I had an XR250R and you are right about how much fun it is off road. I don't think the sand will be a problem on the 250 because there isn't that much of it. There are way more rocks to deal with than sand. If your KTM 530 rider hasn't already done it, he will need a radiator fan. Use the KTM OEM fan as it works great and plugs right in. All of the big bore (500cc) KTM's need it for the rocky trails or you will boil out all your radiator fluid. The new 500EXC comes with a radiator fan but the 350EXC does not. The 530 splits the engine and transmission oil so that doesn't leave much for the engine. The new 500EXC combines the engine and transmission oil for a total of 1.6 quarts. It also has only one oil filter to change and a few screens. Once your get to Eureka Dunes from Steele Pass you will run into a closed road sign on Death Valley/Big Pine Road heading east. That road is closed from Eureka Dunes to Ubehebe Crater. If for some reason they open up this road, your loop from PSR to Furnace Creek via Crank Shaft Crossing and Ubehebe Crater will be 185 miles. If you take the same route and stop at Stovepipe Wells for gas, your mileage will be 175 miles not saving you many miles. If you ride South Pass to Lippincott Mine Road to Ubehebe Crater to Furnace Creek, you will not run into any road closed signs, unless something changes, and your mileage will be 132 miles. If you still want to ride Steele Pass you could bail out west to Big Pine and get gas and then, if you don't run out of daylight, ride back to Eureka Dunes turnoff and head north on Eureka Valley Road and wind your way east to Gold Point Ghost Town. You can actually spend the night there and Walt will sell you some gas if you are getting low but I would call ahead and make sure he will be there before venturing that way. I haven't ridden Eureka Valley Road but the dirt roads in Nevada appear to be in much better shape than the DV dirt roads. If you find out for sure that gas will be waiting for you in Gold Point, you could skip Big Pine and just head north from Eureka Dunes on Eureka Valley road and head for Gold Point. You can look up Gold Point on the internet for contact information. I hope to do more exploring north of Eureka Dunes this winter.