Ride the West

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Vksf, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. rpet

    rpet Awesometown

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    831
    Location:
    El Lay
    Looking at these pics 4 months later, it's hard to believe it was real.
    #41
  2. TeacherDan

    TeacherDan Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Deer Park, TX
    The report and pics have had me staying up way too late for the past three nights and wishing I were there instead of at work!!

    Great report! :clap
    #42
  3. Vksf

    Vksf Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    San Francisco
    With a beautiful night of sage brush camping behind us, we packed up our stuff and hit the trail.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/10891601223/" title="9486255953_4682a6e7e1_c by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3691/10891601223_c148c4a188_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="9486255953_4682a6e7e1_c"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/10891341236/" title="9486299219_58ab7d2756_b by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5476/10891341236_70ce38f433_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="9486299219_58ab7d2756_b"></a>

    The only thing cooler than stumbling upon wild horses while riding is stumbling upon wild burros. I'm not sure why this made me so happy, but who doesn't love a burro.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/10891302895/" title="9486323111_9600dd44c7_b by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3763/10891302895_347e274b35_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="9486323111_9600dd44c7_b"></a>

    We had been given a taste of just how remote and isolated Nevada riding can be. Hitting Battle Mountain, we knew we had a very long stretch of riding between gas stops with reports that there was no longer fuel in Denio Junction. We had already had a few close calls with running out of gas, so filled up empty gatorade bottle with extra fuel, gorged on french fries at the local snack bar and hit the road.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/10910558706/" title="photo-64 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5528/10910558706_1b30c7a1b3_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-64"></a>

    The riding was fun and beautiful as always and we were soon filling our tanks.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11123926496/" title="photo-77 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7399/11123926496_13cab0f39f_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-77"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11123972154/" title="photo-78 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5505/11123972154_7566e19f1c_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-78"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/10891618043/" title="9489078342_428bf39448_c by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5515/10891618043_ef8b9a3623_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="9489078342_428bf39448_c"></a>

    It was disgustingly hot as usual and we were parched but still found the time to stop to snap the occasional photo.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11124079223/" title="photo-79 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5546/11124079223_7cd77d4f99_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-79"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11123938006/" title="photo-82 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5501/11123938006_9ef95d2913_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-82"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11124070523/" title="photo-76 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5476/11124070523_2d80df379a_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-76"></a>

    Rob had to pull over to conduct a few roadside bike repairs, and Mike and I took the opportunity to check out the cool mushroomy rock formation and soak up some much needed sun.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11123908465/" title="photo-81 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2888/11123908465_257c46f1a7_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-81"></a>

    Of course, we made sure to never stray too far from the cows who had been our constant companions for the entire trip.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11123905645/" title="photo-80 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5495/11123905645_d4fbe8319e_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="photo-80"></a>

    When we stumbled upon a swimming hole in the middle of the desert in some sort of proximity to Denio Junction, we were overjoyed and promptly jumped in in all of our clothes. As our taint spread across the cool pristine waters, we worried that our filth might have ruined this amazing spot forever.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11123983244/" title="photo-83 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3684/11123983244_db4d03a792_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-83"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11123941416/" title="photo-84 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5495/11123941416_835a37614b_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-84"></a>

    It was still early, but attached to the swimming hole we decided to stay there forever, or at least for the night.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/10891464974/" title="9489116838_2af38ed45d_c by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3731/10891464974_159e5b73c8_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="9489116838_2af38ed45d_c"></a>

    Out of fuel for my pocket rocket stove, Rob showed me the ways of the home made redbull alcohol stove. This saw me through the rest of the trip.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11124094123/" title="photo-85 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7324/11124094123_b362252d3a_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="photo-85"></a>

    Setting off in the morning, I started wishing I had brought more extra fuel. Already we had taken a few wrong turns and done a bit of back tracking. The miles we had left in comparison to our remaining fuel started to weigh on me. We couldn't afford any more mistakes.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11123955414/" title="photo-75 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3707/11123955414_3a5fbf030e_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-75"></a>

    Unfortunately - with almost perfect route finding for the entire trip - our biggest mishap took place while stressed for fuel.

    I have already mentioned that Mike was riding without any GPS, or route finding capabilities of any kind. Totally dependent upon Rob and I, I think he realized his mistake as the riding got more remote and the consequences of getting lost more dire. We had been riding staggered to stay out of each others dust. At each turn we would wait for the rider behind us, who would then stop and wait for the rider behind them.

    Unfortunately during one of these stops, with Rob ahead of me and Mike behind, I rode away thinking Mike had spotted me and the turn as he approached. He missed me completely and kept on riding along the fire road.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/10910665634/" title="photo-65 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5473/10910665634_c5e48009d0_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-65"></a>

    I soon realized the mistake and turned around to try and chase Mike down. Unfortunately he was blasting along the fire road at 60 mph unaware that he had missed me. After chasing him for over 10 miles I started to realize that I couldn't afford to go much farther without running out of fuel before reaching the next gas stop in Oregon. Eventually Mike figured it out and turned around. Reunited we backtracked having added over 20 miles to our already long ride with limited fuel. We pushed back to the turn off, waiting around for Rob for an hour, worried that he had backtracked in the opposite direction searching for us. We didn't manage to find each other. Leaving a message for him written in rocks on the trail we set off again, hoping that he was somewhere ahead.

    Riding hard we passed through the Sheldon Antelope Refuge, passing herds of pronghorn as we pushed for Oregon.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11123924445/" title="photo-86 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7399/11123924445_4b6ccb853b_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-86"></a>

    After a long, hard ride we eventually found ourselves in Oregon. Essentially out of gas we were lucky that the last 10 miles or so was a descent into Lakeview. We coasted into town out of fuel and pushed our bikes to the gas station happy to have made it. Rob was sitting on a park bench waiting for us, and we quickly made a beeline for the local Mexican restaurant where we gorged ourselves on burritos and margaritas and met a TAT rider from years gone by who told us about his future plans to ride the Forever West trail.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/10891356866/" title="9489129360_01670c05a1_c by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5486/10891356866_7ecb01526e_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="9489129360_01670c05a1_c"></a>

    The day had been filled with delays and unfortunately for Rob it meant that he no longer had the time to finish the trail if he was going to make his flight back to New York. He let us know that he would be slabbing it back to San Francisco the next morning. Tired, exhausted, and anxious to be home it was tempting to ride with him. Having come so far though, I was determined to see the TAT through to the end. Mike and I decided that we would ride on the next morning and push through to the end in two days while Rob hung up his moto jacket and started his trip home.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/10891304325/" title="9486329531_858e85f9fc_c by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3730/10891304325_5b49f90f05_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="9486329531_858e85f9fc_c"></a>
    #43
  4. Vksf

    Vksf Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    San Francisco
    We said our goodbyes to Rob and pushed on west anxious to get through the final miles of the TAT as quickly as possible.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229728933/" title="photo-105 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3668/11229728933_511edf2437_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-105"></a>

    We soon found ourselves back in the Umpqua National Forest, riding though the same country we had started our trip with so many days before.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229729453/" title="photo-107 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3811/11229729453_beffd97f16_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-107"></a>

    We had expected fast, easy, straightforward riding but the trail wasn't done with us yet. Mixed in with the fire roads and Oregon dirt, we still found plenty of loose riding through sand, downed trees, and long steep hill climbs to contend with.

    Paper plates counting down the miles adorned the trail, put up to cheer on another group of riders. Still they signaled the end for us as well, and encouraged us as we pushed on mile by mile towards the end.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229630254/" title="photo-108 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3826/11229630254_de62225fef_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-108"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229628634/" title="photo-104 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5488/11229628634_e3009e484a_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-104"></a>

    At one point we lost the trail. The track showed a path connecting two separate fire roads, but the trail was overgrown and blocked by numerous downed trees. As we doubled back trying to find a way out and back to the TAT the air started filling up with smoke. A fire was burning very close, and we were relieved to find our way back to the fire road, where we passed fire crews just arriving and getting geared up to fight the fire. As we pushed on through logging roads a pickup moved to block our path, and a guy working for a logging company accused us of trespassing despite the fact that we were riding through public lands, and wrote down our license plates implying an association between us and the fire.

    As we pulled away from the area we were able to look back down on the smoke.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229632824/" title="photo-113 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5481/11229632824_e89faf568f_c.jpg" width="800" height="598" alt="photo-113"></a>

    Leaving the small forest fire behind us, we found a campsite next to a river and settled in for our last night on the trail.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229622705/" title="photo-110 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2825/11229622705_04e74bc34c_c.jpg" width="800" height="598" alt="photo-110"></a>

    We set out the next morning determined not to stop until we had reached Port Orford. But we did not count on the fact that half of Oregon was on fire. Riding into a small town, we could see helicopters and planes battling huge forest fires that looked to be directly where we needed to go. There was no way around. We either would need to abandon the TAT and backtrack to a highway which we would then ride to the coast or push on.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229619305/" title="photo-101 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3831/11229619305_da5cfb4b7f_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-101"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229622095/" title="photo-109 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3817/11229622095_983eeca31e_c.jpg" width="800" height="598" alt="photo-109"></a>

    After so many miles, and so close to the end we were very reluctant to give up on the trail so rode on finding that we were able to make our way around the first fire in our path. Unfortunately, another loomed directly in front of us.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229627614/" title="photo-99 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3747/11229627614_13ef846198_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-99"></a>

    In the end we spent half the day riding around fires. I'm still amazed that we were able to get through, and if we had been a day later I'm sure we wouldn't have. The last fire that we rode through was the closest. The trail kept turning into the smoke and flames and we stopped several times to discuss turning around. In the end however, we were able to push through and finally put the fires behind us so that we could start making some progress towards the end.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45626488@N05/11229627214/" title="photo-97 by tobagosama, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2870/11229627214_95a857c18a_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="photo-97"></a>

    This really marked the end of the photos for us. Clearing the fires we rode hard for Port Orford. The miles seemed to count down very slowly. We rode into the darkness, carefully making our way along the trail as deer and newborn fawns were everywhere. Starving, exhausted, and freezing cold we eventually dropped into Port Orford. At the end of a long trip we expected cheering crowds to run forth pushing beers into our hands, but instead found a dark, quiet, sleepy town devoid of so much as an open restaurant, or a vacant motel. We did manage to sneak into a grocery store in the final minutes before closing and by a huge bag of snacks.

    With no choice we hopped back on our bikes with bags of groceries between our legs and plunged south through the cold, dark and foggy night, riding highway 1 in search of a warm place to sleep. We eventually found one 30 miles down the road. I had never been so happy to see a open motel. We went into town for a celebratory drink and called it a night. The next morning we were back on our bikes riding the coast to San Francisco and the end of our trip.
    #44
  5. SchickenDAK

    SchickenDAK n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Reading this makes me want an Ol'fashioned and a plug of chaw:puke1
    #45
  6. Vksf

    Vksf Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Dude! Me too. Come make me one.

    #46
  7. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    322
    Location:
    Kingston / South Frontenac
    Amazing ride and stellar photos - looked like you guys had a blast!
    #47
  8. rpet

    rpet Awesometown

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    831
    Location:
    El Lay
    I can't find any Red Man or Levi Garrett here in Brooklyn! I must go Ride The West some more...
    #48