Death Valley 2011

Ted and Ella's Trip to Death Valley with the Northern California Land Rover Club

This spring, I had two weeks off from residency which corresponded with the Death Valley trip being put on by the Northern California Land Rover Club. I joined the club and started prepping for the trip. Over the past year, I have been slowly preparing the truck for some overlanding trips. I have upgraded tires, bought some armor including sliders, front steering guard, front axle guard, Safety Devices roof rack, brush bar and getting her all fixed up. She is a P38 Land Rover, so she has a few quirks, but I love her just the same. I also rewired the rear accessory plug to be constant 12V and built a custom storage unit with drawer slides for the ARB freezer/fridge for the trip.

Ella just turned 4 and we started talking about the trip and reading "Curious George Goes Camping." It was going to be our first father-daughter trip and we were going to be roughing it. The trip itself was broken down into two segments, the first starting Thursday and going through the weekend. The second half of the trip was extending through Friday. I figured that she could make it through the weekend and if we had to bail early, we had an exit strategy. Well, by the time we were ready to leave on Tuesday, she was crying because she did't want to leave!

So, we began preparing for the trip and I met up with Rob, another P38 owner in Elk Grove who was also going on his first trip with the NCLR group. We met up for a beer the week prior and had a great time talking shop. I was getting really excited.

Thursday morning arrived, and I was scrambling trying to get the gear organized in the truck and everything tied down. What started off as a meticulous organization strategy fell apart at the end as I just threw the remaining gear into the empty seats and off we went to Starbucks to meet Beaver and Rob (RGB). We were also planning on meeting the Suttles, but with three kids and two rigs, they were running about 6 hours delayed.

We jumped in the trucks and started our epic journey to Death Valley.

My custom storage unit with slider for ARB freezer/fridge. (pic without ARB tie-down)

We hit some snow going over the pass before dropping into South Lake Tahoe for some lunch. Ella loves her new purple flower chair from REI. Though she didn't use it very much on the trip because she was always running around!

Passing by Mono Lake

Finally arrived in Big Pine to stay at the Bristlecone Motel. A nice, inexpensive room for the night across from the diner we are meeting at tomorrow morning. Most of the group rolled in throughout the night.

We got showered up (last shower for a few days) and headed to a great breakfast while everyone rolled in. Here are some pics of the group before we headed into Death Valley. An anxious group of rovers ready for an overland adventure.

On the road and into the park from the north end on Big Pine road. The last pavement for a couple hundred miles

Airing down before we hit the many miles of washboards on the trip. I sure love the EAS air suspension on the P38 as it definitely helped smooth out the rough roads. Ella was already out picking flowers in the desert with her Easter basket

We hit Eureka Dunes which rise up about 400 feet and much bigger than they look from afar. We stopped to run around and play on the dunes. Ella enjoyed making sand-angels. It was getting warm, but thankfully at this time of year (April) it never got over mid-80s.

Another pic of my P38 Range Rover on the backside of the dunes.

A nice pic of Chuck's Disco II. Chuck was the trip leader and planned an incredible journey for us all. Thanks again Chuck!

We stopped at our first obstacle to take a look and let the rovers cool off. The P38 walked up without a hitch. We grabbed some lunch and Ella climbed on the rocks.

Some more pics:

Ella was enjoying herself climbing all over the rocks.

Climbing out of the canyon, a military jet buzzed up flying really low. It was very cool and very loud!

Ella taking her turn at the wheel. She is only 4, but will be driving before I know it!

We ventured on and stayed at the lower hot springs in the valley. Most of us didn't take a dip in the hot springs as clothing was optional and too many 'others' were enjoying themselves sans clothing. We camped out our first night and fought incredible winds all night. Thank goodness for earplugs.

More adventure awaits!
Death Valley 2011 - Day 2


Yosemite June 2010

Halloween 2008 Pics

October 2008 Pics

Summer 2008 Pics


4Runner Corral Hollow Pics

4Runner Slate Mountain Pics




Ella Newborn Pics







My Cars/Truck:

2001 Range Rover SE 4.6 - My adventure vehicle. I have always wanted a Land Rover and couldn't be happier with my Range Rover.

1990 325is (SOLD!)

Frankenbimmer - E30S52 - started life as a wimpy 1985 318i and now breathes fire with a 1998 M3 modified drivetrain and suspension.

Fred's 1988 M3 with the S52 motor we installed is featured in this months May 2007 Bimmer magazine. The article is Double Sixes

2003 4Runner - we had to get an SUV to haul around our babies, dog and cat. This is a great truck.