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Old 11-05-2009, 07:54 AM   #31
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Heck, I'd respond, but I'm just diggin' the story!
You would not understand,
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:02 AM   #32
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yeah no kidding, what an adventure!
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:32 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by pplassm View Post
Awesome trip! You might get more response if you posted this at Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum .

Have you posted this there?
Yup, first place it was posted...continuing.
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:35 AM   #34
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Oh man, guess what, Jim didn’t have his glasses on when he saw the NAPA business hours sign. Colin and I get up and hustle to the only auto parts store in Lovelock. Such cool air and beautiful light on this dumpy town. The sign says ‘Open at 8:am’. ****. Back to the cheesy casino/motel and I pile back onto my bed with all my boots on and immediately fall back asleep. My snoring just aggravates Colin who is jonesing to get his machine fixed but when the 7:30 alarm goes off I’m up and following Colin back to the store.

I figured as long as Colin was changing his overheated engine oil, I’d do it too. Need an H-4 bulb as I haven’t had a headlight for the past week apparently. Dump the grey, new clutch, assembly grease lubricant for the third time since my engine was rebuilt by Mr. Bentley. (Thanks Steve, it’s as scary as it was new!)

15 miles of pavement out of Lovelock (torture) would not work for me. New tires and stuff, you know. So, I figured to ride the dirt under powerlines or service track, whatever – anything but the asssssphalt. So, the 2 smarter guys are on the pave and I’m doing my best rally rider impression trying to keep up with them 100 yards to the left. 4th gear, standing on the pegs – UH OH huge 8’ deep washout!! OK, this is not worth it. Back on the pavement.

We finally hit the dirt with a vengeance and are now in the mode. What? Jim’s bike is spraying coolant now. WTF!?!? It’s been so hot that his hoses have started to soften and just need a quick tighten up.

Glad I’m packin’ some coolant from Lovelock but he doesn’t need much and I’m stuck with the 1 liter bottle in my back pack. Geez Jim, can’t you at least spill some?

Anyhow, we take this circuitous loop up north of Gerlach and Empire. Sorry, no photos as we are again, trying to make up time. We get to Bruno’s about 11:am. We stack the bikes in the shade, and have a nice lunch. In case you don’t know this, the photos of the world land speed record can be seen inside this fine establishment.

We had hoped to reach this spot well before the heat but guess what – too late now. Colin gassing up.

The Black Rock Desert is now famous for the Burning Man thing but it’s a serious, no joke chunk of the world. Many stories of 1800’s era emigrants to stupid hippies getting all messed up out there and I’ve had some close calls too. We fuel up and head north with our kits fully stocked.

Roll out onto the playa for the first time (Jim and Colin anyway) aware of the recent moisture and looking for that change in the color of the surface.

Looking good so far!

Jim – self portrait at 65 mph.

Meself tooling along on the south end of the playa.

We’re doing fine, it’s a little fluffy but not bad and there’s some standing water in the ruts of the ‘highway’ but I feel fairly confident about our variation of this section having done this several times over the last 15 years or so.

We take a (Mmmmmmmm) break just to see the curvature of the earth. (The horizon is 14 miles, after that objects become obstructed by the globe – a fact, look it up).


That’d be the Black Rock out there. A beacon for the emigrants who would do this 35 to 50 mile stretch at night and hope they made the western edge before the sun came up.

Long story short – we barely made it off the playa. Hard to believe that we were looking forward to sand dunes for better traction but it went like this: about 3 miles before we were off the playa proper, it started to turn into cake batter. A deceptive baked crust on top of some darker chocolate layer a few inches below. The classic sucker conditions. Hammering the bike in 5th till it was bogging and jamming it into 4th abusing my fresh motor was not what I had envisioned. Even Jim on the 650 was giving the business to his Honda. A sometimes casual, hard-packed desert cruise had turned into a jam packed adrenaline fury for the northern boundary of the playa.

Yes! We made it through the dough without getting stuck. I was relieved to see those guys as happy as I was to get off that surface and onto the Harden City ‘road’. I’d been telling them for months about how righteous this track is and now is my chance to show it off to them. Obscure is a word but even having ripped this track north to south and back several times I was not prepared for how wasted it was today. Once again, we were the first vehicles through the area and with all the recent spring rain, the washouts were square and nasty. Whoops? Yes, but what about those strange ripples between?

Looks smooth here but we didn’t photograph the nasty.


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Old 11-06-2009, 07:35 AM   #35
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OK, some of the surprises.

Yeah , check out Colins’ suspension working overtime with almost no fluids in his forks!

You find Harden City road on your bike and ride it north, you’ll be glad to see this.

It’s hotter than the back of God’s head right now and we need some shade.

The friendly owners of Soldier Meadows Ranch will let you sit under these poplar trees for nothing (if you’re nice).
We hung out waiting for the ‘wonderful breeze’ (quoting Jim, the ranch owner) and prepared for the sunset ride up into the mountains.

The temps dropped and we headed up into the hills and off the desert floor. Remember that ‘finely tuned’ group of riders we had become several days earlier? The group that could ride side-by-side with confidence? Yeah, I crushed that theory when Colin and I were roosting up the mountain and came upon a deep, chocolate puddle. He had a get around but I had only the slam-on-the-brakes or wheelie over the obstacle choice. Natural reaction for me? More gas! –

Colin had a total and instant brown-out.

Serious apologies were layered on for the next 2 days and I will never be forgotten as the spode that super-douched Colin from head to toe.

Sorry about that brother.

We make the bulldozer and still have another mountain to gain for water and camp.

Colin is still talking about the involuntary mud bath.

Down off bulldozer towards Gigglepuss pass in the glory light.

We were just over on that mountain (bulldozer) a few minutes ago, and headed up Gigglepuss now.

It was this hardpacked clay with ruts (in places) a foot deep. Unreal traction and hilarious fun!

Steeper than it looks clause in effect.

Top of the mini-pass.

I thought this would be a great shot so I waited for the guys to get up out of the shade and into the last light of day but you’d need a 600mm lens to get this shot proper. Look for the drunken cowboys in the white pickup coming down the hill. Yeah, I can’t see them from here either but they pulled over for me as I hit that sucker in 4th as fast as I could trying to catch up with Jim and Colin.

This will probably do for a camp.

Water just down the hill. Sunset awaiting, yeah this’ll do.

Desert Mahogany trees, yup.

Yeah, this will certainly do.

201.7 miles and since Colin’s mud douche, he’s ridden with the wild horses and pronghorn. He’s now known as ‘Running Wild Horse’.

Day 7 over . . .
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:26 AM   #36
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And still awesome!
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:45 PM   #37
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Every time I fly across the US, I've looked at those endless miles of desert roads, paved, unpaved, or just tracks, and wondered what it would like to be out there on a bike. Usually my daydream is of pavement with a big ST at 120 for hours, but this post is starting to change my thinking.

The only thing I've done similar to this is spending weeks in the Bahamas sailing from island to island, stopping in tiny towns from time to time for lobster,rum and Bahama bread. There are coves and cuts where you can anchor for weeks and never see another human being. If you ever want to trade trips, let me know.
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Old 11-07-2009, 10:48 AM   #38
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Sounds awesome Kenneth!

On with the show...

This was my favorite campsite of the trip. No bugs, a fantastic sunset/sunrise, a generous picnic table supplied by a Nevada Boy Scout troop and I could sleep with the door open on my puny tent. In Eureka we consolidated our kits allowing Jim and Colin to leave behind their water filters and my stove as Colin and I are sharing his JetBoil. I bought a Platypus gravity water filter system and it is serving the group quite well filtering 4 liters in just a few minutes without pumping. A quick back flush and it stows about the same size as pump systems.

We had another casual departure in the cool mountain morning.

Jim headed north for Oregon.

This one of my favorite Nevada alpine roads. It’s easy, you could do it on just about any machine but I like how it stays high and keeps us in the cooler air before dropping down into the desert.



We found a new way (dirt) to get to Denio Junction, Nevada for fuel. Normally, we’d have to ride 15 miles of straight-ass highway but Colin hooked us up with a better approach. Rolling past big hay operations in the middle of their first cut offered up a welcome aroma of freshly cut, high-value alfalfa. I miss that kind of work but not the frustrations of weather and machinery inconsistencies. Sure smells good though.

Early lunch (10:30) was tasty. There was a rodeo nearby the day before and some of the cowboys are either still drinking or just getting started again. By the time we are ready to roll, they’re all cut off by the bar.

This little chicka wanted to go with us.

It’s become increasingly hotter each day as the weather was predicted to do. So far, every time our Washington friends have come down to ride, the conditions have been stellar. This trip was no exception. We must go south to north and avoid the pavement of hwy 140 but eventually we hit this area called the Hawksy Walksy and didn’t take any photos. It was just too much fun hammering through 40 miles or so of excellent desert bottom country. During this section Colin’s right fork sprays the last of its fluid. This helps with route selection as we have an opportunity to do some hard country but decide to take the easy way.

Our goal is on the side of that mountain on the horizon.

I don’t know if it’s Brad’s tracks or H.O. and Ken’s but we can see dirt bike sign in the road. Blowing corners into the sage, roost out of the turns, nothing the first jeep that drives through here won’t erase, but it’s funny to see.

Our plan was to get to a hot spring well before sunset and just hang out – for once. We accomplished that with the throttle.

I’ve gotten stuck, turned around and scared the crap out of myself on this dry lake bed several times. A week after the rains and it’s all dry now.

Jim and Colin.

It was a little fluffy but not bad. I don’t think they are observing the 65 mph max speed concept anymore.

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Old 11-07-2009, 10:54 AM   #39
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We roll up to the spring and one whole area is closed due to muddy conditions. This means bugs. We find a nice patch of shade amongst the aspen and while trying to avoid being carried away by mosquitos, set up camp.

Once again, the bikes barf out all the gear and the familiar process begins.

I look like a goober.

It’s hot now. I promised Colin and Jim there would be shade at the spring, but I didn’t say when it would be there!
Colin setting up his double standing back flip into the water.

All kinds of people gather to these springs for various reasons but universally, it’s a healing experience.

We soaked, went back to camp to cook dinner and duel with the bugs.

HEY! Who left this unsightly stitch in the road? Not us, we’re in a national refuge and roosting is verboten.

After dinner, we decide to take another soak and by now the bugs are very aggressive. My Frogtoggs jacket is not only another layer but good bug defense too.

While at the spring, some guy rides up on a nice BMW from Colorado looking for a camp site. We have plenty of room and invite him to pitch his tent near ours and share the fire ring. We get back to camp and he’s not there but we see him walking by on his way to the spring. Not a very social guys, let’s go move his bike and when he returns it’ll freak him out!

Jim Beam helped make that decision. When he comes back, Jim and I fake like we are strolling along the same direction and strike up a half-interested conversation about his trip. When we get to his site, the guy’s face turns florescent red and naturally, starts to tweak. We start laughing and point to where we re-parked his machine and hoped he wasn’t too pissed or packing a gun. It sounded like a good prank at the time but we never saw him again.

We’ve had a decent fire each night and this one will be no different.

Bugs don’t like the flames.

Casual 150 miles of dirt and our last night in tents.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:38 PM   #40
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Day 9 – The ride to the barn – maybe.

The day starts out with 30 miles of outrageous alpine single track through the aspens.

This is our last descent before the day’s heated desert ride which will take us home to Bend.

Down into Plush, Oregon for fuel.


You can take a big, all-weather dirt road to hwy 395 or you can poke through these hills to a powerline which will take you to the same place. We’ve ridden a lot of those big roads and are in no hurry for the trip to end so we head back into the hills.

The track takes us to this big powerline coming off the Columbia River way north from here. We’ll follow this for 10 miles or so and hit 395 for about a mile.

You can barely see Colin headed down the track.

At the end of the powerline, the Honda stalls. Along the powerline there are still these greasy clay puddles. Jim got sucked into one and probably has some goo in the breather hoses. Time for a re-route of those things.

Out comes the umbrella for shade.

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