Judy is terrified of long steep dropoffs off the side of roads and thus cant go to Eureka via the route from Ubehebe. Just want to confirm that the route from Big Pine has no such dropoffs, and a rented 4WD SUV can make the trip. [May also drive from Beatty; anyone know the distance?
I don't know the distance from Beatty, but the route from Big Pine is fine. Honestly, there are no instances of long, steep dropoffs as I think of them along the road from Ubehebe. The road does for a time wind up and down a pass, but it isn't scary.
You might get more feedback on this forum: http://www.death-valley.net/forum/.
Best time to visit the dunes is in late afternoon, when the sunset highlights the colored bands on the cliffs to east.