The goal of this trip (done in February 1998) was to visit the Eureka Dunes and spend some time camped there, using it as a base to explore this more remote part of the park.
We'd spent the previous night camped on the wash shoulder at the entrance to Marble and Cottonwood Canyons.
The trail head is a couple of miles down the road to Ubehebe Crater.
Washboard - lots of washboard. The round trip consists of about 100 miles of washboard. The road can be seen below (it looks the same either going to, or returning from the Dunes.
I don't remember what the posted speed limit is, but I do remember that you get a better ride at illegal speeds (i.e. you don't loose your fillings).
After 35 miles or so of 'washboard' you come to Crankshaft Crossing.
The road now starts up a fairly steep, narrow, winding (Not scaring you am I?) road. In dry conditions it's a breeze (Similar to Titus Canyon), but in winter, with snow and mud it needed 4-hi.
At the crest of the mountain is Crater, an active (Sure) sulfur mine. Take my advice. If it's been raining or snowing, stay in your truck. The ground turns to gumbo at Crater.
After Crater, a paved road (which served Crater) runs down to the Dunes turn off. On the right as you descend, you'll see the remains of a small Uranium mine.
Turn left to visit the Eureka Dunes
When we visited in February 1998, it was wet and windy. There was standing water everywhere in the parking lot.
As you can see from below, we were the only folks there.
The Dunes are really big, over 700ft in places.
But it *was* so cold (primarily due to the wind)
We decided that we'd head back to our previous camp site. So back up to Crater, and down the slippery, steep, winding hill. It was at this point that the rear brakes on my F150 decided to quit. Later Ford said that the adjusters had frozen. Hmmm, not fun I can tell you. And I nearly forgot, another pounding from almost 50 miles of washboard :-(
So we make it back to the Marble/Cottonwood site, but where are Susan's foglamps and why is my brushguard loose. It seems that 100 miles of washboard have taken their toll on the hardware. So I fix the loose bolts (apply new LocTite) and we share a joke about Susan's missing foglamps, which have suffered metal fatigue in their mounting brackets (Ford ended up replacing them, twice).
Needless to say we slept well that night.