2 Dirtbags do the CABDR & So NVBDR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Eastbay Dirtbag, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

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    Early April was perfect for this awesome 1800 mile, 12 day ride. We enjoyed beautiful weather, fabulous flowers and snow-capped peaks. We took lots of photos and here they are.

    The NV route was blocked by snow once. It was often sandy, but there was no silt. There was usually a good breeze to blow away the dust. We loved the variety of terrain and only saw 2 other riders on the trail.

    We stayed in hotels every night. No roughing it for these dirtbags.

    Our tracks are attached.

    Thanks to my Hubby for doing all the ride planning so all I had to do was follow the line on the GPS.
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    Day 1 San Diego area to Blythe CA

    Theme of the day: Some gravel and sand to get in the mood
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    We skipped Yuma and the southernmost part of the route. We picked up the CABDR east of Brawley but first we had to get there…

    Anza Borrego Desert. A good sign of things to come.
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    Our start on the BDR - Milpitas Wash / Wiley’s Well Rd - lots of soft gravel but eventually got easier.
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    Nothing out here except some signs. We didn’t see any houses or ranches
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    Looks like the WSA became a WA
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    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. BillUA

    BillUA Las Vegas, NV

    Joined:
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    Las Vegas Nevada
    In. Love your reports
    #2
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  3. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    The forecast called for 95F so we kept a rollin...
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    Leaving the scenic wilds
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    The Bradshaw Trail is about 100 miles long. The western part is soft deep gravel. The BDR uses the eastern part, which is sandy but not deep, but still caused some pucker moments.
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    Approaching Blythe, which is irrigated by Colorado River water
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    In Blythe, the Best Western is nice enough, inexpensive and includes breakfast. Nearby La Casita Dos is the place for Mexican food. Great salsa. The salad bar at Sizzler is also a decent choice.
    #3
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  4. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Thanks. Welcome aboard. I like your license plate. I gave up my ADVRDR plate when we moved from ID to CA. Too pricey here.

    Also its sometimes better to be a little more anonymous when inadvertently trespassing on private property, getting stopped by security, threatened with fines and arrest and getting lectured about state private property rights. Ask me how I know...
    #4
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  5. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

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    Day 2 Blythe to Needles CA, 163 miles

    … Two-track through flowering desert. Happy Happy Joy Joy.
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    The route gets off pavement at the Intaglios. There is a jeep trail parallel to the highway along powerlines that might be rideable. We didn't try it.
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    The figures were first spotted by airplane.
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    The route climbs a ridge into the hills.
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    It drops down a loose, rocky hill that is steep at the top. I would not want to take a big ADV bike down it. I was nervous taking the DRZ down it.

    The spec in the upper left is me.
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    Proof that I rode it.
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    I would not want to do it in the uphill direction.
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    #5
  6. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    The trail heads back toward the highway. It does not go over the mountains.
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    It goes through a rough, rocky wash before climbing another ridge.
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    This washout caught a rider off guard. Hope no one got hurt.
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    A little highway then onto a great stretch of trail, which weaves between 3 wilderness areas. I loved it.
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    Sandy or gravelly at times but miles of smiles through empty desert.
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    The only sign of civilization except powerlines
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    #6
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  7. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

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    Location:
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    Don't try this in the summer
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    You are here at Hwy 62
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    The Colorado Desert is in California. You are not lost.
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    After crossing Hwy 62 the road is wide and open.
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    If a DRZ with knobby tires travels at 45 MPH into a 20 MPH headwind, how long of a dust cloud will it make?
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    Salt is or was mined from the dry lake bed.
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    #7
  8. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Snack time in a box car.
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    How do you mangle a box car roof?
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    Ever look at railroad tie construction before? I never had. These J shaped pieces are called anchors or braces and are hooked to the bottom flange of a rail.
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    The rail sits on a tie plate between two “shoulders” of the plate. This plate design had spaces for three spikes. Two spikes can overlap the bottom flange. Nowadays this is done mechanically.
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    Some of the other anchors down the track appear to have wider pieces of metal attached to them.
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    Ok. That's the extent of my railroad lesson other than rails weren't always shaped like I-beams.

    By the way, the J anchors weigh several pounds each and make your saddle bag much heavier if you decide to carry an anchor for 10 days to take it home with you — ask me how I know.

    Flatbed railcars rotting in the sun
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    Further down the road. Living the high life.
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    The road gets more two-tracky
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    Mystery frame in the middle of nowhere
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    Lots of this strange stuff
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    and pretty stuff
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    Amazing to cover so many miles without seeing a soul.
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    This stretch of sand was at the base of a slight downhill. Based on tire tracks going every which way, including smack into bushes, it bit some riders.
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    #8
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  9. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

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    The town of Essex on Route 66
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    I think there was a satellite dish on the roof
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    people still live here
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    The Oasis in Fenner is the only place around for gas and food. Expect to pay $6/gal. Food is just microwaved burritos etc.
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    We stayed at the Best Western in Needles, which is decent but overpriced. The BW also owns the Rio Del Sol Inn so they almost have a monopoly in town. (The Red Roof Inn is a dump.)

    The Giggling Cactus Cafe next door to the BW is pretty good and is where the BW provides breakfast.
    #9
  10. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

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    Day 3 Needles to Shoshone CA, 200 miles

    …The good, the bad, the fun.
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    Heading into the lovely Mojave Preserve. To re-connect with the BDR, we took a sandy powerline road then a fun two-track that we had done in January.
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    It got more hardpacked and scenic as we climbed into the hills.
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    There is a little bit of rock and sand at the start of the two-track then the rest is fun, fun, fun. It connects to the BDR at Lanfair Road.
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    These pics are from our January ride.
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    The track drops into a wash then is visible on the hillside on the right.
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    We got a little confused just before Lanfair Rd. Follow our tracks to avoid a nasty wash.
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    Lanfair Rd turns into Ivanpah Rd.

    Back to April. A rare ranch in the preserve. Most of it is unoccupied.
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    Unlike the barren desert visible from I-15, the heart of the Preserve is at higher elevation and greener.
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    This guy (or gal) ran around the Hubby fearlessly for about 5 minutes and acted strangely.
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    I was wondering if it was rabid and started having visions of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
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    It seemed intent on finding something in the road.
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    Near the start of some great two-track. Sorry no pics of the two-track. Having too much fun.
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    Dropping steeply to I-15.
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    Arrived in Primm NV for lunch during a dust storm off the nearby dry lake beds. The wind was blowing about 50 MPH.

    We ate at the Mad Greek Cafe. It was ok.
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    #10
  11. fitzPA

    fitzPA Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Great report and spectacular scenery;

    couple of questions: I'm heading that way in early December (flying from NJ to Las Vegas and renting a WR250);
    I'll be riding solo and moteling it every night. I've ridden out West before (most recently 4 weeks in Big Bend) but
    would like to know the following:
    1 - gas availability: I suspect the WR250 has a range of 130 miles, is this enough to get from one gas station
    to the next?
    2 - lodging: is lodging available with in reach of Mojave, I assume I have to ride out to Needles/Primm/Baker
    3 - is there good cell phone coverage?
    4 - Am I dumb going solo?
    5 - What is the weather like first couple of weeks in December?

    Obviously taking lots of water/food "just in case"

    thanks
    #11
  12. RonSJC

    RonSJC Been here awhile

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    1. I'd bring extra fuel. The longest stretch between fuel is 150 miles (Beatty to Lone Pine) just a bit longer if you don't do Lippencott Pass and the backside of Cerro Gordo. Pick up the Butler CABDR-South Map if you don't have it already.
    2. Yes
    3. It's very spotty. Everyday you will get coverage, but usually when you get close to fuel, towns or highways.
    4. Hmmmm, can't say I'd recommend it, but if you do think about renting a Sat Phone, or at the least carry a Spot or something similar. I am hearing of at least a couple other groups riding about the same time.
    5. The weather should be mild during the day (upper 60's to 70's or higher) on the lower part of the route. Nights can get very cold that time of year in the Deserts, bring something very warm, just in case you have a breakdown and are stuck for the night under the stars. The northern part of the route will be about 15 degrees colder, the very end even colder, if the expert sections are still open. The wild card is if a storm rolls through, temps could plummet, but in general we don't get that much weather in early December, and storms tend to leave about as fast as they came. There's good chance you will have high winds before and after the storm clears.

    If you go we would love to hear about it!
    Ron
    #12
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  13. RonSJC

    RonSJC Been here awhile

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    #13
  14. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

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    I agree with what RonSJC said plus a couple more comments on your questions:

    2. There are hotels in Needles and Primm. I am not aware of any in Baker, which is mostly gas stations and fast food. By the way, there is no cafe or motel in Amboy CA south of the Mojave Preserve. Roy's "Motel & Cafe" is a Route 66 trinket shop with snacks and gas only.
    4. It depends on your level of risk aversion. You are taking a rental. Does the rental co provide a tool kit? You still have time to hook up with a group if you put the word out.
    #14
  15. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Day 3 cont'd

    There are two options from Primm:

    1. The “Expert” route climbs past the Colosseum Mine. It is steep and rocky (embedded not loose) so a little challenging but also scenic with some mining ruins. (Check out Day 8 Post #63 of my earlier RR for that part:
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/2-dirtbags-boppin-in-the-desert-socal-western-az-sonev.1367483/page-4)

    We tried the "Easier alternative" powerline this time.

    2. The first half of the powerline is whooped out deep gravel that has been chewed up by side x sides. It is a slog that includes a steep hill. Sorry no pics. Not our cup of tea. I recommend the Colosseum route. If that isn't your thing, then from Primm either:
    a) take I-15 southwest to Cima/Excelsior Mine road (exit 272) then north to reconnect with the BDR or,
    b) take a dirt road (see our tracks just above in this post) from Primm southwest along the solar field to Yates Well Rd then east to I-15 at exit 291 then southwest to Excelsior.

    This is the easier part of the powerline after it has intersected the route from the Colosseum. Retightening parts after the pounding on the deep gravel.
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    From Excelsior Mine Road we took the Mesquite Valley Trail instead of the "Easier Short Cut" which stays on the main road.

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    Road for a short distance then becomes fun two-track
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    Can't beat that with an ugly stick
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    Looked like an old bush fire killed Joshua Trees leaving stumps
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    Most of the trail is not steep. This was the only short climb.
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    Finally some action shots!
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    Don't expect wheelies though
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    It gets a little rocky but not bad. Loving it.
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    There is a deep sandy stretch toward the end of the trail. It is wide and the two-track is buried. I do better if I can stay in a wheel track. It was a struggle to keep moving in a straight line. I kept the rubber side down but it was not pretty. Thankfully no photos of that!

    The route intersects a dirt road then splits off down a sandy wash but we stayed on the road to Shoshone.

    We skipped a visit to the China Date Ranch but if you get a chance, go and enjoy goodies made with dates located in a hidden oasis.

    The Shoshone Inn has nice rooms but no cell service. We used their landline to make motel reservations for the next day in Beatty. There is a decent saloon/restaurant across the road. They have a hot spring pool somewhere but we did not use it.

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    We stayed in the back building. Nice and quiet.
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    #15
  16. fitzPA

    fitzPA Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    4. It depends on your level of risk aversion. You are taking a rental. Does the rental co provide a tool kit?
    Definitely not risk adverse, my first "adventure" was in 1977 when I was 20, 4,000 miles across Europe,
    no cell phone, no atms, no credit cards, slept in some "interesting" places, broke down...... and I'm still here !

    I have saddle bags which contain tools/compressor/dry clothes/water/food/extra gas

    Thanks for the replies so far. Been doing some more reading and I think I'm going to ride from Las Vegas
    to Searchlight NV, pick up the NVBDR and head north to Tanopah.

    Then head west and pick up the CABDR at the north end of Death Valley and ride south on the CABDR.
    I suspect I'll spend some time in DV (I have a couple of gps files to guide me) and the head south.

    I don't have any time constraints so we'll where the wind takes me.

    Looks like gas and motels are available - although I'll take an extra gallon of gas.

    BTW - I did the AZBDR last Dec from Globe down to the Mexican border and then rode west
    along the border - I was surprised that gas and motels were not an issue.

    Any other tips/advice is appreciated
    #16
  17. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Day 4 Shoshone to Beatty NV, 150 miles

    … exploring southern Death Valley NP
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    Heading into DVNP. We would not see anyone for 70 miles.
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    Where's the deep sand? This isn't bad.
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    OK. They weren't kidding. No place for Grandma in her Buick.
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    It was short and wasn't bad because I could usually stay in a tire track.
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    We're still a long way from the heart of Death Valley but the colors are starting to show.
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    We detoured 1 mile on easy road to Saratoga Springs. Not too promising yet.
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    A lovely surprise. I am amazed that it did not get trampled to oblivion by thirsty mule trains.
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    Yay! Pupfish!
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    #17
  18. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Since you've done part of the AZBDR it sounds like you have a good idea what to expect and will be prepared.
    #18
  19. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Day 4 cont'd

    The main road, Harry Wade, connects to the West Side road. At times, both are rough and washboard but the scenery makes it worthwhile.
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    We weren't sure if we would be able to cross the mountains.
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    Sketchy ladder, rusty tank, old riveted roof... what could go wrong?[​IMG]

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    I think this was the sight of "Shorty's Well". We tried to find it in the shrubs but didn't. Not sure if a well in the old days was just a spot where they could dig and get water versus a constructed, lined well.
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    I got a kick from watching the elevation on my GPS as we rolled up and down below sea level.
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    We could experience these other-worldly sights without any other tourists. Yay!
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    and now for something completely different...

    Furnace Creek golf course as seen from the cafe's shaded patio where we enjoyed lunch. This was a good choice not only for the view and breeze but there were only a handful of people versus the other restaurants nearby which were packed.
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    #19
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  20. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Day 4 cont'd

    Rhyolite ghost town

    I wonder how entire stone buildings have disappeared. I assume the folks in Beatty came and took the materials to build their town.
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    Some only had stone fronts.
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    A sign nearby said something like "enjoy this historical site and please don't destroy it". I thought it was a little ironic.
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    Watch for nails on the side roads.
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    It is still occupied. Some of the current residents.
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    The train depot and railcar in the background.
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    Its not hard to find the cemetery after you find the right road.
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    everything from the simplist...
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    to the more ornate
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    The Exchange Club Motel in Beatty is decent and has large rooms. No breakfast though. Someone put Saran wrap around the smoke detector in our room so obviously not all non-smoking rooms are really that.
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    The nearby restaurants that were open for dinner were smoke-filled bars. We stepped into one and drunks were yelling and literally stumbling around and it was only about 5:30pm. No thanks. There is a Denny’s / casino at the other end of town where we had an OK meal.
    #20
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