As it turned out, Hunter Mountain was a fantastic ride. The mud was minimally difficult; the silt barely gave us a stir and the wind held back. We met a few of the ADVRiders along the way while stopped for lunch. I had made some cold pressed chicken sandwiches, one for each of us. They consisted of thin slabs of chicken breast that I had marinated, grilled and refrigerated over night. In the morning I took some sandwich rolls from the bakery at the supermarket, sliced them, drizzled a bit of vinaigrette, stacked up provolone cheese, chicken, roasted red peppers and bitter greens. Wrapping them tight in a plastic bag, then in foil. I placed them in the fridge with a cutting board on top, loading up two big cast iron skillets on top of that and pressed them for an hour so. Nobody knew they were coming and it proved to be a big hit, my best meal of the trip.
In typical fashion I was loaded down with over 50 pounds of stuff. I carried 1½ gallons of water, 1¼ gallons of gas, oil, tools, tubes, spare parts, clothing, cameras and a first aid kit. Harry and Pat had small daypacks with a bit of water, a toothbrush and change of underwear. Kevin was carrying some extra fuel, clothing, tools and some spare parts. I knew we were pushing our limits in the remote desert and if anything had gone wrong it could have been serious trouble.
san lucas way
By the time we reached Teakettle Junction the wind was back. We still had over 20 mile of dirt left but I felt better since this road was much more traveled from here out and we would not be quite so far from help. The down side to higher traffic is washboards. Chatter boards, rattling little depressions in the roadbed that either need to be ridden slowly in and out of the waves or at high speed to skip over the tops of the dips. We tried to keep up the speed but it was nerve wracking and a bit torturous on the way out.
Finally the pavement appeared, we had made a great crossing though some desolate territory and everyone had survived, no spills, no flats, no trouble. But the wind was blasting. At Ubehebe Crater I could barely stand up it was gusting so hard. We didn’t stick around long, actually Harry headed down to look for cover. Our next stop was Scotty's Castle where the canyon created a bit of a break from the wind; the visitor center called and we took shelter. It was nice to get inside and have a seat.
The remaining 60 miles were all paved, first out to Scotty’s Junction with a screaming cross wind and near white out dust and blowing sand, then into a head wind on Hwy 95 with trucks and motor homes tacking into the breeze like sailing ships charting the open ocean. Our pace was slow, 55 mph was about the average and it took a toll on all of us. When we finally pulled into the Motel 6 in Beatty Harry looked whooped, I was glad to be off the road.
At the visitor center I had asked about good food in town and was told to hit up the Sourdough Saloon for pizza and local color. Tired bones prevailed and it was a walk across the parking lot to the Casino for slow service and, well, Denny’s. So much for writing home about the food in Beatty as we had breakfast there the next day too.
stay tuned for day 2 next...