Sleeping in the dirt is the best!!! Here's what our camps all look like. This little bench we were on was a perfect place to stay the night. Our minimalist approach doesnt allow for much of a mess kit. It includes a metal cup to drink, eat, and cook with over a fire; a spork; a little tin foil; and an adjust-a-fork (more on that later) for cooking various meats. The routine in the morning is to heat up some noodles or oatmeal first. Then some water and coffee with just a splash of Old Crow to sweeten it. We refer to this as croffee. After enjoying our croffee up on the bench its time to back track down to the road. We're not happy that the route didn't go through but this happens when youre on an adventure. This stretch of pavement was not the worst by any means. It was a very scenic 10 to 15 mile stretch. We find a bridge that takes us to a gravel route heading in the direction we want to go. This road ends up being really stunning running along the river. Not sure what was up with the old bracing up on the wall. Maybe an old mining trolley. Our next stop was this place to re-stock on water, food and Old Crow. Now were getting into the thick of it. Our shaky map indicates a route that will take us down into a valley that we want to cross. This area is littered with old mining roads. We think our route is the one that you can see running parallel to the cliff through the Junipers in the background. Wed find out later it wasnt the route we wanted. A typical problem is there are a ton more roads then many maps show. This makes it tough to choose the right one. Lots of these are not well traveled and potentially washed out beyond passable. Here we are heading in the direction we want. Not much left of this old route. Its amazing how the desert reclaims itself. The route dead ends here giving us a view of the valley we want to get to. We back track a bit and try another route that proves to get us a little closer to our goal. We again end up on sparsely traveled routes, just what were looking for. However, we spend the majority of the afternoon wrestling these old roads only to find dead ends. Im in my element cause I know we'll find a route that goes through. My partner is starting to question my sanity. I figure if we dont find it this time I'll come back a different day. We about exhaust all our options when we find a route that will take us down. The only problem is the road is about 150 feet down from this road we're on and there's a few "cliffy" sections separating the routes. I suggest we take off the gear and walk it down then remove the tanks and bring them down. We can then walk and belay the bikes with a length of nylon webbing. At this point our democratic method of route finding quickly turns to a dictatorship and my partner announces this is not going to happen. I think his quote was "its not like were discovering America!!" We are discouraged and getting tired and we are coming to terms with backtracking through a long section of demanding terrain. Now we're really on an adventure!!! After a little miscommunication, we get split up for a few minutes. My partner unintentionally stumbles onto the route we've been searching for. This was just what needed to happen to him as he was getting pushed to the brink. We regroup and start down. Heres the old cut that's on our map. Its steep, rocky, loose and difficult. PERFECT!!!! It doesn't get much use these days but it's still there. You always take a little chance that you may have to climb back up something like this if the route doesn't pan out. This route does pan out and we're feeling that our strenuous afternoon payed off. I drew the route in yellow in this photo. These routes are not only physically demanding but mentally taxing as well. It's a good test to see what you're made of. I think you know the scene in the photo below. Whiskey, food, blah blah blah. We think were minimalists but theres still one more category to go. I've heard of guys who dont bring sleeping bags or pads. They just put on all their clothing, put their helmets back on to act as a pillow and lay down in the dirt for the night. We're not quite there yet but we're striving for it. Maybe next trip. Day 5: Mileage: Unknown Difficulty: Quite How good does the bourbon taste: the best weve had yet!!!