ok, I'm sitting in Germany now so I thought I'd post up Day 4 while I still have an internet connection.
We woke up to frost on the bikes and some frozen water in the camelbak tubes. Of course once we got riding we all got warmed up soon enough. This day our goal was to get back to Denio Junction and the route that we took was amazing in many ways. It felt like we were ahead of schedule so we initially rode at a leisurely pace. We had a great ride over various passes and had many good photo opportunities along the way. At one point during the day Mark noticed that 4 of the 6 bolts were missing from his rear sprocket and fortunately he discovered it before another one let loose. We were able to come up with enough bolts to secure his sprocket to make it back to Denio.
There was a very long stretch of nicely graded road that basically allowed us to cruise at top speed for a long period of time. Somewhere in the middle of this "highway" I realized that I wasn't going to make it all the way to the next fueling point without having to use the extra gas I was so diligently carrying around for the last 3 days. Being that the 2 gallon fuel container was located underneath the DVD player and the kitchen sink, it took me awhile to get at it. This is why the rest of the guys (except Wild Bill who stopped to assist) were waiting "forever" for me at the intersection to the paved road a dozen or so miles ahead. Sorry again guys.
We eventually stopped in McDermitt again for a late lunch and to refill our tanks one last time. At this point we started to realize that we were actually somewhat late and getting back before dark was now in question. We began to pick up the pace in order to avoid a night-ride. A couple things hindered our progress heading west... the sun was setting and was directly in our eyes which made it difficult to see the trail ahead. In addition to that, the wind had died down and the dust from the bike in front of you would just hang there and further hinder the visibility.
One last thing that was an issue for me was a very long hill climb that was littered with softball-sized rocks. We had ridden down this hill on "Day 1" so I knew it was something I was going to have to deal with on the way back... and I had been dreading it for 3 days due to my overloaded bike and my lack of skill riding the laden Yamaha. I was the last rider of our group to tackle this hill and when I started up the incline, I just "gave 'er the onion" and hoped for the best. Everything was going well... I was seeing and anticipating the line well and was gaining confidence every foot I ascended. About halfway up the rocky slope, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. It was an antelope running across my path not 20 feet away. Normally it would've been a welcome sight because it's very impressive to see them run across such rough terrain at high speed... but during the dreaded rocky hill climb... I definitely didn't need any distractions. I felt like I needed to focus on the task at hand fully in order to coax the overloaded WR to the top of the hill. Somehow I was able to stay on course and ultimately made it to the top under control. It felt good to get that behind me.
We eventually made it back to Denio Junction as darkness was setting in. Bobby had cooked us each a burger and fries and it was a very welcome sight after a long 212 mile day.
Hinkey Pass (I think)
Shortly before Mark discovered the missing sprocket bolts.
Amazing it was still attached (photo by Chuck)
This is where the sprocket repair occurred.
Scrounging to find useable sprocket bolts
Miles and miles of this stuff
The very aptly named... Windy Gap
This was taken just prior to the most amazing jump I've ever seen on a fully loaded KLR... you should've seen the air he got... stuck the landing too. (or maybe he was just taking pictures, I can't recall)
The rest of the day was a bit rushed due to our having to race the sun to Denio Junction
so there weren't any photos taken by me from this point until the next day.