoiding the Goler route is probably the wisest choice for this trip. Since this is the first trip down that way, we will stick to the "touristy" stuff that is closer to the pavement. I suspect that will keep us plenty busy for 3 or 4 days anyhow. I will save the exploring for when the kids are older and I can con someone else to go.

Last edited by htek; 01-28-2011 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 01-28-2011, 05:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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htek, I also support the opinion to put the trip off until the young ones are older.
I'm a parent also. Got little ones myself.

I've been there and done that trip. While I have ZERO doubts about me and my vehicle and my skills to safely take us there and get us back, I would NOT do it anyway...and I drive a Toyota...

Anyway, fun aside - if you decide to take your kids down there, the concern is not just goler or any side trail. The concern INCLUDES the paved "tourist" sections. Fact is, if something goes wrong and you break down, you have a LONG way to walk to get help if you got no signal or your battery is dead.

So, I think a compromise here would lie in maintaining a maximum distance from "help". Pavement or dirt, your feet will do the work when things go "bad", so always look at it like that.

Personally, my rule is a half day walk. If I'm going into some place where we may face breakdown - I want to be able to walk out in half a day. This guarantees that my family will not have to be without me(or help) for more than one day worst case.

As the kids get older this rule goes from "half day" to "day and a half".

Last edited by Yota Up; 02-13-2011 at 12:04 PM.
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