Trip to Death Valley - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Camping | Places, Gear and Planning > Trips and Travel Planning
Click Here to Login
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-26-2015, 08:52 PM   #1
Senior Member
MyronL's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Edgewood, New Mexico
Trailer: 2013 Esc19/'14 Silvrado
Posts: 2,829
Trip to Death Valley

Whatís the lowest place on the continent? Answer: Badwater Basin, Death Valley, CA. 282 feet below sea level. Got a tee shirt that confirms it. January, towed the trailer to Death Valley National Park. High summer it is so hot there they close it down, and, do the same for much of southern Arizona. Then, just too hot. Donít exactly know why Death Valley landed on my bucket list. Iím not a passionate rock and rubble lover. OK, so the glaciers came, and then they left. Donít study rifts. Got over my horny toad infatuation in í52. No air conditioner. January seemed right. Also wanted to see Quartzsite, AZ, and, oh yes, another place I heard much about, Las Vegas. Yeah, Las Vegas. Everyone needs a little decadence in life, right? My bucket list for January was set.

For Nancy, not so much. She had visions of blinding January snowstorms on I-40. Blinding snowstorms? After revealing our route would take us to the warm south, down to Tucson and to Phoenix, where her three old friends had moved, she came around. We were westbound 12 January, packed with Bertolli dinners, water, a few beers, propane, ice chest, solar panels, DVDís, Gaviscon, and Ben. I did not de-winterize. No sink was deemed needed. Instead, kept 5 gallon jug of water on the floor of the necessary room. What joy, packed and pulling out of the driveway that morning, taking the scenic southern route from the Duke City to Death Valley.

Our first stop for the night was Sagebrush Mobil Home Park, 7 PM, off I-10, Willcox, AZ. Earlier had passed up a few suspiciously Purgatorial RV spots. Sagebrush was friendly, spotless, heated restrooms, coffee and TV in the lounge, $15 no hookups. This clearly a refuge for wintering old snowbirds and, though very far from Death Valley, an easy drive to Tombstone.

The next day, after visiting people in Tucson we found Tucson Mountain State Park, $20 with electricity, water. Beautiful place, where our spot was across the street from Ron of Ontario, whoíd been touring with his Escape 17 since November. The campground is called Gilbert Ray Campground and is south of Saguaro National Park (west). Highly recommend.

Finally, Quartzsite, AZ, 19 miles from California. The trailer-manís place to congregate, itís the BLM field of your bad dreams, a grizzled party plate for random, haphazard free-life camping. Quartzsite town has acres of tables filled with silly yard sale junk. Browsed until I spotted a rusty 10 inch cast iron fry pan, but for thirty bucks? All the concessionaires look like Gabby Hayes. The BLM acreage south of I-10 I thought is a great place to circle the wagons, light a big bonfire to keep the snakes away and hope the Calvary gets there soon. What do a hundred WalMart parking lots jammed together look like a hundred years after all life on the planet had ceased? No need to ask. See Quartzsite. On the other, north side of I-10 a few miles from the junk tables was the High Jolly 14 day BLM. It looked acceptable. You park anywhere. The price, free, was appropriate. Back in town had lunch at the funky Grubstake Restaurant with neighbor-back-home Charlie, who winters in the area. The fried clams and fish and chips were good. A couple hours later, so was the Gaviscon.

That cold night watched a 2 hr DVD movie in the trailer. Next morning inverter display showed 12.7 v. At Parker I pulled into a Pilot because something in my head said check the tires. Down to 30+ pounds. We had been averaging 13.5 mpg. Air cost me 8 quarters. Past Lake Havasu glimpsed a 21 passing us, later stopped at the Railroad Pass Casino for supper, won fifteen bucks. We overnighted there.

Charlie had said when in Las Vegas the Circus Circus casino had nice RV parking. Itís free with no hookups, but $50/night with full. Towing through this city for the first time can be a trial because you want to stop and park nearly everywhere but you canít. We drove in total awe towing the length of the Las Vegas main drag, then came back, gawked more, and parked at Circus Circus beside a Montana. Or was it the Bismarck? Dehitched, drove over to the casino garage and inside for lunch, wandered about, bought a Las Vegas Tee shirt, lost fifteen bucks, but did not stay. I simply must come back and see more here next time. Gassed up now, and on to Pahrump.

Best advice before final leg into Death Valley is top off the tank. On Belle Vista Avenue a few miles west of Pahrump it was $1.79. In mid-valley, gas at Furnace Creek Ranch was $3.41/gallon. I should mention every amenity at Furnace Creek Ranch is expensive. An unheated shower room is 5 bucks. By 4 PM the nice Furnace Creek Campground was already filled. Plenty of room for us across the street (at bare bones) Sunset Campground. $6/night with senior pass. Restrooms unheated, Spartan, clean.

Sunset was the perfect place to try out my 100 watt portable solar panel kit. Decided to slide the heavy panels up onto the trailer roof. Had to stand on the tongue frame. Outdoor 4x6í carpet with the rubber backing protected gel coat, made the push less difficult. Solar panels worked just fine despite not much sunshine. Must say I enjoyed touring up and down the valley, taking washboard roads to hidden canyons and driving 4-wheel-drive-only places. On one I noticed the car 400 yards behind me beeping and flashing so I stopped. My tailgate hadnít been securely shut and the ice chest flew out, got laid open in the road. Lesson learned. After that, locking tailgate shut every time.

Total trip miles, 2,394. Towing, 2,177 miles. Base towing average, 13.9 mpg. Stopped for gas eight times. I used cruise control constantly, towing usually at 61-64 mph. Coming home to New Mexico on I-40, the northern route, yes, thatís right, we got hit with a blinding snowstorm.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DV-B093A.jpg (109.5 KB, 42 views)

"A billion here, a billion there...add it all up and before you know it you're talking real money." Everett Dirkson
MyronL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2015, 09:07 PM   #2
Senior Member
gbaglo's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B - "Toad". '08 Toyota RAV4 V6
Posts: 13,524
Wonderful trip report. More pix please.


2009 Escape 17B "Toad"
2008 Toyota RAV4 V6 Sport
North Vancouver, British Columbia

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
gbaglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2015, 09:11 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SLO County CA, California
Trailer: 2014 21
Posts: 3,330
Nice synopsis of Quartzite; knew I didn't want to go there. Gilbert Rey Campground rocks!
Rossue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2015, 09:35 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North Van., British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19, sold; 2019 Escape 21, Sept. 2019
Posts: 4,730
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post

What do a hundred WalMart parking lots jammed together look like a hundred years after all life on the planet had ceased?
You're write-ups are a hoot

Great account of your trip, loved it.

Ron in BC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2015, 10:13 PM   #5
Senior Member
Greggo's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Solvang, California
Trailer: 2016 21' Escape (usetaowna a 19, a Burro and 2 Casitas)
Posts: 804
Love the meander. Nice to read a trip report that didn't sound like it was written by the Chamber of Commerce!
Greggo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2015, 10:32 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Portland metro, Oregon
Trailer: Escape 17B, 2012
Posts: 139
Great write-up. We loved Death Valley in March. Perfect weather, Furnace Creek swimming pool/shower felt so good. You're right, though, a little spendy for a shower. There is so much to see we may go back. Marble Canyon, the dunes, Badwater…all fun to explore. We exited the valley heading west to the Sierras. That was an experience going up and then down…I think it was 8-9% down grade (sounds like a lot and it was) for miles and miles. We stopped a few times with other RVs just to cool our engines and trannies. It did create a temporary camaraderie among us!
Eric and Linda
2012 17B, 2017 Honda Ridgeline
holo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2015, 11:09 PM   #7
Site Team
rbryan4's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Canyon Lake, Texas
Trailer: 2015 19 "Past Tents", 2018 F150 2.7L Ecoboost
Posts: 9,439
Thank you for the report Myron. Informative and entertaining as always.
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy an RV. And that is pretty close."
rbryan4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2015, 12:19 AM   #8
Senior Member
dfandrews's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Ventura County, California
Trailer: 2015 Escape 17A -- "The Pullman"
Posts: 1,801
Thanks, Myron.
Your narrative brought back memories of our one-year anniversary trip 36 yrs. ago. We camped at Death Valley after Christmas and into January. It was (and is) beautiful in the winter. I do remember that at night it was below freezing so we ended up sleeping in my 56 VW (hey, we were newlyweds, any thing was possible). Frozen condensation on the inside in the morning.

By the way, the reference to Gabby Hayes characters was great, but probably too far back for most on the forum.
Don & Teresa
2015 17A: 2011 Honda Pilot
In Orbe Terrum Non Visi / RLTW
dfandrews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2015, 07:39 AM   #9
Site Team
cpaharley2008's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Chilliwack, British Columbia
Trailer: Escape#4, 2019 Escape21 DejaView pulled by 2014 Ram Hemi/8sp
Posts: 19,178
Thanks Myron,
How did your refer perform during the trip?
It is not the years in your life but the life in your years Lincoln
cpaharley2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2015, 09:08 AM   #10
Senior Member
MyronL's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Edgewood, New Mexico
Trailer: 2013 Esc19/'14 Silvrado
Posts: 2,829
The refer worked well, never an issue, 3 dots on propane all the way, 38į F then jumping to 41į after opening the door. Outside temps never higher than high 60's F. Depended, however, mostly on the ice chest kept in truck.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DV-B016.jpg (62.0 KB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg DV-B074.jpg (68.7 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg DV-B097.jpg (114.6 KB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg DV-B062.jpg (39.3 KB, 47 views)

"A billion here, a billion there...add it all up and before you know it you're talking real money." Everett Dirkson
MyronL is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Escape Trailer Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:50 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.