Hidden Gem: Northern Nevada - 8 days loop
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Thread: Hidden Gem: Northern Nevada - 8 days loop

  1. #1
    Slug 87 Array Slug87's Avatar
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    Hidden Gem: Northern Nevada - 8 days loop

    To understand what lead to the following picture you will have to read on ...

    Ride Stats:
    June 8th - June 14th 2008.
    About 4,500 Km and roughly 52 hours of actual riding/moving time.
    4 states : WA/OR/NV/CA

    Every year during the first or second week of June and for 4 years now, a group of buddies head out on the open roads from Vancouver with a rough direction/objective. No hotel booked.

    This year our plan was to head North to Jasper to ride the Icefield parkway from the North to get the best views. Then South towards Glacier National Park then some time in Idaho and Oregon.

    Unfortunately the weather decided to cancel our plans big time. So atthe 11th hours we decided to run South and escape the bad weather as fast as we could.

    We always start on a Saturday. But this year for me I had to face a bit iof a challenge as I had to attend a wedding.
    So while my buddies went to get a shower over Washington pass and calling in for the night in Ellensburg, I ended up leaving Port Moody at 0530 am.
    It was hard getting up, but let me tell you that it was a breeze to ride all the way to Seattle, crossing the border and the Port Mann at those early hours.
    Little did I know at that time that the couple of showers barely able to get me wet I got that morning would be the only rain I would see for the rest of the week.

    I tackled 886Km the first day, including about 100Km of off-road/ gravel road.
    If you are thinking of doing the same one day, I would encourage you to give a it a try. The burden of getting up and do some boring interstate is quickly forgotten as soon as you are on the other side of the cascades. The fun really starts.
    Anyway I caught up to my group in Toppenish around 1030am.

    The camera finally saw the light of day to capture Mt Adams.

    As you can see the weather is really co-operating already.

    A few minutes later we descend into the Columbia gorges to cross into Oregon, but not before stopping at the Stonehenge replica which I had never seen before.

    Into Oregon we road into Condom after crossing a forest of Windmills.
    I went up close to take in the full size of those giants.

    Generally in Oregon once you are about 30 miles from the gorges, the traffic just dies and the troopers (tax collectors) just become invisible. Yet this year we manage to gather 2 tickets in the middle of the state. Maybe this was because we showed up on a week-end rather than our mid-week regular visit.
    Nobody got really upset as the trooper gave instructions on how to get it cancelled. Niiiice.

    We eventually called it a night in Central Oregon after a quick traditional stop at the painted hills.

    This site is always a winner.

    No matter the light of the day.

    Two of us went for a 75Km dirt loop in the back country. Let me tell you that it was a lot of fun.

    We reached some fairly 'interesting' speeds through some really nice forest roads. The surprise was the perfectly paved and twisty road bringing us back to civilization from the 6,000 ft+ plateau.

    The next day we headed south even more still looking to escape the bad weather forecast. So Nevada was the objective for the evening.
    About an hour South of 'Burns/OR' we stopped for a break in what looked like a ghost town, French glen. This is when we notice one of our bike had an issue with a rear tire.

    Strange as no later than the previous gas stop we had actually looked at all the bikes and talked about who needed to change their rubbers.

    This tire BTW is a Conti road attack. The kind I have been running on my motard kit for the last 2 years and 30,000 KM+ without a single problem or complaint. Yet this one appeared to melt on that Southern Oregon pavement.

    From 6 rider we melted in 2 minutes to 4 riders. One of the two headed home the next day, while the trouble bike had to wait more than a day for tire to be shipped from Boise/ID. He rejoined-us 3 days later in Medford.

    By now the roads are getting straight. Really, really straight. But boy the scenery takes over. And what some would consider a boring road, became actually surprisingly interesting.

    At the bottom of the Oregon state rounding a pass the few remaining trees are now gone.
    Last edited by Slug87; 11-17-2010 at 02:15 PM. Reason: Busted images links

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  3. #2
    Slug 87 Array Slug87's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
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    Part 2

    My 13 litre tank is also starting to become really stressful in this part of the world. I am looking for a source of Gas in this vast emptiness. And each community marked on the map is not necessarily well supplied. Sometimes no more than a couple of houses.
    I found gas in the little community of rainbow.
    But I also find something unexpected there.

    Yes that is the new BMW HP2 Sport based on the very rare R1200S.
    There are R1200S in Vancouver and one is a wreck for sale on craigslist.
    What a shame as I had the pleasure to do the break-in of one 2 years ago.

    Anyway. This particular HP2 Sport is actually the first one in North America.
    It is the property of Andy Sills from SF who in September 2005 beat the world land-speed record on a production bike on the salt lake flats. (169MPH ~ 272 Km/H)
    That same day he took is girlfriend Erin with him and beat the 2-up record as well.
    It was a pleasure to meet both of them in that middle of nowhere place that is rainbow. We had a great conversation, and I was happily surprised by the similar profile we have in our approach of motorcycles and riding experience.

    For good measure here is a comparison:

    You need a ladder to climb on my HP2 Enduro.
    I have 107 Bhp while the sport as 136 Bhp.
    And yet it is virtually the same good old Boxer.

    About an hour later we are now many miles into Nevada making a run at reaching Winnemucca.

    Sun in the back, straight roads, amazing scenery. We are in a different country. Everything feel and look different.

    Did I mention perfect pavement?

    2 days to Winnemucca ... Me likey...

    On the morning of Day 3 we experience our first dust storm. We see our first 'dust hazard' road signs. The wind is ever present and I am also shocked by the amount of roadside signs warning of snow. Turns out that Nevada is a fairly high altitude state. The temperature is great, but by now the clouds are gone. For the next 3 days it will be like this.
    This is pretty cool as we hear that there is snow falls in Burns and lousy rain-showers in Vancouver. Looks like our gamble has paid off.

    We stopped at a real middle of the desert abandon corral. Snakes are hiding well. We all wonder what would push somebody to settle here in the first place.

    We call in Austin for lunch and discover a really neat little town. Nested on a hillside, it has a great twisty road. A must do if you are in the area.

    According to Google map, I am looking at a 25-26 km straight roads going into those far away mountain.
    This is an alternative to Hwy50. And not surprisingly we are going to meet a single car in the next 3 hours, and one nut-case on Roller blades (the guy left SF a few days earlier and wants to be the first one to cross the continent on Roller blades pulling a baby cart).

    That's me going away in the distance.

    I stopped to say hi to this local. Minutes later one of my buddy killed him going a wee bit too fast to avoid him.

    Eventually we realise that Nevada is not all flat.

  4. #3
    Slug 87 Array Slug87's Avatar
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    Part 3

    We met another local. This one just finished lunch as his belly was pretty big. He did not stayed on the road too long and survived my friend wheels.

    At this point we reached a dry lake. After looking for an access path, we ended up on it.

    Postcards Picture all around.

    Here I am between 130-140 Km/h.
    The surface of the lake was like pavement, except perfectly smooth, with nothing to hit and some distant mountains for reference.

    Which lead to the starting picture...

    The sensations were insane. It was like in a plane where you look to your side to your friends about a mile away during a turn using them as reference as to when to straighten the bike.
    You have to live it to understand it.
    I managed to reach 180Km/h kicking a dust storm in the air.

    I believe that any sport bike could go on there as long as you boys don;t mind the clean-up and the clogged up air filters of course.

    Unforgettable memories.

    Back on the road an hour later during a stop, I had another encunter with a local. This little fellow can run pretty quick let me tell you. But not fast enough for my camera.

    We reached 'Middlegate' and an oasis of gas and beer.
    This picture was taken from inside a rusty old car.

    Middlegate is one of those places in the states where you meet interesting locals. The population is 17 according to the sign. Yet you have gas and a little motel. The motel could get very handy once you realize that the bar is serving beer for a buck fifty. Yes $1.50 for a beer.

    When on a trip I refuse to clean up my bike. It is an adventure and should show it. So here is some white dust from the lake matching my boots and bike.

    On day 4 it was time to get into Northern California after spending the night in Reno.
    BTW, if you ride down that way. while in Reno, look for Hwy 341 and go to Virginia City. You will thank me later. That road was used many times by 'Greg Lemond' during his training days. Don't worry if most of you don't know who Greg Lemond is. You are north americans so you have an excuse LOL.

  5. #4
    Slug 87 Array Slug87's Avatar
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    Part 4 and conclusion

    We wasted half a day at the local dealer to attend to our bikes then finally crossed into Northern Cali.

    Here we are atop Lassen Volcanic National park. The road was surprisingly opened.

    This is Helen lake on the west side of the Lassen peak (in the background).
    I went through there last year on my way to the MotoGP. I was surprised by the amount of snow this year especially the frozen lakes.

    On day 5 we had busy day.
    Some would complain of dizziness after a while.
    Many on this site know about Northern California twisties.

    Here is a sample. And the day was amazing as always. Roads to ourselves and no popo to spoil the fun. The secret ? Avoid 'Happy Camp' like the plague.

    We only stopped to take in the view when we were too tired of shifting.

    We then headed north for the last 3 days making as good progress as we could all the while avoiding I5.
    Here just North of Crater Lake.

    That is until we hit some road closures.

    Boys and girls it is official, America is out of cash.
    What a shocker. Roads in Oregon but even worth road around Mt St-Helens are all shutdown.
    Not only the pavement is falling in disrepair but the winter scares are showing everywhere. from pines needles to whole trees donw on the road to snow drifts, the roads are appalling.
    The locals all had the same explanation. No money to clean-up and open thoses roads.

    This is the sign north of Carson.
    This forced us into a 160 miles detour via I5.

    I did attempted alone to go to windy ridge.
    And that was the situation at the turn off.

    I am really disapointed about this, as it is now 3 years in a row that I try to get up there and for the first time the weather was on my side.

    The return trip was fairly uneventful and pretty straightforward. I rolled back home on the Sunday Lunch. And yes it took me a good part of the afternoon to clean up the bike.

    Thanks for reading.

    This is my last ride report for this year riding season in Canada.
    I am posting this report from my birthplace in the middle of France.
    I quit my job a few days before this ride, and in about 48 hours I will pick up a bike at the local dealer. My plan is to ride around Europe for a few months using my folks home as a base. I should be back in Vancouver in early December to look for a new job/career.
    So I will try to bore you with some European ride reports as time goes.

  6. #5
    Registered User Array GerMan's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
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    97 Thunderace (sold!), 91 F2 track bike, 04 600RR track bike
    Great photos.
    I'm jealous.
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

  7. #6
    Moderator Array CoolDaddyGroove's Avatar
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    Avoid Happy Camp, CA? That place had the best pizza we ever had, and the ride into it and out of it along 95 and 299 was a highlight of our trip.

  8. #7
    Registered User Array savagebovine's Avatar
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    New Westminster
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    awesome report.

  9. #8
    Mortgage Pimp Array J_Scott's Avatar
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    Whistler, BC
    I'm just here for the intelligent conversation.
    Thanks again for the awesome report Bruno. Looking forward to the Europe pics. A couple of questions for you, which roads were closed (other than the ones pictured) and what bike are you picking up in Europe?

    If you're still there when I head over I'll definitely look you up!

  10. #9
    Slug 87 Array Slug87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolDaddyGroove View Post
    Avoid Happy Camp, CA? That place had the best pizza we ever had, and the ride into it and out of it along 95 and 299 was a highlight of our trip.
    Eh Happy camp is one of the Must do destinations.
    However I am really nervous with the tax collectors.
    Last September I had one on my tail for half an hour.

    So I prefer tighter roads anyway. And the happy camp roads are too wide and too straight for the region in my taste.

    On a sport bike, some of the tighter road I love would be torture. We could call them Goat trail especially one.
    So off course the one to and from happy camp are perfect.

    You mean Hwy96 not Hwy95

    Hwy 96 runing along the river back to I5 is awesome.
    But personally I prefer most of the side roads connecting to it.

    For eg:
    Try Etna to Forks of Salmon
    Callahan to Cecilville then carry on to forks of salmon
    Forks of salmon to Hwy96 straight west south of happy camp.
    The best pavement in the area, and the perfcetly banked corners.

  11. #10
    Slug 87 Array Slug87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Scott View Post
    Thanks again for the awesome report Bruno. Looking forward to the Europe pics. A couple of questions for you, which roads were closed (other than the ones pictured) and what bike are you picking up in Europe?

    If you're still there when I head over I'll definitely look you up!
    road closed in oregon:
    Rainbow to westfir.
    That is the road connecting the mackenzie river valley east of Eugene and going south.
    That road has really tight corner once you reach the top of the dam and along the lake. Then after that it is a roller coaster ride to the pass where the snow was. Then it becomes pretty straight for a while, before another series of twisties under the trees and about 5 miles of longer stretch which leads you to the Covered bridge in westfir. I think you could see some pictures of that on my previous reports.

    I am here till December 10 that is when My airplane ticket is booked for.

    New bike ?

    I got a used fire truck with 865Km on the odo.

    Yes that is an 08 with all options except the short 1st gear.
    Full system case. etc.
    It is going to be a handful on the tiny roads around my grand ma village.
    I have a hard time with my mum car already.
    Canada is spoiled with space I tell you.
    It would be fun to take a hundred Vancouver drivers and let them loose around here.

    Let me know your plans.

    Mike J is hoping to come down with his Monster.
    Going to a MotoGP and Visit ducati together would be fun.

  12. #11
    fat old bastard Array mess's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
    beside Dizzy
    Big fat 1400cc pig XR650Rtard
    Great pics,I know that area well.
    I rode my XX on the same salt pan for a while.it is like concrete,any sport bike can manage.
    Unfortunately i also ran out of gas about 2 miles from Denio Junction Oregon riding North from Winnemucca.
    I ended up pushing my Blackbird in 100 degree heat to the station

  13. #12
    Newbie Poser Squid Array bafflebrain's Avatar
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    Aug 2003
    here and there
    bad, m'kay?
    Enjoy some time off in France Bruno. Its too bad I did get a chance to hook up the last time. 2009 it will be.
    "It's not my fault your slow!"

  14. #13
    Registered User Array
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    Mar 2006
    not downtown
    awesome pics!

  15. #14
    Registered User Array rememberFace's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    07 Speed Triple
    looked like fun...fine photography too. super wide lenses.
    I'm looking forward to your trips in Europe...want to ride there myself some day.

  16. #15
    is 40 Array mooove_over's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
    2006 ninja ZX-6R
    wow unbelievable pics and a great report....well done! Too bad about mount st helens...im glad i had the opportunity to hit those roads last summer. The forest road from carson to randle is easily the best road ive ever been on and deserted escept for the 7 elk (or deer) that i came across that were in the road
    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

    -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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