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Hodakaguy 06-07-2010 05:23 PM

Adventure Is Out There! - 1500 Miles of Desert Fun. Mines, Hot Springs Etc.
Just returned from a 1500 Mile off road adventure through the outbacks of NV. Words and pictures will fail to capture the beauty of the NV landscape through which we passed, but I'll do what I can with the pictures we took along the way.

First a little history....We decided to ride NV after riding Oregon's deserts last year Click here for our Oregon Ride Report. Last year we made it down to the NV boarder and turned north again, before finding the crashed B24 Liberator that rests in the mountains above Denio NV. At that point we decided we would return this summer to find the bomber and then continue south to explore the deserts of NV. Our planned route would take us from Fields OR, around Reno, into Death Valley then back to Fields Again.

This year we would have 4 riders on the trip, three of us returning from last years trip and one new rider that I met through ADVrider. After a lot of planning, phone calls and prepping the bikes we set out for Adventure!

Start: Hrs on Bike (Hodakaguy's bike): 65.5 hrs.

I'll kick it off with a picture of our tracks from the trip.

The Riders: Tom - AKA: "Hodakaguy". Riding a KTM 530EXC Alan - AKA: "Mamacone". Riding a Honda XR650R Craig - AKA: "Craig2211". Riding a KTM 530 EXC Mark - AKA: "Catsailor". Riding a Honda XR650R

We left the house at 3am and headed towards Fields OR. Mark would be leaving at the same time in CA to meet us at Fields around noon. Our plans for the first day was to unload the bikes, head south to find the bomber then stay at Bog Hot Springs for the night.

Here's a shot of the bikes loaded in the truck. It was raining a good chunk of the way to Fields. The bikes look so clean in this pic now!

We arrived at Fields Station at 12:20pm. Mark was waiting for us so we all got busy unloading bikes and getting our gear on. The weather was dry for the moment but the clouds in the distance told us rain was on it's way. The owner of the station let us park our trucks out back for the 8 days we would be gone, free of charge! Real nice people.

The bikes all packed up and ready to ride.

We left Fields and headed south to find the bomber. We stopped at Denio Junction and Alan topped off his tank, the rest of the bikes were pretty much full. While we were there it started pouring rain so we all got out the rain gear and weather proof gloves.

It started raining pretty good by the time we were ready to leave. We headed out in the rain to find the B24 Liberator.

We started up the dirt road that would eventually lead us to the bomber although the rain was making this road a tricky one. The dirt was turning into the constancy of a well greased baking pan. The tires would pack up with a clay like dirt and you would slip and slide all over the trail. Mark got a little sideways on a hill so while we was getting his bike straitened out Craig and I checked out a mine off the side of the road.

Since the trail was so slick we decided to skip the bomber and check it out on the way back when the weather would be more favorable. This decision put us ahead of schedule though and it was still to early in the day to stop at Bog Hot Springs like we had planned. We decided to continue south to Soldier Meadows Hot Springs and camp there for the night.

Along the way to Soldier Meadows we spotted this group of wild burros. We would see several packs of wild burros on the trip.

The views were both amazing and endless!

We stopped along the trail to check out this natural rock formation up on the hillside. It looked like something strait out of a Dr. Seuss book. Very cool.

Alan in his Frog Toggs. With the Flight Vest that he was wearing he looked like a genuine swat team member. No one would mess with us as long as Alan was wearing this setup :D.

Since the weather was crappy and it was already getting late (we had been on the road since 3am) we decided to take the lower roads to Soldier Meadows and play in the hills above on the return trip north.

We arrived at Soldier Meadows for the night and stopped in to the ranch to pay for using the Hot Springs. I had emailed Cathy (the owner of the ranch) about a week before the trip to see if they had fuel and to find out what the fee was to use the hot springs on their property. She said fuel was available and it was $10 per person to use the springs, sounded great to us! We paid for the springs and decided to get fuel in the morning since they were right in the middle of cooking dinner when we stopped by.

The forecast was looking like more rain for the night so Craig and I decided to use the Noah's Tarp that we brought along as extra rain protection.

You can see the storm already moving into the area.

Alan and Marks Camp.

After setting up the tents we ate dinner and headed for the hot springs for a soak.

Craig heading to the Hot Springs. This picture was taken from the spring looking back towards camp.

Here's a shot of the larger of the two Hot Springs at Soldier Meadows, and the one we camped at. The springs is actually warm, not hot....about body temp. The thick mud on the bottom is HOT! just under the surface. You can regulate the temp on your feet by how deep you dig into the mud. The weather was moving in and by the time we got out of the spring we had a COLD! run back to the tent to get warm again.

Panoramic Shot of the Soldier Meadows Springs

That's it for day one. The rainy weather kept me from taking as many pictures as I would have liked.

LOTS! more pics to come though :deal

End of day one:

Total Trip Miles: 105 Miles
Hrs on bike: forgot to write it down :baldy


WNCSte 06-07-2010 05:32 PM

Give us more!


killurtv 06-07-2010 06:00 PM

Bring it on!!! Can't wait to see the rest of the adventure, such an amazing place.

Humunn 06-07-2010 07:39 PM

This ought to be good!

Hodakaguy 06-07-2010 09:11 PM

5-27-10.....Day 2

We were up at 5:30am at Soldier Meadows. When I woke up I heard Craig already outside his tent so I asked what the weather looked like, he said it was about to dump on us any minute so that started a scramble to get the tents/gear packed up before the rain hit. We were just finishing up when the rain started to hit.

Since we didn't fill up the night before we were headed back to Soldier Meadows Ranch first thing this am to get fuel, then we would point the bikes south again. When we arrived at the ranch it started to snow, pretty soon it was snowing hard with some of the biggest flakes I've ever seen. We asked about fuel but they were already getting going on breakfast and said it would be after breakfast before we could top up. We were reluctant to go inside with out wet muddy gear on and standing in the snow didn't sound to appealing either so we looked at our fuel and decided we had enough to make it to Gerlach NV. We were on our way again :clap

Here's a picture taken at Soldier Meadows Ranch, the pictures really failed to capture the snow coming down.

Another shot looking south from the ranch.

Another shot of the snow coming down.

This home brew 6 wheel drive jeep was parked at the ranch, very cool!

The Snow made seeing out of the goggles a lot of fun :huh, I was carrying anti-fog and rain-X that helped some but it was nice when the snow finally stopped south of Soldier Meadows.

There was a lot of snow up in the higher elevations so again we stuck to the lower tracks and would hit the upper tracks on the way back.

Here we stopped along the road to check out this license plate art exhibit.

Here I'm holding a CA license plate....Destination CA Baby!

Snow from the night before up in the mountains.

Here we are looking at the Black Rock Desert Playa. This baby is HUGE! It looked a little dark/damp with all the rain we've been having so we didn't venture out on the playa just yet....but we will!

About 5 miles from the gas station in Gerlach NV Mark's BRP ran out of fuel and he coasted to the side of the road. We went back and helped him lay the bike on its side to get the last remaining fuel over to one side so the petcock would again pick it up. After standing the bike back up Mark realized that he was still on main and hadn't switched over to reserve yet :baldy All was good and we stopped into Gerlach for fuel.

Total miles so far: 171 miles. Gallons to fill: 3.80 gallons.

While we were at the fuel station the owner said that the local restaurant Bruno's had excellent food and raises their own pigs for sausage and bacon. Sounded great to us so off to Bruno's we went. The food was excellent, just what we needed for a long days adventure ride. :thumb

After leaving Bruno's we headed into the mountains for some Beautiful riding! The first part of the trail was slick clay again and made the riding a little on exciting side. Here Marks bike decided it didn't like the trail and it wanted to blaze it's own. We stopped here for a few minutes to point it in the right direction again and to soak in the view.

I have LOTS of HD helmet cam footage from the trip, after the ride report is done I'll go through it and start getting some of it posted up as well.

Taken from the same spot looking back.

Mud packing up on the bike, I wonder how many pounds of mud we were carrying? Hmmm.... I did scrape the mud out of the fenders several times throughout the trip, Didn't want the fender snapping off do to the weight of the mud.

And a Panorama Shot

So I started filming with the helmet cam and decided to drop to the back of the pack. We were hauling up this sweet trail when we come across a natural spring. There is a muddy bank climbing up out of the spring that didn't look to challenging, Mark was in front of me and went right up it, I picked a line (a bad one :deal) about a foot to the right of Mark's and the rear of the bike came to a halt immediately! I stalled the motor so I re-started it and tried again...nope! Wouldn't even turn the wheel, just bog the engine down and kill it. I hopped off the bike and it stayed upright on it's own. Instead of trying to wrestle it by myself I took my gear off and relaxed while I waited for someone to return.

After a while Craig returned and we set about freeing my bike from it's mud captor. We ended up having to lay the bike over on it's left side and drag it sideways out of the hole. A foot to the left and we had plenty of traction to start it and get it up the hill. Lots-O-Mud!

After some more amazingly beautiful mountains we headed back into the valley again. We were hauling along when Craig came to a sudden stop...what's this??

What appeared to be a full can of beer ended up being a unopened empty can, it had a small hole it in. Oh well, it wasn't very cold anyways.

Mark cresting some single track.....hey wait a minute, why is he off the bike :D There is a LOT of cool single track out here in the middle of know where, Very Cool!

Looks like more rain may be in store.

Craig riding the single track.

Wide Open Country! If you look close you can see Alan in this picture.

Another wide open shot.

This shot was taken at the top of the hill, where I took the above two shots.

Panorama shot of the above stop.

We headed south again until we came to an abandoned mine to check out, there are mines EVERYWHERE in NV. I had all the mines plotted along our trail just in case we wanted to stop and check them out, all 970 of them!, and those were just the ones right along our tracks!!

Here we stopped to check out the mine.

A collapsed audit.

Cool desert flowers at the mine site.

A shot of my ugly mug checking out the cabin ruins at the mine site.

Always fun looking at the rock structure where the miners were working.

Another shot of the cabin remains.

Wooden Dowels used to support the door frame of the cabin.

After following our tracks south for a while more we noticed a overhang up on a hillside. We rode up their to check it out. :thumb

Alan rode right up into the overhang, not knowing how much room was up there the rest of us decided to park at the bottom and hike the rest of the way up.

Craig shadowed in the entrance. I'm sure Indians used this place way back in the day.

The bikes parked below, Cool valley in the background.

Checking out the rock formations.

Mark checking out the view.

We left the Overhang and headed south again. Here's a shot of Alan cruising down the dirt highway.

Back at Bruno's in Gerlach I overheard the waitress telling a customer about the white flowers that were now in bloom. She said something about them being a rare site and only blooming once every 10 years or so. Not sure if it was true or not but I stopped along the trail to take a few pics of them anyways.

It was starting to get time to call it a day, we've had a great day of riding so far. Since our gear was somewhat wet still and everyone was getting tired we decided to head into Reno and get a hotel for the night. We rolled into Reno and started looking for a place. Requirements: Must have a ground floor door so we can slip the bikes into the rooms, don't want to wake up to a missing bike!

I looked on the GPS and we started searching for a place to stay. The GPS took us into a really bad part of town, not only would I not leave my bike outside but I questioned the safely of the bike and us inside the rooms as well. I typed another hotel into the GPS and we headed off down the highway a few miles to check it out. Bingo!

We checked into the hotel for the night, let the bikes run the fuel out of the float bowles then walked across the parking lot to Denney's and had Dinner. When we got back the bikes were cool and when no one was watching we pushed the bikes into the room. It felt great to wash cloths for the night and get cleaned up. All ready for tomorrows adventures!

Here's a shot of the KTM's all tucked in for the night.

And the cloths/Gear drying out for tomorrows adventure.

Total miles so far: 299
Hrs on bike: 74.0

LOTS more to come!


Zecatfish 06-07-2010 10:22 PM


DesertSurfer 06-07-2010 11:33 PM

U R having waay 2 much fun...
Hey HG and the crew,

Loved the Oregon trip report from last year and this looks like another exciting ride as well. I rode from Oregon to L.A. through NV years past on a Transalp... too big for your single track journey, but I got the general idea. Your photos and write ups are awesome work. U R living the life of Riley. Keep it coming and stay safe.

larryboy 06-08-2010 07:12 AM

Looks like a great time!!

I'll be waiting for the tracks.:deal


team ftb 06-08-2010 11:34 AM

Hodakaguy - I love this style of riding!!! Multi day dirt bike riding with friends. It's like the fountain of youth mixed with some adrenaline:D . Looks like you guys are doing it right!!

Did you always ride the 530 or did you used to be on a 525? Too many RR's for me to keep track of everybody's rides.

Hodakaguy 06-08-2010 06:07 PM


Originally Posted by team ftb
Hodakaguy - I love this style of riding!!! Multi day dirt bike riding with friends. It's like the fountain of youth mixed with some adrenaline:D . Looks like you guys are doing it right!!

Did you always ride the 530 or did you used to be on a 525? Too many RR's for me to keep track of everybody's rides.

I owned a XR650R before I purchased the 530, I'm glad I made the switch. The 530 feels so much lighter on the trail and the E button is pure magic. The 530 has really worked well for me so far for these kind of long distance desert trips.


Hodakaguy 06-08-2010 08:30 PM

5-28-10....Day 3

Filled fuel in Reno.
Miles 309
Gallons: 3.36

We woke up early, pushed the bikes out and loaded them up then headed to Denney's for Breakfast.

A shot taken from the restaurant.

We fuel up and headed into the mountains south of Reno. The air was crisp and we were ready for adventure.

Alan and Mark descending a rocky hill.

Another couple snow shots taken up on top.

After some great riding we dropped back down out of the mountains and into a rocky canyon.

My Yellow Balaclava.

This Canyon was a blast!

Taken at the bottom of the canyon.

Hmmm...whats this out in the distance?

Well a 12 power zoom shows us this off in the Distance. It's the remains of the old Comstock Merger Mill, or the American Flats Mill. The Mill was a Cyanide Mill built to process gold and silver from the Comstock Load. It was built in 1920 and was shut down in 1926. For a while it was the largest concrete structure in the world. We didn't see any no trespassing signs so we stopped by to take some pictures.

Craig taking a cruise through the Mill. To bad the taggers have been so active here, there is a lot of history in this mill.

We parked the bikes and took a quick look around.

There are several underground tunnels that run beneath the main Mill site. Here Mark is checking one out.

While we were there we ran into this group of High School students who were skipping school to play paint ball for the day. They were from the nearby city of Carson City.

Looking down into the main mill site. It goes down several levels.

Looks like this old elevator shaft has been used as a chimney for a LONG time. LOTS of party's have taken place here.

Looking back up.

Tunnels beneath the main floor.

Another part of the mill.

The foundations for the cyanide tanks.

Taken on the way out of the mill site.

After checking out the mill we headed into Virginia City to get something to eat and fuel up the bikes.

Took this picture of this modern mill on the way into town.

The Historic town of Virginia City NV. This town has so much history in it, I'm going to have to return here some day when I have time to check everything out.

We had lunch at this great BBQ place, The food was Awesome! :thumb

Craig enjoying his BBQ Sandwich.

After lunch we fuel up again, earlier in the trip I was joking to mark about filling his bike up with Diesel to give it some extra kick...well at this station the Diesel nozzle wasn't colored green and Mark accidentaly topped his BRP off with 1.5 gallons of #2 Diesel! We all got a pretty good laugh over that one, his bike smoked a little after that and smelled like diesel but it still ran great. Oh well, the top end was plenty lubed anyways. :D

Miles: 336
Gallons: .8

After leaving Virginia City we headed south again. Our tracks would take us along an abandoned railroad for a ways....only problem is once we got to the tracks they have been returned to service for a scenic touring train. Hmmm...... Going to have to bypass this section.

I found this Ford Mustang emblem on the trail up out of the Virginia Hills area. Sweet!

We scouted a way around the defunk tracks and after a few wrong turns we were headed south again.

We didn't make it to far out of town when we stopped to chat for a minute. When I took off the rear of my bike felt really loose. I stopped and looked down and.....Yep. Flat! :baldy

The Ol Nail in the tire routine.

Luckily when I stopped and noticed the flat there was a board along side the trail that would work just perfect for a tire lift.

One thing great about being the guy with the camera is you can get your friends to work on your tire while you are taking the pics :evil

After about 20 minutes the tire was patched and we were back on the trail. It was starting to get late and we were wanting to make it to a hot springs for the night. We plotted one out on the GPS that we could make and headed out.

Here we arrived at the Hot Spring to find it on private property and a big No-Trespassing sign on the fence. Hmmmm. The wind was blowing at a pretty good clip and the air had a certain nip to it, we talked it over and decided to head to Yerington NV to get another hotel for the night.

We made it to the hotel and got the rooms. There was a race getting ready to start and the hotel was packed with Baja trucks. Lot's of money in this parking lot!

The bikes all snug for the night :D

Mark's and Alan's piggys were smelling a bit like gas tonight so they were plugging all the holes in the bike they could find. We got several good laughs over that one.

The BRP Beverage Dispenser.

Another great day on the trail!

Total miles so far: 425 Miles
Hrs on Bike: 78.8

LOTS more to come :deal


BusyWeb 06-08-2010 08:45 PM


T O Double D 06-08-2010 09:11 PM

Kick ass man! I've been waiting for this one for awhile now.

DesertSurfer 06-09-2010 09:36 AM

KTM 530's look great...
Like the way you have the 530's set up. That head light looks very effective. The tank is an important add on. You've opened my eyes to that bike. I'm normally a Honda XR400 guy but...

I've ridden south out of Virginia City on the way to Death Valley on dirt roads that lead out in the middle of nowhere... so I thought. Ended up passing tycoon ranches with airstrips.

tele-steve 06-09-2010 11:28 AM

Thanks for the report!!!!
Thanks for the write up! We are headed out that direction in about 4 weeks!!!!
The photos are getting me pumped up for it!!!!

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