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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Little Bike, Jun 23, 2013.
Shoe tree west of Delta
The tent, ugh
Campsite with tent "repairs"
Nothing like the smell of burnt NYLON in the morning ...........
Hope you can fix it without replacing the whole thing.
I'm going to sew some waterproof fabric over the holes and them seam seal the heck out of it. Can't make it any worse!
Unfortunately, the tent body was completely toast, it went into the bin. However, the fly and the footprint do make a pretty nice combo if it isn't buggy. I think I'm going to buy some screening and sew it along the bottom and add some kind of screen door. It will be Franken-tent!
We're goiong to have to open a trailer park for tenters ....
You can be the official "Queen of the Double-Wide" ... tent
Sounds good to me!
I was reading back over the trip, and wow, I really have done very little proof reading.
Get up that morning, go drink coffee by the stream behind my site and decide I need to stay another day. I wasn't planning on going through the cave this time, but got a sudden yen for some flowstone.
There is a lot of sedimentary rock across Nevada that was/is still being tilted upwards. Amongst this is limestone from ancient coral beds and small critters with limy shells dying and drifting to the bottom of the sea. The limestone is dissolved by rainwater that becomes slightly acidic due to a reaction with carbon dioxide in the air and soil and voila, you have a cave (ok, maybe not that simple...) the cave formations occur when the chemicals in the water precipitate back out and build up over time.
The park has one cave open to the public, Lehman Cave. It's a nice one, discovered at the turn of the last century, but relatively unscathed considering people were allowed to break off formations and take them home. Not good. I hadn't heard this before, the ranger said that Lehman would allow you into the cave for a buck and you could spend as much time as you liked and if you could break it off you could keep it. If you weren't out in 24 hours they would come looking for you.....this was before the cave was "developed" with paths and all exploration was done with candles. The poor cave has also suffered through a wedding or two, dances in one of the rooms and the production of a really bad scifi movie, Wizards from Mars.
So, really good shape, considering....
I get my butt moving, pay for one more night, damnit I don't have the right change and have to put in a 20 instead of 12. Donation, I guess. I head down the hill to the cave visitors center, wander around and buy a ticket, then ride down to Baker to see if I can buy a tarp to throw over my rain fly, in case it rains (something really wrong with that sentence.....). Success, back up the hill, lunch at the cafe at the visitors center and then kick back under a cottonwood tree, reading, until it's tour time.
Have a group of about 10, ok size. The ranger who's leading is pretty funny, with the smaller group it's a lot easier to be relaxed and you can have conversations with people rather than having to do the regular spiel.
You're allowed to take pics, yay! I didn't bring my flash, boo! Actually, this works out better, I saw a few flash pics and the flash really ruins the colors (it's also really annoying to be around in a cave....)
I start out trying manual shots, lens wide open and exposure times too long to hand hold. Get a few decent pics using the cave lighting. I decide to put the camera in, "you figure it out mode" and wow, I should have trusted it before!
Myself and another woman drive everybody nuts because we keep taking pics on the way out....sorry, but it's too cool! She points out some nice water drops and holds a flashlight for me, I get the ranger to do the same thing a little later, I will not be denied! I whine about not having enough time and mention that the park should do photography tours. They do! You have to give about 2 weeks notice, it's just you and a ranger. I didn't find out the price, but it's certainly not the 12 bucks I paid for this tour.
People used to write their names on the ceiling using the soot in the smoke from their candles. These two I really liked, 2 women who got to this spot alone, probably in full length skirts. No paths then and a lot of belly crawling. You go girls! Notice that the signatures are Mrs. So and so, instead of just their names. Sign of the times.
Around the names you can see a lot of damage from "souvenirs"
New formations building on the ends of broken ones
Shield formations with drapery
Stalactites and stalagmites join to form columns, flowstone in front/bottom
Built up pool rims
The usual helpful and entertaining commentary and those great pics. You are, in effect, a travel promoter for all these places you visit.
But am I the only person who loathes shoe trees?
Beautiful photos in the caves Sue.
If you haven't already, you really need to go to Carlsbad Caverns......
Thanks! It's a hard job, but somebody has to do it...
I'd never seen a shoe tree before, I kept thinking about all the clothes kids leave in my room every year and never bother to come get.
I keep meaning to do a New Mexico trip, not sure why it hasn't happened yet. The most incredible cave I've been in is Karchner Cavern in southeast Arizona. The cave was discovered by a couple of cavers who then kept it secret for a number of years (nobody had been in the cave before that, untouched). A deal was worked out with the family who owned the property (they also wanted it protected) with the state and the cave was opened to the public. Extreme measures have been taken to protect the cave, you enter through something similar to an airlock, tours are highly regulated to keep the cave environment as safe as possible.
The cave is amazing. Nothing is broken. You get to see a cave with formations that normally only cavers get to see.
Btw, I keep meaning to tell you that I've seen about 5 sidecar setups. I think a couple were Urals but I didn't get a really good look.
Just got off the phone with my uncle, having a nasty fire down there. It's up in the mountains west of Palm Springs, they live in Idyllwild, the fire started fairly close but so far it's been more east away from them. 10% containment.
Next morning I wake up to a little 2 point buck in my site. He still has fuzzy antlers. I don't think I mentioned that my site seems to have something deer really like. There's a meadow, but they keep wandering, grazing into my site.
Okay, little guy, scat, I need coffee. Have breakfast and coffee at the edge of the meadow watching deer having their breakfast.
I could do this for a long time, but the sky is looking a little iffy. Time to pack up and scoot west. I've been on the road for almost 3 weeks and I don't think I've used the bungie cords the same way twice.
Got some pics on the way down the mountain. This trip has had a lot of high points, literally. I had the bike up to 12,000 feet in Colorado and you ride up to 10,000 feet here before you drop down.
The night in Delta I had out the maps looking at mileages. Oooo, crap, it's almost 400 miles across to get to Carson City. I do not like iron butt days. I look at the map and see a town called Austin that is about half way across. Hmmm, it's in black, small print on the map. That is not a good sign. I look it up and there are 3 little motels and pretty good reviews on 2 of them. OK, that's the plan. The one I want to stay at recommends reservations, but at that point I wasn't sure which day I would be there. Just going to have to chance it!
From here on you start riding very typical basin and range topography, up and down! The passes are all at about 7000+ and each is unique. I need to look up the endemics for the different ranges, animals and of course plants tend not to cross the basins so the mountians act like islands.
Up and down, so pretty. The sky is threatening to the west. Uh oh, my luck has run out and I am definitely going to get wet! I stop for gas in Ely, there is beautiful local jewelry in a case by the door, Shoshone I think. I spend a few minutes looking for the shop on the reservations but can't find it, probably just as well, looks expensive.
Coming down another pass I decide it's time to put on some rainwear. I'm too lazy to pull off the riding pants and put on my rainpants, then the riding pants back on so I just worry about the jacket and put on my warmer gloves and waterproof over mitts. I'm just about ready to leave when several highway patrol/local police/sheriff cars go by. One guy stops and tells me a wide load is coming through so I should wait. Is it a house? No, piece of mining equipment. How big is it that traffic needs to pull over? 22 feet, wha?
He takes off and another guy pulls over. I wave and yell that another car had stopped and told me what was up. He calls me over and asks where I was going. I don't know what it is but when a law enforcement officer asks you where you're going you never interpret it as casual interest and you instantly feel guilty. Knee jerk reaction!
I'm headed to Austin? We then chat for awhile, I feel sorry for him because at this point I really need to do laundry. Especially my riding pants. He takes off and a few minutes later a truck labors over the hill with the biggest tractor bucket I have ever seen in my life! It almost stretches across both lanes. Whoa, I wish I had gotten a pic! I found out later that one mine was closing so equipment was being moved to another mine to the east. The locals in the next town were getting a little tired of it,,but also worried about spouses working at the closed mined getting jobs at the other one.
And.....the rain starts. Typical summer downpour. Lots of people riding the road and we all look silly in our rain gear. It gets pretty nasty so pull into the overhang at a hotel in Eureka. So far the windscreen had been keeping my camera case and tank bag dry, but no longer. The girls inside were nice and let me have some baggies to wrap stuff up in. I'm ready to go and the rain lets up, why does that always happen? And why am I complaining? One of the trash bags around the tank bag gets some air under it and looks like this giant placenta.....I end up taking it off and stuffing it under a leg.
Rain starts again, and actually gets worse! The temps are in the low 60s, I was expecting to have a hot ride across the 50, not so much. Does feel pretty good.....
The race begins. I've realized at this point that highway 50 has become somewhat of a tourist destination, popular to ride across. I'm starting to worry about getting a room in Austin. Uh oh, that would mean either pitching a tent wherever or keep riding, which I really don't want to do. I see a couple of Harleys ahead. Oh no, you are so not going to get my motel room! ( I have no idea if they're riding through or not, but I'm starting to get paranoid and worried). I go zooming past them and eventually hit Austin. Where's the motel?! There! Vacancy sign! Hallelujah!! The Cozy Mountain Motel. Cute, old fashioned motorcourt style motel and the owner had a big, fat sleek cat named Lilly. The rooms are smal, but very clean and the bed is great!
I'm told I should get lunch at the International, about half a block up the street. For some stupid reason I jump on the bike and......park. What on earth was I thinking? That was a tad embarrassing. After lunch (I usually eat lunch about 3 when I'm traveling, so I guess I had linner? Dunch?)
Talk to a couple who are continuing to Fallon. Sky looks nasty again in that direction, good luck guys and stay safe!
Picked up some cookies and a big cinnamon bun for breakfast tomorrow
Pics to follow..later...
Just joined the forum here. Really enjoying reading about your adventure. I also work in the schools (speech and language pathologist). I've got my first moto camping trip coming up. A solo trip, leaving next week for just over 2 weeks. Really loving having summer vacation and looking forward to perusing the forum here and getting inspired by all the great trips folks do!
It's really nice having the time to decompress and travel. As usual though I need to start working on stuff for next year as soon as I get back.
That's really exciting that you're off on your first moto trip, where are you going?
My stream behind my campsite
Wheeler Peak, see the huge cirque
One of many basins, and it's going to rain!
One of the decision making factors in spending another night was there was a laundry right across the street. Clean riding pants!!!
Bought some detergent at the Chevron and then needed quarters. They didn't have many left at the gas station, so the woman at the counter called the owner to make a special trip, just for me, to bring quarters. I find over these 2 days that this town has about the nicest people I've ever met.
Kick back on the porch at the laundromat (have to myself) and do crosswords. Most relaxing laundry I've ever done.
Time for wandering town and.....shopping! Couple of rock,minerals,jewelry stores I want to check out. The first one is right next to the International. I go in and spend quite awhile wandering around, talk to the owner's wife(?), the man who owns the shop, Dwayne, does some of the jewelry. Nice pieces. I'm torn between a bracelet I can't afford that Dwayne made and a Navajo made necklace. Need lunch and will come back. I wander up the street to the other store, really nice rock and mineral specimens in the back, jewelry in the front. I talk to the owner for quite awhile, she works with a silversmith (native American, but I can't remember which tribe), who makes beautiful pieces. And $$$. I buy a fossil sea urchin/sand dollar and head back to the other store and buy the turquoise necklace. I love turquoise!!!
At the 2nd shop I talk to a couple of women who are Coastanohan (I so know that isn't right, I need to look it up). Their land is in Monterey Bay and down near Temecula. Cool. We talk about local pictographs and petroglyphs. They're headed to Fallon the next day for a pictograph tour that is run a couple of times a month. I think the one woman got a little irritated with me because I kept trying to get the tribe name right and told her that I have friends at home who are very interested in all of the California groups of people. Maybe not. I don't know.
Got back to the motel and I'm soooo sleepy. The owner (I can't remember her name.....I feel bad) called over to see if I wanted a glass of wine. I felt bad, but I was definitely headed for nap time. Next time.
Had apple pie with ice cream for dinner and then grabbed the camera to do some wandering around town. I end up at the bar side of the International and start chatting on the porch with a long time resident Nick (but I think it was Vick). 200 people live in Austin now, used to be 10,000. Usual story of discovery, mining, mines closing. By the way, there are 5 bars in town within 3 blocks (and 3 churches: Episcopalian, Catholic and Methodist). There is some interesting history in town regarding the Pony Express, one of the first Mason's groups in the area, the churches, the mining. Vick and talk about buying campgrounds for retirement/investment and some other goofy things. He's definitely a character who says he's lived all over. You have to occasionally ask him what he's talking about, he'll get a little random and assume you know what the heck he's talking about (never did find out what an IRS, on the tv, fundraising dance was.....)
Vick tells me that the bar inside is the oldest in Nevada, don't know about that (and neither did the bar owner), but it is a beautiful wood bar. Vick helps himself behind the bar (I find out later that he's Gail's husband, who I consider the owner because apparently she's the one that does all the work!). She's sitting at the end of the bar with another woman I had met the day before. We all start yakking, everybody is so nice! I take a few pics, Vick tells me that the naked lady picture on the back wall is "can't remember the first name" Winchester and she lives in Winnemuca. Apparently, she has written a few books about the trade....
I head back to the motel about 9, bed time.....
Nice to see that all is going well. BTW...some say you haven't ridden the Beartooth until you've gone east to west AND west to east.
I can agree with that! I haven't done it on a bike yet. Another trip!
Somebody was drinking beer on the bench, which do you prefer?
Looking up the street at the International
Forgot to ask what the Serbian Christmas was
Churches of Austin