FTI (Follow the Idiot) Nevada dirt 1000
This is an account of a 6 day ride a bunch of us did a couple weeks ago into Nevada and back. We’ve all been riding mtn. bikes and more recently motos for many years together as part of an irreverent, politically incorrect club called BGR (Billy Goat Racing) based in south Orange County, CA. BGR has a history of following the trail least travelled, i.e. lots of deer trails, steep down hills, hiking unridable terrain (while carrying bikes), trespassing and bushwhacking. Our leader on this trip, and I use the term loosely, is known as FTI (follow the idiot) for his passion of seeking out the most remote and unknown tick and poison oak infested trails.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
The plan was hatched from a hospital bed or maybe from the couch soon after. Tom had just undergone surgery for a torn Achilles tendon. This could have been a game ending injury but he was lucky and it was repairable by one of the best orthopedic surgeons around. Although it occurred on a motorcycle ride it wasn’t caused by a traumatic motorcycle incident but a tear on an old scar of undetermined origin. So, needless to say, he had a lot of time (like 6 months) to study maps and invite people. The plan was to try and ride 120-150 miles a day through remote parts of Nevada and camp at a hot springs every night. We would have 4x4 truck support to carry our gear with a crew of super reliable and trustworthy guys to manage the gas, beer, water, firewood and food resupply logistics, and that was quite a job.
For months I hesitated to commit to the plan. I knew I would be the least skilled rider in this group of technical singletrack experts and that the “plan” would just be a loose outline for barely controlled chaos. Adventure, fun, drama and comedy were guaranteed, but the potential for disaster and mayhem was high. Finally, after reviewing Tom’s map, I decided that to pass it up would be stupid. Casting off into the unknown for a 1000 mile week with some of my best friends was too good to resist. It helped that everyone is mega experienced and that Jesse and Pete are paramedics in case anything really bad happens.
Day one: By departure day the group has swelled to 9 riders and 4 crew members. That’s really too many but we will have to deal with it. The first day the guys meet at Costco and buy a huge pile of food, ice and beer. They jam it into several giant ice chests and crates and head north up Highway 395. Tom, Mark and Rick drive up in Tom’s truck; Jimmy, Rob and Robert in Jimmy’s rig. Mikey, Mike and I pull a trailer with most of the bikes. Pete and Chris are coming from Escondido and would arrive late. Jesse and his dad Jon will meet us in Fish Lake Valley after the first day of riding. We decide to meet in Big Pine at the Glacier View campground. This is a great campground to stage from since you can leave cars there for $2 a day and camping is only $12 a night.
Day two: The morning is cold and we are up at 6 and ready to go before 9 after a frenzy of organizing and packing our mountain of stuff and shoehorning it into the two trucks that are starting out. Pete and Chris have brought a massive pile of breakfast food and we eat big, but dude, where’s the bacon? The back of Tom’s truck is packed to the ceiling front to rear; Jimmy’s truck has a little room left over. There is nothing like that feeling you get when ride time has arrived. The bike is warmed up, kickstands are up, bikes are looping around, anticipation, nervous energy and a steady adrenaline drip and then we are off. I love it.
<o:p><o:p><o:p>DE and Mikey: We've got 4 gallon tanks!</o:p></o:p></o:p>
</o:p>The crew, Mike, Robert and Rick, decide to head up to visit the Bristlecone Pines high in the White Mtns. before continuing into Nevada and Fish Lake Valley. They will meet us at the primo hot springs there. This first camp is fairly remote and we expect to have it to ourselves.<o:p></o:p>
We head east on the 168 to the Death Valley Rd. across the Inyo Mtns. to the Waucoba Summit at ~7500 ft. The dirt begins and we bomb down almost 6000’ into the Saline Valley. On the descent Chris gets the honor of the first flat on his XR 650R and stops to fix it with several others stopping to help. Later Mark dumps his heavy DRZ at about 30 mph while distracted by the stunning scenery but is OK. His KTM’s engine is apart for a rebuild in his garage. Mark has a garage full of bikes and the DRZ is a backup. We regroup at the Saline Valley hot springs turnoff. By now the day has warmed up and it’s pretty dang hot out.
<o:p>Rob, Jimmy and Tom and I wait.</o:p>
We agree to stop at the third (most primitive and uncrowded) hot springs for lunch and maybe a quick dip and are soon there. Mikey, Tom and I jump in while the others eat. The water is perfect and I soak my flannel shirt to help cool down. From there we head east past Steel Pass and the Eureka Dunes. Flash floods have hammered the road since I was last here in February on a solo ride. The rocks and sand are fairly brutal and the track disappears several times. Our next stop is back on the Death Valley Road past the Dunes. Mark breaks out the perfectly ripe cantaloupe he has carried as a treat to share.
Pete near the dunes.
We hang a right past the Road Closed sign towards Crankshaft Junction. East of Crankshaft Junction the track is washed out in many places. We are looking for a left turn to the north towards Tule Canyon, and soon a turn appears. We take it, but after 2 or 3 miles it turns into washes and then nothing. We backtrack and continue soon arriving at Roosevelt Well where there is a corral and windmill. Rob’s GPS confirms our location. I am glad that I had Amazon overnight the Benchmark Nevada map book, the Gazetteer Nev. map book is not nearly as good. Those with small gas tanks are getting nervous and one or two of the guys are already on reserve. They are eyeballing Rob’s giant 6+ gallon Acerbis tank on his KTM 540 and he is soon relieved of some of the extra weight. Mikey and I aren’t worried as we have 4 gallon tanks.
<o:p>More gas! Chris must feed the pig (BRP).</o:p>
We gradually climb out of the desert and into beautiful Pinyon Pine forest. Small creeks and meadows appear. By now it is clear that our mileage estimate is way off and it’s getting late in the day. We decide to make a beeline for the gas station in Dyer on Highway 266 after Tule Cyn.
The guys gas up, fireworks are purchased and we head north for 10 miles or so to the dirt road leading to the Fish Lake Valley springs and our camp. As I crest the small rise before the camp I am stunned to see a small city of motorhomes surrounding the springs, so much for having it to ourselves! It turns out it is a moto club, “The Ramblers,” from Salinas, Ca. on their annual Nevada outing. At least we will have something in common to talk about with the guys and gals while we share the hot springs. Minutes after we pull in Jesse and Jon drive up in their truck. Beers are cracked, the hot tub is visited, a campfire is lit and soon we feast on carnitas burritos.
Later a slightly out of control fireworks display is enjoyed by all including our neighbors. Well, maybe not those folks that are already asleep!<o:p></o:p>
My bike odometer (Trailtech Voyager) reads 193 miles.<o:p></o:p>
To be continued………<o:p></o:p>
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p>http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h3...0-22064830.jpg Fish Lk. Val. Hot Springs</o:p>
Once again we are up at 6am (pre-dawn) and the temp is 30 degrees. Many of our small water containers are partially frozen. A hot dawn soak and breakfast around the fire help to get us moving. All night trucks have been coming and going from the springs. They are hauling water to the mine up on Silver Pk. Their generator that runs almost all night (to run the pumps) has been annoying except when Jimmy gets up and turns it off in between fill ups. Pretty soon the bikes are gassed up, chains are lubed, oil is checked and camp is packed up.
We head ese over the Silver Peak Range. From the pass I chase after the DRZ thinking Mark is in front. I catch and pace him. After a few miles I pull even and realize it’s not Mark. It’s a solo rider, maybe one of the Ramblers. In the distance I can see the “town” of Silver Peak and the processing plant for the lithium mine that dominates this semi-industrial wasteland. It sits on the edge of the huge dry lakebed of Clayton Valley where we regroup. The valley is engulfed by a huge toxic dust storm and we must ride right through the middle of this maelstrom across a dike surrounded by surreal blue ponds. These are wide perfectly smooth dirt roads and we haul ass and hold our breath till we hit highway 95 south of Tonopah. We wait and before too long everybody’s there except Chris. Where’s Chris? We are all second guessing and trying to figure out where we last saw him which was at Silver Peak. We realize the solo guy was mixed in with our group messing up the headcount. Tom appoints he and Jesse to backtrack and search the two most likely alternate ways he could have gone. The rest of us proceed towards Tonopah. We see our guys in the trucks heading south on 95 (the wrong way) and wave but they keep on going. We stop at the Subway and Burger King at the Chevron on the north end of town to eat and gas up. Tom pulls in and hasn’t found Chris. It is hypothesized that Jesse has called Jon and the crew is sweeping a bit south to look for Chris.<o:p></o:p>
After an hour or so I’m getting impatient and cruise back through town to make sure Chris isn’t sitting somewhere else waiting for us. When I return Pete gives me a thumb’s up and there’s Chris fueling up. I’m relieved but Chris is understandably pissed off. What happened back in Silver Peak was that we all took off with the mystery guy mixed in and Chris couldn’t get the 650 started. By the time he did we were long gone. After looking around for us he took an alternate route to Tonopah. Right after that Jesse pulls in and he is mad too. He rightfully berates us for being disorganized, for not having a rider’s meeting, for every rider not having a map and for not using the “fist bump” signal method for every stop and turn. He is a veteran of the “Rip to the Tip” Baja rides and our group is far less organized than the Cameron Steele run rides. It’s time we get our shit together.
We go east on the 6 and turn back onto the dirt at the Saulsbury Wash Rest Area heading north into the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest. It’s good to get back into a beautiful area with Pinyons and dark basaltic lava rock. In Four Mile Basin we see our first group of wild horses as a family of three gallops parallel. The pony is running full tilt to keep up. To the north the mountains are fully socked in and it starts to rain on and off. We head up the west side of West Stone Cabin Valley looking for the Eagle Pass road. We are heading right into the teeth of the storm. It is raining continually now and all rain gear and extra insulation is deployed. The road wanders through a thick wet cloud enveloped forest and we come to a dead end in a meadow at Willow Creek. We get a GPS reading and try to figure out where we went wrong before the map gets completely soaked. I see that the roads don’t come together anything like the map indicates. What looked like going straight on the map was actually a right turn. Jesse proposes we skip Eagle Pass, backtrack to the Barley Creek road and cross over to Monitor Valley. It’s late afternoon, we are wet, we’ve still got 50 or more miles to go and that seems like the best alternative. It turns out it is.
Barley Creek is a fun rocky climb and from the pass we can see the broad Monitor Valley to the west. Down in Monitor Valley the rain eases and we hit the dirt superhighway up the west side. I try to keep pace with Tom and Rob on the 540s but 75-80 mph is too fast to maintain with my 450 EXC and the 14x50 gearing. After 45 or so miles I see Rob waiting at an intersection with a sign that says Potts Ranch 2 miles, sweet! Fist bump, we’re almost home.
At the last intersection while waiting for the next rider I hear music. It is eerie jazz saxophone distorted by the wind. It sounds ghostlike which matches the appearance of the dilapidated buildings at the Potts Ranch. I sit for a couple minutes in a trance. The scene is magical with the strange music, the wind and the stormy mountains. Chris gives the fist bump and one minute later I pull into camp and am handed a beer almost before shutting off the bike! Later while we enjoy the tub, Mike pulls out the Sax again and treats us to many jazz, rock and funk classics. He can play almost anything we can think of from Macio Parker to Clarence Clemons.
That’s another 195 miles in the bag.<o:p></o:p>
To be continued….<o:p></o:p>
Excellent report :clap Nevada is awesome. More please.
Hey DE, good stuff as usual, looking forward to more!
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p>http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h3...3/PA220011.jpg</o:p>
Day 4 dawns cold, colder than the rest. Ice is on everything, all over the inside of my tent, outside of my bag, Camel Back tube frozen, moto seats covered with ice. That’s nothing a dawn visit to the hot tub won’t fix. Same rigamorole; soak, eat, prep, pack, strut around taunting those who take longer, me pulling a “Dave (W).” Each day it takes slightly longer, it doesn’t matter, we are on vacation and Pott’s is the best campsite yet. Jesse’s bike won’t start, finally it does with a roll start downhill above camp.
We head NW towards Monitor Ranch, up Stoneberger Creek and then Corral Cyn., fun windy double track to Clipper Gap. Tom doubles back and turns off on 194 to the north. We come to a faint steep doubletrack heading west towards the ridgetop. Tom says he wants to check this out and cuts up and I wait. Rob arrives and decides to go see if this is the way we want. Pretty soon he returns and says he didn’t see Tom but we should probably go up there and look around. We all follow and wander the ridgetops looking for tracks or some sign of Tom. Rob and Jesse think they saw him to the east but that seems odd as we aren’t heading that way. We wander aimlessly for a while and then stop for food and discussion.
We’re wasting time. I’m getting a little impatient and propose that we break into two groups. Those that want to wander around looking for Tom and those that want to carry on in the direction of our camp which is still at least 150 miles away. Maybe, if we had the slightest idea which way he went, it would make sense to look. He’s not the kind of person you worry about, at least not until later. Wherever he is, he is fine. It’s already mid afternoon and we have a long ways to go. We know where we are and we know which way we need to go. We better start making tracks or it’s gonna’ be way after dark when we get there. Eventually everyone agrees and after wandering slightly longer we head north on the 194. The 194 follows the ridgeline of the Toouima Range and is super fun up and down doubletrack. The views of the stormy snow covered range to the north are great and before too long we hit the 001 and descend into the Big Smoky Valley. Jesse takes a quick side trip to check out Spencer Hot Springs. We cross the valley and hit highway 50 into Austin.
At highway speeds we all realize it’s damn cold out. I’m fine but I’ve got every stich I have on.
We pull into Austin and find the crew with the trucks and Tom waiting for us on the far end of town. Camp is a long ways to the north; it’s really cold and mutiny is afoot. A couple of the guys are talking about getting a room and Jesse is loading his bike into his dad’s truck. The trip seems to be falling apart before my eyes. Tom and I start scouring the map for a plan “B.” It seems wise to start heading south, the storm is mostly north of us and we need a close hot springs to camp at. Austin has no rooms so that option is off the table. We head over to the burger joint and I borrow Pete’s phone to call home. The best option is to go back to Spencer Hot Springs which we have just passed about 20 miles ago.
We leave Austin and head south and then east down Birch Creek over the Toiyabe Range. It’s beautiful out in the late afternoon with snow falling and the Aspens with full on Fall colors. Back down across the Big Smoky Valley and we arrive at Spencer just after the trucks arrive. The wind is howling but dies as sunset approaches. It’s time to crack some beers again, get a hot springs soak, set up camp, get the fire going and all is good again.
<o:p>The next morning.</o:p>
90 miles today; a late start and an early stop.<o:p></o:p>
To be continued…..<o:p></o:p>
Day 5:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
It starts cold again. The snow level on the mountains has dropped a thousand feet or so and the snow flurries make their way towards us before stopping a mile or two away. The hot springs and a good breakfast beckon. A couple hours of leisurely morning routine and we are ready again. The plan is to go south all the way back to Fish Lake Valley Hot Springs and maybe do a ride around there tomorrow.<o:p></o:p>
We leave Spencer H.S. and head south down the Big Smoky Valley on a seldom used double track. A mile or two south and it dawns on me, I forgot the map. Arrrgh, what a knucklehead I am. Dumb shit. For a minute I consider continuing without it, Jesse suggests I go back for it. Heís right, there isnít any other choice. I turn around and blast for camp, I hope the crew is still there.
They wait for me.
I pull into camp and they are still there. They canít find the key to Tomís truck but the spare key is hidden in the shell and they know where it is. It requires unloading the whole mountain of stuff once againÖno other choice. I dig out my duffle and the map and do a quick turnaround. Tom and Rob have waited and we take off in pursuit of the others. He remarks that the key is on the side rail just inside the back door butÖthey know where the spare is soÖ.no big deal.<o:p></o:p>
Jesse leads and soon the track fades to nothing, he continues cross country. We are weaving through a weird area with thousands of little peaked dunes with bushes on top. I hit a three foot tall tepee shaped one square and the bike flys up into the air, my feet are above my head. Iím going down hard but somehow stay on two wheels. Iím right in front of Rob, he thinks itís hilarious.
We hit a fence line and go east. It is super sandy and I go down. My knee brace locks at a 45 degree angle and I canít straighten my leg. I have to unzip my pant leg and with Chrisís help we get the knee brace working again. It takes a while. Soon we hit a gate and follow the track on the other side to the west, south of the fence eventually hitting the highway 376.<o:p></o:p>
South again and weíre looking for the turnoff to Ophir Pass. We find it and wait to regroup and the trucks pull in as well as all the riders. Everyone tops off their tanks and Jon takes group pictures by the historic landmark sign.
We head into the Toiyabe Range again planning to stop at the ghost town of Ophir for lunch. The climb up is very steep in places and very rocky as well. Itís a full on hardcore 4x4 road. I ping pong my way up one section totally out of control. At the mine it is very windy and we seek shelter near the wall to enjoy lunch. Several of the guys climb into a camper shell sitting there to get out of the wind. The rest of us bombard it with rocks.
I take off first so I can get some pics of the others coming up this beautiful canyon. Itís still rocky and Iím a little nervous so I go all the way to the pass at over 10,000 feet before stopping. As I crest the pass the full force of the wind hits me. Itís blowing 70 mph or more up here and it almost blows me over, I barely save it. I find a slightly sheltered spot where itís only blowing 50 or so to park my bike. Chris is coming and I snap a few as he comes up. There is no one else in sight so we decide to go down a ways to get out of the wind and wait. Soon we are all there. Later Mikey tells me he got blown over at the pass.
The descent ends in the Yomba Indian Reservation in the Reese River Valley. We head south for many miles over the Cloverdale Summit eventually leaving the mountains. Iím pushing it to keep up and come into one off camber decreasing radius turn too hot. I lock it up scrubbing almost enough speed to save it but then slam into the ditch and grind to a stop on the road cut. Iím shook but fine and there is significant new damage to all the plastic on the right side. Pete and Chris come up while Iím shaking it off. Less than a mile later I almost do it again in a much more serious location but save it after I lay it all the way down and the peg hits the ground popping me back up. I would have gone flying off a cliff. Iím shaken and itís time to slow it down a full notch.<o:p></o:p>
We head out into the desert again. Itís desert but we are still at 5000í-6000í. We follow a dirt superhighway for a couple of miles and then turn off to the west on a faint double track. It turns way fun again and we stop for food.
We take off again heading SW with Jesse in the lead. Itís pure fun but I fade to the back after my previous incidents. Iím goiní 40 but everyone else is going 50. We regroup when a larger herd of wild horses cross our path. At one point I see Pete recovering from a dismount in a gnarley rutted section. After another undetermined distance of miles we come out on highway 50.
More wild horses.
As soon as I get there the lead takes off (it doesnít even register who it is to me) and I go too. I donít need to rest, I just need to keep up. At this point we should be heading towards Emigrant Pass to the SW. Iím looking at my compass (Voyager) and we are heading east. That is the wrong direction. We are on a big wide dirt road but eventually it fades to untracked wash. Everyone stops after many miles and I catch up. They are debating if we are going the right way etc. and where Tom is. Rob pulls out the GPS and just before the battery dies Jesse and I find our map location. Yes, we have been going the wrong direction since highway 50. No one is even sure if Tom is ahead or behind. Mark, Jimmy and (we think) Chris have already blasted ahead. We are near the pass of these mountains and If we just continue for a few more miles we will hit the Paymaster Ridge road leading south towards the Lithium mine and a way back to Fish Lake Valley. <o:p></o:p>
The sandy wash continues and we hit a couple of steep short technical waterfalls. Finally we come out on the alluvial fan and I can see the Paymaster road a mile away. Itís getting dark fast. <o:p></o:p>
We regroup on the road. Robís headlight isnít working and Pete, Jimmy and Mark are almost out of gas. We decide to blast as far as we can before total darkness hits. It wonít be long. There is no sign of Chris and this confuses us. Did he blast ahead or what? Where did we last see him? It doesnít make sense. Why would he take off on his own? None of us knows.<o:p></o:p>
Darkness hits. We stop and Robís big tank is shared between all. We can see the lights at the lithium mine and decide to regroup there. Mikey and I agree to be Robís light and the three of us will hang together. <o:p></o:p>
We hit the mine and head towards the pass above camp. At the pass we all stop. Itís now way after dark and it seems stupid to be in a hurry. I suggest ďletís stop and eat.Ē We are on vacation and there is no reason to be in a hurry. We ride off into the trees a ways and Jesse suggests having a fire. Yes, what a great idea!
We get snacks and a fire going. Pete is pissed and worried about Chris. He feels responsible for us losing him. Jimmy proposes that Chris blasted ahead while we were looking at the map and caught Tom. Then the two of them continued without waiting. Pete is sceptical but the more we kick it around the more it seems like the only explanation.
<o:p>Jimmy proposes his explanation.</o:p>
</o:p>Itís the last leg to camp. Jesse and Jimmy jump ahead. The rest of us pull into a squadron formation with Mikey and I on either side and Rob near the middle. Between my X2 HID and Mikeyís modern LED there is plenty of light.<o:p></o:p>
We arrive at camp and, sure enough, Chris and Tom came in together. We get a big spaghetti dinner going, hit the hot springs and, whew, that was a long day. 204 miles.<o:p></o:p>
What a LOT of fun! Great pics and info! And to see someone else still getting use out of their MS Racing ISDE jacket! Right on!
Day 6:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
The last 4 days have been like a John Mayer song .I don’t know what direction it’s going. I just need to hang on. The outcome will be good but don’t even try and figure out where it’s going. Jesse and Jon pack up and take off. I’m sorry to see them go.<o:p></o:p>
By the time anyone is even close to being ready to ride it’s noon. I have decided to take a rest day. I am alive and happy after 4 straight days and 680 miles off road .It’s time to take a break. Pete, Rob and Jimmy have decided the same. The rest of the guys are going to ride the ridge top single track that the “Ramblers” have told us about that makes a 270 degree loop around the hot springs. Tom, Mikey, Mark, Chris and Robert (on Jimmy’s 2012 350 EXC) are soon gone.
Wait till Mark hits the technical singletrack and you'll see what that street DRZ can do.
Rob and Jimmy are heading to Dyer for more beer and fireworks after dropping Mike and Rick off on the pass road for a mtn. bike ride. Pete and I will take Tom’s truck up to the pass after they return. We will pick up Mike and Rick and fill the truck with firewood before returning to camp. We wander around camp collecting Apache Tears (small round chunks of obsidian that abound around the area), soaking in the springs and generally taking it easy. After a while Rob and Jimmy are back. Pete and I grab the truck and a few beers and head up the mountain. About 15 miles from camp we find Rick. He wants to keep riding so we leave him and continue uphill. Another few miles and we encounter Mike bombing downhill. He has been to the pass and back and is ready to throw the bike in the truck and help us load the truck with firewood. We head back up a little ways and pull off at a heavily wooded area. Within 30 minutes we have the truck jammed with wood. Rick rides up, we throw his bike in and all 4 of us head back to camp. We stop for some cool sunset photos before arriving at camp.
At camp we unload all the wood and as I pull the truck back into it’s spot I run over one of Tom’s crates (the one with the chain lube and oil). Uh, sorry dude….nothing is destroyed. Right after that the other guys pull in. The single track was fun and Jimmy’s bike has some new damage to the plastic, they will work it out.
Dinner is all the left over stuff. It turns out to be potato, cheese, garlic, yam, salsa etc. burritos and is just as good as the previous nights were or better, all cooked in the fire. The fireworks fun is taken to a whole new level with roman candle duals and armloads of rockets “accidentally” dumped in the fire. Oh well, accidents happen. Too much fun
Milege…..?...whatever….0 for me.
Day 7- the last day.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
Things got moving awfully slow on our last day. We had planned to go to Jawbone and do a ride on the way home but Tom is sick and heading home today with Mike driving. The trip has lost momentum but that’s OK, we’ve had a blast. I just want a casual ride back intend to ride back to Bigpine via Wyman Creek and Silver Cyn. over the White Mtns. Pete decides to go that way as well. Mikey, Chris, Jimmy, Rob, Mark and Robert (on Tom’s bike) will ride the Fish Lake Valley ridge singletrack again and then back to Big Pine via Redding Cyn. where we will meet up for the drive home. <o:p></o:p>
One last time we soak, pack it all up, prep the bikes and are off. Pete and I head south down Fish Lake Valley. About 10 miles from camp I look off to the right and am stoked to see a mountain lion running away from the road! Pete sees him too. There is no wildlife sighting like a big cat, it’s even better than wild horses. His movements are so fluid weaving his way left and right through the brush. That just made my day.
We stop briefly in Dyer for photos and then south back into California and over Gilbert Pass. We drop into Deep Springs Valley and turn right on the dirt of Wyman. Wyman Creek is as beautiful as ever. Even in this really dry year the creek is flowing strong and there are many water crossings.
We stop for lunch and then head up to the crest of the Whites and the Bristlecone Pine forest area at over 10,000 feet. The Bristlecones are among the oldest living things on earth, some are near 5000 years old.
We stop at the crest and I take a panorama of the Sierra.
The view of my favorite mountain range is awesome from here. The road down into Silver Cyn. is very steep. You don’t want to blow a corner. After a while I lose my rear brakes to overheating and proceed cautiously with front brake and engine drag. We meet a couple of riders coming up and stop to chat. This gives my brakes time to cool down. One of the guys owns a bicycle shop in Palm Desert. They are on a KTM 950 SE and a Husky 650 (?). It’s around a 6000-7000 foot descent all the way to Bishop.
From Bishop we take a dirt road south along the Owens River until we are forced out to Highway 395. We cross over past Keough Hot Springs and follow the dirt power line road into Big Pine and the Glacier View Campground where Rick and Jimmy are waiting. It’s another ~100 miles done. Mike and Tom have passed through an hour or so before to drop off our gear and head home. A couple of hours later the rest of the guys pull in and we load up and head south stopping at the Mt. Whitney Cafť in Lone Pine for dinner. I was home in Tustin at 2:30 am.
I want to thank everyone for a super cool trip. You are 13 of the funnest and funniest people I know and you all made this trip special. From the riding to the rousing and hilarious campfires it was a blast from beginning to end. Thanks to Mike, Robert, Rick and Jon for the epic support work. Thanks to Pete, Jesse, Jon and Chris for use of their photos. I’d like to give a special thanks to our fearless leader Tom for having the genius to put it all together and make it happen. As Mark said "we are rich men." FTI and BGR rules!
Cool trip, thanks!
Awesome badass loop!!
|Times are GMT -7. It's 12:55 PM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015