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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mootsuno, Jul 26, 2013.
Really enjoying this RR, looking forward to more!
Eureka, NV to Coyote Mountain, NV
This is the first day of riding with Nate and Art and was wondering how we would meld together. Turned out pretty good, our pace was similar and they didn't mind
stooping when I wanted to and vice versa.
We rode out of Eureka for a couple of miles on US 50 the got on the dirt and headed
northwest towards Battle Mountain. Pretty decent roads, not too dusty and even a mud hole here and there. The scenery improved as we climbed into the first
mountain range, nicer than the flat desert plains.
Great riding in the rolling hills.
As we rode on we started noticing large piles of rock and gravel on the side
of the hills. Of course the were tailings from the many mines in the area.
Mines, we need to do some exploring. How about this one:
Where's that entrance go?
That entrance was about at an 80 degree angle and we didn't have any rope. A couple of tow straps yes but they're a little hard on the hands.
It was tempting to enter but common sense prevailed so we just took the pictures.
We continued on to Battle Mountain for lunch at a pretty good Mexican restaurant and fueled up.
The next real town and fuel would be in McDermott and there wasn't going to be enough daylight left in the day to reach it so we decided to camp tonight.
We hoping to find some trees in the mountains and after consulting the map we saw Humbolt-Toiyabe National forest was within reach and in it was Coyote Mountain with an elevation of 7500'. That sounds good, has to be
something there and we can reach it by dusk.
The roads out of Battle Mountain started out pretty good but got horribly dusty pretty quick. We had to keep good buffer zone between one another for visibility and not suck in too much dust.
I was riding in the middle when I looked in my mirror and saw three dust trails behind me instead of one. It turned out to be
the two the Canadians we had heard about earlier in the trip and they were riding WR250r's. We stopped and talked for a bit and compared bikes. The little bikes are so much easier in sand, gravel and technical stuff but not so good on the faster roads. The exact opposite of all our bikes. Shortly after our stop we came to a soft, sandy trail section and we never saw them again.
Once we got through that we were back some easy dirt roads again and wanted to get to Coyote Mountain before dark. I took the lead, got into a pretty pace and just followed the GPS track. I wasn't paying attention to time and after a while I didn't see any dust in my mirrors.
I pulled over and decided to wait. after about 15 minutes I got a little worried
and checked my GPS and roll chart. I had blown by a turn a few miles back
and was off the TAT. I had seen the guys in over an hour and I was worried
that they be worried about me. They had no idea where I was. I back tracked,
found the correct turn on got back on track. Luckily they had stopped on the way up Coyote Mountain looking for a campsite. Oh, I forgot to mention that
Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest is a treeless forest, no trees anywhere so we
wouldn't be camping in the trees.
We found a spot near the top that was sort of level with very few rocks and no brush. It ended up being a great spot. We were about 7500', cool temps
and nobody or any source of light for as far as we could see. The stars that night were amazing as was the Milky Way.
The local coyotes were yelping it good that night and Art was wondering if we were safe. He hadn't had any real experience with coyotes and didn't know
what to expect. He told him not to worry and after a couple of shots he wasn't worried at all.
Packing up in the morning on Coyote Mountain.
Tomorrow we'd head off and run into a funeral.
Coyote Peak to Denio Junction.
We left Coyote Peak and our goal for the day was to reach Denio Junction. After riding a bit we came up a hill in the middle of nowhere and a jeep was parked at the top.
Being the friendly group we are we stopped and started talking to two gentleman. They said they were there for an ashes spreading ceremony and
were just waiting for everybody else to arrive. They offered us water and some breakfast pastries which we gladly accepted. During the conversation it came up
that is was Nick's birthday and the birthday of the deceased, Liam. The guys then
pulled out a bottle of whiskey and offered Nate a shot and of course he
In the mean time a number of other vehicles arrived and a variety of weapons
began to appear. Apparently the Liam was an avid hunter and gun aficionado and to celebrate his life they were "gonna blow stuff up."
And when two Barrett 50 cals came out we believed them.
It being Nate's birthday he was offered the opportunity to shoot the Barrett.
I was about 15' away and still felt the concussion. After that we all sang Happy Birthday to Nate and Liam and were invited to a memorial BBQ in McDermitt.
In fact the first guy we spoke with was heading out to his combination
convenience store, gas station and butcher shop in McDermitt to cut up
half a steer for the BBQ. We told him we had to get gas soon and he replied his place was the closest gas station. That's where we headed.
We got there, filled up our tanks, and went inside for some lunch and there he was, cutting up the meat for the BBQ. He asked again if we wanted to come, Nate and Art really wanted to but I knew if we did we'd never get out of there until the next day. So me being the old man in the group convinced them to continue on to Denio.
Just before we left we got an update from the KLR couple stating there wasn't
any fuel in Denio or in Fort Bidell, CA. No fuel until Lakeview, OR over 220 miles away.
No problem for my Dakar or Art's KLR but no way would the KTM make it. So Nate purchased a small gas can and we figured we could siphon
some fuel from the other two and just barely make it, so we went for it.
Right out of McDermmit the TAT jumps into Oregon for awhile before dropping
back into NV. Before crossing the border you ride through Zimmerman Ranch,
I don't know how many acres it but it has to be thousands.
You can see the homestead on the green patch in the distance.
In the roll chart, Sam C. says we should stop and the house and say hello but when
we got there nobody was home, so we left them a nice note.
After the ranch the roads weren't very well defined but were easy to follow.
As the sun dropped towards the horizon we rode up and down through numerous small canyons
and made to Denio Junction. This complex is basically the hub for the locals
consisting of a bar, restaurant, casino and gas station without any gas.
Their inviting sign.
We booked a couple of rooms and made our way back to the restaurant before it closed. Of course the bar would be open for hours more which was
most important because remember it's Nates Birthday, his 30th birthday and the
boys wanted to party. And they're very good at it. I headed for my room around 11pm and at that time the bar tender, Sherrie told me they were going on their 10th shot each, not including beer or drinks others had bought for them.
Check out their thread for a better description of that night.
There is one picture of me standing on the bar which anybody that knows me would find quite unusual but when in Rome...
Needless to say we did not get an early start the next morning.
I've finally decided to finish this report. I had a bunch of things going and I sort of forgot about it.
So let's pick up where I left off.
As I thought we didn't get an early start. We ended up rolling out of Denio Junction
about 11am. We had a long way to go that day, all the way to Lakeview Or.
So, we we decided to skip a few miles of the trail and slab it to Virgin Valley.
Yes, that's the real name and it's where the TAT intersects with Hwy 140
which we took out of Denio Junction.
As we pulled off the highway we came upon the Virgin Valley campground.
It's in the middle of the desert and has a large natural spring that feeds
a great swimming hole. And even though we had a ways to go we had to stop
for a "swim call". Nate and Art (both ex coasties) said that whenever they came
passed a swim worthy body of water they had to go in. Apparently the term swim call
comes from the Coast Guard when a Cutter crosses the equator and
the the crew who has never been across it before go for a swim, in the middle
of the ocean.
Anyway it was pretty refreshing.
Drying out before gearing up again.
After that we headed out on the trail and a little while later we came across
the Royal Peacock Opal Mine. It's a open pit mine where you rent equipment
from them and go dig for your own opals.
They also have a store that sells jewelry and Nate wanted to get something for
his mom. He picked out a nice piece and had them ship it her. I didn't mind waiting
since they also sold ice cream which I took advantage of.
Shortly after leaving the mine we came across deep mud water crossing. Sort
of unexpected in the desert. It was another natural spring and about 50 yards
across, we all made it through even though it was a bit slippery.
As we headed out into the open desert we came across an older couple, probably
in their mid 70's in a side by side, I think it was a rhino. They had camping gear and plenty of fuel and were desert camping. They asked where the next civilization was and I told them 10 or 12 miles back to the Royal Peacock.
I thought they were pretty cool still doing that kind of adventuring at their age. I guess I have another 20 or 25 years of exploring to do.
Of course we came across the obligatory wild mustangs with Art in the foreground.
It's hard to get too close to them but I did get a short video. Just click on the image.
Before I saw these guys,the mustangs I thought they were going to be huge.
My belief came from first seeing their massive piles of manure, they were like small
mountains. Apparently they mark their territory by making their deposits in the same
place every time and the mounds keep growing. Sorry, no pics.
I don't remeber if I mentioned this before but Nate's rear master cylinder site
glass popped out and he had no rear brakes. One was ordered and being sent general
delivery to Lakeview but he had ti ride with a front brake only for a couple
Sometimes you just can't stop fast enough with only one brake.
Even using small boulders can't always stop you. Good thing that 950 is tough.
A quick video of the typical terrain in north western Nevada.
I think I mentioned earlier that our last gas stop was in McDermott and we knew
Nate wasn't going to make it to Lakeview even with an extra gas can strapped on back. We had planned to siphon fuel form both the Dakar and the KLR to feed the 950 and among us all we just have enough gas.
so a few miles from the NV/Cal border we were passed by a pickup. we didn't think much of it and a few miles later we came across it parked at an old stone cabin in the middle of no where. We stopped and a guy came out named Pat
to talk to us. He explained that they were part of Americorp and were doing some
kind of habitat restoration in the area. We asked him if he could sell us
some fuel and he told us that was against government policy. However, he could
give the gas for FREE. So he grabbed a jerry can and dumped a bunch of fuel into the 950.
Then he asked if we needed any food or water and if we had any trouble he'd come and get us in the pickup. How cool is that? We said we were good with just the fuel and thanked him.
Pat filling up the 950.
Getting close to the border. The mountains on the horizon are in California.
One of the more dusty trails. Click for video:
Just after getting off that dusty trail we hopped on a county road. We're cruising along
with Nate out front and he comes to a sudden stop. I hit my brakes and stop about 60'
behind him. I ask "What are you stopping for?" There's a big rattle snake right in front of you.
"Yeah, what's the big deal?", I say. Apparently Nate has only seen a couple before and Art
has never seen one in the wild so he had to get a pic. It was decent size, about 3'. I think
Art was surprised how thick its body was and he got his pic as it crawled off the road.
They probably thought I was a little nonchalant about the rattler but we frequently see them
at our regular mountain bike park.
This is the cattle grate on the NV CA border
A selfie at the same spot.
As you can see from the light is was getting late in the day and we had to get through CA
before we could finish up in Lakeview, OR. I think our total distance in CA was less 30 miles.
Just before we reached Fort Bidwell, CA (another town without fuel) we had another close encounter.
I was cruising along about 55mph on a paved road. Next to that road were fenced lined pastures filled with cows.
Between the road and the fence the bushes were waist high. Just enough to hide the calf that decided
to jump out right in front of me. Don't let anyone tell you ABS is bad on pavement. I slammed on my brakes
and barely missed him. I'm getting really sick of cows!
Anyway we went through the outskirts of Fort Bidwell, which is nothing, and headed north back into the mountains
and towards OR. As we climbed in elevation I could really tell I was back in CA. Just the terrain and the
smell of the Ponderosa pines made me feel like I was in Tahoe and close to home.
Art got a good shot of me checking the GPS after we lost Nate for a few minutes.
It was getting late and we didn't want to go through the forest at night so we routed to Hwy 395 and skipped part of the trail.
And of course here we are entering OR.
We rolled into Lakeview about 9pm. Found a nice Mexican restaurant, ate and then found
Lakeview to Lakeview.
As I mentioned earlier Nate rear master cylinder needed to be replaced. He went down to the post office
to pick up the part but it hadn't arrived yet. The next delivery would be that afternoon. Which meant
we were going to stay in Lakeview another night. I had a day to kill. Nate and Art decided just to hang out
and relax until the part arrived but I decided to back track yesterdays route to where we left the TAT.
Then jump back on it and finish the part of the route we skipped and back into Lakeview. Since we were staying
in the same place I didn't need to pack anything I could travel light. Well, light as a Dakar can travel. It was a beautiful
weather and I upped the pace a bit through the forest.
Just great scenery.
As I came down the hill back into Lakeview I came across the public swimming pool and
noticed a couple of familiar bikes. Both Nate and Art were having a good old time with the local
kids in the pool. Sorry i didn't get a picture.
Well the part came in that afternoon and the boys went to work. I decided to do laundry. Shortest riding
day of the trip for me, I think I did 70 miles. They got it fixed and we ate at Burger Queen (not the greatest)
for dinner and got ready for tomorrow.
Excellent report !!
I look forward to the rest.
Very nice RR, thank you for sharing, you brough the places closer to me with those pics and videos. Hope your friend is doing fine by now.
I just started reading this report and the same thing happened to my friend and I when we were doing the TWVT last July. We got nailed for doing 31 in a 25mph zone....only there were two of them. When the officer told us that we
had gotten pulled over for 31 in a 25 we started laughing and asked if he was serious. Then he threatened to put us in jail!! It ended up costing us both 139.00 each. They wanted me to pay 179.00 and I told the mayor that I just wouldn't pay it at all because it is just a speed trap so she reduced it down to 139.00. Gotta watch your speed in those small WV towns.
Yeah it made us keep our eyes open through the small towns
of TN, MS and AR. Once we got into OK we didn't worry too
Out west we really didn't see many cops. That is until we got back to CA.
Lakeview to Crescent.
This was our first full day of riding in OR. We headed northwest about of Lakeview and within a few miles it felt like we were in NV again. We were riding a mixture of gravel and pavement, pretty easy going, and after a
couple of hours we decided we'd have lunch and fuel up in Silver Lake.
The TAT map suggested cafe there where the owners loved to host TAT riders. We pull into the gas station, there's only one, fuel up and ask where the restaurant was. "Well just down the street a bit but business was so slow
they moved to Texas a couple of weeks ago." We asked for a restaurant suggestion and were told that the only one left was a food truck. "Great, where is it?", we ask.
"Right down the street but she's at the dentist today
so it'd closed."
"Anywhere else to eat?"
"The local market has some stuff."
So we just ended up there and got some snacks.
However, before we left the gas the owner had to show us his race car.
A '70 Mustang coupe with a 351 Windsor, fully tubbed and caged. It really was pretty junky but he was darn proud of it. Said it ran in the low 11's, so not bad.
He also had us come inside where he sold some auto parts, different kinds
of jerky and of course guns and ammo, all in a gas station. I thought it was cool.
Leaving Silver Lake we headed into some of the more difficult riding of the day. Lots of deep sand and silt, no fun on the heavy bikes. The TAT map
even warned of sandy conditions and to keep alert. After some slow going
we started to transition to the forest and better conditions.
Sorry I didn't get ant pictures of the sandy area. We were just on a mission to get through.
Eventually we ended up on the maze of logging roads through this area. There are just
hundreds of miles of them and initially they were wide with a good gravel surface.
Taking a break at an intersection.
Other side of the same intersection.
Art passing some real logging.
Taking another break where the boys were thinking about a "swim call"
Even though it was a gorgeous spot the water was a little too shallow.
Nate and Art on the bridge.
The TAT indicated we would be riding some old railroad grades for a few miles
and for some reason I was really looking forward to this. I don't know why
but I was. The map indicated to be be aware of erosion trenches on the
railroad grades and to watch your speed. Never found any.
A little later we ended up in another maze of logging roads and we were having
a little trouble navigating. There are so many parallel roads it was quite easy
to get off the GPS track. We had to double back a few times. Also the dust was terrible.
It's very fine there and with no wind it just lingers on the trail.
We had to keep some pretty wide buffer zones or be choked by the dust.
Not to mention the poor visibility. The picture below looks to be a great trail
but the dust really did suck. In fact we lost Art for awhile. It was getting late
in the day so when we regrouped we decided to route to the nearest pavement.
This would get us into Crescent before dark. And save our
lungs from the dust.
Crescent's another nice small town on Hwy 97. We pulled into town and saw
this great looking hotel called the Woodsman. It looked a little expensive
so we ended up at the Crescent Motel. By first appearance it's a dive.
Then you open the door to your room and you're pleasantly surprised. Really
nice rooms, king size pillow top beds, flat screen tvs large bathrooms.
And if you look closely at the broken motel sign out front it says it welcomes TAT riders.
We also come to find out the fancy Woodsman across the street
will not motorcyclists stay there. You'd be turned away. Whatever.
For dinner we decided to hit the Mohawk. Talk about an interesting and eclectic place.
It's completely filled with all sorts of taxidermy. Really,
hundreds of different animals. PETA must just hate this place. But the service
and the food was great. In fact I had the fried chicken (which I tried in many
along the route) and this place was the best.
After dinner Art and Nate stayed in the bar for a few nightcaps, no surprise there.
I headed back to my room thinking that there were only
two days left to Port Orford and the end of the trail.
Thanks for coming back to finish up the report. It brings back some memories for me.
Thanks. I'm glad I took notes on the trip. It's bringing back memories
for me too. I should have the report completed by the end of the week.
Crescent to Glendale
Filled up with fuel in the morning and headed into the Umpqua NF. Our
direction for the day would be primarily southwest. The gravel and dirt roads
for the most part were a bit wider today but still quite dusty.
Even with the dust the views today were spectacular. High peaks and extinct
volcanoes on the horizon. In fact we only 20 miles north of Crater Lake which
would have been a great detour but by the time we realized our proximity
we were well past it.
We came across a beautiful creek where we took a break but skipped the swim call on this one.
Pretty much all back country today. I don't we went through any towns
until Tiller later in the day. One interesting thing started to manifest today
which was navigating the route. Nate and I started showing different
routes on our Garmins. My routing was programmed using the maps and
rollcharts from Sam. Nate actually bought the gpx files from Sam and downloaded into his gps.
I know Sam changes the route from time to time
but our purchases were only a couple of months apart so I thought
they'd be similar. We decided we'd just follow Nate's tracks and avoid the confusion.
Well, we tried to avoid confusion. You'll see in the picture below we're parked
on the closed side of a blocked road. Both of us this was the correct way.
Great we thought, they must have just closed it. We'll probably find some
cool washout or something and there won't be anybody else on this road.
After riding up the road both our gps's showed a deviation off track. Time to turn
around and find the correct way. Which we did.
A little video ride through the forest.
Eventually we found small river that beckoned for a swim call. We stripped and after a short hike
we got in the water. I'm guessing the temp was in the mid 40's, you know
the kind of temperature that sucks the breath out of you. But,
it was refreshing and did wash off the crusty old dust.
A little down river.
Much of the riding today was along ridge tops and gorgeous views such as
this were typical.
Easy for bikes to get through, not so good for cars or trucks.
Late in the afternoon we came into Tiller. One store and one gas pump
and everything was expensive. Captive audience I guess. Anyway, we decided
we have a little late lunch before pushing on to Glendale. The store serves
some hot food but the only thing left were beerdogs. Beerdogs are self
explanatory, they're hotdogs boiled in beer. I don't know how long they'd
been in the pot but there was only three left, one for each of us. Sold.
We got back on the road and headed down Tiller Trail Hwy for a few miles
then back on to the dirt. We decided to camp tonight and used the gps
to find a campsite near Glendale. We found one just north of Glendale
right along I-5. This place was interesting. There weren't any other campers
Everybody there was permanent residents. Lots of junky trailers and motor homes.
But 10 bucks a piece , it had flush toilets and showers and it was getting late.
After the beerdogs nobody was too hungry so we skipped
any restaurants and just heated up the last of the soup that we
Tomorrow was going to be the last day on the trail and I was
having some interesting feelings about that.
Great lunch time reading!
Glendale to Port Orford......end of the trail.
This morning we broke camp, rolled out to I-5 and rode a couple miles into
Glendale proper for some breakfast and fuel. We only had about 130 miles
to Port Orford of fairly easy riding so we weren't in a hurry. We found a funky
bookstore-coffee shop in town, one of those sort hippy places.
I had a muffin and tea, the boys had coffee and some pastries. We hung there
for a while then grabbed some snacks for lunch at the local grocery. Looking at the maps
we weren't going to be passing through any towns until we reached Port Orford.
We fueled up and headed out of town. Right away Nate's GPS directed to a road
that led into a saw mill, so in we went. We got a few strange looks form the employees
and discovered the road didn't go through. Out the entrance we went and rerouted around the mill.
The first 1/2 hour or so was all on pavement and I was getting a little depressed. I want to finish the TAT
on dirt, not pavement. We did some climbing on the tarmac and eventually got back on the dirt.
Much of the part of the route is on ridge top roads that afford more great views which
you can see below. No complaints about the weather either.
In this shot you can really see the logging industry at work. Clear cutting, new growth younger trees
and fully mature forest. Didn't know if it was a second growth forest or not though.
After a couple of hours of riding dirt roads we ended up back on the pavement. For pavement
it was pretty good riding. Smooth, curvy with a lot of ups and downs. I was still disappointed
I want to finish on dirt. Following the route we came to dirt pavement split, route said to take the dirt.
Art was tired of riding dirt and said he wanted to stay pavement. He checked his map and found
a paved route to Port Orford. I wanted the dirt, Nate could go either way. We discussed it. Nate and I
would take the dirt route and Art the paved. We'd meet later in the day in Port Orford.
Only a few more miles to go and I could tell we were getting near the coast. The air feels a little
more humid, the temperature cools and maybe a little whiff of salt air. Most of the roads
were wide enough for cars pass one another but were then routed to a rarely used trail
as you can see below.
This trail was fun, a nice double track. But, after about fifteen minutes of riding we came upon a bit of a
tree obstacle. We weren't going get over that.
Looking around we discovered a narrow single track up and around the fallen tree.
We thought we walk it before riding and found that the gap between the logs
was just too narrow to get through with baggage. It was going to take less time
to back track and reroute than to remove and reinstall the bags. So, that's
what we did.
You can see our predicament.
A little later we thought we were going to have another detour, at least that's
what the road sign indicated. We decided to ignore it. Coming around the corner
we found out why the detour was in place. Most of the road was gone stemming
from a landslide. A few feet were left, not enough for a car but easy for a bike.
Nate ready to ride through.
And coming out of the closed road.
Just after that we rolled out on to Elk River. It follows the Elk River (duh) and is the last road
until we run into US-101 and Port Orford.
Both Nate and realized we just finished the TAT. A few fist pumps in the air and virtual high fives.
I felt a great feeling of accomplishment and excitement. I also felt sad. Tomorrow I was going to ride
home and the adventure would be over. After five weeks of travelling being home wasn't that appealing.
I also felt a little sad for Pete. He had already been home for a couple weeks and missed the best part
of the trip. In my opinion anyway.
In another post I'll comment of what I thought of the trip, the bike and equipment, and how
Pete is doing.
Port Orford is a small tourist town and as we pulled into town we were greeted with this.
That looks like the way to go. Following the arrow brings you to a vista above
the beach where a most every TAT'er takes their ubiquitous photo. So who
are we to argue.
Although it's perfectly legal to ride you bike on the beach in OR we decided just to park
in the lot and walk down to the ocean. I know we should have rode it but the sand on the
path to the beach was deep and soft and we didn't feel like wrestling the bikes
at the end of the day.
What a great feeling, starting with my feet in Atlantic, riding over 6000 miles of
back roads and trails and finishing in the Pacific.
I think Nate felt the same way.
Now you're probably asking, "Where's Art?"
As soon as we got into town we started texting Art asking him
to meet us at the beach. He replied about half an hour later
saying he took a few wrong turns and ended up in Gold Beach about 23
south of Port Orford. He was going to head south on 101 to find a campground
and let us know when he did. He found one just north of Crescent City, about
70 miles south of Port Orford and we met him there.
I still had one more day of riding to get home and another night with the boys.
That'll be in my next post.
Previous post just updated.
Dean, So glad you finished the report. I've been periodically checking, and anxiously waiting since your last post in Sept. Again, congratulations. Following along with your report, I felt like I was with you for the whole trip rather that just the first 4 days. Hope to meet up with you again soon. Jim
Glad to see you finishing this up Dean! Me and Nate are prepping for the CDR this summer! Hope all is well.
Nice job on the report Dean - entertaining and informative. Thanks for the effort - appreciate it.
Excellent RR !