Day 7 continued...
Eventually, we made it to Eureka, NV, where we refueled and had a mediocre lunch.
Trying to pick up the trail as we left Eureka was an exercise in futility. We must have tried every road and trail offshoot near the pipeline, but each one was a dead end.
Abandoned mine shaft. There were old shafts and danger signs everywhere.
Judging by the abundance of bike tracks, we could tell that we weren't the first ones to deal with this mess. Finally, after wasting about an hour, we accepted the fact that the road we wanted had been fenced off.
We went back to Hwy 50 to try and catch the TAT further down the line. It was an exasperating afternoon and as our frustration level went up, so did our speed - a dangerous combination.
We got back on the trail and began to work our way through the roll chart. After a few miles, we realized we had made a wrong turn and had to back track a couple of times. To make matters worse, it had started to hail again (our second storm cell of the day). Pretty soon the hail turned to torrential rain - it was amazing how quickly the road filled with deep puddles and pretty soon the two track turned into two rushing streams. We didn't realize it, but the water was coming down so fast, it wasn't soaking into the desert silt. Instead it was creating a layer of super slick mud.
Undaunted, we stubbornly (stupidly) continued to search for the waterhole (mile 239.05), increasingly annoyed at the trail. Later, I called this, "the tyranny of the trail" - the TAT uber alles
. We would get obsessed with finding the correct road (or turn, or gate), at any cost. MUST FIND THE TRAIL. Today wasn't too bad, but as we went on, it got worse.
The rain began to let up and, thinking that the thirsty desert ground would drink the water up, we continued to speed around.
We were going down the trail at about 40mph when the bike suddenly slid sideways, perpendicular to the road. Matt said it was the same sensation as stepping onto an ice rink; one second you're on solid ground and the next -- zingggg! -- you're skating on ice. He tried to correct the bike, but had nothing, so he began to lay it down. Matt is used to crashing so he got off neatly - he hardly got muddy at all! I, on the other hand, got clobbered. My left foot hit the ground, my leg turned a bit, and then the bike hit or fell on me as its ass-end slid around. As far as crashes go, and considering the things we had been doing, this one was pretty easy. Mostly soft grass/mud. Too bad my knee got tweaked.
Matt says if I were a good ride reporter, I would have taken a photo of the bike laying down. Sorry! I hate the smell of gasoline, so I made him pick up the bike before helping me stand. It was still so freaking slippery, I was skating all over the place and my knee didn't want to straighten completely (or bend) it was just kind of locked at a slight angle.
Man, I was a muddy mess. I tried to clean up by wiping myself with sage brush branches but it only made it worse.
Matt and the bike did alright.
Except for our poor fire extinguisher! (last summer matt rode the forests in oregon and he was required to carry a fire extinguisher. we brought this one just in case)
It was terrifying to try and get out of this section - we still slipped everywhere and had to gingerly move around. Matt used the ruts in the road to our advantage - he placed the front tire in a deep rut and then used it to keep us pointed forward (instead of sliding sideways). After a few miles of this, the mud suddenly disappeared and we were back to the usual dry silt. Which then turned into sand and deep ruts. Yay. To my frazzled nerves, this was just as scary as mud and we slipped and slid our way up into the mountains. At one point, I started to whimper, "there's no place like home, there's no place like home..." Matt just laughed and said, "You can't click your heels together - they're too swollen and full of blood!"
He wasn't kidding. Take a look at this disgusting "cankle" (calf + ankle). Ewww.
Those dark specks at the horizon are the second group of mustangs we saw that day.
Where was this sign an hour ago?!?! Notice the storm clouds in the distance.
The highlight of the day was this third group of mustangs. They actually ran towards us at first. After this video, they went over to a nearby group of cows. The horses were black and brown and so were the cows. As the horses dispersed into the herd of cows, it seemed like they were trying to blend in -- "neigh!" I mean, "mooooo"
The trail went on forever. Are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet?
sigh. When I agreed to use this photo in the ride report, I figured that no one would even see the RR and that it would die a quiet death. But, a promise is a promise...
Welcome to Dorksville - population: 1
I was such a mess, Matt was worried that they wouldn't let me into the motel at Battle Mountain. When we came across this little stream, he wanted to use the water to clean me up. I couldn't move very well so he helped me take off my pants and he washed them in the water (which was swampy, stinky and full of horse and cow poop, thank you very much). He also cleaned off my boots and the back of my jacket. Wearing wet pants wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and they were pretty much dry by the time we got to Battle Mountain.
Luckily, we had called ahead and reserved a room at the Super 8, for they were booked up by the time we arrived. A young guy working at McDonalds, gently asked if I had taken "a little tumble." He said he could tell by the mud and the way I was walking (if you could call it that). I thought it was sweet of him to ask, but when I went to go wash my hands in the bathroom, I saw my reflection in the mirror and started laughing. "Tumble", my ass - I looked like I had been hit by a garbage truck!
Good times, good times.
Tomorrow - ???