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Old 06-26-2013, 01:20 AM   #136
ABee OP
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Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Day Eighteen



An oasis in the desert near Baker, NV.


Day Eighteen
Baker to Eureka, NV
After a surprisingly peaceful night at the Baker RV Park ,(the Sinclair Station parking lot) I was on the road early heading out of town to the south. The TAT loops around to the southeast out of Baker back into Utah for a few miles around Wheeler Peak and Great Basin National Park before heading back to the west. Of the many things that are surreal about riding in the desert is coming across springs and creeks in the most unlikely places. While riding through some of the driest and rockiest desert that I have yet to encounter, I came upon a spring, meadow and old cabin that now was being used as a cattle shelter. Here was this lush, green oasis in the middle of nowhere! Just a few hundred yards away from the spring, it was dry and barren land once again, like the spring was just a mirage to begin with.
After turning back to the southwest, the trail Intersects with the Silver State ATV trail network. Some of these trails were a bit steep for the Toad, so I was getting a good workout trying to keep it on the boil while dodging the Pinyon Pines that crowded the trail. As the trail moved further west, it went through a narrow canyon that was lined with mountain roses that were in bloom. The pleasant fragrance was overwhelming, and it was like being in a perfume store. The desert surprises again. After the canyon, there was a section of fast dirt roads to the north before turning to the west over Patterson Pass in the Schell Creek range. It was here that I had another surreal moment. Up ahead on the trail were dozens of young Mormons dressed in period costumes pulling and pushing handcarts. This pass was steep and narrow and the handcarts were loaded down with supplies, so what they were doing represented a lot of work. They seemed surprised if not a little annoyed to see a motorcycle on this isolated trail because it meant having to move a little to the side to allow me to pass. It also tarnished the mood of their experience, I am sure. It seems that they were reenacting the trials of the Mormon Handcart Pioneers, who migrated to Utah from 1856-60 from Iowa and Nebraska. These pioneers lacked the funds for oxen or horse teams, so they had to use the handcarts to transport their belongings. Today, these reenactments have become popular with LDS wards and youth groups and is a somewhat common sight in this part of the country. I really wanted to take a picture of them struggling to move the carts up the pass, but I felt it would be insensitive to their endeavor, so I moved on. I did, however, take a picture of the place that it looked like they would camp that evening at the top of the pass, as it was stocked with supplies and piles of freshly cut firewood.
After Patterson Pass, I dipped back into a valley with faster dirt roads before heading through the Egan Mountain Range and a drop down into the Mormon farming community of Lund, where I refueled and met Donna for lunch. The speedometer on the Toad had stopped working in the desert that morning, and I was hoping it was just a speedometer cable that I could replace at lunch. No such luck, it was a drive unit on the front wheel that I would have to pull off the spare Toad later that night.
Out of Lund, the TAT took me into the White Pine Range toward my destination of Eureka. Once into the mountains, I came across the dreaded “ROAD CLOSED AHEAD” sign while on an isolated forest service road about 30 miles out of Lund. Ouch! If I had to detour here, it would be a long way to backtrack and I might not have enough fuel to make it to Eureka. I decided to roll past the sign and see if I could get by whatever the obstruction was. The issue, as it turned out, was forest service personnel installing new drainage pipes across the road. There was a fellow operating a backhoe on one side of the road, and two other men in dump trucks on the other side of the ditch that was already dug across the road. The ditch was about 8 to 10 feet deep near the backhoe, but only about two to three feet deep on the other side, so I dropped the Toad down into the shallow side and paddled up the embankment to the opposite side. Of course, the forest service guys were not too pleased with this move. I rolled up to the one with the biggest scowl on his face and his hands on his hips and pleaded my case. I told him I had to try to get across because of the length of the detour and my fuel situation. He seemed to understand. He just shook his head and told me to be careful. This was one of those situations where it was better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.
In the White Pine Range, I continued to climb in elevation near Mt. Hamilton. I passed through the old abandoned 19th century mining town of Hamilton. The remaining buildings were intriguing, so I decided to investigate. On the walls of one building was graffiti that dated back to the 1950’s. It was a little spooky to think about the people that were here over 60 years ago, doing the same thing I was doing now. I later learned that over 25,000 people lived in Hamilton at one time, but once the silver was mined out after 19 years, it became a ghost town.
After Hamilton, I rode down a series of washes until I came to Highway 50 which took me into Eureka for the night. I replaced the faulty speedometer drive before dinner and hoped that the Toad would be ready for a 300 mile day tomorrow through some of the most remote areas yet.
208 miles covered today. 4.2 gallons of gas and 17 ounces of injector oil. 3,773 total miles ridden to date.



South of Baker, NV.

ABee screwed with this post 06-26-2013 at 09:18 AM
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:23 AM   #137
ABee OP
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Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Photos, Day Eighteen



Silver State ATV trail, between Baker and Lund, NV.





Further along the ATV trail.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:26 AM   #138
ABee OP
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Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Photos, Day Eighteen



Another lonely desert well, near Lund, NV.




Patterson Pass
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:31 AM   #139
ABee OP
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Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Photos, Day Eighteen



The Mormon reenactor's camp.




Mountain roses in bloom.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:35 AM   #140
ABee OP
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Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Photos, Day Eighteen



Moving up through the White Pine Range.




A portion of Hamilton Ghost Town.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:39 AM   #141
ABee OP
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Photos, Day Eighteen



Graffiti, Hamilton Ghost Town.




More graffiti.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:41 AM   #142
ABee OP
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Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
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Day Nineteen



Fixing a pinch flat in Eureka before departure.


Day Nineteen
Eureka to Paradise Valley, NV
The plan today was an ambitious one for the Toad- ride approximately 300 miles through some of the most remote deserts and mountains in Nevada. Of course, I had horribly abused the bike up to this point, and even though I thought I was doing a good job of servicing it at the end of the day, things were getting loose and worn, something that would happen on any dirt bike after nearly 4,000 miles on the trail. The Toad had proven itself to be tough, however, and so I still had confidence that I would make it to my destination just fine. The day had an auspicious beginning, however. When I went to check tire pressures before I departed, I only had 10 psi in the front tire. I had been running around 20 psi to help prevent pinch flats in the desert. The low tire pressure meant that I had a slow leak, so I needed to replace the front tube before I could hit the trail. Not a great thing since I had so far to go on this day. Adding to my delay was a detour I had to take just a couple of miles out of town. The TAT route had me climb the hill on the west side of Eureka to the old mine. The problem was that the old mine had a high fence around it with a locked gate. I had to figure out a way to get on the other side of the mine and back on the trail, not an easy task here since the entire hillside was honeycombed with mine shafts, tailing piles and access roads going every which way. I finally got around these obstacles by riding down the mountain in a dry creek bed, bouncing over boulders the entire way down. Not the smartest thing when riding solo, but it looked like the best way to intercept the trail again from my location. Once back on track, I wound through the mountains west of town on dirt roads that were thick with dust. The dust was so deep that it was difficult to plow through it on the Toad. I had to downshift and rev the engine to get through this stuff, and I was amazed when I looked in the rear-view mirror just how much was being thrown into the air by the little 100cc bike. If I was riding in a group, my air filter would have been clogged just a few miles into the ride, no exaggeration. Later I heard from Jim that Mark had to head home from Nevada on his KLR because his filter kept getting clogged. It seems that with the setup he had, the rear tire was throwing the dust right into the airbox. This dust is serious stuff, you have to experience it to believe it! By the way, the locals call it “bug dust,” (Jim, you were right-“bug,” not “buck”), and they say it gets MUCH worse later in the summer.
Once I crossed back over Highway 50 to the north, the going got a bit easier with faster (but rocky) dirt roads heading up towards Crescent Valley and the Shoshone Range. I still had to cross low-lying areas that were thick with the dust, and at times deep ruts that I could not see because they were buried in the dust tried to wrench the bars from my grasp. There were a few steep climbs for the Toad as well; the one skirting Mt. Lewis in the Shoshone Range had me tapped out in first gear for a good bit of the way.
After a quick lunch and fuel for the Toad in Battle Mountain, I headed toward the Nevada-Oregon border town of McDermitt, about 160 miles away. Because of my late start as a result of fixing the flat and the mine detour, I was going to be cutting it close as far as daylight went. I had to try to finish this leg before dark as I no longer had lights resulting from the lighting circuit failure in Utah. If I had another flat or had to take a detour, I could be spending the night in the desert.
The roads out of Battle Mountain were initially gravel and dirt with good surfaces, and I was making good time as I headed to the northwest. Then, the trail turned to the west to skirt Adam Peak and put me on some rocky jeep trails. Even though I was now having to move slower on these trails, I was still on schedule to make McDermitt with plenty of daylight left. So, it was a bit of a surprise to come upon a creek with a good bit of water in it in an area so desolate.
Veteran TAT riders in this part of the country know Kelly Creek well. Just on the other side is an old homestead that some use as a camp in route. The walls are covered with graffiti from riders that have visited throughout the years, and it is interesting to read the comments that some have made about their experiences on the trail. At the creek, I got off the bike to scout the crossing. It looked deep enough to go over the engine cases, so I wanted to look for a shallower place to cross. Before I could shut off the Toad, it sputtered and died. Although this made me uneasy, I just thought it was just a little hot and merely stalled when I let the revs drop. When I got down to the creek, I noticed that TAT riders had fashioned a little wooden bridge to the right of the main crossing, and so I would use that to get across. However, when I went to start the Toad, there was no life. Not even a pop. Up to this point, it had always started by the third kick, usually by the first or second. I then took out he plug, laid it on the cylinder head and kicked it over. No spark. I tried it with a new plug. Still, no spark. I undid the plug cap and tried to get an arc from the coil wire to a ground. Nada. I then took off the seat and tank and checked all connections from the stator to the coil as well as the grounds. All looked tight. No broken, loose or chaffed wires, as far as I could see. OK, now it was time to see if I had cell phone reception. Luckily, I did, probably because of the big Newmont Mine that I could see on the horizon to the west. I called Donna to let her know what was going on. Giving her my GPS coordinates, she could determine if it was possible to get the RV and trailer close enough to retrieve me and the bike. However, it wasn’t possible, as far as she could tell from the maps. She would need a vehicle with higher clearance to navigate down the rough roads to get close. Alright, let’s go to plan “B,” which was calling the car rental agency in Winnemucca to see if she could rent a truck or car that was capable of getting down these roads. A quick call revealed that the ONLY rental agency was already closed this late Friday afternoon. OK, now on to plan “C,” in which I called my roadside assistance numbers from the AMA and Spot locater service to see if they could get a truck near me with my GPS coordinates. The AMA people said that their local service provider “declined” the recovery due to my remote location. OK, fair enough, I would probably just need to spend the night out here until Donna could go to the rental agency tomorrow and get a truck. It was then that I decided to call the Humboldt County Sherriff’s Department to see if they knew anyone that might be interested in retrieving me and my bike that evening. I was put in touch with Deputy Casey, who also headed the county’s search and rescue team. Deputy Casey said that his team had not been on a mission for awhile, and that they needed practice, so he would assemble a team and come and get me using my GPS coordinates. Wow, what a lucky break! However, I felt bad that I was about to ruin the Friday evening of the search and rescue team members. I asked Deputy Casey if it was possible just to send one officer and a truck. He said that he wanted to assemble the team for practice, and that was that. Beggars can’t be choosy, and even though I was going to be a little humiliated (deservedly so) when all of the vehicles and officers rolled up, I was extremely grateful for the help.
It took awhile for the team to drive up to my location from Winnemucca. it became dark, the temperature dropped and the wind began to howl. Humboldt County is huge, and so these men and women usually have a lot of ground to cover when they go out on a mission. When the team was getting close, Deputy Casey called and asked if I could see the lights of their vehicles. Initially, I couldn’t, only the lights of the mine to the west. Eventually, their lights appeared on the horizon, bumping along a desert road. I signaled them with my flashlight, and they immediately turned through the desert and drove right up to the creek near my location. I expected (and deserved) to be lectured for what could be described as being irresponsible - riding solo through a remote desert on a tiny 35-year old motorcycle, but that was not the case. The Deputies were very understanding and sympathetic, as well as friendly, polite and professional. They helped me wrestle the Toad across the creek and into the bed of one of their trucks. On the ride back, they had questions about my route, which I showed them on the GPS. They expressed concern that I was going to be traveling through other rough and remote areas by myself. They gave me a good idea as what to expect as far as terrain, and which portions of my route might give me a little trouble.
Donna had driven up the road heading to the mines as far as she could go with the RV, which was about 18 miles from the creek where the Toad died. The Deputies had seen her parked and stopped to talk to her on the way out, so they knew where to take me. When we reached the area where Donna was located, they helped me unload the bike and posed for a picture.
This was another good example of the kindness that I received from people in rural areas on my journey. At the beginning of the trip, I had no idea that one of the greatest gifts I would receive from this experience would be a chance not only to reconnect with the people around me, but a chance to strengthen my faith in my fellow man.
Tomorrow I would see what needed to be done to get the Toad on the road again in Winnemucca. We are not giving up. Yet.
210 miles travelled today (by Toad). 4.3 gallons of gas and 18 ounces of injector oil burned. 3,983 miles ridden to date.



Climbing the hill behind the old mine in Eureka.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:45 AM   #143
ABee OP
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Joined: May 2013
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Photos, Day Nineteen



Through the desert north of Eureka.




Trailside grave/monument near Battle Mountain.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:49 AM   #144
ABee OP
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Photos, Day Nineteen



At the top of a grade between Eureka and Battle Mountain




On the shoulder of Mt. Lewis.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:53 AM   #145
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Photos, Day Nineteen



A shallow creek crossing near the Shoshone Range. This creek was teeming with fish.




On the road north of Battle Mountain.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:56 AM   #146
ABee OP
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Joined: May 2013
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Photos, Day Nineteen



No spark! Looking for the cause.





The cabin at Kelly Creek.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:59 AM   #147
ABee OP
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Photos, Day Nineteen



Graffiti on the cabin's wall.




More graffiti. Hodakaguy was here. (A different Hodaka guy.)
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:05 AM   #148
ABee OP
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Joined: May 2013
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Photos, Day Nineteen



The good men and women of the Humboldt County Search and Rescue Team.







ABee wrecking the Friday evening of the Humboldt County Search and Rescue Team.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:50 AM   #149
yokesman
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I have known search and rescue teams,they live for it.
You MADE their day-nite.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:42 PM   #150
WECSOG
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Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Just past the pavement's end in North Alabama
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Wow! What an adventure.
I would be tempted to camp at that cabin for awhile, or nearby in my tent.
And the comment about SAR teams and making their day is spot-on. Going out to rescue someone is an excuse to play! Lots of them are avid Jeepers, amateur radio operators etc. that like to put their skills to good use.
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