RideDualSport
Advanced search  
Pages: 1 2 »   Go Down
  Print  
Share this topic on FacebookShare this topic on MySpaceShare this topic on TwitterShare this topic on Yahoo
Author Topic: 3rd Annual Legends of the Fall Area 51 Circumnavigation and Myocardial Mayhem  (Read 290212 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« on: October 19, 2011, 04:01:29 AM »

3rd Annual Legends of the Fall Area 51 Circumnavigation and Myocardial Mayhem Rachel-to-Rachel Rally Raid



....coming soon....




In the meanwhile, join Marshal on his RR here on ADV:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=734082

Thanks!

Stovey
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 03:57:49 AM by Stovebolt » Logged

Vstromcharlie
Guest
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 04:13:01 AM »

I've been following his report Stovey. It looks like I missed one heck of a ride.  Dang  baldy
Logged
Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 01:27:50 PM »

We did alright for young men.....

YOU were missed, by the way.   

 beer

Stovey
Logged

MasterChief
Road Toad
*
Posts: 5



« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2011, 02:10:03 AM »

Stovey

Please don't post a report.  I don't want to see the awsome ride I MISSED eek
Logged
Vstromcharlie
Guest
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2011, 02:52:10 AM »

Yeah...I know what ya mean there MChief.  I've been kicking my own ass ever since I didn't go.  But I don't think Stovey is ever gonna post it anyway...just sayin....(kidding Stovey..well kinda).
Logged
Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 11:58:17 PM »

Prologue

There once was a man from Nantucket……

No, no – here it is;  “It was a dark and stormy night, when all of a sudden – there came a KNOCK at the door, and……”

No – seriously, begin here…

Where to begin? Dunno, but riding around in circles in the Nevada desert almost has no beginning. No middle and no ending either – it’s a “circle,” right? But I have wanted to ride around in the vicinity of the Nevada Test Site, Area 51 and the Tonopah Test Range for a long while, and a dirty dual sport bike with Sidewinder missiles and a six-pack seemed like a great way to go. As with many things, though, what seems at first like a great idea often morphs as you go along, and as it played out for me, I had to drop the notion of both AIM 9’s on KTM Hard Parts Pods and carrying a cooler full of icy tall boys. So, after editing the equipage down to just Casper and me with some good soft luggage for a sleeping bag, pad and some GORP, all I had to do was to come up with a route and grab hold of my ManBasket and head to Nevada. Good enough.



Original setup for my bike, but abandoned after logistical anomolies:

Here then, is my story. Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare to get your money’s worth…

This year’s ride was pretty short, but it was nonetheless a pretty sweet motorized perambulation. I had routed out a loop circumnavigating the perimeter of Area 51 that penciled out to only approximately 475 miles via dirt roads and obliterated road tracks and single track along the outskirts of some of the most hotly guarded ground on planet Earth. It was simple enough to do, and I had looked time and again over many years at road, track and trail on Google Earth and other map resources, and had a good idea of the lay of the land. I didn’t have detailed enough data to make it easy on myself to run a precision razor’s edge knife cut along some of the areas I would have enjoyed playing in though, but for the time I ended up making for trip routing, I did alright for my purposes. I had in fact, even played a bad route through the 18th hole on the course from Ash Springs to Rachel by my routing, and tracked right past the perimeter entrance and through the site into restricted territory – a route that if followed, would have ended badly for me and anyone who followed. The A51/Nellis Air Force Base Security forces would have intercepted any such folly right away quick, and ended the track, causing us to be DRT (Dead Right There.) But, having realized this was likely, and also that certain ‘wheels on the ground’ navigational decisions would be expected once en route, I took that in stride and loaded up my Garmin 60CSx. Ain’t nuthin but a thang….

The beginning of the journey commenced on Sunday morning, October 9th from the base camp parking we had established in front of the Little Al’e Inn in Rachel, Nevada. At the behest of several staunch protagonizers on the forums, I posted a ride announcement a full 2 months ahead of time, and let the candle burn. There had been at one time, 7 adventurous souls who signed on with full intentions of participating in this shenanigans, but as things developed, we lost a few to the various circumstances that come up in life. One contracted bubonic plague, one fell victim to acute weinerism; another went shoe shopping at the mall. Still another got hit by a meteorite in Brazil and another decided to stay home and watch reruns of Project Runway. For whatever reasons, I was gradually playing host to fewer and fewer co-riders, and looking at running this by myself this year. (Actually, some very solid Brothers were suffering dearly from injuries, and had to back away from the table – but I know it pained them to do so. Cal and Peter – you were dearly missed my friends. I hope both of you are coming along better and would love to ride with you guys again. Peter – I’ve been subscribed to your eyeball thread on ADV, and I hope the doc gives you some excellent tx for that eye injury! See you out there again, I sincerely hope.) And Charlie - you gotta know I want to meetup and ride with you as well. We'll have to make that happen! Looking forward to the day, my friend...

This left 3 of us standing together alongside motorcycles in front of the Little Al’e Inn on a Sunday morning; Trail717 (Marshal), Rider1 (Dave) and myself. Marshal is a former motocross and desert racer from back in the day, and he has recently reignited the dirt riding passion with a bent on dual sporting. He also is an accomplished veteran long-distance mountain bike and road racing bicyclist with many years of training and competing experience. His recent acquisition, a 2000 KTM 640 Adventure got him back into the game, and onto this ride.


Rider1 = "Dave"




trail717 = "Marshal"

Dave is a Nevada resident with some years on bikes and ATV’s, with both road riding and dirt biking experience under his belt. His daily drive is a Bombardier Challenger 604, arguably the most critically maintained of all the machines that any of us on this ride would ever see a picture of, let alone get to travel in. For Dave, hi-tech is ho-hum as he pilots his employer at the edge of low-earth orbit altitudes for a living. He was mounted on a new Husky TE449. Shiny and red to boot.


photo by Marshal

Here's Dave's daily driver....



Both of these co-riders are former USAF personnel, and so I felt in extra strong company as we rode off toward the “Back Gate” of the Nellis Air Force Base and gunnery Range. Me? I have no such creds, save for the fact that Dennis Hopper once bought me a Marguerita, and I sat next to Buddy Hackett one time on a flight in a Dash 8 from Aspen to Denver. That and five dollars could get me a cup of coffee. The inane and most vacuous tale of how I came to imbibe such a welcome concoction at Mr. Hopper’s expense may be found here:

http://ridedualsport.com/forum/index.php?topic=1054.0

I had spent some time readying my rally stead, “Casper the Friendly Punkin” in preparation for this ride, and a general build thread surrounding this folly may be found by clicking here, if interested in details on my 2010 KTM 450 XC-W Six Days:

http://ridedualsport.com/forum/index.php?topic=1086.0

A few images from the scene of this rally raid rendezvous around the Little Al'e Inn...


http://littlealeinn.com/       (THANK YOU, PAT! You are very sweet and it was a delight to meet you!)

[/img]













And so, I'll recount these 750-plus arid miles across 'no-man's land' that took place during the 2nd week in October, 2011. My camera did a nose dive off a cloud into a volcano, and the LCD viewscreen went tango-uniform just before the shutter cover also committed ritual suicide. Between the two ailments there, my terrible photographic skills and my desire to ride more than take pics, I'm afraid the chronicle will be sorely lacking in higher quality pics. My bad.

Proceeding on then, when and as I can.....




More later, when DAY 1 brings us from Rachel to Tonopah.

« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 04:17:25 AM by Stovebolt » Logged

Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 12:15:52 AM »

Day 1       Rachel / Tonopah                                 156 Miles

There’s not very far to go heading westbound from Rachel before running into the Nellis AFB/Gunnery Range and Area 51 perimeter boundary, so it wouldn’t be a long haul out there on dirt road before we hooked a right and headed due North. The three of us got to know each other a little tiny bit over our Alien Breakfast at the Little Al’e Inn, and we made the usual chit chat before a ride. After a few pictures taken at the start point in front of a captured flying saucer hanging like a trophy on the back of an old tow truck, we set out on the adventure. We used the same dirt road that a small handful of “locals” use to commute to their work inside the Site to Groom Lake and Tonopah Test Range, which is also used by a handful of local ranchers to get back and forth from their alfalfa ranch to town and so forth. Just a beautiful sunny day to be riding! And, just like last year, and the year before that, the weather was in a clearing pattern after a week of nasty low pressure had come in and terrorized the mountains and deserts. The paths ahead were likely to be less dusty and more loamy. Me likey!

Our route today would take us along the extreme northeast corner of the A51 perimeter and cross the entire northern perimeter boundary along the Tonopah Test Range. Tonopah Test Range is where a lot of aircraft test flying goes on, in terms of actually testing aircraft in flight as opposed to testing capabilities in mock aerial combat, like what goes on in Red Flag training out of Nellis AFB more to the south inside the Site. There’s also considerable high explosive ordnance stockpiled and handled at the TTR, the aircraft operating out of TTR actually consuming lots of combat ordnance. Once around the Northern perimeter to Tonopah, we hope to hit a pile of rocks or something out in the desert to the South of a late day fuel/meal stop somewhere, and just crash out in the middle of nowhere along the downbound route. No reason we shouldn’t be able to make a 150-mile day out here in the desert; that’s only like 3 hours of heavy petting as far as I’m concerned. Stretch those miles out over a whole day and it’s pretty much a day on the couch – with better scenery! Let’s light these bikes up and patrol this boundary for God’s sake!

We’re on some gravelly dirt road to ride on at first, and some fresh air and sunshine to gleam across these shiny bikes as we head out and toward the Belted Range to the west, inside of Nellis/A51. We take a right turn on more dirt road at the extreme western edge of Lincoln County, Nevada – prostitution still illegal here. Over in the hills to the South, in the Groom Range by which we’ll come flying underneath the radar (literally) on the last leg home in a few days, prostitution is still illegal. Inaccessible to the public, and no prostitution. Gaming is legal though, just can’t play cards on Bald Mountain because it lies inside the Nellis/A51 perimter. But out there in the Belted Range it’s Nye County – and one of the few areas within Nevada where prostitution is legal. Just not going to find any such operation up there, as it’s inside the Site boundary. Just mental meanderings as I lolligag my way across the desert on a dirt road on a Sunday morning. Just junk bumping around inside my Arai XD. Bumpity-bump, throttle blippety-blip.

Some folks have alfalfa under pivots out here, for Nevada and California customers, and we ride by the ranch making that happen. Right about when we get dead even northbound with Sharp Peak to the west, we take a left from this dirt road, and get on some two-track that makes a connection to the pavement on Hwy 375 – the “Extraterrestrial Highway.” It’s a crystal clear day with blue skies on an October Nevada morning….. just jet fighters in the skies. (They always seem to be fighting each or or fighting something…. Why can’t they just ‘get along?’) Ha, ha… We make our left and run some nice two-track out to the highway to hit pavement just southeast of Queen City  Summit. (“Summits” are mountain passes in Nevada. Pennsylvania too…) A short few miles through the southern terminus of the Quinn Canyon Mountain Range over this pass puts us on a western shot back out along the Nellis/A51 perimeter, and we leave the pavement after just a very short patch. We won’t see asphalt again today.


Rider1 (Dave) on his Husky TE449 out near the Reveille Mill

Riding up to the Cedar Pipeline Ranch gets us to a right diagonal and we take a northwest course on smaller dirt up through the Reveille Valley. We’ll be bracketed by theThe Reveille Range on our right and the  Kawich Range to the left for a while, as we make our way through some good looking country toward a canyon that we’ll eventually need to hook a left into. For now, we are content to ride some neat offroad country and get this ride jacked up!


We saw a herd of wild dirtbikes banding together on the side of the road. Each one has peculiar distinctive markings, but they run in packs together out there...


trail717 (Marshal) tending to the herd...


Aliens seen walking about, in their uniforms

We pass by a livestock well and take a helmet-off break and I water a local rock formation while my two partners get busy with paper maps. There is discussion between them about “where we are” etc. and I overhear the banter and slip a helmet back on over my ears. I’m ready to keep riding and these two guys seem pretty happy. That’s a bonus, because we don’t know each other and just agreed to get together on the Ride Dual Sport forums, based out of Austin, Texas. An internet adventure ride meetup. It could be interesting! It could be horrible… it could be deadly, or even fantastic – anything in between. It’s a blind date for off-road adventure, and the first one I’ve been responsible for. (By that I mean that I was the guy posting up the ride, and offering up spaces available to share in the experience.)








Alien in Full Battle Rattle - they were everywhere. I saw lots of things I just couldn't explain...  

So far, so good, and these two fella’s seem to be very good company and they brought capable machines and have some background and experience and enthusiasm and great attitudes. What more could you ask for? I’m happy too, and we light the bikes up and blip our way northwest through country with cactus and sage. Welcome back to the desert, Stovey! The course eventually takes us through some fairly obliterated two track in the shadow of the Kawich Range, and I stop to turn up my steering damper a little, as I feel the need for a little more speed. The track is great and it feels good to be running in the desert once more, and into some really good cross-country style navigating. This old road has been rained on a lot more than driven on, which is to say it doesn’t see much traffic. There’s little evidence of any road for miles, and you’ve got to search for it in places. My kind of “road.” We make the connection to our left turn on developed dirt road that will take us through the Kawich’s and into Bellehelen. Man, that was a nice little run though…

The dirt road into Bellehelen is a perfect, and I mean PERFECT groomer! It’s about two compact cars wide and full of twisties, railed with berms on either side and has hills and rollers. Packed with juniper on both sides and mountains to run a pass through and you can’t beat it for some flat-tracking like Dave Aldana….. (I’m old.) There’s visibility enough around most of the corners to get a look for oncoming traffic, and so I look and drift the wheels on a perfect Sunday in Nevada! Sweet Sister Sadie this is a fun stretch… can’t wait to kiss the trophy girl. (Hope she’s not just another antelope with a face like a ripped sneaker.)



Bellehelen is a beautiful hole-up inside the Kawich Range, and the entire area is no exception to the Nevada paradigm – it’s mining, mining and more mining. It’s also a scenic treasure and we lament our having to only pass on through and not be staying for longer. But, more scabland awaits to the west, and we must make some miles before the sun sets.








Sons a' bitches were discussing the dreaded 'Plan B' I just knew it.... and it was only the first day! eek







 The dirty groomed berm-boomer gives way to a left turn heading back down toward the Nellis/A51 boundary again, and further west toward the Tonopah Test Range. We begin some desert navigation again as we leave the mountain beauty and trade for a ride to the north of these peaks and hills, and track out across desert terrain, with rollers and twisties on good two–track. On the way down toward Golden Arrow, we pass through a big number of abandoned mineshafts and wild mustangs…. Riding WITH the wild Mustangs was supernatural. We did exactly that, and ran with the herd as they trampled and galloped and streamlined. They followed their leaders as each dominant male would rear up and leap into action, “Lone Ranger” style, only sans masked fat white Quemosabe. It was really quite something to thunder with the herds as they appeared and disappeared across the floor of Stone Cabin Valley.








We netted a sidetrip straight to the security gate at the Tonopah Test Range, but I foresaw the guards having none of my particular sense of humor, and made a 180 right at the guard station to go back and try and reconnect a purple line on my GPS in the cockpit. Time had taken away the obvious sign of the old obliterated road track, but trail717 put us back on the trail to Tonopah. We scampered here and there like jackrabbits amongst the sage and cactus for a while and hooked into our final drive on course straight towards Tonopah proper for the end of the glistening desert day, and an evening camp respite. The last bit found us rolling knobby rubbers over top of countless badger holes in good two track that went on for miles and miles, to finally wind up at a perfect ‘hole in the wall’ to lay up in for the night, just 2 miles short of the city limits. We would unload saddlebags here amongst the white ashen rocks of volcanic ejecta, and sit tight and cozy amid the furniture provided amid our moonscape.















When the moon came up shortly thereafter, several gourmet freeze-dried meals had been emptied, and I was enjoying a nice peppermint tea with my new friends, content in my Crazy Creek chair under a perfect desert sky. On the outskirts of Nellis/A51/TTR and only two miles from whatever civilization might have to offer in the morning, I felt very rewarded for having laid this route and met two new friends to ride with. All seemed right with the world according to Stovey, and Big Agnes embraced me once again into her bouncy bosom. Sleep well my friends! Good job today – tomorrow we ride again…

Rally on,

Stovey



« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 04:00:55 AM by Stovebolt » Logged

Vstromcharlie
Guest
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 12:44:28 AM »

Great start my friend!   lurk
Logged
Kosmic
Administrator
Combat Wombat
*****
Posts: 6209


Nobody understands what you're know what I'm sayin


WWW Email
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 04:18:15 PM »

Most entertaining! A very colorful account of the day! I was probably the one who decided to stay home and watch re-runs of Project Runway, rather than ride! I bet a group of three can travel pretty fast, compared to seven. Less dust too!
Cheers! ricky
Logged

www.RideDualSport.com
13 Super Ténéré - 01 Buell S3 - 03 DRZ 400 - 1948 Indian Chief - 1924 Indian Chief - 1953 Indian Chief - BMW R100/7
trail717
Road Toad
*
Posts: 7


Email
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011, 01:05:37 AM »

nice intro --look forward to a real write up lurk
Logged
mudclod
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 1302


Killeen, Texas


Email
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2011, 01:18:21 AM »

Once upon a time in a land far, far away...
Logged

'74 TY250  '89 GB500 '06 DRZ400 '03 KDX220  '06 FLH   '08 DL1000
Vstromcharlie
Guest
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2011, 02:29:33 AM »

Incredibly rich verbiage Stovey. You have a way with prose my friend.
Logged
Kosmic
Administrator
Combat Wombat
*****
Posts: 6209


Nobody understands what you're know what I'm sayin


WWW Email
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2011, 03:23:43 AM »

That’s a bonus, because we don’t know each other and just agreed to get together on the Ride Dual Sport forums, based out of Austin, Texas. An internet adventure ride meetup. It could be interesting! It could be horrible… it could be deadly, or even fantastic – anything in between. It’s a blind date for off-road adventure, and the first one I’ve been responsible for. (By that I mean that I was the guy posting up the ride, and offering up spaces available to share in the experience.)

It gives me great satisfaction that RDS was able to help facilitate meeting some great guys! I made sure I had ample time to enjoy your Day 1 post and could feel the rollers and berms and the excitement! There is nothing better than camping in the desert after a swell ride.
I must get your recipe!
Cheers!
Logged

www.RideDualSport.com
13 Super Ténéré - 01 Buell S3 - 03 DRZ 400 - 1948 Indian Chief - 1924 Indian Chief - 1953 Indian Chief - BMW R100/7
DoctorXRR
Global Moderator
Combat Wombat
*****
Posts: 3717


I "heart" BBRSP!


WWW Email
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2011, 05:29:02 PM »

Looking forward to more!  I'm jealous of you all getting out into the wide open spaces, and camping under the stars. Perfect!   lurk lurk
Logged

Christian
 2014 V Strom 650, 00 XR650R, 03 Beta ALP 200, 02 Buell S3T, 84 900 Ninja, 48 Chief
Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2011, 09:57:07 PM »

Thank you fella's!     beer

Stovey
Logged

Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2011, 09:59:22 PM »

Day 2  - Tonopah / Rhyolite "FYYFF Ridge"                 125 Miles

Monday morning, and I wake up in a dump….

Well, no, not a landfill – but definitely a wasteland that in the waxing daylight of an emerging sunrise, is beginning to reveal itself in unusual splendor. Imagine the merry glow of early morning shadows glancing from the surfaces of a decrepit old Frigidaire or a crumpled microwave laying catawampus in small piles here and there on the ground. Some appliances are disturbingly like small shrines, and occupy a special “throne” of sorts, having been set at just the right angle on just the right mound or anthill – presenting itself exactly the way some dude with a Ruger Mini14 or a guy with a cowboy hat on his head and a Colt .45 on his hip liked it.

There was broken glass just about everywhere, small bits of shattered bottles hiding in plain sight on high points of dirt or scattered around rock piles where they had been executed…. Only glass ghosts remaining, hidden from view by a sagebrush as soon as you turned your head and changed a viewing angle across the desert floor. No, if I were an appliance on the fritz, or an empty bottle of Budweiser, I wouldn’t want to live in Tonopah. We had gathered ourselves up in an adventure rider camp in what was obviously an appliance and glass bottle graveyard – and had pulled up in fading light the evening before to share the land with many deceased kitchen appliances, and laid our heads to rest on the same desert dirt as the bullet-ridden refrigerator doors and shattered ovens and blenders. At least for us, we rise again, whereas the Hotpoint or Kenmore with its doors blown off via 12-guage…. Like the raven’s wingbeats overhead; it would be ‘never more.’









All of the details coming into focus on the beginning of this Day 2 showed not just the dead fridge that got dragged out here to meet Jesus, but also the shades of tan, grey and white coming alive from the sun on different colors of earth, and the sage amid the rocks we spent the night fortified within. It was all in all a very pretty scene, and since the appliances were relatively few and far between, your eye had to scan in every direction and near-to- far to pick up all the junk. Mostly, the eyes are filled with morning desert glow; contrasting colors from the vibrancy of our camping gear and bikes against the sage and tan of the desert hills. It looked like it would be another beautiful day to go ride across Nevada!

We were only a few minutes from town, and we packed up with an easy enough pace. I am the last one ready – my hands are weak from 6 months recovering from bilateral carpal releases and a level 2 SLAC wrist reconstruction. My dominant wrist (throttle side) is not only relatively weak, but still painful and partially fused from the procedure. It will take a full year to recover fully and realize the most range of motion I’ll achieve as a result. For the time being, the dexterity to get camping gear stuffed and poked into saddlebags and all the little things one normally might take for granted – I certainly never gave it much thought – I am slower than I used to be, and slower than my riding companions. Even though I am up early and poking around before anybody else, my hands slow me down getting out of camp, and my friends are patiently waiting for me as I light up Casper the Friendly Punkin to get to town for fuel and breakfast. Thanks guys…..

Coffee and something to shove in my pie hole at Mickey D’s for us and fuel for the bikes…. Toggle up some southbound route information on the GPS and it’s off into the morning sun, the restricted areas of Tonopah Test Range on our left as we go. It’s a beautiful sunny morning as we ride solid two-track out of town and head south, but we don’t get far before Rider1 senses some kind of trouble with his bike during a quick trailside stop to water a bush and take in a short view of Mud Lake which lies predominantly inside of the restricted area within the Tonopah Test Range. Mud Lake is a dry lake visible to the East/Southeast as we ride out through the hills this morning.


Rider1 piloting his Husky Te449


Mud Lake in the distance

Rider1 chased a small leak from a cooling hose clamp a half-hour prior to this stop, back at the gas station, and rechecked the area again, finding some oil mixed in with the goo forming on the outside of his cases and hoses. An hour and a half later, with the source of goo having been established as some engine oil overflow coming out of the airbox from tip-over yesterday afternoon, we’re off again and heading through sage, cactus and hills past Ramsay Well toward Goldfield. It was cool blasting down several dry washes on the way, and there was interesting and fun cross-country exploring as we punched our way through a ranch gate and blasted straight down into the hilly meanders on dirt roads through the mines surrounding Goldfield. I sure enjoyed the riding and the great weather and the views of mountains around the western boundaries of the restricted Nevada deserts and mountains. Coolio…



We made Goldfield with no drama, and pulled into town for fuel and a bit of lunch. At the fuel pump I asked Dave how life was going, and he looked dismayed while examining a blank space on the back of his luggage where his camp footwear and Nevada Gazetteer used to be. It was at that point that he looked at me and said, “ya know, I am thinking that this ride may not be for me just now…. I think I’m done.”



“What ho,” I thought, and accepted his statement and offered my best look of compassion back through the confines of a visage-hiding full-faced Arai. We de-helmeted and Marshal suggested a lunch break at the café inside, at least, and maybe Dave would have another thought or two to share as he was finalizing his decision to call the ride to a halt for himself, and redirect his efforts to something else during his rare week off from normal work duties as an on-demand Challenger 604 pilot. We did just that, and enjoyed some good food at what looked like the only place in Goldfield to get some lunch on the fly. We had wrung Dave out pretty good during the first day out, and he was thinking that maybe he would enjoy a different pace on a ride like this, with less camping setup and teardown demands and the grind of a daily movement regime than he was used to, but that he was liking the riding. He said that he may track us down later on and try to join up with us for the last part of the ride from Rachel to the Lunar Crater and back, if that was something he could swing toward the end of the week as he shifted gears and re-gathered his schedule. We had enjoyed each others’ company in the short time we were out together,  but respecting his wishes to sign off, Marshal and I each shook his hand sincerely, and punted ourselves back out onto the dusty trail, southbound toward Gold Point, Death Valley, and Beatty – come what may. “Take care, Dave – catcha on the rewind…”

As I beeped my horn and waived “Farewell” to Dave, I could not help but think that this may all be an implementation of an elaborately concocted ‘Marshal/Dave PLAN B’ in progress…. And my mind reeled as my gimpy throttle hand twisted. Hmmmm….. a scene of the three of us somehow standing together in the Nyala Wadi – chainsaws and mayhem abounding – flashed across my radar in front of the Garmin in my cockpit. “Focus… focus…” I find my way out of the imaginary fog in my make-believe dread, outrunning the gut instinct to head for Mexico on the spot. Rallying on, then…   :-O

There were great circuitous mine roads to travel as we headed out of Goldfield, and we made some excellent tracks during the building heat on an abandoned railroad grade. It was a good track, and offered some high-speed runs intermingled with the occasional slow down to negotiate a washed out section here and there, to climb down and then back up to the grade. It was fun following Marshal’s dustcloud as he really found some desert legs out on this stretch, and it was here that I discovered my camera LCD viewfinder had exploded. Now, useless and unable to see, track or change any camera settings or details, I resigned myself to shooting pictures even more blindly than I normally do. Good luck to me on that!









We hammered our way off this section of desert through the Chispa Hills west of TTR/Nellis AFB Bombing & Gunnery to Ralston, and Highway 95. It was here that we needed to make a hundred yard run down the asphalt to cross into more BLM through a gate, if we could find it. We did, and we did.


Gate Wrangling

We got onto more two-track to bypass Lida Junction and ran a diagonal through the warm winds to the southeast of the Cuprite Hills, toward Gold Point. It was good and easy and a short connection to another short section of asphalt – only about a minute or two down Rt. 266  - then back off the tarmac to the left and into some pretty beat up two-track. We had to get through a few miles of bombed out ruts that were clearly created by 4x4’s running through gumbo in the wet weather, so we just augered our way through a few first-gear sections, and stayed on the ‘purple line’ in the cockpit. More fun and dry washes came along and intermingled with the two-track as we made our way eventually to Gold Point, paralleling the main gravel road, Rt. 774, into this mining town from another age. Gold Point looked pretty cool, and for sure called to mind images of some post-apocalyptic zombie village – “Zombie Apocalypse Headquarters” even. But a really cool place, and the outstanding groomers began right from town, forming another perfect riding course to rail berms on! This was superb dirt road riding, and as an offroad single-tracker, I was fast becoming a believer in the fun factor potential of these groomed Nevada roads! Might just be the place for an old bastard who can’t hack the trail anymore to retire to. Get my “Zombie Apocalypse Union Card” and set up shop in an old single-wide above a wash in a ghost town, and call it good.


Zombie Attack Vehicle


Zombie


Apocalypse



We ran past Mt. Dunfee, the Dunfee Shaft and Alberto and Big Blossom mines on our way through Hell’s Gate in the Gold Mountains. The groomed berms and fantastic tight sweepers gave way to views toward more straight and flat as we lost elevation heading toward Bonnie Claire. Bonnie Claire is nothing but a dot on a map and a whisper in your ear from the sage brush on the ground – probably an important dot and whisper at some point back in time. We saw no reason to stop and setup shop there, though, and pressed on into some big straight flats in approach to the extreme northeast corner of Death Valley National Park. There were MILES of endless whoops, straighter than a grizzly’s dick and three times that deep to ride through, so in the fading light of late afternoon, we coursed on – keeping the remote KTM PDS shock reservoir’s warm to the touch, and the needles pegged on the ‘bounce-meters.’ And it was great fun as well! The end of a day’s riding wasn’t far off, though at any given moment, everything in the world seemed pretty damned far, far away…. Some radio/microwave towers from a peak between us and Beatty a small growing landmark in the distance straight in front of us, for hours.




A view of Death in the Valley from trail717's cockpit




Death Valley ran a boundary right across our tracks, and so we entered into the Park over a cattleguard and continued on over more miles yet of whooped out two-track that you had to keep focused on. If 4th gear got snicked, it wasn’t for long, and there would be a down-snick coming immediately thereafter… The sun was thinking about dropping out for the rest of the day over the hills near Currie Wells and Gold Bar as we made our exit from the Park near Bullfrog Mountain, and began scanning for a campsite that could house two intrepid desert interlopers. We found a good one on a ridge with some rock outcrops below Busch Peak in the vicinity of Rhyolite.

I like my campsites with rocky fortification and natural furniture provided, so when I spied this place it seemed like a no-brainer beacon, and beckoned me to climb up and drop saddlebags. Marshal was game, and in fading light he found a lower gear on his 640A, twisted his throttle, and piloted his bike and portable castle up the ridge and parked it. We were home for the night. Marshal snagged a photo and christened our site “ADV Rider Salute Ridge.” I didn’t notice it until he posted the pics…. Couldn’t have planned that any better – uncanny! Perfection – sometimes you just can’t fight it…



A beautiful lightscape kept unfolding in all if its desert drama as we proceeded to set up camp on the ridge, (“FYYFF Ridge” in shorthand and to save ink,) and the harvest moon appeared in full force. As the sun dropped the full moon rose from behind high bluffs to our East, and it was a picture perfect evening. My Crazy Creek never felt so good, and the beef stroganhof was going down real good. Logistics didn’t grace me with a solid opportunity for a cold man-killer to top off the day with my meal, but I didn’t miss it. The day was ultra-fine, the company was excellent and the setting was fantastic. Big Agnes still held my breath for me, and there was little else a right-minded man could possible ask for (without getting struck by lightning for his greed…) Marshal and I held court around our campstoves for a while, and I investigated the night sky until about 10pm before giving way to the serenity of a Feathered Friend in my slumber. The SPOTcast was “off” and my wife knew I was “in” for the night, if she was watching. I hoped “Jetpillot / Rider1 Dave” was all set, wherever he was, and let the stars beat me to death. That took all of about 30 seconds.













Day 3 follows later…
 


« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 03:01:18 AM by Stovebolt » Logged

mudclod
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 1302


Killeen, Texas


Email
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2011, 10:34:41 PM »

Mud Lake, hmmm, kinda like the name...has a ring to it! Ha!
Logged

'74 TY250  '89 GB500 '06 DRZ400 '03 KDX220  '06 FLH   '08 DL1000
Kosmic
Administrator
Combat Wombat
*****
Posts: 6209


Nobody understands what you're know what I'm sayin


WWW Email
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2011, 01:19:27 AM »

Stovey, thanks for a splendid day two report! It was the perfect dessert to my pint of Brooklyn Lager and Willie Burger.
The Willie Burger (named after Willie Nelson and available at the best Pub In Austin, The Dog And Duck) is comprised of a grilled beef patty, cheese, jalapeno peppers, bacon, lettuce, tomato and pickle loosely held together between a bun, speared with a gigantic toothpick.  Its the kind of burger that you stare at lovingly before each bite, while fumbling to keep it between the bun. Then you quench the jalapeno burn with some lager.

I can see that you really "get" the dessert. I am acquiring a love for the dessert, my wife has already succumbed to its allure. Having just returned from a week at our wreck of a mobile home in the Chihuahuan Desert she was completely serene and not eager to be in the city amongst lots of people.

Thank you so much for such an excellent account of the 3rd annual A.L.F.A.51.C.MM!
Patrice

 
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 01:24:34 AM by KosmicKLR » Logged

www.RideDualSport.com
13 Super Ténéré - 01 Buell S3 - 03 DRZ 400 - 1948 Indian Chief - 1924 Indian Chief - 1953 Indian Chief - BMW R100/7
Vstromcharlie
Guest
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2011, 02:03:13 AM »

Stovey the way you weave your stories is a work of art.  I feel like I was with you.  Great stuff my friend...great stuff.
Logged
Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2011, 04:12:37 AM »

Mudclod - I checked at the gate, and they did name that Lake after you in the TTR. Nice....    thumb

Patrice - tell Mudclod to send me his real name, will ya...    lol   And if you could loose the tomato on the Willie Burger, I'll take two of 'em.   drink
Thanks for the kind words - much appreciated...   beer   I like your "wreck of a mobile home" in the Chihuahuan Desert! I must agree that there is nothing like the allure of the desert, or the succumbing of a good woman. Uh-oh, did I get my words mixed up again? St. Peter in a Dump Truck, shame on me... baldy

I owe Sahara a beer for that one.... to be sure. roll

Charlie - Thank You Sir! We could have used you along on this ride. It would have been invaluable to have had a Special Forces Operator with Submariner experience on a couple of occasions, and I know I could have used the proper guidance in acquiring some cold man-killers en route. You were sorely missed, in all seriousness...

Can't wait to go back! Some of my friends are leaving for Baja the day after tomorrow, but I won't be on the posse this time around. I hope I can get back there soon though. Entertaining some notions of that for the coming year as I hit the comeback trail recovering with this wrist stuff.

As ever,

Stovey
Logged

Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2011, 03:00:01 AM »

Day 3  Rhyolite / Desert National Wildlife Refuge        161 Miles

I slept like a peregrine in a rock nest all night; high on my cliffy mattress overlooking Death Valley to the west and the Amargossa to the south. Smooth and hot orange mocchachino’s were flowing once again, and as I pack up this morning after moonset, I reflect that things are going pretty well in life. I am a lucky man to be here.

My hands had been giving me trouble for a couple of years; real trouble for that long, and minor trouble for longer than that. And as I’m stuffing and pushing and packing my things away into Wolfman saddlebags here in Nevada, about six months after the last surgery for what came out to be four separate procedures to my hands and one wrist, I can’t help but notice both the pain and the progress. It’s been so long since I’ve not had pain in my hands and right wrist, I can’t even remember when I didn’t. It’s been years. It got so bad that after last year’s ‘Legends of the Fall’ ride down here with Keith, that I immediately checked in with a physical therapist to see what he could do. Six weeks and lots of rubbing and ice and ultrasound and all this other feel-good voodoo later, my wrist swelling was down, but not gone. I needed a surgeon. You can’t fix broken ligaments and arthritis and tweaked bones with ibuprofen and ice dipping. Huh… who knew?

This morning as I pack up camp I still have pain, but I notice the changes in where it hurts and how bad. Things are changing, growing, healing. Another six months or so of this and I’ll have crossed another milestone in life, and will be living with this partial fusion. At least I’m out here riding a dirt bike! This whole thing could have gone a whole lot worse… reflections this morning as I recall both hands bound in bandages and unable to handle even the paperwork required in this day and age just to snap a steamer… Yes, I am a lucky man at this point, and there is reverence in this mystery to me and I pause to notice while I watch the last stars get chased back into the heavens by an early rising sun. This reminds me a lot of my mountaineering days – haunting glacial or rocky perches in Colorado, Washington or British Colombia.

Marshal is up and visiting me – he’s a pensive man and bringing me cheer with his enthusiasm and intelligence. It’s a great combination and his background in engineering gives him an analytical viewpoint to things. He asks me a lot of questions and we enjoy talking about riding plans we have with friends and family, and I like hearing about his two sons and the way he talks about them. Marshal talks about his wife too, and I can tell he is a well grounded man, and he’s a strong man. He’s been rescued by SAR when a leg injury left him unable to self recover, and he’s a successful bicycle endurance racer. He’s had to grieve over the loss of one of his sons. He spends long hours at his job and travel duties keep him from his home half the time. His lifestyle demands resolve to keep him on track, and his intelligence adds to his perspective. Marshal is a man of experience, strength and resolution – somebody who can ‘get the job done’ and will “Never Give Up.” Marshal is a ‘ruptured buzzard’ if ever I saw one. It’s a privilege for me to be out here with him, and this is the guy I’m about to cross the Amargossa desert with, as we round another corner on this Area 51 circumnavigation. Pack ‘em and rack’em, let’s roll!

Marshal is the first peregrine to falcon-off this ridge and dive down into the wash towards the track we laid out, and hit the dusty road again this morning. I light Casper and let him warm up for a couple minutes before taxiing out of my rocky hangar onto the apron above the wash – my little helipad on “FYYFF Ridge” below Busch Peak. Like an Apache helicopter pilot, I throttle up and nose her down along this steep bank and into the wash, gliding down through the sage and pucker bushes amid the rocks. This KTM has the suspension to flatten out the nasties, and hitting the wash ruts in the bottom is no thrill, just a course in navigating another washout and embankments to drop into and climb out of. The Apache pilot uses his cyclic and rotor controls to pull his nose up; I use my fused throttle wrist welded in place with a carbon fiber brace… and it’s a light front wheel that nudges rocks and hovers over the lip of the uphill bank, and clears the way for a Dunlop D606 rear wheel – I never even feel it. Out of the nest, back from the bushes and back on the trail. Heading for civilization and a fuel stop, then more purple lines on the GPS.



Around the corner right away is the old town site of Rhyolite, and we zoom past that for a couple more miles into the town of Beatty where a gas station/convenience store will take our money in exchange for food and fuel. We buy a few water jugs too, and refill Camelbacks and bottles, and drink heartily with our breakfast of ratty muffins or breakfast burritos. Another coffee for me as we repack our packs for the trail, and I re-sync my cockpit with fuel-point info on the computer, and I’m good to go. We’re off to explore around some more mines in the mountains before hitting open desert again. Somebody’s gotta do it!




Marshal in between sheep




"Secret Pass" - no kidding, that's what it's called


Sheep hunting makes me tired...


We follow our route out of town and get on the slab for a minute, then yank on the bars, hard to starboard in good pirate fashion, taking us around a giant pit mine that leads straight to the center of the earth. Marshal leads up “Secret Pass”  near Meiklejohn Peak on a piece of two-track, and I find him shored up in the middle of the trail butting heads with a ram on the way. He points out a giant sheep that had crossed his path, and he had to tell it a joke to make it get out of the way. A few short moments later, and he had meandered into a herd of them in a canyon, and we stopped to take a few pictures of them before throttling off again. It was good riding under bluebird skies, and we commenced to hammering down the mine roads for a while as we navigated around the Diamond Queen mine towards Steve’s Pass. We made Hwy 95 again and crossed it to make our connection to Race Track Road, where we would face many miles of sandy whoops!



KTM bikes are "RAM Tough"


I could crack something wise about those sheep, but Marshal knows what really happened out there...


trail717 is a good photographer


"Steve's Pass"


Race Track Road got its name from something, and I don’t know who named it…. But I know for damned sure the local boys use the area for lighting up their trophy trucks! I hadn’t been on anything like this since riding on portions of the race course of the Baja 1000 and the parts of this “road” that were used by trophy trucks were really whooped out. And sandy. Pretty much sandy whoops, for miles. And miles again.  







We continued on it southeast all the way until it dumped us out at the Amargossa Speedway, and picked up another section from there that was partially obliterated from that point onward. We spied snow-capped Mt. Charleston in the distance as we steered through sandy dry washes and turned lefterly at the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. This turn put us smack into the middle of nowhere, and the route was on completely obliterated road/trail – we were absolutely cross-country. It was supremely fun, but it was pretty hot out in that Amargossa Desert.  Early in the afternoon we hit Hwy 95 again, and superslabbed it from there into Indian Springs.


Out in some unGodly wash in the Amargossa


Predator drone barely visible in this pic at the air base

The big highway was fine because the bikes were running lean way down low and the temps were high, so it was good to get some air flowing over those radiators and cases. As we wheeled into the Shell station at Indian Springs for food and fuel, we were treated to in-flight displays of Predator drones executing maneuvers over the air base across the street. I stopped Casper after refueling, and noticed some colorful crap ringing his exhaust tailcap, and I thought to myself, “…huh – I must have melted my jacket on that thing bounding along in those miles of whoops!” No matter, the jacket was nowhere to be found, so the fact that it was burned up and melted didn’t really make any difference at that point. If anybody reading this finds an Acerbis rally jacket in the sand wash south of Hwy 95 between Mercury and Amargossa, it’s got my name on it…

We made Corn Creek Road turn-off after lunch via the big highway that leads into Las Vegas, and we jumped on the Mormon Wells option because the Alamo Road is closed. “How closed” Alamo Road is remains a matter of conjecture, but it is officially closed, so we opted for the sure thing through the Desert National Wildlife Refuge on our way back up on the northern leg. Rider1 (Dave) had sussed this out for us ahead of time to confirm that the road was indeed closed, and that we should plan on taking the Mormon Wells Road instead. It was a fine choice, and we enjoyed great late afternoon riding on pebbly dirt through the largest NWR in the Lower Forty Eight.


Desert National Wildlife Refuge


DNWR


DNWR






We jabbed through “Peek-A-Boo Canyon” on our way up to Mormon Pass, gaining elevation once again as we rode through giant Yucca forests and crossed a few washes. It was another great day winding down as we made our way north toward what would be the final leg back to Rachel the next day. At Mormon Pass we made camp at the only camping allowed in a developed campground there at 6600 feet in some truly beautiful country. We had plenty of daylight left to really stretch our gear out and settle in before nightfall, and prepare to hold court once again – this time around a really nice fire under the Ponderosa and Juniper.







The evening meal was great and the fire superb. Marshal and I compared notes and sure enough – we had found the secrets of the universe and discovered a cure for cancer and world peace. Alas, the next morning I would be unable to remember these things as usual, and I would be forced to rinse and repeat! Ah, well…. feisty peregrines are fast and smart, but they have bad memories. What they lack in mental retention they must make up for in speed and grace. And so it goes – falcons nested under the Nevada skies, cedar embers wafting…
« Last Edit: November 09, 2011, 06:05:38 PM by KosmicKLR » Logged

Vstromcharlie
Guest
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2011, 03:26:44 AM »

Incredible story...love it.  Keep it coming Capt'n Stovey.
Logged
Frostbit
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2175



« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2011, 03:51:33 AM »

Don't ya wish that rides like this one would never end. Keep it coming Stovey. lurk

It's appearant that your wrist issues came about from keyboard abuse.  Just sayin... smile
Logged

Tools for a successful midlife crysis:
Horsepower
Handlebars
Mud
and accessories from ironmandualsport.com
Coolhand
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 642


Living large, one weekend at a time ;)


« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2011, 03:40:03 PM »

Poetry. Still gotta read Day 3 but I'll be late for work if I do any more Wink
Logged

Relocated to the boonies. Working on an Adventure Bike destination plan.
Kosmic
Administrator
Combat Wombat
*****
Posts: 6209


Nobody understands what you're know what I'm sayin


WWW Email
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2011, 06:11:51 PM »

Most Excellent Stovey, I just took my lunch break to read day 3. I love the desert!
Thank you! thumb
Logged

www.RideDualSport.com
13 Super Ténéré - 01 Buell S3 - 03 DRZ 400 - 1948 Indian Chief - 1924 Indian Chief - 1953 Indian Chief - BMW R100/7
Coolhand
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 642


Living large, one weekend at a time ;)


« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2011, 04:06:28 AM »

Bagged Day 3, bring on Day 4 Smiley
Logged

Relocated to the boonies. Working on an Adventure Bike destination plan.
Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2011, 12:41:30 AM »

Day 4   Mormon Pass-DNWR / Rachel                   158 Miles

“F-16’s of the desert floors…”

Morning is here! What a thrill… can’t stand waking up dead. Time to pop my Big Agnes and brew some mocchachino’s – and pack up some Wolfman Rolie Bags, maybe take Marshal’s temperature and see how life is treating him this morning.

All is well on the other side of the campground, and Marshal is doing well about 15 feet away. No lions or aliens got him. Life is good so far, and we’re soon on our way after a nice leisurely breakfast of coffee, GORP and beef jerky for me, God-only-knows what healthy crap for my co-rider. I know it included some Red Bull.

The trail is fine and the weather is gorgeous – another moonset chased down by el Sol, and we’re down the road again through some mighty fine scenery in this wildlife refuge. Losing elevation slowly all the way, we pass through this valley in between the Sheep Range to the west, and the Las Vegas Range to the east, into Sawmill Wash, and hook a right. Sawmill Canyon is pretty sweet, with a nice feeling of enclosure as we run down through the rocks and rollers toward the exit of the DNWR and our intersection with Highway 93 – “the Great Basin Highway,” and into the wash south of Lower Pahranagat Lake.


Peak off in the distant Arrow Canyon Range


Marshal piloting his mighty 640A through the last of DNWR


As we make our way down from the higher valley in DNWR, and I approach the highway under some power lines, I spy some dude in a bright red shirt standing next to a silver SUV and looking straight at me.    Hmmmm…..?  “Alien public representative” on the loose? Perhaps an errant “Dakar Rally Spectator Impersonator” who can’t wait for New Years? Better go to full flaps in any case, and scrub some speed – the highway is coming up fast anyway… and it wouldn’t do to slam a culvert in this ship at speed.

I waive to this fella, and rocket right by him, but I only reach a few feet past where he is standing when a couple dusty synapses fire in my soggy noggin… “…I KNOW that guy! (from somewhere?)”  “But where?” Aha! It’s Dave – aka “Rider1” the Jetpilot! But he’s out of uniform and no bike in sight – where’s the Husky? Where’s his Challenger 604 corporate jet? I mean, if he’s here to rejoin the ride, he’s missing a bike, and if he’s here to take me to lunch, he’s missing my airborne corporate coach… “What gives?”



We meet up for a bit, and discuss his desire to rejoin the ride tomorrow, and get in line behind our bikes with his ATV on our way to the Lunar Crater from Rachel. Logisitical matters are contemplated for a few moments after Marshal pulls up – they had me bracketed with Marshal coming in behind me on what was left of Sawmill Canyon Road, and Dave blocking my exit to the pavement; in the event that this was an actual “Plan B Activation” by these two guys in cahoots! I ended up turning my back on both of them, and no nets were deployed or alien communiqués transpired where I might have been auctioned off to some green bastards in shiny suits to a Beta Reticuli fart mining colony, and so all was good! We planned to meet in the evening or on the morrow, right next to the captured spaceship in front of the Little Al’e Inn, and attack the final legs of the weeklong riderfest together – Marshal on his 640A, me on Casper the Friendly Fighting Falcon, and Dave on his CanAm ATV. Splendid!

There is an old abandoned roadbed that shows on several maps and databases due east of this position, and heads north and parallel to the highway for some miles, and we figured it was worthy of investigation to keep off the slab. Marshal and I said our goodbyes to Dave, and railed off across the pavement towards this potential offroad connection, but found it shut and locked and signed “CLOSED” when we got there. For the second time we were good offroad ambassadors, and elected to be lawful and good sports – abiding by the closure with no attempt at any kind of a bypass. It was back to the highway for a short pavement slammer north. The ride up to our turnoff near Lower Pahranagat Lake came up quick, and we made our way through another wildlife refuge to connect with the Delamar Road, and thence to another connection that will take us through Hell’s Half Acre, into Ash Springs.



The berm-railing was great on each of two dirt road sections into Ash Springs, and I enjoyed straightening out a few corners. I admit to exceeding the hull speed of Casper more than once, and there was no comparison to the flight of my bike through these canyons, to the desert tortoise we encountered a few miles back near where we met up with Rider1. Getting into Ash Springs at mid-day meant we would only have an abbreviated rest stop here for hot spring soaking and barnacle scraping, while at lunch break. The stop did afford a luxurious bathing opportunity though, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the city park hot springs, and my lunch.


Stovey in his undies - yes, it's a thong...


Marshal in his undies

Cell phone signal is strong here, and both of us managed quick calls out to our homebases as we got dressed and reassembled after food and fuel. This next leg was, to my mind, what this ride was all about, and I was bumming that we had burned up so much time at our stops and investigating the old abandoned roadway option – I wanted the maximum amount of time for this leg from Ash Springs to Rachel – it’s the juiciest section on this leg, and on the entire circumnavigation. Big desert, special navigation skills, boundary issues, waning daylight, security concerns and the exploration of the unknown in the Tikaboo Valley next to the most publicly known and notorious of the Area 51 access areas all wait ahead. I wanted to get it going, so as not to lose any more daylight.


See this sign? We don't go this route... we're too dirty.

We elected to hit a dirt road just north of Ash Springs that runs parallel to Highway 375 – “The Extraterrestrial Highway” – and should intersect our route again on the pavement just underneath Hancock Summit. We manage a ranch gate with signage of stern warning for people NOT to disturb any animal control trap equipment encountered out on the landscape we are about to enter into. Under pain of torture, death or Beta Reticuli deportation, or at least a big fine or something, we mentally note to abide by yet another rule, and sally forth. The two-track diminishes rapidly, but maintains some semblance of its formerly navigable self as a two-track, for miles toward the mountains that form the southwest side of Hancock Summit.

As we gain ground and elevation toward this juncture, and at the pinnacle of this jaunt through BLM land tracking along the top of a ravenous ravine, we run out of two-track. For good. It’s an ancient memory or never existed. On the maps it shows the connection here never actually physically existed, but since “Stovey knows better” I presumed a solution prior to launching this mini-expedition, in the form of connecting a couple of dots that are only about a centimeter apart, on the map. A good reconnoiter from the top of this ravine yields some info, that the drop into the ravine will connect us to where we might oughta be, and it will be a cross-country drop through some sage, rocks and a little washed-out terrain. Casper is panting, he wants to tear off a hunk of this. Marshal is game, and even though his 640A is a virtual aircraft carrier by comparison, he’s up for it, and glides off behind me, into the wash.

I make the drop, and come up short of the little hillclimb on the other side, and extinguish the flames underneath the Six Days spark plug, turn my head to spy my co-rider’s progress. He’s skiing down the slope with his engine off, and makes good until the front wheel of his KTM gets in an argument with a sage brush. It’s a low-side entry and a high-side exit for him, and I clearly heard the message, “EJECT-EJECT-EJECT” come over the intercom as he performed an “adverse yaw” in the middle of his “Low Yo-Yo” maneuver. He was a goner…

Ass over teakettle he went, and it was as elegant a highside as I’ve ever witnessed! A spectacular bit of air was gained, and Marshal would have stunned the floormat judges at the gymnastic Olympics with his fine height, speed, style and recovery! Add to that his stunning rebound, coming up without so much of a scratch – no bone showing and the bonus of that freshly bathed and now-entombed scent of desert sage to boot! What a guy….


Wreckage cleared, Marshal gone and already underway behind me. This was the slope he vaulted down...


...and the view from the bottom of the ravine towards our connection to the slab under Hancock Summit

We got his bike righted together, and he finished poaching that ravine slope, thumbing noses at the impasse as we left it in our rear-views. Daylight was waning – no time to tarry. The pavement connection was right at hand after climbing out of this wash, and we popped over Hancock Summit to rejoin our original routing, and the connection below in Tikaboo Valley. We spy the long 13.8-mile dirt road off in the distance – the 13.8 miles of publicly-allowed access, toward the gate entrance to Area 51 – Groom Lake. Dust clouds waft for miles from a vehicle making it’s way east from the Site, coming toward the highway as we approach our turnoff and we can see the entire valley and our route into it and out as we crest Hancock and down in. We are about to commence our run in to the boundary, and “touch the holy wire” as it were, and amscray the hell back outa there before the Cammo Dudes decide to make sport of us, and take us prisoners. The ride down and in is filled with fun, dust, anticipation and sun in our visors…

The last bit of roadway has signage to slow us down; first from 45mph to 35mph – then to 25, then again to 15. Bingo! We’re around the last corner and facing the infamous “Go No Further Or You Die” (at taxpayers expense and completely-legal-to-kill-you fashion.) Sure enough, as we stop the bikes and take in the boundary area at this juncture before turning around to grab some primeval Tikaboo Valley floor on the last leg to homebase, there is the tan Jeep Cherokee on the hillside not 250 yards from us, and he flashes his headlights at us as a warning. It’s a gesture I appreciate, and take the opportunity to engage the occupants in a short but civil one-way conversation. (Marshal is looking at me like a blackbird just flew out of my nostril….) But I say in a normal tone of voice that we are big fans of “Delta and the SEAL Teams” and we’re on our way back the way we came. “We’re heading across the Tikaboo Valley floor on BLM roads, northbound through the Medlin Ranch, and over the pass near Andies Mine back to Rachel where our trucks are parked. We’re not intending to cross any base boundaries. Keep up the good work!”







Whitesides to Freedom Ridge - now closed to the public. (Taken from Groom Lake Road.) The privately owned and still operated Groom Mines lies behind these hills on the right, but lie inside the Nellis/A51 boundary, and restricted access to mine owners is granted on a case-by-case basis. Cammo Dudes lurk in this area, and are not to be trifled with...

I told Marshal I was convinced that “they” can hear every word we are saying, and it won’t hurt our cause any to just backfill a little info to the powers that be, in anticipation of our cross-country jaunt across the valley. Personally, I was hoping to negate the need to perform my ground-based “JINKOUT Maneuvers” en route north, and this was my last ditch effort to give me some leeway. I have not chaff, flares or any other countermeasures to try and defeat these Cammo Dudes if they decide to light me up – and I’m thinking I’ll probably come up way short in the defense department if I have to try and outrun or out-maneuver a Blackhawk or an Apache helicopter.


Views of the Pahranagat Range from the west, looking southeast from inside Tikaboo Valley




A little further down this road, and you better get your paycheck from the CIA, USAF Edwards Flight Test Center, or someplace else that probably pays in bags of cash....




“Tally Ho…”

We make the turn just short of the scary signs proclaiming “Deadly Force Authorized” (for trespass or photography) and get these “wild weasels” headed back away from the sun, and on course for our final blast across a desert floor towards homebase. It’s been a fantastic ride so far – and I’m feeling like a million bucks even if my wrist has swollen inside this carbon fiber support brace. “Fight’s ON!” and we’re gone like a bad check, heading back out Groom Lake Road. There are several turn opportunities to take us into and across the Medlin Ranch where we will navigate several obliterated road tracks and washes northbound, and I pick one. I’m navigating on the fly now, no purple line to course as my routing was in error when I set this part of the leg up. But, I had studied hard in my preflight to this ride, and had lots of data memorized and stuffed into my noggin – I was hitting it hard and loving every minute!


The hills on the left are danger-close to the Site boundary, and we ride north on the flats to the right, skirting the perimeter and paralleling these hills in the Groom Range

The zig-zags through and out of the Medlin Ranch bordered on notorious and approached the glorious as Casper negotiated each turn – pulling G’s and leaving a slipstream for my partner to chatter through – and this is the stuff I live for…  The GPS is glaring at me; the two-track has diminished to non-existent and we’re tracking through obliterated desert to the point where there is zero visible track or trail left. Zero. There were miles of track we laid out there that if you stopped your bike, you lost the route on the ground. Nothing but the brown trail whispering up from the glow of a GPS nav screen on my KTM heads-up-display. The terrain itself had to be “in motion” to give any appearance whatsoever of passage through what once was a two-track road bed or wagon trail gone extinct. Like the movement of a deck of cartoon cards where each symbol or image is static until the deck gets “shuffled” and each static image becomes part of a simulated movement, or a movie, or a cartoon effect. We blazed mightily across this navigational abyss toward the north end of Tikaboo Valley, and the mountain passes in between the Nellis Air Force Base/A51 boundary and the Extraterrestrial Highway.

Under the watchful eyes of electronic perimeter surveillance out in the sagebrush and the optical power stationed above us on Bald Mountain inside the Site, we throttled on for mile after cactus-laced mile, dodging spiny landmines and foot-deep washouts in our paths. A quick check over my shoulder now and again was all I could afford to see if my wingman was still with me back there somewhere, or if he’d gotten splashed by one of the many terrain hazards we were blazing through as the sun began to give its last to this earth for the day. Damnation if this wasn’t the coolest high-speed run I’ve ever made! This hour could go on for days, and I’d call it Heaven – if only it could last for a little while longer!


"Trail717 - this is Werewolf2, how copy? <OVER>"


But, it is the witching hour – and the bush gremlins are just waking up – ready to come out and do their best to take a wheel out from under me, and give me a push down into the dirt. “Controlled Flight Into Terrain” or a C-FIT might be the best I could hope for if a get-off was imminent… at best a crash-landing might yield a survival if a screw-up commenced at the speeds I was carrying. Admittedly, I was going fast, but I simply could not pry either my hand from the throttle stop, or the grin from my face. “Crash my ass! Crashing is for pussies!” I rallied on. And on. Through the sunset toward Andies Mine south of Rachel.


Long shadows forming up in the wake of our Tikaboo slipstreams

We crossed the mountains at the northern Groom Range spur into the Sand Spring Valley, and negotiated a cool technical wash to a gate. Last gate out – homefree to the Little Ale Inn.


My Wingman as we exited Tikaboo Valley, and coursed through the mountains near Andies Mine and back into Sand Spring Valley - F-111's hot on our tails...







As the sun was setting behind the Belted Range in the west, the range we had ridden toward 4 days ago, we gathered ourselves back together in formation – two riders exiting the BLM bushes in echelon formation, 24 feet apart from fender to fender, like the Fighting Falcons we had become.  And though I take poetic license in the telling of my tales, I shit you not – there, as we roared back into the town of Rachel, Nevada, two USAF F-111’s were executing maneuvers low over the valley floors. To the east, I saw one Aardvark/Raven hauling the mail southbound across the Sand Spring Valley floor, along the base of the Worthington Range. He pulled up and crossed a pass in the Tempiute Range and disappeared, while simultaneously another Aardvark with his wings sweeping back, executed a hard right turn heading toward this same pass. This second F-111 was heading right towards us before his turn, right out of the Tikaboo Valley and over the mountains we just came from and crossed…. It was a seismic rush to welcome us back to town at the end of the ride! I could just imagine the words over the pilot’s comm set, as he “chased us” out of “his valley” along the perimeter boundary of Nellis/A51…. “KNOCK-IT-OFF    KNOCK-IT-OFF” as he “disengaged” from us two lowly dirtbikers encroaching no further under his wings. He disappeared over the Tempiute Range to the east like a bat out of hell… and I thought I saw his wings wag. Just a little….



Day 5 follows, as I lament the passing of this incredible day of riding…

For now, it’s back to base, and debriefing by the spaceship hanging from the back of an old tow truck, under the stars.



« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 05:36:56 PM by Stovebolt » Logged

Vstromcharlie
Guest
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2011, 01:25:39 AM »

Poetry...just poetry.  Love it Stovey!  "What a thrill… can’t stand waking up dead" - that should become a tag line for sure.
Logged
mudclod
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 1302


Killeen, Texas


Email
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2011, 01:57:34 AM »

Stovey's got the thong action goin' on, yo!
Logged

'74 TY250  '89 GB500 '06 DRZ400 '03 KDX220  '06 FLH   '08 DL1000
Stovebolt
Combat Wombat
****
Posts: 2723



WWW Email
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2011, 02:01:09 AM »

Thanks Charlie, Tracy, Mudclod, Patrice and Justin....

...and a continual THANK YOU to my co-rider, Marshal, for the use of his pics in this ride report.

What fun!  It's taking me a while to get this posted, as I've stayed stupid busy since returning to "base" and also reading everybody else's EXCELLENT, CLASSIC ride reports!

As ever,

Stovey
Logged

Pages: 1 2 »   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: