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Old 10-24-2009, 07:00 PM   #21
baconsandwich
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Same XR swing arm in the morning light. We figured each bike had at least 25 pounds of mud stuffed into all the nooks and crannys. I couldn’t even see my header as it was completely packed with desert goo that had now solidified into a kind of bisque.



The pipe on Colin’s 525.



Sunrise.



The big rock is a good place to dry stuff out. We were going to have an easy day today so we were in no hurry to get back in the mud. Our track should take us to a fresh water spring to refill all the bottles but with the conditions as they are I was doubtful about a couple features. A dry lake bed and a creek were the potential obstacles but you never until you go right?



Camp from on top of the big rock.



It was cool for me to see these guys adapting to the multi-day, self-supported style of riding. They had their kits together and what they didn’t know earlier they are learning now. Those boulders behind Jim are really dramatic to me. I’ve painted that scene several times and never seem to tire of this little valley.



Kind of a late start but we are no hurry.



The brand new Husky that H.O. was riding is sure getting a work out!


We finally hit the trail and it’s quite nice temperature-wise. The sky is as clear and blue as it ever gets, everyone is riding well and the machines are happy with the cool morning air. Glad to have fresh knobbies that’s for sure.



We encounter our first water challenge. I’ve seen this deceptively narrow stream when it’s dry and I know there’s a 4-5 foot deep channel in there. It’s goey clay on the entrance and exit so you’re not going to be able to wheelie across it. We take the reservoir detour which forces us away from our original route to fresh water.



Not a problem though, I’ve done this once before and the track is actually very fun.



It’s really fun in places and total goo in others.





Big John cruising the fence line south.



Ken roasting the fence line.



We are mostly out of water by now but we make the spring and re-fill for the crossing to gas in about another 100 miles or so.



The spring is up in those rocks and does not require filtering. The water tastes delicious.



Our route takes us around the mountain on a real nice rocky track that contours the hill to another drainage off. No time to visit the summit today but we might have time on the way back.



more soon . . .
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:10 PM   #22
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Fantastic!
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:29 AM   #23
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Our camp last night was just over the horizon to the left. Very pleasurable temps and the non-threatening puffy clouds make occasional shade as we roll this mountain shoulder.



We steel ourselves for the long flat crossing. Normally, I’d get ‘er in 6th and see how fast I’d get this done. My friends from Washington are much smarter than I and we agree to take it easy on the machines never getting over 65 mph or so. It’s a more casual style of riding that allows me to look around a bit more and enjoy the sound of my fresh motor just tooling along. Better fuel mileage too.





Even this road has some challenges!



They followed my track along the eastern edge of this easy-looking puddle. What you cannot see is the line of boulders hidden in the sage to the riders’ left.



Sometimes there’s an easy way through the sage. Sometimes not.



We’d enjoyed the perfectly washed desert gravel across those hills in the back ground. The old 2-track swoops left and right, rolling through flowers and green shoots of grass for miles. However laid that one out deserves and award!

I blazed up ahead to a photo-op spot on this pass before lunch. Looking down on the guys, I see Jim blow a corner but he just kept the gas on and rode up this steep hillside following the cattle trails from round ups.



You gotta look closely to see him bouncing off the rocks and avoiding sage but he did it. I’ve seen the local ranchers running hundreds of cows over this pass before. The cows are so stupid, they refuse to take the road and just bee-line it up and over.



We made Fields before Sandy shut off the grill. She made me a very nice ham cheese with fries and an ice tea, everyone else had lunch to get us to our next camp. She also let use the hose to get the mud off the bikes. You could actually feel the difference without the 20 pounds of goo.



I think this is where we started to discover leaking fork seals.

We were just getting ready to pull out when Austin, Pat and Scott roll up on their Hondas. Yay! We will rally over to a hot spring where Pat has his motor home and trailer with our coolers in it. It’s only 35 miles or so and we are looking forward to sitting in the shade sipping a frostie cold one, or more.



Up on this lookout, I can see the familiar plumes of dust as each rider picks his own line through the desert track. With all the recent rain however, the road is extremely rocky now.



It’s getting late, Colin and I are quite a ways ahead of the other guys when we realize they are not coming. 4 bikes are back there somewhere and we don’t know why. Jim eventually rolls up to us and asks for the ½ liter of oil in my bag. Oh this can’t be good.
Turns out John hit something hard (rocks) and cracked his magneto cover, losing most of his oil. He’ll chime in with the details but it wasn’t looking too good.



These are some of the most experienced, resourceful riders I’ve ever met and through Jim we learn that John has ‘quick steel’ to patch up the cover.





In the meantime, Colin and I ride to camp and start looking for a pickup truck just in case. I meet these ranch hands from a nearby operation and talk them into driving back into the desert with more oil, tie downs and a beer. Driving up a fence line we see a bike headlight as the sun is now completely down. Uno, dos, tres, QUATRO! Yeas, all 4 bikes heading down the trail towards us. We dump some oil in John’s KTM and he limps it to the coolers about 10:30 pm or so.


All the bikes are now at Pat’s camp and we stay up way too late.

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Old 10-27-2009, 09:53 PM   #24
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John worked on his bike deep into the night. The mag’ cover was cracked in more than one place and the gasket was wasted. I had to do a valve adjustement, oil change and just tightening my new chain which is now wasted from all the mud. Didn’t really help out John as I had my hands full and he had it under control. Don’t know what I could’ve done anyway on that one. Pat’s trailer is a fully-stocked moto rig. I didn’t take any shots of it, maybe someone else did. Scott pulled out a cordless grinder and they worked on the case cover for quite awhile this morning.



The plan was to high-tail it over the mountains in Oregon and into McDermitt, Nevada for a quick lunch, fuel stop and then shoot for Battle Mountain, NV. We got a really late start due to the mechanicals but it was much cooler up in the hills and we all rode to the top of the range. This is where our group morphs into the ‘Gang of Four’ that plan to ride to Eureka, NV in the next 2 days. All new country for me as well as the rest of the gang. We had been conference calling, sharing maps, tracks and every bit of info we could to try and plot a for-sure route. There were plenty of old 2-tracks that we could sample if we made the miles, but we had a goal to reach Eureka by the 24th where we had shipped new rear tires, oil, filters, etc..

We said our good lucks and good byes, Ken and H.O. headed north to catch up with Austin, Pat and Scott. They had an epic day and didn’t get to camp until 10:30 that night! He’ll have to talk about that and hopefully share some shots here.

No shots of McDermitt or the sad lunch, we were in a bit of a pinch for time now and wanted to get up into the mountains at least. Heading out of town, I got us on the wrong track and would’ve rode up to the deadend at the top of the range but the smarter guys with gps corrected me and we quickly got back on line.



Rolling up the canyon we come around the corner and see this magnificent peak.



I can’t see it in this shot either but the road switchbacks up to the top. That’s nearly 3000 vertical feet.



This is looking down the canyon and across the desert we just crossed from MeDermitt. Several rigs and driven the road while it was all muddy a few days prior and their ruts are now like concrete. Still super fun for us and we all rally the piss out of this spectacular pass.



Brief stop on top of the pass, 7850’. Kinda in a hurry to see if we’ll get close to Battle Mountain.



I could easily see having a 950 for stuff like this.



Wish we’d had more time to take photos of this impressive mountain range. The light was perfect, I’m almost crashing due to the views and gawking.



John rolling down the big easy switchbacks in the late afternoon sun.



I think that’s John way down there. Colin and Jim were miles ahead by now.



John and I were taking lots of photos and I was able to catch him. ‘Sorry about all the smelly flowers and stuff.”



This little community was quite peaceful and a step behind the times. I could easily live here at the base of these magnificent mountains. We will surely come back here to explore the more remote tracks we passed along the way off the mountain.



Well we hauled ass through more beautiful country, stopped at a reservoir thinking it would be a good place to camp but decided to continue till the last of the sun. We found an abandoned homestead with plenty of shade and a nice little stream to filter water out of. Easy firewood, no bugs and a welcome place to spend the night.



The bikes puke all the camping gear out and we set up shop for the night.


Another fine campfire, good friends to share it with and lots of stories about our personal rides of the day.


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Old 10-29-2009, 08:58 PM   #25
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Didn’t write down the mileage for day 3 but I do know it was 146 miles of turbo green aspens and violent yellow daisies with some ridiculous, purple lupine mixed in amongst the other pink and orange flowers from McDermitt to Battle Mountain. “Hope that’s not too much color for you guys!”



The first obstacle of today’s ride was the little stream crossing. Super easy, no big deal but you had to take the right side line to avoid the deep hole on the left. For several days now we’ve been wheeling through all kinds of puddles with hidden ruts and rocks, long stretches of standing water, the goo mentioned earlier, etc., but this puny creek for some reason, had me a little nervous.

We debated taking the ‘bridge’.



But it looks like the ‘road’ goes through here.



Jim hit it first, as usual, no problem. Then John who was a bit enthusiastic with the throttle and dumped it when he hit a timber buried in the grass up on top.



Who put that there?



Another view of John.



Colin confessed he was as nervous as I but he just took care of business.



Another view of Colin.



Myself. Geez it looks like nothing!?!?



Looking back at our little oasis for the evening.



What a glorious morning. All the bikes are running well, the temps are comfortable, and in spite of all the leaking fork seals, we were in good shape mechanically. Some of the route takes us right through ranch headquarters – public road, private property = legal right of way.



The Washington riders are now keenly aware of the value in shade. It was pretty obvious we were going to be doing a big chunk of hot desert to get to Battle Mountain this morning and stopping at the last patch of shade made sense.





Everyone was settling into a groove now. We have ridden together enough to trust the guy to stay in his own lane allowing us to ride abreast. It’s dusty but not too bad and seems there is usually a breeze. Off towards Battle Mountain.



John doing gate duty.



Waiting for a train in BM.



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Old 10-29-2009, 09:00 PM   #26
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We are trying to make up some time and took the easy way to Battle Mountain. Gassing up at the pump, this freshly washed filling station gave us premium shade to have lunch and prepare for the afternoon ride to Eureka.





If you are ever driving that highway (80) through northern Nevada and it’s looking all barren and desolate, know that all the surrounding mountains are lush and have tracks all over them for your pleasure!

Colin topping over a little pass south of Battle Mountain.



John, same pass.



Mmmmmmmm, taking a short break.



We got off route a little and I was looking at my archaic maps trying to figure out exactly where we were.



Between the paper and the 276c we got back on route.



We were some of the first people to travel through these mountains since the June deluges. It has been the wettest June in the history of Bend, Oregon and this country received the same. Lots of standing puddles (still), seasonal streams and washed out lanes.

Colin.



For some reason, I kept missing Jim’s wheelies. Need a new camera with that multi-shot sequencing thing.



John.



The early start was the way to go for sure. The mud from first few days is starting to take a toll on the machines though. Colin’s chain is suddenly so tight, it’s making a lot of noise so he stops below this small mountain pass in the first shade he can find to take care of it. We wait, crouched under some pinon pines and juniper. Taking my stinking boots off every chance I get is a relief from the Nevada heat and scares the bugs away.



Jim’s self-portrait. He sure looks sleepy.



Off the mountain and down into the furnace.







Mmmmmmmmm, one more break before we roll into Eureka.



At first I thought “umbrella?” Guess what, it’s a great idea and I’m looking for one that I can ram mount for trail-side repairs.



We got kind of tangled up in our approach to Eureka but the gps guys reeled me back in and we finally got into town safe and sound. We all have servicing on our machines to perform – new rear tires for some of us, oil changes all around, air filters and the attempt to clean out wipers on our forks. Everyone is leaking except mine which is weird. We all have brand new seals, Jim has those seal saver things on his Honda but they are still leaking pretty bad.

I have an old photographer friend who lives in Eureka now. We’d shipped all our junk to he and his wife Trish’s cool gallery right on main street. If you’re ever in the area, stop in and say hello. You can see his work here: [img]http://www.deonreynolds.com/ They bought an old bank and live in the back portion which has a neat apartment.



We stayed in the Sundowner Motel across the street. I’m sure someone has photos of the mess we made in their parking lot. Brake cleaning fluid, coolant, oil and mud droppings mysteriously disappeared by the next morning? That was weird.



So, it was 138 miles of happy trails to Eureka from Battle Mountain which put today’s total somewhere near 250 miles or so? We had a great time with Deon and Trish. There’s a really good Chinese food restaurant run by some people from San Francisco in Eureka which is just a neat little town. We had a fantastic, family-style dinner with lots of saki and cold frosties. The riding around here is endless and we are just barely scratching the surface. This was our turn-around and we are hoping to do some big mileage in the next 2 days. Eureka to Austin to Lovelock to Gerlach to the mountains north of The Black Rock Desert.

End of day 4 . . .
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:13 PM   #27
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John’s mag’ cover wasn’t going to arrive nor was the gasket. They had an SX but not an EXC to overnight to him. We didn’t find this out till after 11:am or so. John was scrambling to get his machine put back together and praying that his repair would hold up. We were hoping the same as we had really coalesced into a finely tuned foursome ready for the next 4 days (maybe 5) back to Oregon.

Everyone is gassed up and we take off up the hill right out of downtown Eureka heading past a mine and a small pass.
Jim at the pump.


There’s no Honda?!?!? Go back into town to see Jim pissed and yanking out the new air filter. He fished his old one out of the dumpster and the Honda runs fine. Must be too much oil on the filter.

Now we are really itching to get going and find some more cool mountain tracks. Pushing it up a fun dirt pass out of town, it looks like the road has been freshly bladed. No tracks whatsoever. Super fun road up the hill where at the top, sure enough we meet a grader coming down. Stopped and thanked the driver for the groom job.



The guy says he’s got the best job around. ‘Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing out here enjoying the countryside and getting paid to do it’. Once again I must apologize to the group for the smooth road conditions. Did I mention a thunderstorm rolled through just before we started out of town?

Yeah, this machine will do the job.



We are finally moving through the wind, looking ahead to the next range where it is clouded by a growing thunder head. Yes! More dust-free roosting up into the cool altitudes.

It was not to be. John’s KTM is down. Dang it. He’s furious and obviously frustrated. No spark man, I have no idea where to start on that one. John tries everything he can think of and we decide that it’s not fixable out here.



John and Jim decide to stay while Colin and I ride back to town and try to find a pickup. Oh darn, we’ll have to ride that bladed race track again.

Which we do with gusto.

The route goes over those little hills.



Deon helps us round up an older gentleman named George who’s got a truck, all the time in the world and grew up here riding horses all over this country. The rescue is on.

I’m hanging out in front of Deon’s gallery hoping to not interfere with his business by scaring away the customers. My bike sure looks cool.



Jim just waits to see the bikes coming at this water tank.



Eventually, George returns to town with John and Colin in the truck. Johns tells us that Jim decided to wait for our return and that we should hurry up. It’s 6 or 7m now? Colin and I saddle up for our 3rd trip over the hill. This time, we are possessed and treat the bladed road as our own private rally track. It was extremely fun even though we were sad to leave John behind. He’ll chime in with his version of this I’m sure.

Down to 3 bikes dang it.

Jim shot my bike a little bit off the ground as we took off for tonight’s camp somewhere ahead.





We score this righteous site in a group of aspens with a babbling brook. “Hope that noisy stream doesn’t bother you guys”.





more soon...
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Old 11-04-2009, 05:37 PM   #28
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Day 7


In the morning we are up early and itching to make up some miles. Freshly fueled and ready to go, we continue west out of this mountain range and back down into the desert.






Coming off the hill we are on a big boring gravel road but right next to it, running parallel, is this wash that is going our direction. I had a blast free-balling down the hill in this natural feature.



Colin

Jim


Little did we know what lay ahead.


I think this shot is in sequence but maybe not.



Anyway, I’m not even paying attention to the map anymore and have put all my trust in the 2 capable gps operators to lead us over the next rocky range and into the town of Austin.

Which they did!



Myself rounding a switchback.


This is like a cartoon with all the bright color.


This is mining country which is why these roads are here. Some of them are very well defined and even maintained but dead end up in a canyon or mountain top. Others flow right on through some amazing terrain.



Rounding a corner as we head up a canyon, everything is covered in these annoyingly fragrant white flowers. Must’ve been a fire here in the past year or so and the flowers are the first thing to come back.



Mmmmmmm, good place to take a break.



Deon and Trish told us about this route and that we would cross a creek 15 times on our way up and over the mountain. Number one.


Oh this is ugly.












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Old 11-04-2009, 05:39 PM   #29
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Enough goofing around at 9000’ in the Nevada mountains. Deon and Trish were right – we crossed that creek 15 times. Let’s go get lunch in Austin!



Shortcut –



Free parking.



There was a big sign just outside of town claiming free mountain bike trail maps. The bicycle shop is long gone and is now a saloon. We had devious plans for those free maps but had to ‘make do’ with an excellent BLT at the International Café and our track that John had laid out for us.



Damn, I’m really going bald!


Austin is cool, Eureka is better though!


It was 80 miles from our Toiyabe aspen camp to Austin and we have lots more to do before gassing up at Lovelock.


Apparently my XL white helmet is visible from quite a distance.


Classic western United States rural graffiti.


This project didn’t work out so well apparently.



It was a good idea though.


We were cranking out the miles now and ready for the next mountain range. The finale before Lovelock. There was an ‘easy’ track and another ‘optional’. Yeah, we’re on it, let’s take the hard line for sure!

I don’t even know which way is north now – my compass got jiggled to death and I’m totally relying on the gps – on the other bikes.

I can clearly see the track up off the desert floor goes into a steep, rocky canyon. There are multiple tracks higher up on the mountain but the beginning looks pretty gnarly. The intense dozer track we were following peters out but we can see a line about ½ mile through the grass. It wasn’t pretty. Like a David Knight clinic in rocks – don’t stop! Total boulder riding with camping stuff on the machines and as George told us, ‘nobody lives out there so take it easy’.

The bikes are really hot and the temps are rising. Zero shade/water at this point and we are at the base of a formidable climb. No photos as our machines are roasting and need to keep moving through the air. (Note to self: get a fan for the 525).

Colin is leading, Jim is on his fender and I’m lurking back a bit. It’s steep, all rocks – no dirt and those guys are destroying the track. I get up about 1000 vertical feet and see those guys’ machines boiling over, mine is losing power and I can smell the coolant. I got stuck on some soccer ball/softball sized stones and park the bike. Looking over the edge of the track, it’s beyond the angle of repose where if you just toss a little pebble off the edge, it starts an avalanche of rocks down into the drainage. Don’t drop your helmet now!

Colin made the shade.



As usual, much steeper than it looks.

I was about 200 yards below stuck in the rocks, coolant spilling and my new motor is not happy. We sit here for 45 minutes or so waiting for the bikes to cool down. Big discussion about the route and the option of riding back down to the ‘easy line’ but I had it figured this was the crux and all we had to do was make this first section and it would flatten out a bit above.

I decide to give it a go and radio back if it goes.


It does!

Looking down the canyon, my bike was stuck just out of the shot behind those little trees down there. Camera doesn’t illustrate the pitch but I’m pointing the lens down.



Jim rounding the corner before another short hill climb into the sun. Sorry, no shots of that.


Thankful that we made the pass, we spy the ‘easy’ line and even it was gnarly. We eventually make a big gravel track down the west side of the range and soon we can see the town of Lovelock in the distance. Our plan was to gas up there, and head into the hills west of town for the night. We knew that the lush meadows and seasonal streams would be drying up as we got closer to Reno and western Nevada.

Jim.




It didn’t work out like that. Colin has coolant all over his boot, his 525 has sprung a leak. We dump all our water into his radiator and limp that sucker into town. Jim finds the NAPA store and it closed about 30 minutes prior. Dang it, another night on pavement as we are forced to get rooms. We tried the in-town camping but this is a sketchy place and none of us trust the community. I ride around town looking for a Safeway store to buy a lock and then start asking random people if they might have short piece of chain or cable to secure the bikes. Can’t sleep if I can’t see my bike. The only available rooms are on the second floor so my fishing line security system (tied to the big toe) won’t work. A fella points me to a local hot rod shop and sure enough, these guys loan me a piece of chain.

Colin tears into the 525 and locates the broken hose.



Jim says the NAPA opens at 6:am – yeah! We will have this thing fixed and back on the trail by 8:am no problem!

We have this hard-to-eat ‘casino’ meal and hit the hay with the alarm set for 5:30 am.



Day 6 over.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:27 AM   #30
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Awesome trip! You might get more response if you posted this at Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum .

Have you posted this there?
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