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Old 07-09-2013, 12:52 AM   #1
JimmyW OP
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Sparks, NV
Oddometer: 9
(Dirt) Road Trip to Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

First off, let me introduce myself, my name is Jimmy, I'm 26 and I live in the great state of Nevada. Been lurking on here for a long time - learning, researching and living vicariously through all of your ride reports, looking forward to the time when I would be able to finally share my own.

A little bit of backstory, I started riding dirt in high school on an old RM250, rode it till it blew up and picked up an 05 YZ250 later on in college. Still have it and love it. Started dating my girlfriend at the time, Lauren, and slowly but surely my love for two wheels began to rub off on her. She picked up a TTR 125 as her first bike and since then hasn't turned back! A few years down the road she enrolled us in the MSF class as a surprise birthday present for me and that's when the talks of moto adventures ended up on the horizon.

Fast forward to now. Lauren and I are married, graduated college, have jobs we enjoy and finally have the means and time to be able to turn those adventure dreams into reality. Lauren's skill on a bike has continued to grow and as a result has earned herself multiple podium finishes in the women's class of our local desert racing series and she now rides a KTM 200 XC-W. She's also continued to develop a love for the sport and I'll put money on her against anyone when it comes to bench racing about supercross or the outdoor series. Needless to say I'm a lucky guy and I feel super fortunate that we are able to share the love of riding and be on the same page when it comes to motorcycles.

Meet Lauren

With both of us coming from a dirt background we wanted something that felt at home when it came to bikes. We found Lauren a clean, plated XR250R, mounted up a big Acerbis tank and handguards and she was ready to roll. I picked up a DRZ400S with many of the mods already done and we ordered two giant loop bags to carry all our stuff. They've been great bikes so far and looking forward to all the adventures that lie ahead on them. With that being said, I've rambled on long enough, time to get to the ride report.

Goal for the weekend was to ride as much dirt as possible from our house in Spanish Springs, NV to Berlin-Ichthyosaur State park, just outside of Gabbs, NV. Always a place we've wanted to check out and after mapping it out and inspiration from F250pal's report, we were in. You can check out his report here. He's a good dude, met him at a desert race a year or so back and he even helped change a flat for me when I came through the pits. Thanks again!

Friday - Spanish Springs, NV to Ft. Churchill State Park

With it being the day after the 4th, Lauren had the day off and took care of the last of the preparation. I got home after work, we geared up and rolled out.

Starting Odo

Leaving the house

After what seemed like forever we made it through Reno and to the base of Geiger Grade. We hit the dirt up Toll road and wound our way up to Virginia City. Met up with a herd of wild horses blocking the road and in doing so helped us to remember why we do this stuff, to get out and enjoy the ride, escape the busyness of life, see the sights and make memories to look back on years down the road...

Easy ride up through VC and down into Dayton, stopped to top off the tanks, grab some tall cans (for when the bikes were parked for the night of course) and hit the dirt again on Ft. Churchill road.

Made it Ft. Churchill State Park just as it got dark, set up the tent, had some dinner, enjoyed our tall cans and crashed. I don't think either of us slept too well, too eager to see what lay ahead the next morning.

More to come tomorrow...
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:32 PM   #2
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Carson City/Ridgecrest
Oddometer: 5,772

Looks like you ride the type of bike and long rides as all my friends. We usually truck to Middlegate or past to start rides. Two weeks ago we started at Austin, day 1 to Eureka , day 2 loop to almost Ely and back, day 3 back to Austin. I have already scouted the best trails so it is turn key GPS ride. Contact me when you get home, would be ahppy to have you along. Also check out next ride is on 20th at Topaz, 600 miles.
Jerry Counts
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:46 PM   #3
JimmyW OP
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Sparks, NV
Oddometer: 9
Day 2 Ft. Churchill to Berlin-Ichthyosaur Park

Jerry, thank you for your invite, will definitely have to get in contact with you and meet up for some rides. Unfortunately will be out of town for the Topaz ride on the 20th but will keep an eye on the upcoming rides at DualSportWest. Thank you for the heads up!

Woke up Saturday morning to great weather. Lauren made breakfast and I got things packed up. Great campground at Ft. Churchill and was empty, especially for a holiday weekend.

Rolled out after breakfast and hit the Pony Express Trail.

Came across a locked gate outside of Fallon and had to pick our way back on pavement through some farms to meet back up with the Pony Express Trail. All good until Lauren's gas tank decided it wanted to try and fall off, oops! Replaced a couple of bolts and we were out of the pits.

Made our way through the salt flats past Sand Mountain and towards Four Mile Canyon.

Not a whole lot of mining happening lately through Rawhide and after miles of a fun rolling smooth dirt road, complete with banked turns, started reeling in Gabbs on the horizon. A few miles after this picture was taken we hit a few super sandy sections. Nothing you can do but stay loose on the bars, lean back and keep on the gas to try and stay on top of it!

Stopped for gas in Gabbs. Not bad $4 a gallon, wasn't sure what to expect as the guy calculated it out in his head. Picked up water to top off our camelbaks and bottles and also some more tall cans to enjoy once the bikes were parked for the night. If you're ever rolling through, pumps are open M-Sat, 7am-6pm and you have to go across the street to get the guy to come unlock the pump for you.

Hopped back on the highway north and then west into Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park.

Trip total after day 2 225.8 mi.

After setting up camp, we headed back into Berlin. An old mining town active during the early 1900s until it closed due to the operating costs being too high and the workers going on strike. The park has done a great job at preserving the site and providing a wealth of information on plaques and walking tours throughout the area. Definitely worth a trip to check out!

Then we made our way up the hill to the Ichthyosaur fossils. Unfortunately we missed the tour but they've built a building around one of the dig sites with large windows, allowing you to see the fossils along with corresponding numbers pointing out what's what. The size of these beasts were impressive and according to the info they had posted at the site, there's approximately 37 Ichthyosaur fossil sites throughout the park since they began the excavation in the 1920s.

Headed back to camp, had dinner and watched the sun go down.

Awesome Day #2. More to come...
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:25 AM   #4
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Southeast Lower Carolina
Oddometer: 733
Looks like a well prepared trip and the results will get you out again.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:00 PM   #5
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Now serving just Snohomish County
Oddometer: 1,644
Thanks for sharing! We had to skip the Berlin part of our ride this year as we were running out of time. It looks cool down there!
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