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Old 10-03-2011, 07:46 PM   #1
harcus OP
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Salt Lake to Tahoe on a Pony

As all who have any orange in their blood knows, KTM has staged a rally for the adventure bike crowd for the last 7 (?) years. Last year was Moab. This year it was Tahoe. Rumor is Bend, OR, is on the radar next year.

Our plan was to ride to Tahoe via the Pony Express (PET) route. Many know that this is no great challenge in Utah where the trail consists of many nicely sanded & sometimes grades roads. The question is Nevada.

Map wise, the Nevada is sketchy. Little is posted, less is tracked. In order to lay out the path, I bought about a dozen BLM maps & transferred the info by visually matching topo features with the maps. That gave us a series of way points & a route. But what would we find?

Who knows, but that is why they call it adventure. Being the optimistic type, I budgeted 3 days. Surely it couldn't take longer to ride 635 miles...could it?

Oddly enough, the rally was located at MountBleu Casino in So Lake Tahoe. The PET crossed the casino parking lot. Karma!

Trailtwister agreed to take off 4 days from work to accompany me (a difficult decision). Others planned to attend but "events occurred" to prohibit such. We were on our own. A 990 & a 950S in the Nevada desert.

Leaving bright n early at 0900 on Tuesday morning, the first stop was Simpson Springs. Been here many times but we wanted to pay homage to a few of the major way stations along the way...



Is this what a Pony Express rider looked like coming across the desert? Minus the road of coarse...



Lunch was under Russian olive trees at the Fish Springs station. Were they there in 1861? Doubtful...



The Callao station (Willow springs) is also the center of several farming operations today...



Some stations are marked by metal plaques like this ...



This is all that remains of the canyon station...



The Ibapah station is an Indian trading post. This one was built in 1893 (?) as I remember. Two older versions are adjacent. We need fuel but were suspicious. The teen age boy attendant assured us it was ok. I felt better. We only bought 2 gal each (regular) to mix with our hi test + a few old candy bars & headed down the road...



The Deep Creek station is still in Utah though most Ut riders don't venture this path...





Crossing into Nevada, the road looked like more of the same...



The path led us across wide open desert with sketchy but defined tracks. Occasionally a gate needed attention. It should be noted that no Indian land was harmed in the making of this movie...



Still 2 track but one has to watch carefully to not get off trail. We are still makin good time at this point...



The route led up the hill...



...to Rock Springs pass. NV BLM was kind enough to mark the trail quite well using a mix of signage. Here you see the concrete mini- Washington monument shaped marker along with the brown wood sign. We will see many more of these...



The sign proclaims this to be the highest point on the PET. Hmmm...Nice place...



Dropping down from Rock Springs pass, we pass Schell creek station area. Nothing remains but a sign at the intersection of Nv 93. We note that we need to take care of the fuel issue. Even plastic n aluminum horses need fuel. It is evening the only fuel is at Ely, 38 mi south. So south we go. Burn 1 gal to get 5. No options...

While in Ely, we were tempted with a $43 hotel room, cold brews & steak. We gave in to the evils & checked in.

End day 1

>>> more to come <<<
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harcus screwed with this post 10-03-2011 at 07:56 PM
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:57 PM   #2
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I'm in for this one boys...keep it coming.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:03 PM   #3
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Oh I'm sorry. I thought there would be KLRs too. Just kidding you know we love you.

Please continue.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:24 PM   #4
HickOnACrick
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What happened to the other people that were supposed to join you? Oh yeah, they got Zugg Zugged in the desert
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by pilo View Post
I'm in for this one boys...keep it coming.
Ditto....more please!
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:33 PM   #6
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:17 PM   #7
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It was a great ride.

From the Wasatch to the Sierra Nevadas, the physical geography has been called 'Range and Basin' ... and Range and Basin ... and Range and Basin ... AndRangeAndBasinAndRangeAndBasin ...



You can sorta tell the route was chosen for steeds -- flesh or iron. And what's a pony trail without ponies?



The trail just goes over the range and not around it.





I'm only posting this one to illustrate the awesome trailscape. Not to draw attention to Harcus' zero mileanhour laydown.

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Trailtwister screwed with this post 10-03-2011 at 09:25 PM
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:52 PM   #8
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After filling our bellies & tanks, we returned via 93 to Schellbourne to follow the trail.

Next up, Egan canyon.

The mouth of Egan Canyon contained several interesting cabins & structures connected to the mining world. But no obvious way station...



Egan canyon is named for Howard Egan who scouted a trail from Salt Lake City to California for driving cattle. His trail was unusual in that it led OVER the mountain ranges thus providing a shorter route. This trail became the basis for much of the PET & others. You can read more here if interested...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Overland_Route

Passing through the canyon was interesting but uneventful. We popped out in a valley with many roads / trails soon passing a cemetery.

Fort Pearce is what the sign says but not all agree...





http://www.webpanda.com/WP_cemeteries/egan.htm

We moved on. On to confusion. The roads on the maps were a mess. After a few bad choices, turnarounds, & backtracks, we found our way out. Out into the cedars. Hard to complain about playing pong in the cedars ..



Dropping down from the mountain, we encounter the next step in our education....





It seems that the valleys between the mountain ranges are silty. Not just silty but rutted & silty. Apparently the wet spring with trucks driving the road created ruts...and silt, etc. Over the next day I must have dropped my bike 8 or 10 times. Who knows. Sometimes there were new ruts & silt outside of the main trail that were also silty. I once told Trailtwister to go ahead. He said "No. I want to watch your technique"

I said "My technique is simple. If the ruts are bad, i ride the sage brush"

It was smother. Sometimes.



As we passed through the valley we noticed it was raining around us. We hadn't thought about was happening in the mountians ahead of us. I think this was the only time Trailtwister dropped it ...



I should add that TT did not want to bring the Gobies. He had no option for gear. They did provide him some entertainment.

We soon moved from the slime to the super tack. And kept climbing...



Range, valley, range, valley...



Sometimes the BLM (?) saw fit to tell the story...



The trail became more interesting as we moved west...



We noticed the trails were frequently covered with large piles of brown stuff. We soon found the source. Just what you would expect on the Pony Express trail, I guess...



He's really smiling in there. Trust me...



The BLM loves Carsonite markers. They used a little triangle with the letters "XP" to define the PET. Handy.

This is the approach to Overland Pass. Overland as in the Overland stage company...



The climb up to the pass was a steep dugway with a hairpin turn. Fine if you keep the tractor moving. Not so fine otherwise... The view from the top...



Curtis is pointing at a grave marker. Bob as I remember...



Hmmm...



The trail dropped quickly down a rocky creek bed dropping us out at the Roberts Creek station. There is a large ranching operation here that from the quantity of old rundown buildings has existed for some time.



The station marker...





Once again, we needed to feed the ponies so we headed to Eureka. We found a place for dinner...



Originally, our dusty friend from Vernal, Hick on a Crick, was going to ride with us. Life intervened. As luck would have it, he had asked about hot springs along our path. I had spent some time adding these to our GPS route. One was coming up.

We inquired of the waitress...Does she know of this HS? had she been there?

She responded, somewhat sheepishly, that some 20 years ago she had but not recently. And gave it an endorsement. We suspect a story is here but chose not to embarrass her.

Good enough for 2 dusty cowboys. We saddled up.

It was on a private ranch but the GPS didn't lie. There it was. Not large but warm. Two tubs, one large, one small. No one else. Close enough. We set up camp & soaked off the fungus...





The sunset...



Did I mention that the milky way is bright in Nevada ? Particularly when viewed through an open tent screen?

>>>End day 2<<<


Coffee was served next morning along with snacks. Unfortunately, there was no waitress in the French maid outfit...



We soon saddled up & headed for Simpson park. This area was another grey zone on the maps. We soon found out why.

A thin 2 track took us thru the desert past this abode. Dry Creek station I think...






As we approached the mountain, the trail thinned. Thinned to the point it was difficult to discern. Luckly there was Carsonite.



The Carsonites led us directly into a canyon full of brush with a but a single track going up the side. Choked with brush it was obvious that this trail had not seen wheeled traffic for many years. Trailtwister pointed out we brought the wrong bikes. A 300 2 smoke could have made it. My over sight.

We backtracked & hit the road westerly...



We wandered our way thru the mountians toward Austin. Again, not a very clear path. We had lost the PET because it went up the canyon and we couldn't. We eventually found it again along this road above Austin...



This was also where Trailtwister announced that his tempermental fan on the 950S was not getting better. An intermittent circuit it seems makes for sporadic operation. He wanted a soldering iron. In the desert. Seemed reasonable but let's go to Austin for food n fuel.

Big decisions always go better over food.

We found it here. Burgers n beer. What a deal. Best so far.



This is where we also realized that we still had 200 + miles to go in 1/2 day. Not good at the rate we are going. Time for the option card...Hit the highway.

This put us into the MontBleu Casino by 1800. We checked in to the hotel. Then paid the KTM crew a visit.

Back on schedule. Ready to ride Friday morning...

>>>End Day 3<<<

More to come...
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:48 AM   #9
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Nice job boys!
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:19 AM   #10
pluric
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This is better than prom night!
Yeah, at least a bike got laid (over).
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:06 AM   #11
The Walrus
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This is better than pron night!
Quote:
Yeah, at least a bike got laid (over).
fixt.....
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The Walrus screwed with this post 10-04-2011 at 08:13 AM
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:35 PM   #12
HickOnACrick
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Harcus, I am going to surgically remove your left index finger...so I don't need to look at it in every photo you take.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:23 PM   #13
harcus OP
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Day 4 - The first ride day

As mentioned earlier, this year's rally was held at MontBleu casino in So Lake Tahoe. This was a quite a change from past venues. The casino was full service meaning there were resturants within the casino but not outside. One could go to another casino but not an outside restaurant. Per KTM, 102 rider preregistered. This was down from the 150 at Moab last year. KTM noted that Moab was "special"- an appropriate word for Utah.

So, dirty motorcycle riders clumped to their rooms featuring polished granite baths. Unusual to say the least. A large parking lot to the north of the casino provided a staging area as well as parking for the KTM support truck and demo bikes. In this pic, the trailer is visible on the right & the edge of the casino on the left. This same area was roped off for anyone to use for bike parking, etc. We chose to park closer to the room to facilitate hauling bags & gear to the elevators.



The rally is directed at 950 / 990 Adventures, SEs, & 690s but open to all. Here is an interesting rally bike in the lot. Almost every permutation could be seen....



KTM typically gets with local riders to set up rides for the attendees. This can be challenging since the skill level varies greatly. Some rider had paper plates from purchasing their bike in the previous week while others had highly "seasoned" bikes...and bodies.

Many of the KTM rides contained quite a few road miles. We came to ride trails & dirt is possible. Luckily, we found a local...George.

Insurance salesman by day with a very low AMA no, he volunteered to lead a group of us through the trees & sage. It turned out to be real adventure.

KTM provided breakfast on day 1 (Friday) so we got a late start at 1000. By the time we left the lot, the group had grown to 17 (?) riders. Quite a handful to watch.

We headed out onto Kingsbury grade for a short distance & cut through a residential area to the Genoa Peak trail. The trail wound through the pines above Lake Tahoe and was highly used as evidenced by whoops for the first several miles. George set a very fast pace with sporadic stop to gather the sheep. This was to be his signature.

The whoops ended in some pavement before dropping on to US 50...



We followed US 50 for a short way & again dodged into the trees onto Kings Canyon trail. This was a beautiful trail that provided many vistas...when we stopped...





Here George gave the history lesson of the valley & admonished us to watch for the rocks coming up. I expected a scree field like at Moab but these turned out to be several volkswagon sized items that had dropped on the trail. Just to be interesting, some yahoo had parked his pickup in front of the rocks leaving about 1 foot of space on the trail for passage. Nice.

This is George...



He rode a modified 950 Adv (aren't they all?) complete with 2 into 1 low pipe, extended carbon bash plate, roll chart, etc.





The pipe made the big V sound like a 4 ...beautiful. Being vertically challenged as he is, I had a hard time telling when he was standing or sitting...no matter.

We soon popped out onto pavement to collect the sheep...



We proceeded to Carson City & Goni Road. The target was Cafe Rio in Virginia City, home of the first gold strike in Nevada, for lunch. Time slipped away (as always on these ventures) & we arrived late, much to the irritation of the owner. Oh well. Trailtwister & I tested brews, salsa & chips while waiting. George had succeeded in finding a nail for his rear tire on the way in so he & several assistants focused on the repair. Here you see the group in front with George & bike on the RH side...



Good food at the Cafe Rio. Virginia City has many interesting buildings worthy of a view. Someday I will return..



After lunch, George led us to Six Mile Canyon & Dayton. Following Como road, it soon turned to dirt...and hell. The next 21 miles were challenging, dusty, rocky and ...fun. But it did sort out the riders.

We added another 10 miles & exited over Sunrise Pass for a total of 44 miles of entertainment.

At this point, the ride group was scattered over much of the trail. Gradually they appeared...all but Trailtwister. The last 2 riders pointed "back there". Who knows what that means. He had been having fan problems. Maybe he is stopped on the trail.

So I headed back to look for him. Riding backwards following my GPS track was pleasant enough but the sun was setting fast. Half way back with a bit of light left, I picked up a pinch flat. Lat time I will use thin tubes. I peeled it off while on the bike, patched it & went on. Still no sign of Curtis, I rode the trail back to the gas station where we started. It is now 2000 hrs. Now within cell range I find a message from Curtis. He was in Carson 1/2 hr ago. Good. It was a dark chilly ride to the hotel & a late dinner.

Sorry, no pics.

>>>End day 4 <<<
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:24 PM   #14
harcus OP
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Harcus, I am going to surgically remove your left index finger...so I don't need to look at it in every photo you take.

Actually it is the glove. But I am happy that is all you want to remove
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:16 PM   #15
pluric
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Actually it is the glove. But I am happy that is all you want to remove
He's not a micro surgeon. You should be safe.
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