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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

Long time lurker but thought I would post a few pics from my short trip from the Ballarat ghost town in Panamint Valley to the barker Ranch via the Goler wash. I was a bit concerned given the ground clearance and street tires by the MDX held up like a champ and had no issues of note. While I am crazy, I am not stupid and we had a full set of recovery gear and food and water for 2 weeks in the event I got stuck.

Barker Ranch is the last hiding spot of Charles Manso and its where he was caught. It is located just in the boundries of Death Valley NP. It is not a one way trip if you are inclined, but past barker, the Megrel Pass needs legit ground clearance.

Once past the gold mine you begin up the wash. Its a narrow snaking road with high walls on either side and room for once vehicle at a time. The first part near the waterfall was the worst. SLow and stedy on the throttle plus the excellent SH pulled me through the steep rutted and rocky section. Once past that it was much easier and slow was the order of the day. While it was mostly unimproved dirt trails, the center was built up so ground clearance was an issue. Aside from that it was a fantastic trip and I had alot of fun getting out there. Tons of interesting flora and fauna like Desert Sheep, rabbits, and donkeys.

Fred
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Thanks for posting those great photos. It sounds like a truly enjoyable trip. Did you camp while there?

I did a bunch of trails in Death Valley and the surrounding areas only it was in a new Jeep Cherokee - I actually left on the trip about 30 minutes after I received the Jeep. This was a Jeep XJ which is very capable even with no mods.

The Death Valley area is great and highly scenic. In the general vicinity is the ghost town Bodie - which is worth going to. I 4 wheeled it there thru much snow on a closed road the first time I went but the next time was summer and the road is an easy graded dirt road any vehicle can handle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey mdxstang,

I did not camp there. My main hobby and reason for being there was aviation photography. I went on Sunday April 4th. and after spending part of the day there I exited and drove to Manzanar. I started my day at 3am in the SF Bay Area so was pretty tired at that point. It does look like a cool place to camp. But the warnings against going in the summer are well heeded. It was about 85 degrees at Barker and closer to 100 near Ballarat.

Awesome that you literally went off the lot with the XJ. I a neighbor that has a tricked out Gladiator Mojave and its seen a few muddy puddles lol. I have been to Bodie and its pretty cool. Never in the winter though.

I primarily plane spot in Panamint but I am looking at heading up to Saline Springs next time.

Cheers
 

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I've seen some of the photos by the military plane spotters that go to that area to shoot their photos - there are some great shots. It was evident from the photos you posted that you're no casual snap and shooter.

I camped there during a Christmas break so no heat to worry about although it got pretty cold in the tent at night but during the day it was perfect weather.

I had that Jeep in a lot of places 4 wheeling - Death Valley, Mojave, Borrego Springs, Big Bear area, Utah around Canyonlands/Moab, Colorado around Ouray, Arizona, Nevada, and up north of you in the Oregon mountains. I wish I still had that vehicle.

But you make a good point in your post - the MDX, although not what I'd consider an 'off-roader' per se, is more than capable of heading off the tarmac and onto dirt roads and even trails as long as the ground clearance or steepness doesn't become an issue. There're no skid plates and no low range transfer case but it can still go a lot of areas.
 

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Fred what sort of tires do you have on your 2016 MDX ? Did you change the air pressure for the gravel and etc ? Great photos!!!
 
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