Exploring Amazing Northern Nevada and SE Oregon

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by MasterMarine, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    Wow! Nevada is amazing! What a fantastic ride.

    So, let’s start in the cold rainy short days of January 2011 in the Pacific Northwest. It was a gloomy wet winter night. A group of riders met up at a small party to talk about the past year’s rides and plan for some future excursions. Among them were a few who had plans bigger than a wet trip to ride the puddles of Tahuya. They were thinking of somewhere that none of them had been before. That place was the desert of SE Oregon and Northern Nevada. That evening they had no idea what the area had in store for them. They only knew that it looked like a really cool place to ride their bikes. It was a place where you can ride for 1000 miles and only cross a few paved roads. And so the idea was hatched. They would head for the desert in the early part of June in 2011 for some adventure riding.


    Here are a few snapshots of some memorable moments to get the juices flowing!


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    #1
  2. TheMechanic

    TheMechanic Been here awhile

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    nice pictures. i really like the closeup of the suzuki. what year is that bike?
    #2
  3. trailrider383

    trailrider383 867-5309

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    Bring it on!!! :clap
    #3
  4. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver

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    Nice start Mike.. can't wait to see the rest.. great shot of Dr Dan
    #4
  5. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Woooo Hooo! :clap
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  6. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    Thank you for the encouragement.

    I do not know what year Dan's bike is. Hopefully he will wander in here at some point and can answer that question.
    #6
  7. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    So, as I mentioned in the previous post, it was an awfully wet cold and dark winter. The three of us were ready to get to somewhere that had some sunshine. So we planned to head south. Over the winter, I read many ride reports on several forums in an attempt to learn as much as I could about SE Oregon and N Nevada. I went to the library and checked out many many books about the area. I talked to lots of people at lots of places about their trips to the area. Everyone had some information that would turn out to be helpful. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who I talked to in planning this trip. It was a fantastic adventure and without the knowledge you passed on to me, it would certainly not have been so.




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    The three adventurers are:


    Chuck

    Generally the level headed one. He was good at pointing out that we should probably be taking a more cautious approach on more than one occasion. He was generally ignored at that time but occasionally we did heed his advice.


    Chuck rides a well sorted white DRZ400


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    Dan


    Mr. Fun! Dr. Dan was always ready to have a good time. If it was not fun, it was not for Dan. He also had a knack for making key decisions quickly when Chuck and I were waffling around trying to decide.

    He always decided which gas station we would go to or which restaurant we would eat at. Sometimes he had a pretty easy job since there were not so many choices.


    Dan rides a well sorted blue DRZ400. In fact, I think Dan and Chuck have bikes that are exactly the same (besides the color), with all the same accessories, the only difference being Dan can go about 40 miles further on a tank of fuel than Chuck. How does that work?


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    Mike


    That is me. I did the route planning. This was pretty much my first time leading the group so I really was worried about it. Luckily, Nevada and SE Oregon are pretty damn cool so this was not too difficult. I took lots of pictures. I fixed things when they broke. On the ride, I tend to just go for it without thinking thru the consequences very well. (Just ask Chuck!) I also took care of most of the crashing duties.

    I have a 1995 Kawasaki KLX650C. It may be old but it is perfect for this kind of riding.

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    This shot is actually from a solo Olympic Peninsula ride. Sorry. My wife hates this picture but I was having fun and it is the only one of me that I can find! Everyone digs the hat.:lol3
    #7
  8. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

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    This looks like it's going to be good.

    Waiting for more :lurk
    #8
  9. Beelzabob

    Beelzabob Meep Meep

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    RIGHT ON ! :clap

    Looking forward to more on this one Mike. Damn, we need to ride again soon brother. Ping me, we can do a ride out at my property on the dry side. :deal
    #9
  10. DRDANTDC

    DRDANTDC Adventurer

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    It's a 2006.:D
    #10
  11. benwiggin2

    benwiggin2 Long timer

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    :lurk :deal
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  12. John_L

    John_L Been here awhile

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    Looking forward to seeing more, wish I could've joined you guys.
    #12
  13. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    It looks like the crowd is starting to gather. :clapHere is some more!





    To start with, I drove down to Chuck’s place to get loaded up. Dan had dropped off his bike and gear at Chuck’s previously. Chuck and I loaded up all the gear and bikes into the van and trailer. You will notice that was Chuck and I who loaded up all the bikes and stuff. Where was Dan? At home sleeping.


    We had planned to base camp during the second half of our trip so we ended up bringing down lots of base camping stuff that we did not use. We stayed up later than we should have talking about all the cool stuff we were going to see and how much fun it was going to be.


    In the morning, Dan showed up (nicely rested unlike Mike and Chuck who had about 3 hours of sleep). We got in the van and headed out. There is not much to talk about on the drive down other than it had rained all night and rained on us all the way down to Denio Junction and then all that night (oh and Chuck and mike were tired because they had to stay up late the night before loading up all of Dan’s stuff in the van and trailer). We left at about 4am and arrived around 5pm (I think). We were in no hurry. I am sure the trip cpould be done faster but we were not planning to start riding until the next morning anyway.

    I love my van. I think Chuck and Dan do too! They were a bit skeptical about it beforehand but it proved itself.
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    Eastern Oregon and the tiny bit of Nevada that we saw were absolutely beautiful. There is so much to see in the world!


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    I had a rough idea of the routes I wanted to do but had not had time to create the route to download into our GPS units. I did this on the way down. I used my wife’s laptop (thanks baby!) to plot the routes in Basecamp using a Nevada Gazetteer as a guide. I had the laptop tethered to my phone and then used Google Earth to make sure there was some kind of road or two track or trail where I had plotted the route. This approach worked reasonably well. Unfortunately, you cannot see locked gates from space! I was amazed that we had 3G service in Denio Junction and most of the way down. I was also following the BDS guys on their SPOT trackers live while we were on the road. We were about 30 minutes before the guys who were coming back to Fields. I did most of the Google Earth stuff between Burns and Denio Junction so we had 3G coverage thru most of that. It did drop out from time to time.

    We rolled into Denio Junction in the late afternoon on Saturday. We cruised into the bar and talked to Bobby about our accommodations. He handed us a key for Room 1. I filled out a short form and then we went and unloaded bikes and gear. Things are very casual there. It was great. The folks at Denio Junction are fantastic. They halped us out greatly and went out of their way for us. We love them!

    Our room soon looked like this:

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    Actually it looks pretty clean in that picture. Dan is trying to tell me that his little pack weighs as much as mine with 2 100oz bladders in it. Whatever!

    I do not have any pictures of our bikes from before we started the trip. We all had new rear tires. I had a 606. I ran 35# in my tires for the whole trip. I was planning to air them down but never got around to it. There were some very very rocky areas where I was happy to have all that air in there. I remember one very distinct moment where I was bouncing thru some extreme rocky uphill section and I thought about how I had 35# in my tires and Excell wheels laced in mad patterns with expensive oversized spokes that cost way too much money so I could just pin the gas and rail on thru. So I did! And I loved it! The bike just hooked up and I was out of that craziness. The front end did push a bit so I spent almost the entire ride standing. The luggage on the back also contributed to the push. I digress…
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    Our plan for the week was to first take a 4 day loop ride from Denio Junction over toward Jarbidge. We would camp off of our bikes and try to stay off the pavement. Then we would return to DJ, move camp to Bog Hot, and then do some long day loop rides.

    Of course plans change…
    #13
  14. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    Wow! 11 years newer than mine and mine is still faster and better than yours! :lol3
    #14
  15. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    Chuck posted some pics on his SmugMug account so I will be throwing some in from time to time.

    Room 1 only had two double beds so I popped the top on the Eurovan and crashed out up there for the first night.

    It looked like this in the morning. Kind of wet! It was not supposed to rain anymore this week. We hoped that was true!


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    We thought it would be a good idea to start out with a good breakfast, so we went into the bar for it. It was tasty. While loading, we met StroupDog, who was on his own adventure. I talked to him about some good stuff down in AZ and UT and gave him a map to help him on his journey. He gave us some good encouragement. We finished packing up our gear and headed out.

    Here are some before pic (Chuck’s Pic).

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    I poached these loaded bike pics from StroupDog. Check out those fresh tires! The bikes look clean from being out in the rain for the last 24 hours.

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    Here is the first day on the map.

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    I started out by leading us out and then not being able to find a road that was not blocked by a fence. I felt like a real dumbass. It started to feel like the trip was taking a turn for the worst. Then finally I got us into the dirt. It was fantastic. All doubt disappeared. The dirt conditions were just right from the rain the night before. I hear they call it “Chocolate” down there! Good stuff. I am used to a choice of either thick poof dust or standing water. It was GREAT!

    Exactly what we had all dreamed of. And it was just starting…

    We rode thru some of this!

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    The day started to brighten up!

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    Found a mascot at a gate. Meet Dewayne (and Dr. Dan)!

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    Did some of this.

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    Found a bit of water to cross. First Dan.

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    Then Chuck.

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    Cruised up to the top of this hill just because it looked like it might lead to a sweet view (which it did!).

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    Came down into the Kings River Valley and stopped at this sign.

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    While chatting we saw something weird coming up the road toward us.

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    What the hell is that?!??

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    Then we headed across the valley toward the pavement. At the intersection, I made a big deal of it and called out the pavement. I called the pavement some pretty nasty and derogatory things. I told the asphalt that we did not need it ruining our lives anymore. I told it where to go. I would regret all these things! We turned south and headed down the planned road for a short distance to the locked and posted gate. Damn!

    We turned around and hit the pavement going around and headed to the south. We took another sweet gravel road which gradually shrank down until it went thru a ranch and then some swamp land. We came up to Highway 140 and tried to find the gate and road we had planned to take. It was there but it had not been run down for a long time. We were riding across some flat, slightly mucky, white stuff. The road was marked by nothing and occasionally the two tracks would enter into huge open areas of this white muck where you could only ride across and then try to find two tracks exiting off into the desert. Luckily the road generally went straight across these open areas. I felt like a real explorer! The road became more like a road as we headed toward Daveytown. We stopped to take a look around.

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    We found a geocache in Daveytown.


    We continued south. Along the way, my mind was wandering off. I found myself thinking about a friend who was just killed in a car accident this winter. He lived somewhere near Winnemucca. I had never been to his place but had always wondered where it was. It was about this time that I saw the sign.

    Holy Shit! I slammed on my brakes and took this picture.

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    His name is Andrew Betes. Maybe this was his house? Sure is a pretty neighborhood!

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    We continued down Sand Pass Road. The scenery was fantastic!

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    We hit the highway and headed for Winnemucca for gas and lunch. Once we entered town, we asked Dan where to fuel and gas and he delivered.
    Once we were filled up, we headed back north out of town. After a few miles, we headed to the east and toward Soldier Pass. We rode across a huge flat valley. It was long and hot and straight. It seemed to go on forever!

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    It was an interesting ride all the way across the valley and thru the flowers. The road was hardly visible thru the flowers. They were tall and hid anything on the ground. There were a couple unexpected rocks and holes that almost took me out. It was one of my most memorable motorcycle riding experiences riding thru all those flowers. It must have been for miles!

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    Next came Soldier Pass.

    Everyone was happy! Wow! This is really a cool place! We were all having an fabulous ride.

    Here I am stashing my coat. You can see some of Solider Pass in the background (Chuck’s pic).

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    This Guy!

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    Holy crap! Wasn’t that just the coolest road you have ever ridden on? Hell yeah!

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    From Soldier Pass, we headed toward Midas. This was our first experience with wide heavy use mine roads. They suck! Before we headed down the Haul Road toward Midas, I had to take a look at my front brake. It was not stopping my very well. Took it apart and back bled it. It seemed to work good after that.

    The road into Midas was fun (once we got off the haul road). We found a place to eat at the Midas Saloon and Dinner House. We ate some huge burgers and filled up our CamelBaks. We asked about buying some gas there but were told there was none for sale. I think if someone was having an emergency, that they could probably find some around there somewhere tho.

    Here is where we ate in Midas (Chuck’s pic).

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    Here is the gas pump:

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    Here is my muddy license plate:

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    We headed east from Midas toward Tuscarora thru Rock Creek. It was getting late and we were in search of a place to camp. I stopped and waited for Dan and Chuck to catch up. I asked Dan for guidance. He told me to head up a faint two track to a camp spot that he had envisioned at the end of it. I think Dan is like the human version of one of those Lucky 8 Balls. I followed the track to its visible end and then just took off for the ridge line cross country. There was Dan’s vision. I proclaimed the spot as Bad Ass Camp. It was sweeeet!

    Here are some pictures of it.

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    Happy Chuck!

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    :thumb

    Good Night!
    #15
  16. benwiggin2

    benwiggin2 Long timer

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    OMG Awesome photos, great ride! Can't wait for the rest.....
    #16
  17. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Bad Ass Camp INDEED! :clap
    #17
  18. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    It was great. I made a waypoint for it on my GPS called Bad Ass Camp.

    The first day was fantastic! We stayed on the route and did not really have any trouble at all. Everything was flowing!



    You know, I feel kind of weird using the phrase "giant loop". Do you guys have that copyrighted? I just cannot come up with a better phrase to describe a very long multi-day off road self supported circular trip. I look forward to doing many more of them. Maybe for more days and longer distance next time! I was amazed to see how far you guys were going on yours in the days before we headed down.
    #18
  19. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    I had to check my garage to make sure my KLX was still there. It has seen some of that country too. After looking at your pics, I am ready for a redo.

    Show us more.
    #19
  20. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

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    Very nice, I nominated this picture for front page.
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    #20