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Old 07-05-2014, 08:43 AM   #1
kramsetac OP
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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.

Intended Route:




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..
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:10 AM   #2
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:28 PM   #3
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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
5) Bypasses
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.


Rollchart snippet:


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...
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:35 PM   #4
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In, this looks interesting!
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Old 07-05-2014, 02:10 PM   #5
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Looking forward to following along!
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Old 07-05-2014, 04:52 PM   #6
kramsetac OP
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Day One

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:





Middlegate:





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. déjŕ 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:





Whew.

/end day one.


Upcoming on Day 2 is Ophir Pass, Jefferson Pass, and Diana's Punchbowl.
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:00 PM   #7
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In! Looking forward to further installments!
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:22 PM   #8
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Nice! Those are some very nice artsy shots.

Can't wait to see more.
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:48 PM   #9
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Oh yeah. . .

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Old 07-11-2014, 04:27 PM   #10
oldxr
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Awesome RR.I did a loop of northern Nevada last year.I rode down the east slope of Mt.Ophir.With the loose rock it seemed like there were sections that I couldnt get my bike slowed down because it was hopping on the loose rocks.Kind of scary while riding alone.I missed the hot springs after checking out Diana's Punch Bowl.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:41 PM   #11
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You were the 650 Honda rider posting in last year's ride? (Stay tuned for more)
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:27 PM   #12
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Day Three

Damn it. Work always gets in the way of a timely ride report. Where were we? Oh, yeah. DAY THREE. A day of MUCH ADVENTURE!!!!

Here is a snapshot of our intended route -- a mix of new stuff and some "best of" sections from other rides. We would not adhere to this plan for long:



During our evening around the fire, we discovered that Ikes Canyon was actually the beginning of one of my alternate routes through the mountains, so we decided to continue on up the canyon on our way north towards Austin. In the Benchmark guide, this road is called the "Old Freight Route". Not sure I would be taking any freight this direction!

All packed up.


The route up the canyon is spectacular, in fact this is now on my list of all time favorites. Awesome scenery, some challenging climbs, and a long run a long the ridge line with views down into the valleys on either side.

As the elevation climbed, we were soon in stands of Aspen.




We then started climbing a series of switchbacks, offering a view into the valley we had just come up:


We started to get concerned about the altitude, as we were now at about 9600', and we had encountered snow drifts on Ophir the day before just below 10,000'. And...sure enough...another blocking snow drift!

While there was no way around this one up or down, it was small and we decided to carve a way through. Don begins to dig:


Greg and Dano really got into it:


While they all dug, I walked around and took pictures of stuff :) :


After about 30 minutes, we had carved a nice trench in the snow and were ready to walk the bikes across. Don first:




I could tell by the look in Danny's eye that he was not going to be content with simply paddling his bike through while we all helped push. He attempted a full power run:


It didn’t work:




We resumed a more conservative approach and got all of us up and over.


Last bike:


Freedom from snow and the summit now in sight. From there we dropped down into an area called Stoneberger basin:


I seem to be somewhat immune to downhills, or am just have a bad memory (I didn’t recall Jefferson pass as being bad). Most of the crew thought this was a real scare -- steep, silty, with a huge rut in the middle. We were concerned we would not be able to climb back out if turned around by snow again. Keep that thought it mind. It will come into play later that morning!

Don on the last part of the hill. This is with a 400mm telephoto. It’s a steep sucker.


Being in the lead means sitting around a lot. So I took pictures of some of the vegetation in the basin. Cool stuff:


After a series of steep accents, we crested and started to ride along the ridgeline north. I stopped and waited again, taking just a few pictures of the scenes from the top:




Don was behind me and we sat for quite a while taking in the view waiting for the others to catch up. Nothing. Wait some more. Nothing. Finally, we turned on our radios and Don headed back south while I waited some more.


Finally I got the call from Don. Change in plans….
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:23 AM   #13
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We're down to the last 5000 critter pics. Is this a long thread?
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:41 PM   #14
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I wonder about response time with my Delorme Inreach out in a places like that .I ride alone alot.And my XRR is hard to start if injured.Nice job of teaming up to help out an injured rider.

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Old 07-14-2014, 06:42 PM   #15
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I'll try to avoid repeating everyone else's comments by summarizing:

  • Departed camp @ 7:45 for an amazingly beautiful ride up Ike's Canyon.
  • Excellent camp spot in Ike's Canyon.
  • Frikkin' snow ain't stopping us this time!
  • Stoneberger Basin is absolutely stunning. One of my favorite rides of all time. Challenging in spots and absolutely stunning views. We'll have to go back.
  • Dano breaks his right wrist in a tip-over while breaking his fall. Then goes on to perform the Herculean task of riding 13.5 miles of technical, rocky jeep trail and then another 29 miles of gravel and pavement.

stats:
138 miles.7.5 hours (on the bikes).
200 miles, 3.5 hours (in the truck).


Some elaboration on the story with the state trooper.

Dano and I are riding up front when we pass the trooper at the side of the road. I start thinking to myself that maybe we should stop and solicit help or information from him. Just about then Dano pulls over and I'm thinking he had the same idea, but I believe he just needed to take a break. So I look in my mirror and see that Mark is pulling over behind us with the trooper in tow. "Great!", I think, "Mark flagged down the officer. Good job!"

Can't say enough about how helpful the officer was. He gave us some local intel - sadly that the Austin Urgent Care clinic was shut down. His best quote when asked about being the only officer in the region of small towns for miles at a time, "The towns are alright, but the hills have eyes".

The 100 mile slog back to Battle Mountain on the WR250R was just that - a slog. Sure, the little 250 will do 70, but it's a chore. At one point the bike simply died and wouldn't restart so I coasted to the side or the road and noticed the display was showing error code 19. Great. This was only half way to Battle Mountain. I cycled the power and it started up just fine. I decided to keep the pace below 70 the rest of the way.

Then the 100 mile drive back to Austin with the truck and trailer, load up the remaining bikes, Marc, and Dano, and another 100 miles back to Battle Mountain.

While filling up at the gas station in Austin a curious local struck up a conversation. I told him the tale of woe regarding Dano and said we were headed back to Battle Mountain because that's where the hospital was. He mentioned he was from Battle Mountain and said "Yeah - we got a hospital in Battle Mountain…. Not a very good one…."

I opted not to relay that message back to Dan.

Onto the pics of the day…

Packing up


Best camping spot of the trip


Mark in aspens




Even Google Earth has the snowbank we dug through



Dano about to drop into Stoneberger Basin


Danny on the KLR


Dano riding cautiously with Don and Danny keeping watch.


Dano (a.k.a Hercules)


Making arrangements for Dano once we hit pavement and got cell service.


Um… yeah… I think it's broken…


Chillaxin' in the AC with ice
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