My brother and I like to meet up once a year and get out and ride. He lives in Northern California, I live in San Diego so we usually pick somewhere in between to meet up and then figure it out from there. This year, he decided he wanted to see what central Nevada was all about- I wanted to see if hot springs really existed (I'm native southern Californian, we don't believe that "free" water really just bubbles up out of the ground). So we hatched a plan to visit 10 hot springs in 7 days- not the easy ones that are all close together up in Bridgeport but the ones way far apart in big, empty Nevada. We ended up having a GREAT trip. Nevada is an awesome place to poke around- we met all kinds of nice folks, saw some beautiful country and accomplished our 10 hot spring goal. Best of all, I didn't have to sit next to a naked hippy in any of the hot springs. Here's our rough route: Want some background info about me? Ok. I'm a chem teacher, even better, my whole life I've been a surfer. So vacations for me were always somewhere with an ocean border. Then I started riding- now I've got six bikes in the garage competing for rack space with my boards. First world problems I guess. Here's me and the bike I took on this trip, DL650. I've also got a Moto Guzzi Griso (my asshole bike- because when I'm on it I do asshole things like fake rev-match with every down shift just to hear the thing) and a DRZ400, the three other bikes belong to my chick (that's how we say it down here): I really like the Vstrom. It's just a mule. I loaded it up with all kinds of camping crap: Go-Kot, Kermit Chair, collapsible cooler, ice, beer. You know- things that aren't really necessary but that make a camping experience so much more fun. I had the pre-load cranked up like a tweeker on payday and in my humble opinion, the bike felt great. It didn't bottom out even though my fat ass weighs about 230lbs and the gear I was wearing (full leathers) were pretty damn heavy. The thing is also pretty versatile. I rode it on flinty dirt and gravel roads and then cranked along at 80 mph on those open, straight-as-a-ruler, Nevada highways. The thing had a 250 mile range on that big 5+ gallon tank and it was a comfortable ride. I could hide behind a big adjustable screen, grip heaters and heated clothing all cranked up and cozy. It's not a bike that will get you laid, it ain't cool. But cool doesn't matter when you're a couple hundred miles from the nearest shop. When your out there the only thing you care is that it starts every time you push the button. And here's my little brother, his mandolin (always travels with it) and his bike, a 2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer. Now that's a fun bike. It's big and bloated like a pregnant blue whale but, man, that engine is fun to flog the shit out of, I had to get off it because it made me feel a little bit inadequate on the 650. Anyways, here it is, and BTW little brother can rip on that mandolin which would come in handy if we had to duel it out Deliverance style with some squinty-eyed local boy- fortunately there were no duels and no squealing. Here's the bike and bro: We started the trip by camping out at Fossil Falls Scenic area on the 395 near the beautiful hamlet of Olancha (beautiful is a stretch but if you do camp at Fossil Falls- just up 395 near Olancha there's a gas station that has cold beer- close enough for you to set up camp and make a beer run up to it). We were both beat from riding through shitty cities on big freeways to get to our meetup spot, so we decided not to push it anymore that day. Our campsite for the night: The place was cool. There's a strange, volcanic canyon that kind of just opens up at your feet- it's much larger and deeper then expected and as you walk along, it's just suddenly there: We were having a great time, until the wind started. First, I have to give credit to our REI tents (ours are the half dome, or something like that, model) I thought for sure that they'd collapse in that wind, they wiggled and flapped but thankfully they didn't fall apart. Check out the dust cloud in the background. That was fine volcanic dust and it go into our tents and over just about everything. I spoke to a girl who came in later that night and camped near us, she said she had to get off of 395 because the wind was blowing her car all over the highway. We jammed out of there in the morning, had a great breakfast at the Alabama Hills Cafe in Lone Pine (definitely check it out) and then ran up past Bishop before we took a break at a rest area up near Mammoth Lakes turnoff. Since my bike looks like a cop bike we attracted the attention of a CHP officer driving an SUV. He backed up the highway and into the rest stop thinking I was one of his CHP friends. The guy turned out to be really cool- he was a moto officer for 15 years and said he had to get back on the bikes. It was killing him to drive the SUV so I offered to let him ride my bike if I could drive the cop car. He stuck the keys out of the window immediately- cool guy just joking around with his fellow riders. He ended up giving us a tip on a better road to our first hot spring destination- one of the three "easy" pools we'd hit in California, Benton Hot Springs. Benton is a great place to hang out for a night. Be sure to plan well ahead to get a spot because there are only nine camp spots. Mike and I were stoked, we ate chicken fried steaks, wasted some good dinosaur juice, had a laugh with a cop and then got to chill out in our first hot spring. I also snagged some free ice from the lady in the Benton Cafe store who said, "You need ice all over that beer, I ride too honey, you gotta keep that beer cold". Great advice. Here's our Benton set up: 1 of 10, done. It was a little too easy. As we sat in the tub we started talking about what we were really looking for- we weren't after some, let's sip a chardonnay, farm raised hot spring. We wanted the lean and mean, open-range, native Nevada hot spring. The kind that fight until their hearts explode- or something like that. Little did we know what we were in for. And...yes, it was all totally worth it.