Five days/900 miles in the Black Rock & Alvord deserts

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by KarmaSect, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. what broke now

    what broke now Petroleum Brother

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    Good points, in the end it's a dice roll on temps and weather, just about anywhere you go.
    #41
  2. AZ Mark

    AZ Mark Long timer

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    Great images... It always amazes me that desolation can provide such intense beauty.
    It's kinda like Sirens and sailors... just keeps luring us back for more!
    #42
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  3. KarmaSect

    KarmaSect The Dude Abides

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    Day 5. A long day (208 miles) back to Summer Lake Hot Springs.

    The route would take us through the mountains to Virgin Valley Hot Springs, then through the Sheldon reserve, north across 140 to Shirk Ranch. Then through the south end of the Hart Mountain reserve, past the Glass House, then Plush and a long gravel trek across 395 and back to Paisley. Green is actual. Red was original route skipped...due...to...FLATS.

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    Flats. Three (or was it four) on Day 5. By my count, the trip consisted of:

    D2 — Doug melted tube near High Rock Canyon — rear — Replaced with 21'
    D4 — Don pinch on the Alford loop — rear — Replaced with 18"
    D5 — Scott pinch/rim taco in Sheldon — front — Replaced with 21'
    D5 — Doug missing rim band at Hwy 140 — rear — Replaced with 21"
    D5 — Doug missing rim band in Plush — rear — Replaced with 17” (in 18” wheel!)

    By the time we returned to Paisley we had just one 21” tube left between us.

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    Lessons Learned:

    1. Always check the rim band. We didn’t realize that Doug’s D2 tire fire melted and thus eliminated his rim band. That, combined with days of mind numbing rocks...and spoke holes!
    2. Always bring spoke wrenches. Scott smacked a rock coming into a corner in the Sheldon reserve. He went down, blew out his tire, and tweaked his rim. We got it decently straight, but I realized I normally don’t carry a spoke wrench for my 500.
    3. 17” tubes will work on an 18” wheel. I kept telling these guys they were crazy. It wouldn’t work and we would soon have yet another flat to fix. It worked and didn’t go flat. Live and learn.
    Comments:

    This is probably my 10th multi-day ride in CA/OR/NV/ID/UT. In all those rides, we have had a total of one flat until this trip. And personally, I HAVE NEVER HAD (a rear) FLAT OFF-ROAD. And that includes years of desert racing (I once bent the rim so bad you could stick your finger in and touch the tube…but it didn’t go flat!).

    Not that this is the cure, but personally I run: Stiff tires (606 rear), Bridgestone UHD (4mm) tubes and 20+ lbs pressure.

    I am sure saying all this dooms me forever and I will have a flat on every ride from now on...

    Pictures of the last day are coming (no time tonight to finish processing photos). There was some very cool riding early in the day.

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    More tomorrow.
    #43
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  4. tundradirtbiker

    tundradirtbiker Been here awhile

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    More of the Group Home group ride, stay tuned.
    #44
  5. CrazyCooter

    CrazyCooter --Crazy MoFo--

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    D606's for the win! 7000+ miles on them in that country without a single flat.
    #45
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  6. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist!

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    This area and terrain screams for drone footage :ricky.

    That said, getting the thing unpacked, up in the air, and tracking riders takes a fair amount of patience. The perspective and footage adds a tremendous amount of "value" to any video you put together, but it requires having friends who don't mind waiting. I specifically planned my (failed) route out to SE Oregon with short days (~125 miles) so I had plenty of time to get some footage using the Mavic when it looked good.

    Great pics and story @KarmaSect, what a frickin' sweet place to ride. The playa shots are super cool, as are the scenic shots from up high :thumb:thumb
    #46
  7. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist!

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    Not sure where to add comments...LOL. First off, great on you guys for helping those stranded motorists. I'm a seriously firm believer in paying it forward given the help I received when I was out in that neck of the woods a week ago.

    Pretty cool that Fields started selling non-e gas, huh! I know I bought a bunch from them, and I had the pleasure of staying in their motel one night as I couldn't make it back to Summer Lake. Great people there, and the for sale sign is gone now as the owners (Tom & Sandy) sold it to their son & daughter-in-law (or maybe it's daughter and son-in-law...I can't remember).

    The dry lakes you guys hit east of the Alvord are super cool and that reservoir you rode though with the crazy rocks is incredible. I would have been hard pressed not to camp there...is the water drinkable (after filtration)?

    What a great report fellas, even with all the flats. I'm looking forward to seeing the video. While I enjoyed my ride out there, I won't be doing a solo stint in that area again.

    Good call on taking a soak in Willow Hot springs, remember when we found that after our crazy day last year and it was the perfect thing after a very long day in the saddle.

    Looking forward to what you guys put up next :thumbup:thumbup
    #47
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  8. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

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    Not that anyone cares what I think, but I'm glad this was a drone-less ride...and report.
    #48
  9. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer

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    >"Great people there, and the for sale sign is gone now as the owners (Tom & Sandy) sold it to their son & daughter-in-law (or maybe it's daughter and son-in-law...I can't remember)."

    Great ! New owners that actually know the place !
    Did they take the 'bar' out in the 'store' ?
    Looks like Denio is headed the right way too.

    You (typically) meet the nicest people in the 'back' country.
    I think that everyone out there... knows you have to depend on each other in a pinch.
    #49
  10. Dustodust

    Dustodust Long timer

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    HI Don , I think talked to you on the phone just before you left !
    I did much of that trip on my 950 ...by myself ...after heavy rain, almost got stuck but made it through, yeah im a badass too
    I have many of the same pictures, chased the wild mustangs but couldnt get a picture in time
    #50
  11. tundradirtbiker

    tundradirtbiker Been here awhile

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    We did, 950 riding in that area must be a whole different experience.
    #51
  12. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

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    This is on my To Ride list. Thanks guys.
    #52
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  13. KarmaSect

    KarmaSect The Dude Abides

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    Day 5. Flat pictures previously. Just the good stuff this time. Long route -- 208 miles.

    Leaving Denio, I was a little apprehensive about our route, as I had heard there was private land and locked gates that prevented going south of Denio toward Virgin Valley. Not true. I was pretty straight forward. Below is a poorly framed shot looking back at 140 right after our turn off. This is just about two miles south of Denio Junction.
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    Looking up at our route over Emigrant Pass. The first of three before getting out into the Sheldon reserve flats.
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    Top of the pass looking at 140 west.
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    Dropping down toward Alder Creek road.
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    Another addition of my newly created barbed wire gate library. This holds the record for the lamest gate ever. Basically just one strand of wire due to all of the twists and breaks.
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    Continental dry lake in the distance.
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    I think this is one end of Continental.
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    Today would be day of seeing weird things in the middle of no where. This child's grave is in the middle of no where along a gravel road. Why here?
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    Site of the almost disastrous cow poo pond incident. I was flying along and almost ran straight into this thing at speed. It stunk pretty bad!
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    Weird thing number two. A fully burned semi truck and trailer. Not new. But just left in place. I think this is on Knott's creek road.
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    Climbing up to another pass. A steep and rocky climb.
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    Dropping down the other side of the pass, weird thing number three. At first I thought these were man made. The are not.
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    Onto another rocky climb.
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    This is looking back at Knott's Creek Valley from the McGee Hills. The mountains in the distance contain Onion and Knott's Creek Reservoirs for our Day 3 route.
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    More rocky uphills
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    Conferring before we drop into Virgin Valley.
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    Entering the Sheldon reserve.
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    The roads improve in the reserve. In fact, took few picture after the hot springs because I was having too much fun. Not to say rocks don't exist through. It was not too long before Scott smacked a rock and went down, taking out his tire and rim.
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    Virgin Valley ahead.
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    Scott wanted to ride this. He is mostly goat. Signs said he couldn't. He was disappointed.
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    The hot springs. Too early in the day to take a dip. It was sitting here that I made the fatal mistake of saying, "Gee, we are making great time!"
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    On south through Virgin Valley.
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    Turning back west and climbing.
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    And boom. The flats. Kind of. Sheldon is a series of flats, plateaus and deep canyons. A wildlife sanctuary with no wildlife today. Usually tons of horses and antelope. And NO COWS.
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    A long gap in picture. In here, I sat for 20 minutes waiting for folks to catch up, then rode back and found them fixing Scott's tire and wheel. He was ok and the DR was ridable.
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    At Catnip reservoir we stopped and tried to straighten Scott's rim. Had a long visit with a Nevada Fish and Game officer, who offered us his tools. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture. A remote job. He goes out for several days at a time, sleeping in his truck. He as actually asking us for a recon on Knott's Creek, as there is where he was headed next...even though it was about 100 rough miles away.
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    Eventually, we headed north up Guano Valley past the abandoned IXL Ranch and out of the reserve.
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    At 140, we assessed time and the condition of Scott's rim. We decided to go forward with the full route and stop at Shirk Ranch to further true Scott's front week. Don and I blasted the 15 miles up the valley. And waited. And waited. Finally, after 30 minutes, I thought to check my Inreach. Sure enough. A message that they never left 140 because of ANOTHER FLAT. So...Don and I blasted back south.
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    Some other pictures of use at Shirk over the past few years. A frequent camp spot.
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    The 500s wait patiently.
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    Now an hour later, we reassess and determine we must cut out the Hart Mountain part of the ride. So we take off on 140 toward Plush.
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    Pavement headed toward Plush, but at least scenic.
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    Beautiful Plush. Another one pump/store/grill town. And another...and final flat. This is where we figured out there was no rim band in Scott's wheel after his D2 melt down.
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    Hogsback to 395, then more gravel back to Paisley. About a 65 mile ride in total from Plush to Paisley. All looking straight into the sun and dust. A nice ride made very unpleasant.
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    Miles and miles of this.
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    Finally. Back to Summer Lake. 8:30 pm. Time for a soak.
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    Wrap up next. Chao.
    #53
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  14. tundradirtbiker

    tundradirtbiker Been here awhile

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    A few pics left - Couldn't match Mark's picture at the fossilized termite hills
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    Some of the 'painted hills' mineral color
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    I had pulled off behind Mark. Doug rode up and we went back to Scott's flat
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    His whole wheel had loose spokes. This was a skinny 2mm tube as well. Wondered if it was just low pressure on the 270 front Kenda as they are
    a really soft tire any way.
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    I wasn't as happy with a flat near the Alvord
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    Catnip Reservoir
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    My last shot before hitting the showers and chasing the tent downwind for the night
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    Flat causes? Low pressure, soft suspension allowing chronic 'bottoming' Owner installation- Sure.

    Better installation, wheel maintenance, desert tires and heavy tubes are a plus.

    Inflation tools- Scott's electric pump flat quit. Doug burned up two Taliban CO2 cartridges and the lowly hand pump stepped up to the plate.

    How many tubes should you carry?- None, hire Les Schwab to send a chase truck.
    #54
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  15. what broke now

    what broke now Petroleum Brother

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    @tundradirtbiker ,

    Very nice shots, nice eye.

    "All looking straight into the sun and dust. A nice ride made very unpleasant."
    Have you tried the old painter's tape trick, getting your shield/goggles down to a slit to reduce the sun glare? Maybe it won;t work in those desert conditions. Dust not helped by tape anyway.
    #55
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  16. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist!

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    Bahahahaha...if only :evil:evil

    Great set of updates @KarmaSect and @tundradirtbiker! I'm really envious of the last day of your ride, sans flats of course. Fantastic pictures and those rock formations stickin' out of the ground. Where (& what's the name) were those hot springs that you guys came across but didn't visit?

    Glad you guys were able to get back to Summer Lake without needing to hitch a ride like yours truly...LOL. Outside of the flats, this looks like an excellent ride in one of the best parts of our state (and NV).

    Thanks for taking me along on your rip :thumb:thumb
    #56
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  17. KarmaSect

    KarmaSect The Dude Abides

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    Hot springs were Virgin Valley HS. Camp ground and a couple of fishing ponds right there too. Fish nibble at your toes in the HS. It is in the Sheldon Reserve.
    #57
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  18. KarmaSect

    KarmaSect The Dude Abides

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    Final stats for the ride.
    • Five days
    • Five riders
    • Five flats
    • Nine dry lakes
    • Three hot springs (that won't kill you)
    • Two get offs (tip overs don't count)
    • Zero injuries (scrapes don't count)
    • 979 miles total (for Don and me -- our up and back to Shirk Ranch added 30)
    • 165 miles between gas on average. Longest was 180.
    • Min elevation -- 3,889'
    • Max elevation -- 8,295'
    • Max temp -- 94 in High Rock Canyon
    Mileage per day:
    • D1 -- 190
    • D2 -- 150
    • D3 -- 184
    • D4 -- 216
    • D5 -- 239
    Will post tracks to GPSXchange after cleanup.

    Chao.
    #58
  19. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Post the tracks here if you would.

    Thanks for the report!!
    #59
  20. tundradirtbiker

    tundradirtbiker Been here awhile

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    Multi-day rides have a low point, a high point, and low safety days, usually at the end of the ride when everyone is tired and out of tubes. Gotta respect it and dial back for the privilege of getting back in one piece.
    #60