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Planning to drive through Death Valley on July 19

Planning to drive through Death Valley on July 19

Old Jul 9th, 2014, 12:05 PM
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Planning to drive through Death Valley on July 19

Our family is planning to drive from Yosemite to Las Vegas via Death valley on July 19. My parents (65+) with heart problem are going to travel with us and our daughter is 5 yr old.

Just want to have opinion from this forum, is it safe to drive through death valley in month on July? We are not planning to stop any where, just driving in A/C car.

This is our first trip to DV. Your opinion will be helpful

Thanks
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 12:14 PM
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If you do this make sure everything on the car is in good shape, that you have plenty of water and some food in the car and be sure to stay on the highway - no wandering off it at all.

Frankly I don't get why to do this in midsummer - but I would be prepared for a potential problem even though chances are minute.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 12:23 PM
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We've done it a couple times with no problems. You can stop in Furnace Creek Ranch for lunch or refreshments.

HTtY
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 12:39 PM
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Thanks for your reply. Do you have a route suggest that covers most scenic route?

We will leave Lee Vining early morning (6ish) and plan to reach LV late evening (8ish). That means I can at least drive for 8hrs.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 01:04 PM
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It's ok to do it once - and suggest you have a cooler with ice in it just in case you do break down, and some umbrellas for shade/or similiar - as you don't want to be sitting in the car if it's inoperable.

Actually - with someone along who has heart problems and a five year old - I might consider doing it another time v. in the middle of the scorching hot summer. Think it was 113 in the shade/by the visitor's center - when we went through a few years ago.

As for scenery - pretty much burnt rock IMO - yet some love it. To each therir own.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 01:08 PM
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And fyi - nonstop - from Lee Vinning to Las Vegas - is about six hours driving/374 miles. see: http://www.distancesfrom.com/us/dist...ry/278147.aspx

Again - make sure the car is in very good condition - with the a/c recently serviced/working well.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 01:19 PM
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I picked out July 13 on the forecast just for unlucky purposes. The high that day is 117 with a low of 90. High 10 days out from now is 116.

It would be a shame to go through DV and not stop. Your 5 year old will hate it. Frankly, everyone will. It is a great park, but you've got to get out of your car to experience it. We did, but that was January 1st and winter is when you want to go.

I've been to 40 US National Parks, the only death I've actually witnessed was in DV.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 01:35 PM
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I've never done the drive but...the shortest route appears to
Vegas is US-95. To drive through Death Valley would entail a detour on Hwy 374 at Beatty to 190 inside the park. I don't remember the drive from Beatty into the park as anything special.

I would think the more scenic route would be Hwy 395 south through Bishop, then meet up with Hwy 190 on the west side of Death Valley. Stay on 190 until you get to Badwater Road and take that at least down to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. That drive will take you into the heart of Death Valley and while it will certainly be hot, it shouldn't be an issue with your car. I'd stop and have a family pic at the sign marking the lowest point.

You could continue south on Badwater Road to exit the park, but I would go back north to 190 and exit that way. I don't think there's much to see south of Badwater Basin and I believe that stretch of road sees less traffic so if you do have any car issues you are less likely to have someone come along to help. And speaking of that, absolutely do not attempt to walk for help if the car breaks down, you will not make it very far in that heat. Stay in the shade and wait for someone to drive by.

Also on that note, Las Vegas is only about 10 degrees cooler so expect temps in the lower 100s there. It only cools off into the mid to upper 80s at night so you'll need to be cautious there as well. Walking up and down the Strip is probably not a good idea.

You don't need to rush to get to Death Valley since you have so much extra time to work with. Enjoy the eastern side of the Sierras, spend a few hours driving in and through Death Valley, then maybe make a little detour through Red Rock Canyon outside Vegas.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 01:48 PM
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Do you have a route suggest that covers most scenic route?

If you can make it to Bishop for the night, that would give you a shorter distance on the day you drive through Death Valley. There is a good Best Western in Bishop and a Chinese restaurant. The Japanese restaurant is better, if that appeals to your five-year-old.

Two of our favorite attractions in DV are Artists Palette and Zabriskie Point. Drive the direct route from Lee Vining (or Bishop) to Furnace Creek. Before or after lunch, drive to Artists Palette (which is on a one-way road), return to Furnace Creek and from the to Zabriskie Point. Exit the park at Death Valley Junction and from there take the direct route to Las Vegas.

HTtY
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 02:32 PM
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I generally agree with WhereAreWe's post. A few details.

Take 395 south to Lone Pine. Stop there briefly for a look at the peak of Mt. Whitney, then take 136 to its junction with 190. Continue to Furnace Creek (DV Headquarters). This is the "Death Valley Scenic Byway". See:

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/byways/2176

Stop at the Ranger Station to get a map, etc. Do your sight seeing, then go back to 190 to leave the park. At Zabriskie point, stop for a look back at the valley. Great photo op. Then to Las Vegas.

My wife and I have toured the Southwest deserts in the heat of summer several times over the years, because that was the time that we had available! You can't always pick the ideal season.

We always carry and use umbrellas. Much more effective than a hat of any kind. If you get any comments, they're likely to be along the lines of "Gee, I wish I'd thought of that.

When you leave your car for more for an extended time, cover the steering wheel and seats with towels or something, particularly if they are plastic or leather.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 02:57 PM
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>>My parents (65+) with heart problem are going to travel with us and our daughter is 5 yr old.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 07:17 PM
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I replied to a previous thread that I will repost here. I went across DV in May this year. It was 110 on the thermometer at the ranger station. Is it safe you ask? Yes. Is it uncomfortable? YES. Food, water, shade, and common sense is a must.

"Another important thing to mention is that there are 2 areas on that road where you need to turn off your air conditioning for about 20 miles each time so your car doesn't overheat. That's 20-30 minutes of cranky kids because they might not understand the reasoning. There were no less than 3 cars pulled over with their hoods up who must of thought the warning didn't apply to them. lol. The heat was difficult for those 20 miles, but the thought of standing on the sand in that searing sun waiting for my car to cool off or help to arrive made it tolerable."
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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I have never had the problems these folks have had crossing Death Valley in the summer. We are cautious, but not trepidacious.

HTtY
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Old Jul 10th, 2014, 03:54 AM
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Just remember the old Boy Scouts' motto: Be prepared!!!!!!

Nature doesn't always deal you the easy hand - so it's the potentially unusual/somewhat rare situation you have to plan to deal with - should it happen.

Again - doubt the young one will be that enthralled looking at burnt rock.

And as noted - the earlier you get thru DV - the cooler-better. I would leave at oh dark thirty - and try to greet the sunrise on the way.
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 12:40 PM
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Thanks all for your reply and guidance...

As of now I have
Plan A - US 395 > Furnace Visitor Center > Zabriskie point > Death Valley Junction > LV

Plan B - US 395 > CA 168 > CA 266 > US 95 > LV

Plan B is mainly because of extreme weather prediction on July 19, I doubt my family can enjoy in 122F/50C weather. Don't want to take any chances in extreme weather, as it is just my day2 of total 10 days of road-trip. Doesn't make sense to spoil complete trip just because of 1 day.

If anyone ever been on Plan B route, let me know if I have to cautious on that route. I understand their is nothing much then driving on that route.
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 10:36 PM
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At this point, weather.com is predicting a high of 113F/45C in Death Valley and 104F/40C in Las Vegas on July 19-20, with a low chance of thunderstorms in LV just before the weekend.

Ugh. I'd skip both, but I suppose the stop after Las Vegas is the Grand Canyon.

FWIW, in that area, desert is desert. IMO Death Valley doesn't look any different than the scenery along 95.

I would take 120 east from Lee Vining, then 264/266 to 95 to Las Vegas.
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Old Jul 12th, 2014, 03:30 AM
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Just read that David Legeno(Harry Potter actor) was found dead in Death Valley near Zabriski Point from apparent heat related issues. I think he was found yesterday(Friday)
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Old Jul 12th, 2014, 05:00 AM
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http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrit...potter-3845675

Actor dies while hiking in Death Valley.

Don't hike.

Bring lots of water.
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Old Jul 12th, 2014, 07:50 AM
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What a shame . . .

Zabriski Point is a MUST . . . . but NOT in the summer, and NOT hiking. Why don't people take it seriously when they hear Death Valley - It ain't a theme park.
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Old Jul 12th, 2014, 12:41 PM
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As you can tell from the majority of the responses, you can experience Death Valley on your way to Las Vegas with some limitations on your activities.

I have some comments suggested by a few of the points raised in the the thread.

The Death Valley Scenic Byway is not a "digression". It's the main road (190) in and out of the valley.

Nowhere did you say you planned to hike, yet several of the posts warned about the dangers of doing so.

Death Valley did not get its name because it gets so hot. Here's the story right from the NPS web page.

"Death Valley was given its forbidding name by a group of pioneers lost here in the winter of 1849-1850. Even though, as far as we know, only one of the group died here, they all assumed that this valley would be their grave. They were rescued by two of their young men, William Lewis Manly and John Rogers, who had learned to be scouts. As the party climbed out of the valley over the Panamint Mountains, one of the men turned, looked back, and said "goodbye, Death Valley." This name, and the story of The Lost '49ers have become part of our western history."

The hiker who was recently found dead was in a labyrinthine area visible from Zabriskie Point, but not all that close. I've been in that area and suspect he got lost. It's a maze. Zabriskie Point itself is right next to hwy 190 as you exit the park to the east.
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