Day 5 – Homestake Dry Camp to Eureka Springs Dry Camp

Tuesday Dec 28th, 2021

Homestake Dry Camp – Lippincott Rd/Pass (3.1 mi – 13 mins)
Lippincott Rd – Saline Valley Rd (14.5 mi – 1 hr)
Saline Valley Rd – Boxcar Cabin (10.3 mi – 29 mins)
Boxcar Cabin – Panamint Springs (19 mi – 32 mins)
Panamint Springs – Stove Pipe Wells  (31 mi – 32 mins) Lunch
Stove Pipe Wells – Crankshaft Junction {aka Bishop Union Elementary} (64.4 mi – 1.6 hrs)
Crankshaft Junction – Eureka Dunes Dry Camp (22 mi – 1 hr)

CAMPING Eureka Springs Dry Camp

Totals: 164 mi – 5.2 hrs

Homestake Dry Camp was our night’s camping spot, another beautiful COLD night, before running off that morning we met a nice couple from Portland, OR camped just behind us, and funny enough they were headed to our next destination to camp again in Eureka Dunes Campground. However they were choosing to backtrack to Stovepipe for fuel and then go out to the dunes, as they weren’t sure they could make it over the pass in their pick-up. So we said our see ya laters and proceeded to start our day. I noticed just before starting out and up over Lipincott Pass, the right front RCV orange globe had cracked due to the extreme temps, Mandi said she had some duct tape and proceeds to hand me some WHITE duct tape (White??? Whatever)…

We had read that Lipincott Pass could be especially challenging in the winter but took our chances anyway. Initially (as listed in our itenerary) we checked the map and didn’t like the idea of circling back around some 85 miles of pavement we had already covered, and decided to duck out to Lone Pine and jump back in the park above Big Pine. This looked like we’d save a bunch of time and could fuel outside the park (remember I run Supreme and they only sell regular), and we’d only have like 24 miles on the tank instead of 85.  Since we were saving time I had high hopes of maybe checking out the town of Cerro Gordo, it was only 8 miles up form Keeler on our way to Lone Pine.

We started up and over Lipincott with no real issues other than it was cold and slow going a couple of hours passed and we had to help a guy get up from the otherside, and we found ourselves on Saline Valley Road (a freeway to the locals heading to the hot springs up north), we turned south to go up over the pass and noticed a storm was brewing, we knew that we might see some snow so we tried to hustle but Saline Valley Road was the worst washboard I’ever driven for miles it just jarred you tooth right down to the roots. Pro Tip – take spare dentures if you venture this way.

Now before heading south I had mixed up my maps in my head and thought that the NE exit from Cerro Gordo connected to Saline Valley Rd, but with weather moving in we thankfully headed south over the pass and found quite a bit of fresh snow on the way out. I’m glad I didn’t try the other route, both because of weather and later realizing they don’t join up, there’s another mountain range between them. The sun was dropping and we still had over an hour according to our mapping to get where we were going so we skipped Cerro Gordo and headed straight into Lone Pine for fuel and tried to find a place to eat, about 15 mins later we found a place and we grabbed a delicious dinner.

Then we were once again heading north for Big Pine, a fuel top off and then back into the park. We followed the mapping which no surprise took us up over a 7500 ft pass and back down to Eureka Dunes way after dark. Mandi did really well, as the last hour we were running on an ice slick all the way down into the park. We saw our friends from Portland had made it long before us (never take short cuts), and quickly set-up camp for the night and then we took in the night sky and tried our Astro photography skills in the dark skies.

I guess due to the fact that we were all over thhe place with few stops we didn’t snap many photos today.