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Old 05-06-2004, 12:02 AM   #79
MikeO OP
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,782
More Gravel, Weird Bugs and the Sahara Motel...

3rd May

Woke late and feeling great – quick lardy breakfast, load the bike and I’m on the road for 1010. I head south to rejoin my planned route – I’m riding the good minor country roads I travelled yesterday. I ride across the top of a small dam, the water level behind it is clearly lower than normal.



After about 40 miles, though, the route turns me off onto a dirt track again. This one’s 23 miles long, and the going’s not great – the road has clearly been re-gravelled (is that a word? – it is now) and there are occasional deep troughs, which send the front wheel squirming – though through pig-headedness and throttle abuse, I manage to keep the Adv upright…



I negotiate a steep downhill section, and am so pleased with myself, I stop and take a picture…



…when I consider what I did later in the day, this act seems remarkably silly :P
I get back on tarmac and the roads are great – I keep up a steady 70 – this seems ridiculously fast after the speeds I’ve been doing on the tracks. I approach the end of a long straight and a 90º right bend. As I get closer, I notice there’s a change of road surface (not unusual, there have been 2 in the last 10 miles) – HOLY SHIT – it’s gravel :eek: No ‘Pavement Ends’ sign or anything, just tarmac to gravel 100 metres prior to a 90º right… I enter the gravel at about 20mph with the brakes released :P



The road winds downhill through Murphy Hot Springs, where a sign gives some indication of the road ahead…



The road follows the path of a fast-running stream…



…and is very picturesque. Soon I come to a choice. Should I turn right, as Betty suggests, onto another ‘Unpaved Road’…



…or go straight ahead…



The road ahead doesn’t cross a bridge with a large hole in it



and would appear to be the more sensible choice…

Whoever had any fun being sensible? I turn right and begin a 60 mile long off road session.
To begin with, the road follows another creek up a canyon. The climb is considerable and the view from the top…



…spectacular.



The summit is just over 6800ft. I’m less than 20 miles into this part of the route. I ride on, it’s often possible to see the route laid out in front of you like a map. This section descends more than 1000ft in under a mile and a half…



There is a great view around almost every corner…



Luckily, I refilled the CamelBack before I left the hotel this morning.



It’s warm (I later find out it’s 84º F) and the effort of holding the bike steady and standing on the pegs for extended periods is knackering – I drink regularly.



This would be a good opportunity to refill with water, wouldn’t it? I thought so – about 5 miles later :P



After climbing a long canyon, the road tops out and, at the same time as the views disappear, the road gets rough – very rough.



The gravel is deep and irregular. The next 20 miles are not fun…

Eventually, though, I get back on asphalt and make good time north west. The flat bottom of these glacial valleys are intensively farmed. The continuing drought has made these huge irrigators…



…a very common sight as they slowly rotate, watering circles hundreds of metres in diameter.

I’m soon back on the dirt again :P. Initially the route, towards Triangle, has a good surface…



…but it soon degrades again. As I climb the side of Cinnabar Mountain, I notice something odd on the road. It’s almost as if the gravel is moving. It turns out to be insects. Millions of them. They are all moving in roughly the same direction, which makes it seem like a scene from a horror movie¹…



Despite the bugs, the view is so good, I stop and take a pic…



The descent is a bit fraught. The slope has been newly re-gravelled (probably within the last week) and it’s a continuous struggle to keep the heavily laden Adv upright. Thankfully, I again get away without ditching it, and soon I’m rewarded with easier, flatter roads.



Unfortunately, the water is not confined to the occasional lake…:P



And just to prove I did ride through…



It’s now after 1800 and I’m knackered. I’ve just finished my water from the CamelBack and also realised I didn’t stop for lunch. I ask Betty to find me the nearest motel and she points me at the Sahara Motel in Jordan Valley – on my route. I ride down the last 15 miles of dirt track…



…before arriving at the Sahara at about 1915. It turns out to be a little ‘Mom & Pop’ motel…



…well, I think Mom probably left in the early 70s some time, taking most of the cleaning materials with her :.

In the shower I notice I’ve been bitten several times on the back of my right knee. I can’t shake off the thought of the Brown Recluse Spider bite (which was in the same place on the unfortunate victim) which someone posted on the forum the other day…:eek: Actually, I often react very badly to bites, but the reaction normally disappear the next day – fingers crossed²…

I have a good steak and a cold beer in the diner next door (owned by a Basque, with pro Basque leaflets and posters all over the place, bizarrely enough), turn on the air conditioner, and settle down for the evening. Only 290 miles today, but over 150 off road and difficult off road at that – I’m knackered.



¹EDIT Apparently it's a Mormon Cricket...

²EDIT All clear the next day - phew!
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MikeO screwed with this post 09-15-2009 at 01:00 AM
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