I really want to try this out because the off road experience is very exciting.RacerZX wrote:...or, new to me at least. After a bunch of work getting her ready to leave the pavement and civilization behind, last weekend we headed to Death Valley National Park in South-Eastern California for a shakedown cruise:
A picture is worth a thousand words, and many and more pictures are here:
http://plus.google.com/photos/113399699 ... 0372688801
The new Pathie handled the trip beautifully, whether it be gobbling up the highway miles in comfort, blitzing well groomed dirt off road tours las vegas rallye car style, tiptoeing through the rocks, or serving as our "tent" Saturday night at the dunes, it was all simply excellent. MPG could have been better of course, especially with the roof rack, the computer indicated about 12MPG total. We did however strap 10 gallons of extra fuel to the roof, so the only butt-pucker when running low came from our wallets (and we didn't end up using the reserve at all actually).
We tackled Steel Pass on this trip, a 30 mile shortcut between the dunes at the south end of the Eureka Valley and the hot springs in the Saline Valley. According to my off-road map it has a stretch that is rated as "high clearance short wheelbase 4x4 required", the most advanced rating given. I'd never tried this grade before, I was worried it was something only for mean hopped up little Jeeps, so it was with no small amount of caution that we approached this challenge.
Turned out it was mostly a non-issue really. The hard part is a series of 4 "steps" at the very northern end of the pass, which as we came south from the dunes was our first and most difficult obstacle. You can see some pics in the gallery, it's several steps of several feet of abrupt elevation change in a tight little wash with high rock walls on each side. Traction was easy, Nissan's ABLS rocks, and I only picked up a front wheel once. Also ground clearance was not a problem, never came close to hitting anything. As long as you picked your path and tire locations carefully it was straightforward (and having a guide you trust was infinitely helpful, thank you dear! ). One step however was SUPER narrow, zero inches to spare on each side at the tires, and at shoulder level a rock wall just a few inches away from your body work ready to mash your paint from any unwise body motions. Of course those more interesting moments were, well, interesting, so we didn't take any pictures or video of it, doh, After those steps it was comparatively easy, though slow going at times, so those 30 miles took almost 3 hours to traverse.
Here's a google maps link to the cords for the steps of Steel Pass:http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.058242 ... 13&vpsrc=0
Video of a steep little section of 'test your ABLS' trail from somewhere in the middle of Steel Pass:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuje0wQddH8
Also here's a link to the thread on the time lapse video I shot of Titus Canyon:http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?t=6851
And if you're curious what mods I've done to the truck, here's the thread for that too: http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?t=6624
And lastly, what would you do after hiking up a several hundred foot tall sand dune? Yeah, us too