In Search Of Water In The Desert: Photos And Ride Report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WoodsChick, May 30, 2009.

  1. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    Eric and I spent some time in southeastern Oregon and northwestern Nevada last summer on our way home from Idaho. I had a busted up ankle so we were in the van, but we really wanted to go back and do some exploring on the bikes after I healed up. This Memorial Day seemed like the best time to do it so we packed up for a week and headed out of town in the Pleasure Palace in search of water...mostly hot, with Eric's LC4 and my Husky and KTM 450 in tow.

    We camped on a creek in far northwestern NV. Now, it may look like your average, run of the mill, garden variety desert creek, but no...this crystal-clear creek just happened to run about 104 degrees at night, a bit warmer during the day...
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    We decided to load up the bikes with all our camping gear and take a little spin in the hills, just to make sure everything was secure and working the way we wanted it to, as we had a few overnight bike-camping trips planned. We headed south towards the Pine Forest range, hoping the snow up top would not impede our progress...
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    Ooh! Look! Hot water!
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    The 102-degree water was bubbling up from the bottom...
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    Heading off to the east...
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    Over the rise, down across the valley and up into the hills. Can you see the road climbing up into the rocks on the other side?
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    The road we came in on is visible way in the center background, as is the white dry lakebed near the warm pool...
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    Ride it while you can, folks, as most of this stuff is a Wilderness Study Area now...
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    My first attempt at "stitching" a panoramic shot together was performed on this scenic little lake we found...
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    Up above the lake the road turned pretty rocky and even more scenic. No tracks could be seen at all, only ours. The road ended here at about 8000'. I wanted to camp here but Eric was afraid we'd freeze our butts off at night. We had lunch and then headed back down to the lake instead...
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    Camera Disclaimer: We bought a new camera before we left...like the very day before we left, and I couldn't see it very well without my glasses. The photos probably could have been better, but at least Eric had our old camera so there will actually be some photos of me on this trip :)

    To be continued...

    WoodsChick
    #1
  2. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    I forgot to show you the shrine we saw as we headed out of camp down the valley...

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    Ok, back down to the lake and down out of the mountains...
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    We skirted the lake and then went looking for a different route up the other side. We found it, but I guess we had some climbing to do before we headed back down...
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    We dropped off the mountain and headed through a canyon filled with wildflowers...
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    We ended up near the marshy end of yet another dry lake bed. We poked around a bit and this is what we found...
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    We high-tailed it back to camp in order to make it before sunset. What started out as a quick warm-up ride to test out our loading prowess turned out to be an all-day 120-mile adventure.
    This is how the day ended...
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    More to come...

    WoodsChick
    #2
  3. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    Day 2 had us heading up into Oregon for an overnight camping trip. We headed north through this small valley and headed up into the Pueblo Range and over Domingo Pass...
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    The road through the valley pictured above pretty much consisted of 2 silty and sandy ruts with a high grassy crown in the middle. We were trying to ride side by side most of the time so I wouldn't be getting dusted out too bad and I gotta say, it was pretty exciting at times:D I think my 610 handles better than Eric's LC4 in this stuff, as he was all over the place while I rode in defensive mode right next to him. It was a lot of fun!

    Climbing up off the plateau into Domingo Pass...
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    A view showing a bit of the switchbacky descent on the eastern side of the pass..
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    We hadn't seen another human being besides ourselves in 2 days, til we got behind a rancher with a horse trailer down below. He never even knew we were there (probably wasn't expecting to see anyone so wasn't looking) so we ultimately ended up passing him in the weeds.
    We headed north up the valley towards Fields, which consists of a gas station/store/cafe, a telephone booth, and the cleanest port-a-potties you'll ever find...

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    The last time we were here there was an airplane parked at the telephone booth. I guess they just land on the "highway" out front. There would be more planes in our future before too long...

    We'd been looking forward to their burgers for a long time...
    Mine...
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    His...
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    We left right as the Harleys showed up. I guess they were heading to Run-a-Mucca, an annual event in Winnemucca that culminates in something called "Burning Bike" (how original...) where they set a bike on fire, probably a Honda. They used to do something similar at the San Jose Mile in the 70's :rolleyes:

    We wanted to do the loop through the Steens but there was too much snow this time of year. We settled on a circumnavigation of the Alvord Desert instead, still in search of water...
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    Look! More hot water!
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    108 degrees...too hot for me! Besides, we had desert to ride...
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    Oh, what's this? More hot water?
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    It was blazing hot out here. I un-velcro'd the bottoms of my Klim mesh pants (perfect for this trip! I wore them every day) and folded them up over my thighs. What a nice feature!

    Cue the theme from Jaws...
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    So what do we do? We go in and take the temperature of the water!
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    Can't remember what the temp was, but Eric had to pull his hand away before the digital thermometer finished rising. This pool was a frighteningly deep bottomless pit. Neat-o! The snow-covered Steens can be seen in the background.

    This one was a tad warm...
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    As was this one...217 degrees and climbing before we pulled the thermometer away due to the heat...(remember folks, new camera, no glasses, didn't read the instructions...:eek:)
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    This one looked about right, though...:D
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    Check out my glamorous pants...
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    We headed up the valley, taking a very circuitous route to our final destination. Don't blame me if your postcards are late...
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    No one was home...
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    WoodsChick
    #3
  4. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    We were a bit concerned about gas and daylight so we decided to take a shortcut through a small dry lake. We figured we could cut across and maybe find a track through the sagebrush that would take us in the general direction we needed to go. We could always cross-country it if we had to...
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    Some of this stuff was quite moist, adding to the level of apprehension in regards to our new short-cut. I've been on the playas before when they were wet and believe me when I say it is not the place to be if you don't feel like slipping and falling every 3 feet.

    Our fears were totally unfounded...the playa was sweet!
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    While riding along the shoreline, foolishly looking for non-existent tracks that would show us the way off the playa, we found a cairn that pointed us in the right direction. This place doesn't get much use, apparently. This is the main road off the playa before it turned into a not-so-main road
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    I thought all dogs slowly walked around in circles before lying down? Apparently the Husky breed does not do this...
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    Note the sand on my front tire:busted:

    This area was pretty neat and we ended up doing some creative route-finding out here. This was kinda my favorite part of the ride on this day. It was exciting, it was sometimes fast and sometimes technical, we had to use the GPS and a compass, and I managed to get both wheels off the ground at the same time:applause: Knowing I'd be carrying more fuel and camping gear, I had gotten some stiffer springs (front and rear) from Les at Lt-Racing before leaving. I must say, the touchdown was much more pleasant and drama-free than I thought it would be. It is a bit more exciting getting a gear-laden 610 airborne than, say, a 125 MX'er, that's for sure:lol: I actively looked for opportunity to do it again and again :D

    We made it to camp about 5:30pm with 132 miles on the clock. We were quite pleased to see that someone had left us a nice stack of firewood:thumbsup: As I always say, leap and the net will appear:)
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    Check out our fancy clothesline...
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    As soon as we got camp set up and our clothes hung up, we went for a dip in the cool side of the pool...
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    The warm side...
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    The smaller side was 104 degrees, the larger side was a very pleasant 94 degrees...
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    Eric likes playing with fire...
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    We soaked the night away and just had a grand ol' time at our little oasis in the desert. Did you know you can fit almost 2 bottles of wine into a leather bota bag? Well, take it from me...you can!

    WoodsChick
    #4
  5. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    We slept well in our tent. Our breakfast of eggs with ham and bell peppers was really tasty, especially considering it was freeze-dried:lol:
    We had a steaming cup of coffee (sippy cup with a French press) and 2 juicy oranges. Great way to have fresh juice while camping and they travel well in a backpack:thumbsup:

    Here's a bit of early morning camping/riding/soaking glamour for y'all...
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    Eric really was having a good time even though he doesn't look like it...:lol:
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    We soaked one last time, got suited up and headed south outta Dodge...

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    Our route followed a really nice creek...
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    Well, it was nice and all right up until it crossed our path...
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    Had there been more than 2 of us, or if we'd been on our regular dirt bikes we probably would have gone for it. As it was, though, it was about 4 or 5 feet deep with a really silty bottom. No thanks! We turned around and looked for an alternative route to where we wanted to go. We found some fun stuff but we had used half our fuel and wanted to make sure we didn't have any issues out here...

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    The creek crossing that thwarted our progress is clearly visible at the bottom of the hill...
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    We decided to head back the way we came and take a different route back to camp. We were bombing along about 50mph on a gravel road and I ran over a snake. I was bummed, thinking I'd killed him for sure, but couldn't resist the urge to go back and look at him. I caught up to Eric and we turned around. Much to my surprise, he was slithering out of the road when we got there, his tongue flickering back and forth and just looking pretty pissed off in general. He probably wasn't happy about the 5" wide dusty mark that was left on his back (middle?) by my rear tire:lol:

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    We were headed into some rain and the winds were picking up. We knew we had some road riding to do so we stopped to put our jackets on...
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    Good thing we weren't screwing around trying to find a way out of the desert on the routes we were on earlier, as about 40 miles before we got back to camp Eric was draining fuel out of my supertanker for his
    LC4...

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    We hit the bright lights of the big city...
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    They do things a little differently in Nevada, as evidenced by the corner of Rodeo Drive and Sunset Boulevard...:lol:
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    We got back to camp with a little over 200 miles logged. We'd only had the one extra gallon of fuel on my bike and Eric wasn't getting the mileage he should have been getting. He was jetted too rich and so he did a bit of rejetting when we got back. We unloaded the camping gear, topped the bikes off and headed back out in search of some more water, this time a little cooler as it was hot out.

    More to come...


    WoodsChick
    #5
  6. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    We entered Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge and made a beeline for the warm springs. There is a showerhouse there that was built by the WPA in the 30's. It's made of a really neat pink limestone quarried on the refuge. I don't know why I didn't take any photos of the pool this time.These photos were taken last summer...
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    The water is about 5-6 feet deep, nice and warm like a warm swimming pool, and is crystal clear with big fish swimming in it (Note oddly shaped left ankle full of metal...)

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    The showers run warm springs water all the time non-stop, and there is a book exchange in it, too...

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    We showered up and headed out for more fun and adventure...in the rain, as it turned out.

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    Wild burros run rampant in this part of Nevada...
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    Nice view on the way back to camp...

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    We pulled into camp with an additional 75 miles under our belts. These big bikes sure are fun :thumbsup: Yeah, I know, these are tiny bikes compared to what most of the ADV inmates ride, but for me, my 610 is pretty big compared to my dirtbikes...even my KTM 450:lol3

    More to come tomorrow...maybe.



    WoodsChick
    #6
  7. NothingClever

    NothingClever Dirt Winger

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    Very nice, DesertChick :thumb !!
    #7
  8. Parsley

    Parsley Been here awhile

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    Thanks for sharing!

    Zollo
    #8
  9. benwiggin2

    benwiggin2 Long timer

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    wow- looks like an awesome, well planned trip. Great pic's of a great time. Stay safe, thanks for sharing.
    #9
  10. b00t

    b00t errrr, yes uh-huh?

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    beautiful pictures! i wanna :drums
    #10
  11. guns_equal_freedom

    guns_equal_freedom Long timer

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    Saaa-weeeet!!

    Thanks for sharing!
    #11
  12. edgy

    edgy Been here awhile

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    Man,I enjoyed that!
    What a sweet looking Husky!!!
    #12
  13. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

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    WoodsChick;
    Is this your van in the background? If so we were there two up on a GS.
    Thanks for the photo's and RR. I'll have to go back and ride some of the same roads when I'm riding solo on my 650.
    Well done photo's and story

    Richard

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    #13
  14. wayno

    wayno Long timer

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    Dont mean to bum you out but have heard that most snakes that
    are able to crawl off end up dead in the bush of spinal or ribs
    puncturing vital organs....
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    Like the RR:clap
    #14
  15. bigsteve950adv

    bigsteve950adv White Trash Adventurer

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    Looks like an awesome ride,beautiful place.Enjoyed your report,thank you :thumb
    #15
  16. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    :nod Yep, that was ours! What a small world, eh? We saw you pull in and Eric saw you ride by our camp heading north. Where did you go from there?

    Were the planes there when you stopped by?



    WoodsChick
    #16
  17. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    Yep, I'm aware of that...and yes, I felt really bad about it. I even feel bad about the moths that die in the flame of my lantern, too :2cry

    Glad you are enjoying the ride report. There are a few more day's worth to come.




    WoodsChick
    #17
  18. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

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    Fantastic report & photos :clap
    #18
  19. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

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    #19
  20. knary

    knary sunshine and puppies

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    :clap
    #20