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Thread: Death Valley area

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    Default Death Valley area

    Originally posted by Doug


    : I am planning a trip up Highway 395 in August (yes, I'm braving the heat). I have considered a side trip to Ballarat, Darwin and Keeler. Are these towns worth a visit? What other towns in the area do you recommend?



    : Doug




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    Default Re: Death Valley area

    Originally posted by Cat and Ripley


    : Doug,

    : Ballart is DEFINITELY worth the visit, and you might want to give yourself extra time there to hike up to Claire Camp as well. Lots to see! BUT HOT!!!!

    : Darwin and Keeler are worth slowing the car down but not much else.

    : How far are you going up 395? I can think of a couple of other ideas. Let me know!

    : ~Cat and Ripley



    : : I am planning a trip up Highway 395 in August (yes, I'm braving the heat). I have considered a side trip to Ballarat, Darwin and Keeler. Are these towns worth a visit? What other towns in the area do you recommend?



    : : Doug




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    Default Re: Death Valley area

    Originally posted by David A. Wright


    : REPLY:

    : Darwin and Keeler are fairly high in elevation and thus cooler. Darwin is a bit over 5000 feet and summer tempuratures are in the high 90s and occasionally over 100. Keeler is at 3650 feet and runs 100 to 105 and occasionally higher. Ballarat (elevation 1100 feet) will often be 105 to 115, occasionally 120+.



    : Other places you might want to see are Cerro Gordo above Keeler (9000 feet and much cooler -- drive up in the morning when cooler or there's a good chance your car will overheat on the short but steep climb up from Keeler), Bend City (E of Independence -- see page on this website), San Carlos (N of Bend City along abandoned RR grade and more ruins than Bend City), Manzanar Japanese internment camp ruins (be sure to get self guided tour book at Eastern California Museum in nearby Independence), Laws Railroad Museum near Bishop, the small ghost camps near Mammoth Lakes (high altitude w/forests and lakes -- check w/Cat & Ripley), Bennettville (see page on this website), Bodie.



    : Be sure to stop by museums along the way. Darwin Museum now located at Lone Pine, Eastern California Museum at Independence, Laws Railroad Museum, The Old Schoolhouse Museum in Lee Vining, Mono Lake Visitors Center nearby in Lee Vining.




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    Default Re: Death Valley area

    Originally posted by Doug


    : We're going all the way to Tahoe, so we definitely plan a stop at Bodie, if that's the "other idea" you're talking about. I've been there before and it's great. Any other ideas?



    : Doug



    :

    : : How far are you going up 395? I can think of a couple of other ideas. Let me know!

    : : ~Cat and Ripley






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    Default Re: Death Valley area

    Originally posted by John Pinckney


    : Doug:



    : We visited Bodie, Rhyolite, and Ballarat during our recent trip West. Comments (in reverse order!):



    : Ballarat: Definitely worth a visit. Try to get there in the early morning otherwise it's going to be extremely hot! Stop in at the General Store/Museum. Ballarat is privately owned, and probably gets most (if not all) of its support from purchases at the store and donations. Louie is a great host, and an absolute delight to chat with! Plan to spend considerable time there. You'll learn a lot... and enjoy every minute of it! One thing: If you buy sodas at the Ballarat General Store, and plan to drink them out of the cans, ask Louie to skip the ice and cups. Drinkable water is scarce and I'd rather see it go to someone who really needs it! Also, Louie had a couple of dogs tied on the front porch of the General Store. They'll bark at your arrival, so you and your companions best be ready for them. Tell Louie that the Ham Radio operator from Virginia who visited back June with his wife and young daughter asked you to say hello and give him our best wishes.



    : Bodie: Before I visited Bodie, the only Ghost Towns I'd ever visited were Rhyolite & Carrara in Nevada. Compared to those two, Bodie is simply awesome! I cannot describe with mere words what an experience visiting Bodie is. You've got to go there. Mornings or afternoons will probably be best this time of year.



    : Suggestions:



    : Be absolutely certain of the condition of your car. Especially so climbing in/out of Death Valley. We had a Chevy Lumina which had extreme difficulty with the trek out of Stovepipe Wells. That car just couldn't breathe! Best speed was 35 mph at times. That car actually scared us that we would be stuck in the desert. Be safe. Check your car first!



    : In case of ermergency, carry sufficient water and food. For my wife, daughter (age 4), and I, we carried seven gallons of drinking water and about a two-day supply of food.

    :

    : Don't depend on your cellphone in case of emergency. Our portable phone was useless. Next time, I'm carrying an amateur radio 2-meter band HT, amplifier, and antenna. I understand Ham Radio coverage is excellent out there, especially in and around the Ridgecrest area. If you don't have a Technician class amateur radio license, consider getting one and the equipment if you like doing this kind of travelling. The range is better than CB or cellular, and you are likely to more likely to reach someone. Although I've been a "Ham" for 22 years, this was the first domestic trip since getting my license that I left my gear at home. Not ever again!



    : If you go to Bodie, I suggest you stay in Bridgeport. It's a nice town to really decompress in. We stayed at the Best Western Ruby Inn. However, call well ahead to make reservations. There's a very limited supply of motel rooms in Bridgeport. As for dining in Bridgeport, I give my highest recomendation for The Sportsmen Inn. Both supper and breakfast were excellent values, and they like children! If you run into Jess in there (you'll see him pictured with his family on a large portrait which hangs by the kitchen), tell him taht the guy from Virginia with the little girl who had Shriley Temple curls says hi! Oh yes, portions at The Sportsmen Inn are huge! Definitely bring an appetite!!!



    : On our trip, we went near Randsburg (didn't visit as we spent too much time sightseeing already) and got to see the right-of-way of a "Ghost Railroad"! It was interesting visiting Trona, as well.



    : One thing about your trip: Expect to pay serious near-European gas prices. Being used to paying $1.12 in Northern Virginia (and about the same in Sacramento), be prepared to pay in the $2.00/gallon range in the area you're planning to tarvel. Also, be prepared for gas stations requiring either pay in advance or leaving your credit/ATM card with them before you fill the tank.



    : In a nutshell, Doug: Go to Ballarat and Bodie. Bring plenty of film. The trip will be well worth it! Just remember to bring plenty of film!



    : -John

    : longleaf@pop.erols.com



    :

    : : I am planning a trip up Highway 395 in August (yes, I'm braving the heat). I have considered a side trip to Ballarat, Darwin and Keeler. Are these towns worth a visit? What other towns in the area do you recommend?



    : : Doug




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    Default Re: Death Valley area (typos corrected!)

    Originally posted by John Pinckney


    : Doug:



    : We visited Bodie, Rhyolite, and Ballarat during our recent trip West. Comments (in reverse order!):



    : Ballarat: Definitely worth a visit. Try to get there in the early morning otherwise it's going to be extremely hot! Stop in at the General Store/Museum. Ballarat is privately owned, and probably gets most (if not all) of its support from purchases at the store and donations. Louie is a great host, and an absolute delight to chat with! Plan to spend considerable time there. You'll learn a lot... and enjoy every minute of it! One thing: If you buy sodas at the Ballarat General Store, and plan to drink them out of the cans, ask Louie to skip the ice and cups. Drinkable water is scarce and I'd rather see it go to someone who really needs it! Also, Louie had a couple of dogs tied on the front porch of the General Store. They'll bark at your arrival, so you and your companions best be ready for them. Tell Louie that the Ham Radio operator from Virginia who visited back June with his wife and young daughter asked you to say hello and give him our best wishes.



    : Bodie: Before I visited Bodie, the only Ghost Towns I'd ever visited were Rhyolite & Carrara in Nevada. Compared to those two, Bodie is simply awesome! I cannot describe with mere words what an experience visiting Bodie is. You've got to go there. Mornings or afternoons will probably be best this time of year.



    : Suggestions:



    : Be absolutely certain of the condition of your car. Especially so climbing in/out of Death Valley. We had a Chevy Lumina which had extreme difficulty with the trek out of Stovepipe Wells. That car just couldn't breathe! Best speed was 35 mph at times. That car actually scared us that we would be stuck in the desert. Be safe. Check your car first!



    : In case of ermergency, carry sufficient water and food. For my wife, daughter (age 4), and I, we carried seven gallons of drinking water and about a two-day supply of food.

    :

    : Don't depend on your cellphone in case of emergency. Our portable phone was useless. Next time, I'm carrying an amateur radio 2-meter band HT, amplifier, and antenna. I understand Ham Radio coverage is excellent out there, especially in and around the Ridgecrest area. If you don't have a Technician class amateur radio license, consider getting one and the equipment if you like doing this kind of travelling. The range is better than CB or cellular, and you are likely to more likely to reach someone. Although I've been a "Ham" for 22 years, this was the first domestic trip since getting my license that I left my gear at home. Not ever again!



    : If you go to Bodie, I suggest you stay in Bridgeport. It's a nice town to really decompress in. We stayed at the Best Western Ruby Inn. However, call well ahead to make reservations. There's a very limited supply of motel rooms in Bridgeport. As for dining in Bridgeport, I give my highest recomendation for The Sportsman's Inn. Both supper and breakfast were excellent values, and they like children! If you run into Jess in there (you'll see him pictured with his family on a large portrait which hangs by the kitchen), tell him that the guy from Virginia with the little girl who had Shriley Temple curls says hi! Oh yes, portions at The Sportsman's Inn are huge! Definitely bring an appetite!!!



    : On our trip, we went near Randsburg (didn't visit as we spent too much time sightseeing already) and got to see the right-of-way of a "Ghost Railroad"! It was interesting visiting Trona, as well.



    : One thing about your trip: Expect to pay serious near-European gas prices. Being used to paying $1.12 in Northern Virginia (and about the same in Sacramento), be prepared to pay in the $2.00/gallon range in the area you're planning to tarvel. Also, be prepared for gas stations requiring either pay in advance or leaving your credit/ATM card with them before you fill the tank.



    : In a nutshell, Doug: Go to Ballarat and Bodie. The trip will be well worth it! Just remember to bring plenty of film!



    : -John

    : longleaf@pop.erols.com



    :

    : : I am planning a trip up Highway 395 in August (yes, I'm braving the heat). I have considered a side trip to Ballarat, Darwin and Keeler. Are these towns worth a visit? What other towns in the area do you recommend?



    : : Doug




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