10 Hot Springs in 7 Days: Dodging Naked Hippies in Central Nevada

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by CONKSO, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    :clap
    #41
  2. eaglecaprider76

    eaglecaprider76 Just Go

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    :1drink great read, I ride alot of the southern oregon land that looks alot the same and enjoy finding the hot springs like these.
    #42
  3. CONKSO

    CONKSO Been here awhile

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    Our shortcut, while scenic, ended up being a long, hot, tough ride for us on the bloat-bikes. If I was on my DRZ400 I could have blazed through the pass, it was pretty straightforward dirt riding and my dirt bike would've eaten it up.

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    We got in trouble when the road started to follow a dry riverbed. There was loose, grainy sand that caused my front end to wash out from side to side. Mike, riding out in front, hit a silt bed that hid hard mud ruts underneath. I saw him slide out in a cloud of silt.

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    I did the right thing and asked him if he was okay- once I got the thumbs up I went for the camera. I'm not too sure if he was okay with me snapping so many photos but I've learned from this very forum that this is required ADVrider behavior.

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    That silt was like talcum powder and that beast of a bike was gnarly to pick up. It took both of us to lift it and Mike decided it'd probably be best to just walk it out of the silt bed.

    At the top of the pass, we came up on what Mike later described as, "weird shaped rocks" we were surprised to see the rocks move and instantly realized we were in a large herd of sheep. We rode directly through the herd that was subdividing the road we were riding. That's when things got crazy. We were suddenly surrounded by six, very large, very aggressive, very toothy attack-sheep. This is what they looked like:

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    I snapped this picture a couple of miles down the road. During the attack-sheep assault, I was too scared to pull out the camera. We were later told that these sheep dogs, called Anatollian's or Great Pyrenes- folks couldn't quite agree, are trained to hide in the flock of sheep and to charge out and kill wolves in their native Basque homelands.

    Given the size and fearlessness of the dogs we encountered, I don't doubt that they'd go after wolves out to harm their helpless sheep friends. I blew it when we drove by the weird little Basque camper further down the road, peeking out from under it were six little white attack-sheep puppies.

    Eventually our long hot day led us to our next spring. But not before Mike made a small error and down he went again. Luckily he didn't hurt himself or the bike. Considering that his bike, fully loaded, probably weighted somewhere around 600lbs, we were fortunate. Even small tip-overs on these monsters could cause serious injuries.

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    Mike was hot, grumpy, had crashed twice and was just generally pissed off. I had to take over the leadership duties and locate the spring. We found it near to a no-frills, free campground (Dave Deacon campground I think it's called) and I believe this hot spring is called Hot Creek.

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    Hot Creek is a horrible name for this spot. Warm creek would've been a more appropriate name for it. The water, while beautifully clear, was only about 90 degrees which is bathtub comfy but not hot tub warm.

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    But the spring did have a cool feature, there was the strong current that would you push you from where the water welled out of the hot spring, down through a narrow neck and into the next pool.

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    It was getting late so we had a quick soak, just long enough to wash off the road grime and headed over to the campground to set up our tents for the night. We were a bit nervous because this campground was just a dirt lot with pit toilets and these weird wind breaks:

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    We thought that if the desert wind came up, we'd be in for another miserable, dusty tent night. Luckily, we had a perfectly calm night with zero wind, leaving the elaborate spider web of guy-lines we'd rigged up, untested.

    The only other company we had at that campground were three retired hunter/fishermen who'd been coming to the nearby reservoir to fish for about twenty years. They invited us over to share their fire and we hung out with them trading stories and drinking beers (well, I did- little bro doesn't drink). These guys, into their early 70's were classic, they told us great stories about the brothel in Ely that they swear they only went to for "massages". Their hot tip? Choose the Hmong girls with soft hands and strong feet. Don't get it backwards- you could end up wounded by an overly vigorous "massage". Soft hand, strong feet- got it? They each had a sand rail or Meyers Manx that they had modded to the point that the vehicles could blow wheelies off the line. We had a great time hanging out with them- they were the kind of guys I would've like to spend a few days with, getting into trouble and breaking things. In the morning they cooked us breakfast and sent us on our way.

    Overwhelmingly, we have met the nicest people out in wide-open Nevada. They've been friendly, very giving and just genuinely kind. Being on the moto seems to attract a nice kind of attention. Everybody wants to know what you're up to and because we're brothers- both in our mid-40s, people seem to really want to know what the heck we're doing together on the road. I have to say, meeting folks, and talking story was the best part of the trip.

    We had four more Springs to go to reach our goal and we were down to our last two days of the trip. The pressure was on and we had to hit two springs on each day if we were going to pull this thing off- the clock was ticking.
    #43
  4. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    :lurk
    #44
  5. Parx400

    Parx400 Long timer Supporter

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    More of her please.
    #45
  6. CONKSO

    CONKSO Been here awhile

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    Another photo of my rig, CON KSO? Yep she is a hotty- here you go:

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    #46
  7. BSTT

    BSTT Been here awhile

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    Please stay on track!
    Great writing and interesting story makes it easy to follow :clap:clap.
    Thanks for investing your time.

    ciao Gero
    #47
  8. MTBRALPH

    MTBRALPH Been here awhile

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    Waxhaw, North Carolina and Taos, NM
    The description of the almost nekked woman in the tee shirt ruined my daydream of riding into the desert and finding hippy chicks in hot springs.

    Ps, we have hot springs and hippy chicks here!
    #48
  9. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

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    I heard mountain lion kinda tastes like bald eagle. :eek1

    JK:lol3
    #49
  10. CONKSO

    CONKSO Been here awhile

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    Waking up the next morning, the local boys offered us breakfast and gave us a tip about a hot spring. It "used to be just off the road, but it's all closed up now" evidently this was "down the highway a bit" which in Nevada means something like 120 miles away (in Texas I'm sure it means a light year away). Of course, I was too busy stuffing my face with pork products to listen for specifics and as usual, I did my standard thing on these moto trips, I left the navigation to my little bro and let myself drift off to dreamland as I zoomed down the road, arms stretched out to the handlebars in front of me, like superman in full flight.

    The book said there was a hot spring about ten miles off the road called Chimney Hot Springs. We went after it, following the written directions, we bumped over ten miles of bad dirt road until we came up on this:

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    We were hitting all the clues given to us by the book. The author told us we'd have to climb a fence on a wooden ladder- we found that but once over the fence we got a bad feeling when we saw this ominous sign:

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    The fence and the sign were there to protect us from this death pit:

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    We had ridden all that way risking torn tires for a hot spring that was a total bust. There was some evidence that it may have once been a soaker- but not now.

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    It was a real bummer. It was so far out in the boonies and it was fricking hot out there too. Mike got all pissed and claimed that he was going to consider this one of our ten hot springs, even though we hadn't soaked in it. Easy there little brother- I gave him a couple minutes of alone time. I'm sure he went to his happy place filled with Mandolins and Chai tea and soon he was better. We drank a little water, formulated a plan and said fuck Chimney Hot Springs. The bikes were pointed towards the California border and a well known heater called Fish Lake. Eighty miles per hour makes almost every thing better and in a few miles all was forgotten.

    Nevada is full of surprises. About an hour later, we lucked out. Mike was ahead of me coming down into a little draw where two highways intersected at a place called Warm Springs. Which should have been our first clue.

    There was nothing there except a dilapidated, boarded up structure that looked like it could have once been a restaurant. There was also a smaller structure with a fence around it and big red letters that said...

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    Surrounding both structures was a barbwire fence with a gate in it and behind that gate was a rancher sitting in his truck drinking Budweiser out of a cooler in the bed of his truck. Mike asked the guy if there really was a warm spring, in Warm Springs. The answer? "Of course there is- it's right behind me by that white building that says Keep Out, come on in here and I'll show it to you." The guy told us that the rancher who owns the place knows that people come by and swim in his pool. He told us that we just need to make sure we close and secure the gate properly when we leave. Cool! A little trespassing through a hole in the fence and we were in there.

    Score.

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    It turns out that this used to be a pay-to-soak stopping point. There was a bathhouse to change into trunks and the old restaurant used to serve food and drinks. This must have been the spring that the hunters were talking about. It was like a hidden treasure just a dozen feet off the highway.

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    The water was nice and warm, the bottom of the pool was chalky from the sediment that the running spring brought with it. Here's the old trough feeding the pool.

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    I later ran into a woman at Benton Station who had actually grown up at Warm Springs. She told me that if we walked just up the hill we could see where the actual hot spring water comes out of the ground and that right next to it there was also a cold spring. Here you can see how the spring feeds the pool- there was a little trough dug all the way up the hill to the spring to bring the water down.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot. While we were getting ready to sample the hot spring, we heard the sound of two Messerschmidt Me109s swooping out of the hills on a bombing run into our little draw.... just kidding, it was the sound of two BMW GS-something-or-others coming by on the highway at blitzkrieg speed. We waved at the two riders and they looped around and stopped for a chat. Two cool guys in full Klim style suits and big Beemer bikes, riding full bore for a monster truck rally in Las Vegas, they were stoked on our mission and I hope they're on this site and see the post. Howdy gents- nice meeting you.

    It kind of sucked that we were on such a fast paced mission because I could tell that Warm Springs was the kind of place that would totally be happy with me posting up on my Kermit chair enjoying a frosty six pack of shitty beer. It just had that feeling, it felt like it had seen many folks having lots of fun a long time ago. Now there were just ghosts and the echoes of happy times from long ago. I'm cool with ghosts- we but we were on a mission and so, too quickly, we were off to Fish Lake.

    I won't tell you about the bus load of strippers that we had to help who were stranded in Tonopah because I know you're more interested in seeing Fish Lake so here it is, our second hot spring of the day- we were right on schedule.

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    Okay- this place is really cool. It's like a friendly, starter hot spring for anybody interested in getting the feel for this hot spring vida loca. First of all, the tub's temperature is perfect. It's probably around 104 degrees Fahrenheit, there's a large volume of water flowing through it, keeping it clean and clear. Additionally, there's free camping with a pit toilet and trash barrels.

    We were fortunate to meet a couple of truly nice people out there, Lanney and Terri from Bishop, who invited us to set up tents next to their truck because, "It was safer that way". Evidently, some of the local hooligans make the drive out there on Saturday nights- and on occasion they've been known to act... foolish (I've got a great story about one particular episode of this involving AK47s and handguns- buy me a beer and it's yours).

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    Lanney was so interesting to talk to. Here was a guy who had desert raced against Steve McQueen, beating him once. Laney can be seen in On Any Sunday, he did his last Expert class, District 38, race when he was 70, retiring his 450 KTM when he said it hurt too much. He no longer rides dirt bikes but he's got a new toy (more on that later) and is still out there kicking ass. This guy was the most humble, gracious person I met on our week-long tour. He reminded me of some of the really, really good/legend-status-bigwave-hellman-charger surfers that I know- they are all soft spoken, humble and modest. Lanney was cut from that same cloth. Here's what he's ripping around on now:

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    That Polaris Razor 1000 was fricking awesome. Terri, Lanney's cool ass girlfriend, pressed a cold Tecate in my hand and said, "Have fun boys". That's a good woman.

    That night we sat around Lanney's big fire, drank beers and listened to Lanney's stories about racing the open California desert back when it was really open. I asked him if he'd ever done the Barstow to Vegas race and his answer was, "All of them". Imagine if you had the chance to sit down with a guy like that over a fire and beer you could ask him anything about moto riding that came into your mind. You could ask naive, silly and just dumb questions without being laughed at- he was like a fricking moto-Jedi master.

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    My favorite story was one he told me about a guy on a moto out on the Rubicon trail who fried his clutch. The guy took the plastic from some moto goggles and carefully cut out clutch friction plates that gave him just enough action to ride out of there. Since I can barely adjust my clutch lever- I guess I've got a lot to learn. When I finally checked out for the night, I crawled into my cot both buzzed and happy, it was a night for the record books.

    Here's a couple more shots of Fish Lake.

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    You can swim in the two other ponds that the hot pool empties into, they're about 80 degrees and they host a population of abnormally large gold fish.

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    On the morning of our departure, I got up before it was light. I made a cup of coffee in my trusty jetboil and hopped in the steaming tub to watch the sunrise light up the White Mountains. Watching the sun touch the tops of those mountains and toast them up like the coconut on the top of a cream pie was something special, it was just about perfect with that hot cup of coffee.

    Once Mike crawled out of his shitty sleeping bag, we packed up quickly (it's amazing how good you get at setting and breaking camp after you've been doing it for a week). We were on our way out to grab the last two hot springs back in California. As I was leaving, in full leathers and helmet, Lanney stepped out of his trailer and said good bye- I told him only this, "I will see you again." And I meant it. In fact, I surprised the hell out of him when I rolled back into Fish Lake three days later with my shit-hot girlfriend, CON KSO and our two dirt bikes- but that's a story for another time.

    Today we had to get the last two springs.
    #50
  11. Motoaway

    Motoaway n00b

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    I would've denied the part about me crashing twice if you hadn't snapped the photos. But hot water at the end of the day even heals bruised ego. I'll see if I can dig up the photos of the stripper bus that broke down on its way to Vegas.
    #51
  12. CONKSO

    CONKSO Been here awhile

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    Uh oh, looks like the wee-brother has found my ride report. I can neither confirm nor deny providing basic road side assistance for helpless, stranded, luscious interpretive dancers from Las Vegas.
    #52
  13. Chip Seal

    Chip Seal Long timer Supporter

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    Excellent thread. Thanks for posting. I see your writing getting better each entry. Please keep up the good work.

    Quote: "I'll see if I can dig up the photos of the stripper bus that broke down on its way to Vegas."

    Is this your "teaser" to keep us subscribed to the thread while you write more entries? LOL
    #53
  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    this RR is getting more awesome!
    #54
  15. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

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    Totally fantastic RR.
    Really enjoying it, please do finish the tale. :thumb
    #55
  16. Argus16

    Argus16 Long timer

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    Vancouver Island
    That belongs in the Thread of Awesome right there.
    #56
  17. CONKSO

    CONKSO Been here awhile

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    I had my moment in the FishLake hot spring and said my goodbyes. It was tough to leave it though, it's a cool spot.

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    Our last two pools were easy. These are well charted, well known pools near major roads. So while I was excited to complete our hot spring challenge, I have to say, I had mixed feelings about what it would feel like to actually stand in the end zone. Thankfully, I remembered that I had a pair of balls, got over my wussy, melancholy moment, mounted up and got to the business of getting this thing done.

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    Our first stop was about an hour and a half from Fish Lake hot spring. This is the path to Pulkey's Pool, it's off Benton Crossing Road.

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    That pool was probably the second hottest pool we sat in on our trip, it also featured the beautiful Eastern Sierras as a backdrop. The best part was the UCSB graduate student (BTW, I'm an alumnus, Go Gauchos) who came out solo to share the pool with us. She walked up and said, "Are you the guys on the bikes?". Trying to act as cool as fat, forty-something guys can, we said, "Yeah". She got all smiley, stripped down to her bikini and jumped in. She was smart, very pretty and did I mention the bikini? Best of all, she'd ridden a Vstrom all over Ecuador. Her existence is proof that God loves us.

    As far as hot springs, California was pretty much giving them up like Frenchmen and strategic bridges (jeez, I shouldn't have written that, I am for sure going to piss somebody off now- I was going to use a prom queen and panties analogy but then I'm an educator, there's got to be some boundaries, right?). We had just capped off number 9 on our list of ten and our next one was only about 1/2 mile away.

    Here it is, Wild Willy's:

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    Again, this sucker was HOT. To me, it felt like the pools got hotter the further West we rode. As I write this I realize that my hypothesis is flawed- we could've sat in some damn hot pools on the Ruby Meadow if we wanted, they were there, we just didn't feel like becoming a dumpling.

    And suddenly our ride and our challenge was over. My brother Mike, needing to get to Santa Cruz, took off heading north while I pointed my bike south.

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    Looking now at this pic I have to say that I realize that traveling is an allegory of life. You can rush through it, from spot to spot, worrying about snapping iphone pics and claiming Facebook moments and what you end up doing is missing some of the best parts.

    And then suddenly, it's done.

    Bikes, Kermit chairs and other things will come and go but the human moments stay with you forever; laughing with ranchers, flirting with waitresses, sharing beers under the stars and hanging out with my brother and his damn mandolin- those are the treasures you get to take with you.

    Fortunately for you, I just remembered I have a pair of balls- so I'm done whining like a little pussy. Travel well and safely, I'll see you on the road.
    #57
  18. junkyardroad

    junkyardroad Been here awhile

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    Excellent thread, thanks for writing it up!
    #58
  19. F.P.

    F.P. Clown who is sick

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    Great read and pictures! Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
    #59
  20. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Excellent basis for a report. I love it. :clap
    #60