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46103Re: [John Muir Trail] Getting to the Muir Trail Ranch from Fresno...

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  • John Ladd
    Aug 19, 2014
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      I agree with Paul F that you want a very reliable car in well-maintained condition, as the cost of a break-down would be very high. 

      However, as he also says, you don't need particularly high clearance. I've done it a number of times in a 2010 Scion xD with 9 inch clearance and never felt the clearance was anywhere near a problem.

      It does take very steady nerves. Not for the timid driver. The worst problem is when a pickup approaches you towing a boat. Guess who gets to back up in that situation t the nearest wide point in the road, which can be 100 yards or more with a drop off to one side.

      I've never tried to do it with one of the crummy spares they equip cars with these days. However, the rick of a blowout is not particularly high on the road. 

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707

      On Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 5:37 PM, Paul Fretheim paulfretheim@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      I drove it a few weeks ago in a 25 year old 4Runner that is in good condition. No one should try to drive there in a car that is not in good condition. The belts should have been replaced within the past year. The battery must be reasonably new and in good condition. All fluids must be checked such as coolant in the radiator, oil in the engine, oil in the transmission and brake fluid should be checked. If the car is running good and all the stuff I mentioned is done it does not matter how old, within reason, the car is.

      The last 25 miles or so of the road (CA 168) that goes to Florence Lake is one narrow lane wide, and, although paved, is really bumpy and exposed in places.  A breakdown anywhere along that part of the road would be a major catastrophe. I would not be surprised to learn that towing fees would be in the thousands of dollars. The Forest Service would require the car be towed and would bill the car's registered owner and go to court, if necessary to collect payment.

      Don't take a car on that road that has a likely chance of breaking down. Allow 4 hours, each way, for the trip. Do not drive it in the dark!

      You need to pay close attention the whole way, but you do not have to have a high clearance vehicle. That said I would never drive any of my vehicles there other than my 4Runner. There is a large number of cars in a big lot at the end of the road and I saw cars with little weenie tires like a Honda Fit out there, but I think you have to be nuts to drive out there in a car with tires like that! I would never drive there with a car that does not have a full sized spare as opposed to those weenie spares newer cars have. I am not sure you could get out on a weenie spare if you had a flat tire.

      The last time I felt that isolated and remote I was in the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistani Kashmir.

      Paul Fretheim

      On Aug 19, 2014 4:38 PM, "alyssarainbolt@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      My friend is meeting me at Muir Trail Ranch. Is the road from Fresno really bad? She has an old car and I'm not sure it would make it over bad roads...

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