Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => The Backroads => Topic started by: EssBee777 on June 23, 2008, 05:44:03 PM

Title: High Clearance?
Post by: EssBee777 on June 23, 2008, 05:44:03 PM
Hello all:

I have a 2WD Honda CR-V crossover with stock tires. I think it barely qualifies as a high clearance vehicle. I did drive it to the end of Grapevine Hills Road. Someone warned me that I might not want to take this on the back roads such as River Road, Pine Canyon, etc.

I have had off road driving experience back in the days when I owned a real 4 wheeler, but I don't want to trash my vehicle. If I have to change a flat, well I guess I can deal with that.
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: RichardM on June 23, 2008, 06:11:03 PM
It all depends on the current weather conditions. River Road has been recently reworked courtesy of the National Guard, so barring any recent rains might be just fine for your CR-V. People have driven to Pine Canyon in much lower vehicles, but of course, that doesn't mean it was a good idea. As always, check in with the rangers at the visitor center for the latest conditions and advice. Expect them to be very conservative, because they really don't want to have to come get you after you break down. :icon_smile:
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: Casa Grande on June 24, 2008, 08:43:01 AM
Hello all:

I have a 2WD Honda CR-V crossover with stock tires. I think it barely qualifies as a high clearance vehicle. I did drive it to the end of Grapevine Hills Road. Someone warned me that I might not want to take this on the back roads such as River Road, Pine Canyon, etc.

I have had off road driving experience back in the days when I owned a real 4 wheeler, but I don't want to trash my vehicle. If I have to change a flat, well I guess I can deal with that.


The 2WD is not necessarily the problem here as much as it is clearance and the quality of the tires.  I would not attempt Black Gap, River Road, Pine Canyon, Juniper Canyon or Old Ore (although from the north section to about McKinney Spring would be OK, and recommended).  You should be good on Glenn Springs Road. 

Try lowering the pressure in your tires as well, it will help.  Make sure you have a full sized spare and I would recommend bringing along tire plugs and a 12V air pump.  But, as Richard says, check in with the Ranger Station and ask about the conditions of the road and pay attention to the forecast.  You are getting into the rainy season, things can take a turn for the dead worst if you aren't paying attention.
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: mountaindocdanny on June 24, 2008, 09:58:13 AM
Conditions do change, but I've done Pine Canyon in a 2WD CRV without a problem. Take it slow, because the stock tires are pretty thin walled.
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: mule ears on June 25, 2008, 05:49:59 AM
I have a similar question.  I am heading out in December, flying into San Antonio and renting a car.  For the trip I have planned I need to set a cache near the Terlinqua Abaja turnoff from the Old Maverick Rd. (or maybe all the way back near the campsites).  Can I get a passenger car down the Old Maverick Rd. the 3 miles  from the Santa Elena end to the turn off to TA or do I have to rent something more high clearance?  From pictures I have seen it looks like it can be done.  It is a matter of car rental cost and gas mileage (more on both accounts for a higher clearance vehicle).  I know the conditions do change but in general in Dec. what do you think? 
Thanks, Mule Ears
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: trtlrock on June 25, 2008, 08:14:15 AM
IMO 2WD is fine the entire length of Old Maverick including turning off to the TA campsites & going all the way to the camping cul-de-sac.  Main annoyance on Old Maverick is the washboarding.  Of course, any precipitation could change things dramatically...
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: RichardM on June 25, 2008, 08:20:54 AM
The road to the TA campsites was in a lot worse condition than Old Maverick when we were there in November 2005, but it was probably still driveable by most passenger cars.  We were in a 2WD Chevy Blazer and didn't have any problems.  There were a few ruts and one narrow section where you definitely didn't want to meet any oncoming traffic, but otherwise it wasn't too bad.
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: mule ears on June 25, 2008, 08:51:14 AM
IMO 2WD is fine the entire length of Old Maverick including turning off to the TA campsites & going all the way to the camping cul-de-sac.  Main annoyance on Old Maverick is the washboarding.  Of course, any precipitation could change things dramatically...

Quote
The road to the TA campsites was in a lot worse condition than Old Maverick when we were there in November 2005, but it was probably still driveable by most passenger cars.  We were in a 2WD Chevy Blazer and didn't have any problems.  There were a few ruts and one narrow section where you definitely didn't want to meet any oncoming traffic, but otherwise it wasn't too bad.

Thanks guys, that is what I had thought and yes, the last time I was on Old Maverick the washboarding was go bad that we turned around coming from the Study Butte end.
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: trtlrock on June 25, 2008, 09:23:37 AM
If anybody watches Top Gear they may remember an episode where the three guys each took a different old British Leyland beater through a series of fairly torturous tests.  One of the tests was a suspension test on a track specifically designed to torture the suspension.  Each of the drivers had a strainer filled with eggs suspended above their heads, and they were graded on how many grams of egg remained in the strainer (instead of dripping all over their heads & faces) & how many pieces of trim fell off the car.  The answers were:  a) not much, and b) lots.

This test could've been performed on Old Maverick Rd...
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: mountaindocdanny on June 25, 2008, 10:07:28 AM
As per RichardM the only part where you would need to exercise caution is going to the TA sites. The road winds around through some clay hills and I've been through there when its been pretty rough. Worse case scenario, you could get out and scout and if it's too rough just pack the water the rest of the way to your cache site.
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: SHANEA on June 25, 2008, 12:26:58 PM
If anybody watches Top Gear they

I wish I could get Top Gear.   :icon_frown:

Where / how do you get Top Gear?
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: uh_clem on June 25, 2008, 01:59:29 PM
If anybody watches Top Gear they

I wish I could get Top Gear.   :icon_frown:

Where / how do you get Top Gear?

It's on BBC America. I have it on Dish Network's Top 200. Mainly on Monday nights but it comes on other days as well. That episode that trtlrock mentioned was on last Monday night.
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: trtlrock on June 25, 2008, 02:33:49 PM
If anybody watches Top Gear they

I wish I could get Top Gear.   :icon_frown:

Where / how do you get Top Gear?

yep -- Ch. 264 on DirecTV is BBC America
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: RichardM on June 25, 2008, 02:51:28 PM
yep -- Ch. 264 on DirecTV is BBC America
Ch. 188 on AT&T U-verse here in Houston....not that I ever have time to watch it. Most of our recorded stuff these days are Scooby-Doo episodes for my daughter. :icon_rolleyes:

There are lots of Top Gear clips available online.
http://www.topgear.com/content/timetoburn/sections/videos/ (http://www.topgear.com/content/timetoburn/sections/videos/)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/)

P.S. :offtopic: :icon_smile:
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: Undertaker on June 25, 2008, 03:36:44 PM
Check with rangers always.  High Clearance = While driving down road check rear view, if leaving a large amount of oil or transmission/differential parts behind you, you are NOT HIGH CLEARANCE.  :eusa_think:
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: Roy on June 25, 2008, 04:48:18 PM
if leaving transmission/differential parts behind you, you are NOT HIGH CLEARANCE.  :eusa_think:

Maybe not, but you're gainin' on it. :icon_wink:
(Yep, slow day at work)
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: SHANEA on June 25, 2008, 04:59:00 PM
if leaving transmission/differential parts behind you, you are NOT HIGH CLEARANCE.  :eusa_think:

Maybe not, but you're gainin' on it. :icon_wink:
(Yep, slow day at work)

I understand Chevrolet is running a huge 72 hour sale on high clearance vehicles... 
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: EssBee777 on February 26, 2009, 06:00:40 PM
Well I took the little CRV out to Big Bend and tested it.

The stock tires were getting a little worn, so I got a set of Yokohama Geolandar all terrain tires plus a full sized spare before I headed out.

I talked to the ranger when we checked about the road conditions. Very important, they know whats going on with the roads and what your vehicle can take.

We decided to camp at Paint Gap #4. The road leading there gets really bad the last 1/2 mile before the site. I was very happy to have the good tires for this - highly recommended. Great secluded campsite.

The next day we tackled Old Ore Road going north to south, as the ranger had recommended. I almost turned back at one point because of a big drop off but my friend got out and helped steer me through it. The CRV did fine, although I had to slow way down at some points to get through the rough spots.

The one thing I dreaded was meeting vehicles head on in the narrow parts because I didn't relish the thought of backing up a long way. We only met one vehicle however, and he was able to back up just a little ways and he politely pulled off for us.

The CRV was fine afterwards, except for a few scratches from agaves and lechiguilla that had to be buffed out.

Looking forward to the next trip.
Title: Re: High Clearance?
Post by: Picacho on February 27, 2009, 12:49:05 PM
Despite the CRV classification as an SUV, its ground clearance is not very good (same with the RAV4 and others).  I think they did this to improve the gas mileage as most do not take their's off road much.  The Escape, despite its negatives in comparison to its Japanese competition, still has a better ground clearance than its competition with the exception of the Subaru Forrester which has about the same ground clearance.  I have an Escape and it's done pretty well off road with one exception.  The Continental tires it came with.  They're terrible.  I had two blow outs on my last off-road trip.  I just replaced them with Uniroyal Laredo Cross Countries.  My 4x4 Toyota has them and I have never had a problem on or off-road.  They are also much quieter.