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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by stoltzfii, Apr 25, 2017.
Great report guys, thanks for sharing. You guys are the definition of adventure.
Haha yes you can always count on Jer to take care of himself :) I'm stoked to see you guys too. Gonna be great!
James has been working on a website for our trip for the last while and it just went online today. It might be a little behind as we are 5 months into our trip, but better late than never :)
He decided to merge his personal website with the trip website, but the current focus is The Pan American Trail. While there is not a lot of content on it yet, we will be writing different articles highlighting major points along the way such as Denali, The Dalton Highway, and Mt Robson, as well as providing a steady stream of photographs. I will continue to write more on the day to day happenings on advrider, but the website will give more official coverage of the trip. It is also good for those of you who want to read more detailed write ups of our climbs as well as gear reviews. Enjoy.
Site look great! Can't wait to read more of the field reports!
Re. jamesbarkman.com. Wow. Like it. Will follow.
The last updated location was Bend, but we have now moved 100 miles northwest to Salem. James had been living out of his 1976 VW Van for the last few years before this trip and it is currently parked in Salem. He had a rough last winter as his engine blew and the rest of the winter consisted of going through three different motors that did not work for various reasons. Long story short, the van is still not running, with dreams of rebuilding one of the motors after the trip…
But there is a woodstove in the van and you don’t need a running motor to sleep in a van :)
The van is parked at a friends place in Salem and we drove up from Bend last tuesday evening. It was quite the process getting there. The plan was to stop at Austin Hot Springs for the night and drive the rest of the way to Salem Wednesday morning. We took the shortest route on Google Maps, but for some reason it recognizes fire roads as main roads. So we bombed trails that were deep in mud for about 30 miles. It was a sloppy mess but loads of fun. The new knobbies performed great and we were able to motor through. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures because it was dark and I was trying not to lay my bike over in a foot of mud :)
We got to Austin Hot Springs late. The one problem is that to get to the springs you have to cross a river. It had rained a lot the last few days and the water was high as you can imagine. But nevertheless we tride to wade across. We held on to each other to try and keep our footing, but we made it about 10 feet across. It’s about 50 feet wide. So we waited till the next morning. Daylight definitely makes things easier. The spot we had tried to cross last night was rushing and rocky, but we found a spot a little upstream that was more controlled and we swam across. We ended up far downstream but on the other side. Success! The hot springs were amazing and everything was so beautiful with the leaves changing. It was definitely worth it.
We had hoped to use Salem as a place to stash gear before heading up to go Bear hunting in Washington, but the weather turned very nice and we began to think we might be able to climb Hood or Rainier. We spent Wednesday and Thursday wrenching a bit on the bikes, writing a trip report for Robson, and finishing up the website.
We spent a lot of time over those few days hashing out what we wanted to do next. Bear hunting was always an option, but our number one choice was always climbing. Hood and Rainier were the objectives, but it was late in the year and there had been a lot of snow followed by warm weather. NOT ideal. Jeremy wanted to do Hood, take a rest day, then go for Rainier. It was a feasible option but we only had a 5 day window to do both mountains. Factor in all the driving and we would be thrashed. But the main reason we opted not to do Rainier was I just didn’t think it was worth it due to the avalanche and crevasse danger. It’s always hard to get three people to see eye to eye in terms of acceptable risk and how hard we want to go, but we finally decided to go for Hood and leave Rainier for another year.
On Thursday evening at 9:30 PM we left for Hood. We got there around 11:30 and while it was probably a nice drive, I couldn’t see anything because it was dark and I was rather cold. As we drove up the mountain to Timberline Lodge it got progressively colder and we started to see some snow. This was good as the main thing we were worried about was the temperature being too warm which could result in rockfall, hence the midnight start. We set off at 12:30 AM and spent the first three hours climbing up beside the ski lift before getting to the upper part of the mountain. We had planned on the basic route which was Class II Alpine, meaning fairly easy, but in the dark we got off track and ended up on a 45 to 50 degree slope traversing sideways on some pretty decent exposure. It wasn’t ideal because we were right in the line of fire for a considerable amount of rockfall but it was the middle of the night and cold. Behind us, on a more vertical face, there was rock falling everywhere which was very unnerving but our path was safer. Once a large piece of ice went barreling past me about 50 feet in front of where I was leading. At that point I was close to turning around, but the others convinced me to keep going.
It turned out to be the right call as that was the only rock or ice fall I saw in our path during the climb. We summited around 6 AM just as the sun was coming up. It was probably the most beautiful sunrise I ever saw. We spent about an hour on the summit before heading down. Around 10 AM we arrived back at the bikes hungry and very tired.
We wanted to eat right away, but everything in the ski lodge area was super expensive so we drove 45 minutes back towards Salem before finding a cheaper restaurant serving breakfast. We drank a few gallons of coffee but James and I still managed to fall asleep at the table. The waitress was probably a little confused about who we were and what we were doing… We then drove the last hour and a half back to Salem. I usually don't have a problem falling asleep while riding, but that ride was rough. We got back to the van and chilled for a bit before binge watching seven episodes of Stranger Things 2. I think I got to sleep around 1 AM. Ridiculous.
Over the next week we plan on working our way south through Nevada. I recently heard about Backcountry Discovery and I checked out their website the other day. We are planning to follow the gps route south for a section in the middle of Nevada from Elko to Tonopah. From there were are headed to Mount Whitney for a climb up the East Face next Tuesday. Has anyone ridden this section and can give any beta or have recommendations for other good rides in this general area? Thanks
Hey welcome to my town I live in west Salem. If you are looking for some good grub try Sisters Irish bistro downtown in the Reed Opera House. Also free motorcycle parking right outside on the street.
Thanks for the info. Sadly we just left Salem yesterday.
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You guys are hardcore. Respect.
Can't wait for more. Keep it coming.
We are now in the dry and dusty state of Nevada. Let me tell ya, it is amazing to be away from rain or even any chance of it. In two days we went from the lush forests of Oregon to the high desert of Nevada. Pretty cool. Last night was spent at a Whitehorse Hot Spring which is in the middle of nowhere and sits at a perfect 102 °F.
Now we are camped just outside of Elko and ready to ride a few hundred miles of gps tracks I got from Backcountry Discovery. I'm very excited to hit the trails! James got a gopro from his parents for his birthday and I got to use it a bit yesterday. I didn't catch too much, but it was fun to mess around with and I'm excited for all the video I'll be able to get. I've learned that's it's just about impossible to get any kind of action video riding and holding the phone with one hand :)
Here is a frame from video I took today. I'll need some fast wifi to be able to upload any video. I'm not even sure how this post uploaded since I have one bar of 2g...
A solid campsite somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Awesome guys, very inspiring!
I love being in that place, the middle of nowhere that is. On a side note, it looks like you're gonna need some zip tie surgery on that license plate.
Its been a busy week and a half. On October 30th we drove from Bend OR to the Gorge a little east of Seattle. James had a friend Foster who was selling a film camera to him. We stayed the night in his awesome tree house. Actually that hardly describes it well so I'll use a few pictures.
20171031_082320 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
20171031_082308 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
20171031_082238 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
From there we drove to Brothers Oregon. We were planning on taking dirt from Elko to Tonopah, but in order to save time we drove highway to get to Elko. Even though I don't really enjoy highway riding, it was still a great day as we rode through the changing landscape and ended up in the deserts of Eastern Oregon. Here was our campsite back a dirt path. We burned small brush and a lot of cow pies. It actually burned pretty well :)
20171101_081414 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
20171101_075620 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
On November 1st we drove from Brothers to Whitehorse Hot Springs. I talked a little about it in my last post, but it's incredible and I highly recommend it to anyone passing through. I woke up early and watched the sun rise from the spring, went on a run, and went straight back to the hot spring. Its a good life.
20171101_171632 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
20171102_080221 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
The next day we got to Elko and started the gps dirt track in the dark but opted to camp shortly as it was really hard to see. The next morning two police men rolled up Apparently we had camped to close to a few houses. They had called us in to the cops complaining, so they showed up to investigate. They were friendly and just told us to be on our way and not to camp too close to houses again. Oops.
By midmorning we were packed up and ready to hit the dirt for the next few days. This was really our first extended off road riding and I was very excited. The bikes; maybe not as much. There was a lot of creaks and rattles and my top duffle had to be strapped down quite a bit tighter but we slowly cruised along. It was dry, dusty, and so much fun.
20171103_142859 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
20171103_162903 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
20171104_162650 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
Of course we didn't make it as far as we anticipated. Originally we hoped to get to Austin in one day, but after 160 miles we found an awesome place and decided to camp there. There was wood everywhere and soon we had a real rager going. The view was incredible. We had driven part of the way up into the mountains and we had a great view over the valley to the more mountains. It was probably my favorite campsite of the trip so far.
20171104_083219 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
20171103_173039 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
The next day we drove the remaining 50 miles to Austin. It was much more gravel roads than trails. Which was great for time but bad for enjoyment. Either way it was more time spent cruising through the vast openness of Nevada. Thanks to Jame's 2 gallon RotopaX, we limped into Austin on fumes. I knew it was "A little over 200 miles from Elko to Austin" so I figured we could make it. Just so :) . While it was have been great to ride more dirt, we were trying to get to Lone Pone by Monday morning for a climb of Mt Whitney on Tuesday. So we decided to drive highway the rest of the way. We ended up in Middlegate Nevada. There was nothing to the town except a small bar. It was an original stop on the Pony Express Trail and was a classic western bar. Just outside of town was a small butte which we were able to drive our bikes to the top of. Once again this was one of my favorite campsite. Nevada never fails to impress.
20171104_173621 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
20171104_174448 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
The next morning (November 5th) we drove back into town, got a drink, and watched part of the Eagles game. I don't follow sports much on the road, but much to Jame's disappointment, I still love to watch the occasional game. Jeremy spent this time taking off his rear wheel. His rotor had been grinding against his brake bracket and I thought it looked like he was missing his right side wheel spacer. Sure enough, it was nowhere to be seen. Here's the damage...
20171105_093400 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
We tried to put a washer in place of the spacer but we didn't have the right size so we continued on as is. He ordered new parts into Los Angeles where his brother lives. His got new wheel bearings, a spacer, and a rotor. Hopefully nothing else was damaged too bad. One of Jame's friends had sent him a list of hot springs in the area and there was one somewhat on the way to Lone Pine so we put it into maps and headed off. It was 15 miles of the main rode so we figured it wouldn't take too long. It ended up being 15 miles straight of sand and more sand. Load bikes and sand don't get along, but eventually we got there. The hot springs were definitely a disappointment. The water was a great temperature but it was slimy, muddy hole in the ground. Nevertheless we jumped in and got out feeling dirtier than when we got in... We drove through sand back to the main highway and continued on towards Lone Pine.
20171105_130637 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
20171105_132620 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
Apparently McDonalds has a time limit on how long you can bum their wifi, (Is this a new low point...?) so I will have to finish this update at a later time.
20171105_090750 by Allen Stoltzfus, on Flickr
Also I made a very quick video from a few GoPro shots:
Nevada on DR650's. Cool.