Sorry for the delay, was vacationing with the Euro-trash for a few weeks
Okay, in case anyone is still paying attention we'll continue .......
So yesterday was a short day (for maintenance). Today was going to be a long day. It turned out to be one of the top three days on the trip for me (the others being Green River to Richfield and Baker to Eureka).
One of the challenges we had as we got further West was figuring out where we were going to stay overnight, how far could we push in a day. Camping would solve a lot of this but opens up new problems of ensuring you always have supplies.
Our original pre-trip thinking was that we would go from Battle Mountain to McDermitt and then McDermitt to Lakeview. Somewhere around Eureka I think we decided that McDermitt to Lakeview was going to be too long of a day (I think reading Docking Pilots report) so we hatched a plan of Battle Mountain to Denio and then Denio to Lakeview.
I knew Denio Junction was in the middle of nowhere but I wasn't expecting that it would be fully booked when I called. They suggested Fields Junction to the North (in Oregon). I called Fields, they had a room to spare. They asked what time we thought we'd be there as they closed at 6pm. Probably sensing what was to come, I said "after then"
so they said they'd leave the room open.
After this I sat down with the Benchmark maps (very glad we brought them) and with my Garmin 276c GPS and entered in a triangle route that would detour us NW from the TAT to Fields and then SW from Fields to rejoin the TAT the following day. It calculated out as saving quite a few miles over going to Denio and then North on the pavement. I had no idea what the roads would be like but they looked major dirt
One of the other detours we planned for the day was to Paradise Valley. Again from reading Docking Pilot's report.
Here are the maps showing the standard TAT route:
Once again we'd read about nav problems heading out of Battle Mountain so we elected to head directly North on Izzenhood road and at Izzenhood ranch, head west to rejoin the TAT.
At this point things got a bit confusing. I had the Garmin CityNavigator maps loaded onto my 276c and Brian had some homemade topo maps he'd downloaded for free off the Internet. His maps showed that there was no connecting road West from Izzenhood ranch to the TAT. My maps said there were plus the Benchmark showed it also. The last time we had a discrepancy between our various GPS maps, his were wrong so I decided instead of turning West earlier we'd push onto the ranch. When we got there there was a road but it was marked private. Rats. So we backtracked.
Pretty soon we're on the TAT and the riding is excellent two track crossing the desert:
I think we're at the Lower Clover Ranch in the following two pictures but it could be the Hammond Ranch. Maybe Brian knows:
After we're back to crossing the desert:
Fairly certain these two pics are between Hammond Ranch and Kelly Creek ranch. Lots of mining going on:
Soon after arrive at Kelly Creek ranch. I don't have very good pictures here, hoping Brian does. I took some but erroneously purged them when my memory stick filled and I was trying to make space.
We rode around for a bit as the tracks were not obvious. We came across a creek crossing. This isn't my pic, it's stolen from another ride report which we'll get to in a bit:
I think this picture is actually the one we crossed over, the other to the left was impassible, far too deep. To the right it was obvious someone had cleared away the brush. I waded over and it looked pretty easy. On the far side of the bank someone had layed some planks down over a muddy area.
There was a steep drop into the creek and the bed was very silty. I was concerned if I went in too fast I'd bury the front wheel and go over the bars so I took it easy. Didn't have any problems except I didn't quite have enough speed to make it up the far bank and stalled the bike with the front wheel up on the far bank and the rear still in the creek. Restarted and made it up with no worries. So a bit more speed was needed. Brian heads over and makes it up onto the far bank but he has too much speed and loses it into the bushes. I had a video of this but deleted it
On the far side is an abandoned cabin:
Inside we found a dead battery, a pair of battery cables and an interesting note on the wall:
One Less Harley was the guy I mentioned earlier who'd posted saying he had a hard time in Black Dragon Wash. His ride report here
discusses the creek crossing. One of the thinks I liked about the TAT was finding mention of other Adv riders along the route
Our two bikes parked on the far creek bank:
After this it's back to the desert heading on a detour towards Paradise Valley:
Lots of interesting mining going on along. I thought I took a pic of one of the digging rigs but I guess I deleted that too. I stopped to ask them what they were mining for. The owner of the Best Western in Eureka had told us it was the richest county in Nevada because of all the mining, I assumed Vegas would be
). Anyways, they basically drop the rig, dig a pilot hole and see what interesting things they find:
We're maybe 10 miles from Paradise Valley when the road turns into deep soft sand for several miles. Fun:
Brian riding ahead on the last stretch:
Pavement into Paradise Valley:
Most people have seen these on previous reports but here we go again, lots of old abandoned buildings in the town:
The plan was to stop at the Paradise Valley Bar where we'd be able to get some food and follow the ADV tradition of marking up a dollar bill for the wall. Only problem is that it's closed. It's a Monday:
We sit down in the shade and munch on a couple of granola bars. There are no hours posted. We wonder for a while if maybe it'll open up shortly. A few locals pass, tell us that the owners live next door and finally one person tells us that they get out of town on Mondays. I go for a walk and a guy stops and offers me some beers
Across from the bar is an RV park where we refil our water from their pump/well. Nothing else in the town so I guess no food till McDermitt.
The plan is to ride upto Hinkley Point. It's a main dirt road up there but for the far side I consult the Benchmark map and plot us a route into the GPS which takes us along Buckskin Drive. It looks minor but the gps maps show it connecting with the TAT route.
We probably rest there for an hour and a half, maybe a bit more. In hindsight this was too long
Heading up to Hinkley Point:
Cool views plus as we gained elevation it helped cool us down:
Following Brian. The road gets progressively more washboarded the higher up:
At the summit:
Hinkley Summit 4H cabin:
Pitch black inside but flash lit it up ok. Not sure who uses it:
After this we're moving again. Pictures heading down the far side on Indian Creek Canyon Road.
After about 5 miles there is a main turning to the right on NF-531 which is the shortest way back to the TAT (heading East). Instead we continue along Indian Creek to the junction of Buckskin Drive:
Start of Buckskin Drive, looking NW towards Quinn River Valley (US95):
It turns out that Buckskin Drive isn't much more than a fence maintenance trail going over a series of peaks but it sure was fun riding.
Crossing one of the many wire gates:
We're way up above the TAT at this point which is a couple of miles to our East in the valley, this is looking NW:
Dropping down over one of the peaks:
I don't have pics of many of the descents. One was long and very soft. I was tired and dropped the bike, I was pissed as today I think was looking like it would be the first day I'd not dropped it. About this time Brian stops me and tells me that his GPS maps show this as a dead end. Mine of course show it going all the way through. Given this mornings discrepancy this isn't great news but neither of us fancy going back to the junction plus it's past 4pm and we're not even at McDermitt let alone Fields. We elect to press on and fortunately my maps are correct this time:
One final drop down towards the TAT:
Back on the TAT:
At this point I'm out of pictures as my memory card filled up so it'll be text only but hopefully Brian can throw in a few pictures. I seriously wish I had some as things are about to get interesting.
We're on road 529 on the map following Long Canyon. Similar terrain as before. Finally we reach the ID cabin on road 83 and turn left towards McDermitt. This is a much more major road, we start seeing some wildlife including some wild mustangs. After about 15 miles on road 83 it turns to pavement. I'm going probably 50 and I look down and notice that the Spot has turned itself off. My other half isn't too worried about this stuff but Brian's wife gets nervous when the spot isn't working, I'm looking down wondering how long it's been off and turning it back on when out of the corner of my eye I see a pack of about 20 wild mustangs approaching fast from my left side. I hammer the front brake and I'm down to maybe 15mph when all 20 cross the road directly infront of me, the last maybe 5 yards in front. Scary scary moment caused by not paying attention.
We roll into McDermitt. The only food at Fields is Fields Station. It closes at 6pm. We decide to grab a sandwich to take along plus some beers. I'm not sure exactly what time it is (maybe Brian knows) but when we pull out of there we have maybe an hour left before sunset and according to my GPS track it's 69.2 miles to Fields.
We start of heading West along Disaster Peak road. It's paved for the first part, then fast dirt but the sun is very low in the sky directly in out eyes. Still I'm riding as fast as I can. The one thing we swore we'd try and avoid on this trip was riding at night, not least because the KTMs headlight sucks.
Disaster Peak Rd is actually part of the TAT route. Finally we get to the detour I plotted and the plan is turn head NW up Trout Creek Road. My thinking was that it had a name, so it was going to be ok. It stated off ok and progressively got narrower and rockier. It's almost dark at this point and I'm riding about as fast as I can get away with Brian is behind but I stop every so often for him. I stop at one point and he takes a while to arrive. When he does he's not looking too good, hit a rock and went down hard. Hard enough to shear off both of the DRZ's mirrors.
At this point we're on Trout Creek Mtn Road which is a narrow trail and it's basically twilight. We run into some hunters. We know this trail eventually hits a more major road but we ask them what the trail is like until then. "About 5 miles and it's shittier than this until then". A couple of miles later it's pitch black. I stop as I notice the SPOT has turned itself off again, also I need to remove my fender tube bag to give the anemic front headlight some chance of working. We continue along, it's longer than 5 miles but we do ok. Finally we reach Whitehorse Ranch Road (CR-203) and we settle into a steady 35 mph for the about 10 miles until we reach the pavement and head North on Fields Denio Rd.
We pull into Fields about 9.30pm. The room is open. There is a guy hanging outside who turns out to be fellow inmate XXX. We break out our sandwiches and beers and sit outside talking to him for an hour before hitting the sack.
A couple of screen shots from Mapsource showing the detours (TAT is shown in pink, detour in grey) I have these as gps track files if anyone wants them. Uploads are disabled right now so if you ever do, shoot me a PM.
The Fields detour was great, it would have been better in daylight but the following day rejoining the TAT was really great riding, stay tuned!!