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Old 07-06-2014, 08:00 PM   #16
Travism
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In! Looking forward to further installments!
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:22 PM   #17
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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, 08:48 PM   #18
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Oh yeah. . .

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Old 07-06-2014, 10:08 PM   #19
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Trooper scoop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haywood View Post
Lookin good so far. Can't wait for the rest.
Oh, by the way, what happened that you guys got to meet the state trooper?
Ha. A long and interesting tale and the trooper is only part of it! Stay tuned for day 3.

I have to drive from S Oregon back to Seattle tomorrow, so will post more tomorrow evening. The trooper tale is worth the wait!
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:12 PM   #20
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Day Two

Onto Day 2. Per the plan, this was going to be one of our most scenic and interesting days of the ride. Several high passes, ghost towns and some geothermal "features" (big holes in the ground). Planned mileage for the day was to be 158 miles.



Union Canyon takes off right out of the state park camp ground and is an easy climb over the Shoshone mountains and Union Pass, the decends into the Reece river valley.



I always wonder the story behind the old cars you encounter so far up these canyons.



Marc coming down off the pass


Dano on the original blue 610:


The Union Canyon road ends into the Reese River Valley road, which is a combination of broken pavement and gravel road. We took this north to the intersection of the Ione road from the west and the Ophir pass road to the east. The shot below is from the east side of the Ophir pass road looking backing back on the intersection. The road into the far range leads to Ione.



A shot of the gang all enjoying the weather before hitting the top of Ophir.



Some shots of the Reece valley.





Time to head up to the top:









Kick Ass. Its only 10am and we've already crested Ophir Pass. Now just a long decent down to Carvers for gas. NOT!



The post summit activities in the next post.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:41 PM   #21
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Day Two Continued

So...before leaving Seattle, I made a bunch of calls regarding Ophir pass. It is high (10109') and rough (on the east side). My first call was to the forest service. I cheerfully asked if they knew the condition of the pass and whether or not it was snow free. Was I got back was a canned answer. "We do not recommend using Ophir pass road". Yes, but we are experienced riders on capable dual sport motorcycles. "We do not recommend using Ophir pass". Ok, we accept the risk. Is there snow up there still? "We do not recommend using Ophir pass". Ok. Thanks NFS. Does that now stand for No F_cking Service?

Next I called the store at Carvers. Hey, anyone been up Ophir? Oh, yeah, the kids just went up there this weekend on Razors and got all the way to the top. Kick Ass. Its clear? We'll the kids say it is….

Well...the kids were mistaken:



It didn’t look so bad at first...until we walked down and climbed out on the one big remaining drift. There was a 20 foot drop on the down hill side and the snow was so soft we sank in up to our knees in several spots. No way over it, and the terrain above and below was too steep to ride. Crap.



So...we took a group shot and we braced for plan b (more on that in a minute).



Let me momentarily resume my NFS rant. Here is the markings on the "no turn around" sign at the top. Wording consistent with what I heard on the phone. "We don’t recommend Ophir pass"….

OK. I feel better now. On with the story of Day two.

Fortunately, we had planned for the possibility of Ophir being impassable, given that the significant consequence -- given gas limitations and no other way over the range, our only option now was to go 80 miles to the south and circumnavigate the Arc Dome wilderness. So back down the west side of Ophir and south through the Reece valley.







At this point, there is a huge gap in our pictures, as we were running 50 mph plus (actually hit 75 on the 610 through one very open gravel section) all the way down the valley and back up the east side of the range to Carvers. It was almost 1pm by the time we hit the pumps. The plan was to be there around 11. Oh well. Adventure...



I thought I had more pictures of Carvers, but I guess not. Trust me, you aren't missing much. We stayed overnight here last year. THAT was clearly the worst place I have ever stayed.

So...from Carvers, we headed over Jefferson Pass to the Belmont ghost town. More adventure. We came over Jefferson last year east to west. I vaguely recalled it being nice and smooth on the east, and a little chewed up on the west. I was wrong. The west side is INSANELY chewed up. Coming down it isnt as memorable as going up. The road ran straight up the stream bed, then turned up a long series of rocky steps that we tricking to climb on fully loaded bikes freshly loaded with 5+ gallons of gas! On the 610, I just motored up. But Greg's wr250 was panting a bit, and Danny's KLR was...well...being a KLR -- motoring up, but with poor suspension and a lot of weight. Bottom line...Jefferson is hard west to east!

A few pictures of Jefferson (I didn’t stop to take many):











Sitting around at the top of the pass waiting for everyone at the top, I took this selfie…




After our traumatic climb it was down the east side and an easy cruise into Belmont.




We found that the inn was open and the owner was there, his Husky Terra parked out front. We grabbed a couple of drinks and chatted with him a while, noting his restoration progress since last year.



We showed him our route and discussed our alternatives, given that it was now about 4pm and we still had three passes to summit on our planned route. We scrapped our plans and decided to blast straight up the gravel mainline between Belmont and Hwy 50 (Monitor valley, picking our original route up again after about 30 miles.

Some pictures of Belmont







The next stop on our planned route was Diana's punchbowl, a geothermal cone and crater full of scalding hot water. This being Nevada -- where there are no laws -- there are no warning signs or safefy rails. You can ride right up the cone and on into the abyss if you arent careful!

I am sure others can provide better shorts of the punch bowl, as my telephoto lens would not open for a very wide shot.









After teetering on the edge of death for a little while, we rode about 1 mile to our next destination and possible camp for the night: Potts Hot Springs. The innkeeper in Belmont had warned us that the new owner of the hot springs property didn’t like campers at the springs, but had given us directions to his ranch house to ask permission. After getting to the springs however, we determined that a) it was pretty exposed and b) the area was infested with cows (and cow deposits). We DID, however, fill the tub and go for an AWESOME soak. Greg has pics...I was too busy relaxing.

Note the cows in the background:



After reluctantly putting all of our dirty and hot gear back on, we headed to the west side of the range and looked for a place to camp. We quickly came across a sign for Ikes Canyon, and rode up about a mile for an awesome campsite for the night.

A few more wild horses along the way:



Here is our campsite and a quick inventory of camping styles by individual:



My setup:


Greg, the consummate professional camper:


Minimalist Don:


Dano:


KLR-style Danny:


Greg photo bombing the picture of the water sterilizer.


And...the sun slowly sets on Day 2. It didn’t go as planned, but was plenty scenic and action packed!

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Old 07-08-2014, 10:00 PM   #22
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Some additional commentary on day 2.

Beautiful ride to Ophir. Excellent weather and perfect temps. Getting stopped by the snow was definitely a disappointment. Mark had regaled us with tales of Herculean efforts from the previous year of climbing the route we would've descended.

Mark thought he might be able to salvage the adventure and find a potential route around the snow. He comes prepared and whips out his iPad mini with an app (he'll have to tell which) that has highly detailed topo and satellite imagery cached on the device.


We decided to take the bypass route option Mark laid out just in case. The 2.5 hour, 83 mile ride definitely turned into a drone after a while and by the time we arrived at Carvers it seemed like we'd been riding much longer than that.

Carvers: food, drink, fuel, recuperate a bit. Head out to Jefferson canyon.

As Mark mentioned, Jefferson Canyon was quite challenging. The road definitely seemed to have suffered some serious water damage. Numerous baby heads and Fester heads, exposed roots, and ruts galore. I was glad to be on the little 250 and wasn't envying Danny on the massive and loaded KLR.

The final climb up the pass was fun and challenging, but there was one 5' washout/drop off around a turn that would gladly eat a bike. The little WR wasn't panting so much as screaming. Just like every WR250R owner before me has said - you have to ride them like two strokes. Sometimes this means winding them out on a hill climb which makes them a little more squirrelly.

Once at the top of Jefferson Pass we waited for Danny. And Waited. Uh oh. Waited some more. He wasn't that far behind. So Don and I, being on the lightest bikes, went back down to investigate. We didn't have to get far before finding Danny walking his KLR up a particular steep section.

This is a picture of Don, almost skating down the rock, to help Danny - which you can barely see to Don's left.


Here's a poor panorama shot where Danny's getting geared up to ride the final, easier, section. Oh yeah - Mark came down too after 15 or so minutes to make sure all was well. We'd (or at least I'd) forgotten we all had radios. Doh.


The rest of the ride into Belmont was fun and fast. No picture as I think we were focused on making up time.

Improvising a new route based on intel from the Saloon owner in Belmont we rode strait to Diana's Punchbowl http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana's_Punchbowl.

Mark and Dano





A highlight of the day was this little gem of a hot spring. It was the first hot spring I'd ever been it.


Simply plug the hole with an old sock (provided in the tub) redirect the hot flowing water from the nearby stream into the tub using some tubing:


Add a few sweaty and grimy dirt bikers and voila - spirits raised:


Onward to finding a very cool campsite….

When you're riding a KLR, you can bring some serious kitchen kit and supplies:




Got a little fire going to keep away the mosquitos:




Basic stats:
Miles: 186
Riding time: 10.5 hours.
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Old 07-08-2014, 10:34 PM   #23
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I was afraid that Jefferson Pass had been under-estimated. I distinctly remember thinking (as we were headed the opposite way last year) "This would be a bitch going the other way!!" In my memory, all the other mountain ranges we had crossed in Nevada were more difficult on the eastern facing slopes but that one was different.

I am glad to see that all of you conquered it! Good stuff! Keep it coming!!

Bummer about the snow drift on Ophir. Have a look at this satellite shot that was lingering in my mind last June as we dealt with the gnarly grade approaching the summit from the east side. Did you notice the date of the image?? See that big snow drift that Mark found? The high point of the pass is very close to where the 2nd waypoint from the left side of the picture is.

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Old 07-09-2014, 03:45 AM   #24
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Ophir

Great stuff guys---thanks !!!

With this photo--you guys could have lied about going over Ophir----but no---you guys are upstanding riders----------me---I might have lied
I so want to get to Northern Nevada---I've did the TAT across it---but there is so much more.
Not to be ridden alone I would think.

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Old 07-09-2014, 06:50 AM   #25
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Day 2

By Day 2, I was worried about running out of rocks, not snow.

Mark motoring the bottom before the Ophir climb


Dano stretching on the joy ride



Danny on the fun side of Ophir


Doesn't look like much.


Disappointed- Had we gone done the east side, we would have hung two notches lower, one for ride down, two if we spent the night at the Jumping Jack.


Marc heading back down


Dano


Greg punishing the Montana for snow


Mark enjoying weather and Nevada


Quick note on Belmont Inn. The owner won't meet State codes (fire code to start with) in order to get a hotel business license. Any food, drink, lodging, or fuel is a personal transaction only. Last year he was a go- this year, no.


I'll skip Diana's punchbowl, a giant hot water toilet with no seat.

Pott's hot springs is a POI. We found it empty and diverted the pipes/ unplugged the tub as we found it to reduce algae growth.
A perfect temperature, you can put piped water over your dusty head. Dry in about 30 seconds, no need for the towel.


We moved piped water back to the creek, pulled the plug and dressed.


Just arrived at the mouth of Ike's Canyon after Pott's. It was getting late and we set up camp. Dano pic


A bowl at the entrance of Ike's makes the perfect campsite. Fire rings and some tent scraped spots make it a good choice. We filtered water from the stream nearby.



Up early enough to get some sun on the rim


Another nice day. Seems like we had a small window of seasons between snow on the pass, and the scorching heat of summer.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:23 AM   #26
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Love it!
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:51 AM   #27
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Ophir is on my list, maybe later this year. I imagine it is HOT getting to and from the summit now.
thanks again for the pics and report!
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:56 AM   #28
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Cool! That punch bowl POI is crazy and Ophir is now on the list!
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:19 PM   #29
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Ophir Pass

A couple of comments on Ophir Pass.

Last year we went through Ophir from east to west. The east approach is very different from the west. While the west is a casual climb to the top, the east approach starts at 5000' (valley floor) and climbs relentlessly up a loose gravel and baby head rock strewn road all the way to the peak at 10,000'. So…that is a non-stop 5,000' climb with full camping gear and full gas. And, for those of us who normally live at sea level, the air at 10,000' feet is thin -- meaning that you are very tired AND out of breath at the top of the eastern climb. And if you fall on the way up…you have the opportunity to pick up your heavily laden bike and then get restarted on a steep loose hill. Sounds great, eh? Remember the NFS non-recommendation?

Honestly, when compared to Jefferson pass, it really isn't that hard. Its just that it is soooo damn long and unrelenting.

Timing. Last year, we came through two weeks later than this year and missed any blocking snow drifts (apparently by a couple of days). Given that the snow pack in Northern Nevada was low this year AND my assurances from the locals, we figured we would be able to blow through this year. Sigh.

Realistically, I think Ophir is best done in late June at the earliest and…if possible west to east. Its really not that hard a hill except for the length, so coming down isn't really much of a challenge (of course, I thought Jefferson was easy to come down, so consider the source!)

Bikes. You could probably take a street bike to the top of Ophir from the west (and then turn around and go back down). From the east, I would hesitate to take anything bigger than a KLR. Last year, we had one rider on a KLR who motored up, but he was a really experienced rider. Certainly, a bike bigger than a single would be a bad idea -- going up or down.

Some pictures from last year's east side climb (go here for the ride report):

The paved turn off coming north from Carvers


The nice cruise for about the first 1/4 mile of the east side:


Going up


My only picture of the actual climb. I stopped and leaned my bike against the rock wall to go down and help one of our guys pick up his bike after a fall. The picture doesn’t do the incline justice, but you get a sense of the rocks and length of the climb.


This is where the snow drift was this year:


And the top last year:
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:47 PM   #30
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