Eight Days and 1400 Miles in N Nevada
For the past few years, a bunch of Seattle (and Portland) riders has gotten together to do a long week long ride in Northern Nevada in June.
Some of the previous trips:
I've also done a couple of GS trips in the area, but have been too lazy to post any of those.
This year, due to a scheduling conflict (my son's college graduation) we ended up with two separate groups hitting the area. My group staged out of Battle Mountain and did two four day loops -- one to the south and one to the north. Dates for my group was Saturday, May 31 though Saturday, June 7.
Riders and bikes:
Mark (me) -- TE610
Dano -- TE610
Greg S -- WR250
Danny -- KLR650
Don -- 450EXC
Marc -- 350EXC
This will probably be a somewhat long and drawn out report as a) it was eight days with lots of adventure and b) there were six riders, each of whom may have color commentary and pictures to provide.
Here are a couple of teaser pictures:
I'll post the first day later this evening or tomorrow. Stay tuned..
I'll add some color commentary for day 1…
First - I was on a WR250R, or "Gutless" as I like to call it.
Actually, we should back up to day 0 - or even further. Mark was the master planner for this event. He painstakingly designed an amazing 8 day route that consisted of:
1) A base camp in Battle Mountain
2) A four day loop to the south
3) A four day loop to the north
4) Alternate sections
6) Fuel opportunities (which included phoning in advance for verification)
7) And roll charts to boot.
Here's a more detailed map showing the fruits of his labors. Greens are the main planned routes, cyans are the alternates, extras, and/or bypasses.
As for pictures, I'll include a few, but this guy's the real photographer:
Day 1 started out inauspiciously - pulling an IMS gas tank off a TE610 to trace an electrical problem. Nothing like getting ready to roll and the ride leader has no power to his multiple GPS units.
Fixed and then on our way shortly after.
Awaiting Mark's group pic just before departure...
In, this looks interesting!
Looking forward to following along!
OK. A comment on Greg's picture of my disassembled Husky on the morning of day one. That scene is the result of me violating a number of my cardinal rules of long distance trips: 1) always do a shake down ride; 2) don't mess with your bike after the shakedown ride; and 3) when something is wrong at the beginning of a ride, trace back methodically to the thing you messed with (in violating rule #2).
After a shakedown ride in the Washington Cascades two week's before the trip, I had several times adjusted my bar position (after installed a HDB setup over the winter). After coming home, I made one last (big) adjustment to the bar position...and unplugged by Powerlet sockets in the process.
So...morning of, I plug in my two GPSs. No external power. Crap. Bitten by violating rule #2. So...we start looking for the problem at the battery and working forward (thus pulling the tank) before realizing the problem was at the plug and was caused by that last little adjustment. Sigh.
Back to the trip report:
We staged out of Battle Mountain this year, as it looked to be a good compromise location for our intended destinations -- easy hotel scheduling, free and safe parking for the trucks, decent supply and repair facilities (Danny and his KLR were really attracted to the car wash :) ). I'll side track on route selection and planning a little later.
One thing about Battle Mountain and getting there...it is a LONG WAY from Seattle. And as it turns out, its pretty far from Portland and even Medford Oregon (we had two riders from Oregon). No one got away with less than an eight hour drive, I think.
We met up in Battle Mountain on Friday, and staged the bike for a morning departure. Here is the mandatory lined up bike shot in the plush parking lot of the four star America's Best Value hotel (in all seriousness, they were great to work with...but more on that later).
Day 1 was to be a transit day, with our target camping location being Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park, about 200 miles to the south. I planned the route to include a lot of gravel to keep the speeds up and time down. As it turns out, we got there early and were able to weave in an optional loop into the mountains east of Gabbs.
Departing out of Battle Mountain, we hit the pavement south on highway south for about 10 miles to Copper Basin road, then turned south on the power line road on the east side of Buffalo Valley.
Our first wild horse sighting:
This led over a low pass into Jersey Valley and Dixie Valley.
We stopped for a snack at the Dixie Valley Geothermal Plant.
This is an overlap with our route of last year, and was close to Cottonwood Canyon, where we encountered a group of fellow off-road riders with a dead 690 (the significance is that you never see ANYONE else out here. Last year we ran into the same group three times).
From the Geo plant, we wandered a bit until the actual road and GPS maps matched, and headed up Shoshone Creek Canyon to the southeast out of Dixie Valley.
After cresting Shoshone pass, we dropped into Evans Creek Valley and ran along the west side of the dry lake, eventually hitting Hwy 50. It was then about 10 miles of pavement to get to Middlegate for gas and burgers.
Greg taking some shots:
Some unidentified object out on Evans Dry Lake
400mm telephoto of the crew along the edge of Evans valley:
Making good time, we stopped at the Shoe Tree on the way back east on Hwy 50 before turning south on Buffalo Creek road (lots of Buffalo referenced on day 1).
I made everyone wait while I took art shots of the Shoe Tree
After cresting Burnt Cabin summit in the Desatoya mountains, we made a long crossing of Smith Creek Valley.
There were lots of wide open valleys on this first day, so as predicted we got close to Berlin by about 3pm. Rather than setup camp in the heat, we looped in one of our alternate routes, climbing to about 8k' in the Paradise range of Toiyabe NF. Nice and cool up there, we some interesting old ranch building and juniper trees.
We then hit paved 844 and headed due east to Berlin Ichthyosaur and camp. A great first day of riding. A little long, but nothing technical and a good opportunity to get our "riding legs" going.
Home sweet home. I camped in this exact same spot with this same tent about four years ago on a GS trip. déjà vu...
After dinner, I took a short ride up to the fossil excavation shed and snapped a few pics (no one else wanted to go :( ).
Then, with the sun setting, Greg and I rode over to the Berlin ghost town area and got some pretty cools shots.
A Greg-saurus sighting:
/end day one.
Upcoming on Day 2 is Ophir Pass, Jefferson Pass, and Diana's Punchbowl.
Excellent! :clap Man you guys did some planning - carry on please!
I plan a lot because I a) don't know the area well enough (yet) and b) I survive the winters by riding vicariously via maps!
Looks like an unbelievable ride. Thanks for the RR.
Technical notes for the day…
Distance: 198 miles
Riding Time: 8 hrs. 1 min.
Elevation: min 3,400 ft, max 7,500 ft
The smaller bikes (my WR250R and Marc's (with a 'c') KTM 350 EXC) got *worse* gas mileage than the bigger bikes - upper 40's vs. the others that got 50 - 60. This was probably due to the higher speeds we ran most of the day.
The 350's suspension wasn't setup well for the extra weight of the luggage and subsequently made it more difficult to handle even in the moderate sections. Marc - who's as skilled and experienced as anyone in the group - ended up with massive blisters at the end of the day from wrestling the handle bars. That evening Don and Mark were able to add a few twists to rear spring and add a little more compression.
Only rattle snake I saw the entire trip. Didn't look too imposing:
Don and Dano looking clean and happy on day 1:
Berlin Mill notes:
My weak attempts at artistic photography while shadowing (no pun intended) Mark.
Camera shoot-out. Old west style.
looks like you guys had a blast.
i camped in that same "shelter" thing with the picnic table a few years ago.
check it out. flash back. looks like we stood in the same place to snap the picture.
Bear with me Swamp, I got a 5 lb sledge hammer on hover at the moment. I love technology.
Danny getting the bike set up. Not an easy trip on the big purple.
Marc with the Kbar tire iron on his 350
Dan bending wrenches while Greg and Mark discuss.
Marc at the Monument - We start the war from here.
Dan on one of two 610's - Quite the beast
The weather was low 80's. Still hot on valley floors, perfect for overall riding. I checked NV, Idaho temps today- middle to upper 90's
MiddleGate once a Pony express and stage coach stop.
Good for food and fuel before heading to Itchy
On to IB State Park
Trellis, fire ring, table, toilet. Rangers explained the fee system, we said how much, and they said 12 bucks apiece- Done.
Does look like the same camp spot.
Great pics and narration.... love northern Nevada.... :clap
nice pics guys, enjoyed following you on the spot trying to go figure the where next's and the why they going there's
keep em coming
Lookin good so far. Can't wait for the rest.
Oh, by the way, what happened that you guys got to meet the state trooper?
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