This September I led a seven rider crew through an awesome five day loop from Eureka to Lund to Tonopah to Gabbs to Carvers to Austin and back to Eureka. Basically, the goal was to chris/cross the Toiyabe ranges. Along the way we saw desert valleys, 10k’ mountain passes, wild horses, crazy geothermal formations...and a Nuclear Bomb Site!!! No get offs, no flat tires, only one hole in an engine case, and only one case of stuff getting stolen off the bikes in Tonopah. Actually...while there were no real get offs, we did have one rider break a finger after getting smacked by a tree branch. Ouch! 814 miles total -- about 163 miles per day. The bikes — all with 200+ mile capacity (on one leg we assumed 240 -- some folks had to carry extra gas temporarily): * The KTMs: * 690 * 500 * 530 * 450 (3) * And…a lowly: * DR650 The riders — Ages 52 to 65, all skilled single track riders with the knowledge, tools and spares needed to repair their bikes in the field. Pic of us at the top of Ophir Pass, NV, EL 10080’: Support — Over the past few years, my loose group of friends on these rides have adopted a practice of having a designated “monitor” — typically a rider who can’t make the trip — act as our “benevolent overlord”. This person’s role is to oversee our progress (more on that below) and act as our focal for any needed coordination, external support or extraction. This year inmate Mastermarine was our overseer. Monitoring — There was zero cell service for almost all of this trip. All riders on the trip had either Spot Messengers or Delorme/Garmin Inreach units, with tracking services enabled. Each was then linked to a dedicated monitoring page setup by Jason at Spotwalla. Via the Spotwalla page or checks of any of the seven individual device sites, Mastermarine was able to see the progress of all seven riders real-time (ok, with about a 15 minute delay). This, combined with Inreach messaging, meant that we could stay connected as a group, even in the case of riders being separated from the pack (one time intentional…on time unintentional). I neglected to get a screen shot of the combined tracking page on Spotwalla, but here is the individual page showing only my Inreach tracks. The group page only showed the current (i.e. last) tracking transmission from each rider’s device. Route planning — As usual on these trips, planning the route and logistics probably took 80+ hours. To do it well and not have problems in the field, it takes a LOT of time. I developed the route in Basecamp, combining details from my previous trips, tracks provided to me by friends, tracks from http://www.gpsxchange.com/ (Countdown’s rides mostly), plus a few sections newly developed via available maps: Toiyabe NF paper maps and Google Earth. Overall, the planning was a success, with only three reroutes necessary (two due to new private land fences and one due to extreme overgrowth). As is typical with these trips, terrain and difficulty can be a surprise. While there were some long sections of graded gravel suitable for a big GS, several of the passes presented brutal rock climbs and descents barely suitable for the biggest thumper in the group, the 690. I’ll try to call out the truly difficult sections in the course of this report. This elevation profile shows a few of the extremes. For example the blue peak second from the left is Ophir Pass. A steep west to east accent up maintained roads, followed by the 10080” peak and a severe and steep decent back down to 5000’: Here are a few teaser pics. I will start writing day one tomorrow. Diana’s Punch Bowl (a boiling caldron just waiting to be ridden into!): Project Faultless Nuclear Test Site (a unique and somewhat unsettling place). The arms-over-the head is supposed to signify a mushroom cloud I guess: Ranges (ha ha, in Current, NV) One of many herds of wild horses (One herd almost uses us for traction). Berlin, NV. Weird ground fog in the wake of a brief thunderstorm And…crankcase surgery at the top of a technical pass!