Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bonus Scouting in Nevada for the Wild Wild West Rally.

The Wild Wild West rally was a 32 hour endurance motorcycle rally organized by my friends Brian "Kirill" R. and Dale "Warchild" Wilson.

The rally was almost an year in the making. I remember sitting with Brian R. and Dale as we were brainstorming ways to make the rally a truly unique format, something which had not been done before in the endurance rally world. Suddenly I blurted out - "Why not make them pretend they are cowboys in the wild west and make them live out a lifetime in the west in 32 hours or less". I had no idea at the time of speaking what the evil rally genius in Brian's mind was going to do with this idea and the puzzle he would create to torment the riders with..

The rally format would essentially make the rally participants (riders), virtually endure a life in the Wild West. They would earn money by visiting certain bonus locations (such as mines, casinos and historic bank and train robbery sites). They would spend money by visiting other bonus locations (such as whorehouses, historic battle grounds etc). At the end of the rally - their virtual life in the Wild West would come to an end and the tax man would tally up their earnings and their expenditure - the idea being to crown the rider who earnt the most and also ended his virtual Wild West life spending the last penny he ever earnt - or as close to that ideal as possible..

Not all bonus locations are cataloged in this ride report. There were over 86 bonus locations for this rally, so I picked and chose the ones that I found interesting. It is left as an exercise to the reader to determine which bonus locations fell into which category.. :)

DAY 1:

We pulled the bikes out for an "early" start. What is it light out already? Blame it on the alarm clock!
We decided to get riding first and have breakfast somewhere along the way (we were already thinking about "where").. :)

Here is Brian fueling up to mix fresh gas with a couple of months old gas! He had been busy and had not been riding much since his cross country run to Jacksonville, Florida and then to Michigan before coming back home to Nevada.
Brian didn't do the stretching exercises recommended by the gas station. "Loosen up while you fill up". Maybe if we were driving a car...

On our way towards Fallon.

First stop of the day was Sand Mountain to bag our first bonus of the day.

This dirt road leading to Sand Mountain was super bumpy and almost killed my Satellite Radio (almost) - the first of many troubles to plague me that day.

Some pics of the Pony Express station at Sand Mountain.

Of course there was a fly-by for the King of Fernley.

Some wildlife was in attendance too. It was very well camouflaged.

Dirt bikes on the mountain...

Breakfast time! Middlegate, my favorite Breakfast and Lunch stop in Nevada!

Nice TV! :^)

Good eatin' (best of the trip) in the middle of nowhere.

After breakfast we stopped by the shoe tree near Middlegate.

I would slow down to take pictures and Brian would get lost in the horizon... then I would take my time catching up, this went on all day long...

We bagged a few more bonuses along the way, but this bonus location had a great backdrop.

Somewhere after this point I think - the satellite radio antenna came loose and went flying (but was still tethered by the antenna cord), the mounting nut went flying too after it but I caught it in mid-air.

On our way to Eureka...

Stopped in Eureka for a bit. I needed Gas, Brian didn't.

On our way to Ely, would have lost him in the horizon again if it weren't for the car...

Sorry no pics of the whorehouses, but we had lunch at the local Subway and there was some good "scenery" (not local).

We were headed towards the Utah border. Brian didn't run away this time.

Up closer..

We are in Utah (time to find me a couple of wives!). Did see one prospect at the subway in Ely with some very nice Hootah's. Brian approved!

We had been screwing around too much and the day was getting long in the tooth, the shadows were getting long too...

We had one last stop to make at Mountain Meadows where the Mormons massacred a group of Pilgrims. This place gave me the Jeebies...

We took the dirt road to the memorial.

Even though they perished horribly some of them live on through their descendants.

It was eerie to know that the massacred occurred in the meadow over there.

Destination of the day St. George Motel 6. About 637 miles this day the last 45 minutes or so in the dark, where I got to compare the headlight output from Brian's supremely farkled ST to my OSRAM Nightbreaker equipped FJR. Needless to say there wasn't much of a competition there, I felt like I didn't even have my headlights switched on! Although Brian later commented that if felt like I had my brights on all the time ( I didn't I was running low beams all day), so it seems those Nightbreakers do put out much more light than the Stock lights. However, nowhere near enough to make me feel comfortable with night riding.

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant somewhat like Chipotle, it was all right. No more pictures till the next morning, hung out with Brian as he smoked his Cigar and unwinded for the day. We had lost an hour coming into the Mountain time zone in Utah, it was later than we felt it was, I went to bed at about 11PM, we were planning an easy start at 8AM mountain time the next day.

DAY 2:
Kick stands up 8:09AM (Mountain time) on day 2, with a lot of ribbing by Brian for being 9 minutes late
It was supposed to get over a 100 degrees that day in that area and Brian wanted to get out of that area as soon as we could. Which meant skipping Breakfast at the regular time, I had to make do with 2 energy bars to hold me up till we could get back into the cooler parts of Nevada where we planned to stop for a very late breakfast.

We raced out down I-15 South towards AZ.

It was beautiful riding through Virgin River Canyon. I loved taking pictures riding between the Canyon walls into Arizona.

Made our way back into Nevada and then through the Moapa Valley to the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. It was still early enough in the day but it was getting hot very fast. However, it was gorgeous riding through the State Park. The fiery and very interesting red rock formations were a great contrast to the landscape in the background and was localized to this small area or "Valley".


Found our way to the E.T. Highway! Area 51 to our left as we rode west! No Alien sightings, or abductions! Not that we can remember anyway!

Alien Cowpoke?

Aliens did it. I am sure!

We had a very late breakfast at the Little "Ale" Inn. I thought it was funny, I am easily amused. Although the food was nothing to write home about.

Made our way to Tonopah through some typical Nevada scenery, battling 40-50 mph winds! Who says you can't lean over and still go in a straight line?

We made it to the California border and headed towards Benton Springs, CA. I believe that is Boundary Peak over there.

Rode around Benton Springs, looking for a grave site, but couldn't find it. There is an Indian Reservation near Benton Springs and we didn't want to hang around there for too long. The Indian Office directed us to the Benton Springs B&B for more info about the possible grave site.

The very little town of Benton Springs was across the pond from the Indian Reservation.

Stopped at this Bed & Breakfast which also owns the graveyard (it is on their property) we were looking for. The nice lady we talked to said her great grandfather had bought the whole town of Benton Springs and the family still lives here and they run a quaint little B&B.

We found a beautiful road out of Benton Springs (Benton Crossing Road) which led us through some fantastic sceneries to Hwy 395 south of Mammoth Lakes. I wish my camera could have captured what my eyes were seeing. The sceneries were incredible! Much better than what my point and shoot camera could capture.

Up closer...

We reached Hwy 395 and headed towards Convict Lake, again more beautiful sceneries, the East side of the Sierra's are Granite heaven.

We reached Convict Lake and these guys wanted to race Brian...

Brian gave them a head start...

So, why is it called Convict Lake?

Jaw dropping sceneries! Such great views for a place with a name like Convict Lake...

Our destination for Day 2 was Bishop, CA, we headed south on Hwy 395 from Convict Lake towards Bishop, it was still nice temperatures for this time of the year. Brian was telling me it gets very hot here in the summer as it is still close to Death Valley, but we enjoyed great temperatures this day and the next.

We stayed at a nice hotel in Bishop. Detached rooms side by side with a reserved space to park our bikes right outside our room windows! The property had a lawn area and patio tables with umbrellas and chairs and it backed up to the City park. Brian and I had a nice time hanging out at the Patio tables at night, talking and savoring some delicious Apple Strudel that we had picked up earlier from Eric Schat's Bakery. Brian commented "This is like camping - only better!" 

Day 3:
We were in a more relaxed mood the next morning. This was going to be short riding day back home. I was hoping to ride Hwy 108 on my way home and really looking forward to the ride. I packed everything back up on the bike and was doing pre-ride checks when I had a nasty surprise...


I consulted the tire patching expert (Brian) and he had me check the air pressure, it was holding and it seemed like the nail had been in my tire for quite a few miles as it was grinding down along with the tire tread. We decided to leave it in there and for me to patch it when I got home, so we finished gearing up and got ready to head out.


It was a pleasant ride up Hwy 395, we wanted to stop in Lee Vining for breakfast.


Mono Lake is running very full this time of the year.


As we were leaving Lee Vining after Breakfast, I had the second not so good surprise of the day!


I considered heading back to Lee Vining and going through Yosemite, however the thought of dealing with 35 mph speed limits and throngs of tourists didn't palate well with me, so I decided to follow Brian through Bridgeport and into Smith Valley - where we parted ways. Brian waved off and headed home to Fernley, while I headed west back towards the Sierra's to California.


Topaz Lake is also full and looking pretty :)


I made my way towards one of my favorite passes to get to Fernley and back from Folsom - Monitor Pass...


It is always worth stopping and imbibing the great views from Monitor Pass. 



More Monitor Pass pictures...



...and then on to Hwy 88 for some spirited fun, with stops along the way here and there...
Everything is still green up here and pretty, plus the mountains are still snow capped.





Stopped at Carson Pass for some more photo ops...




Mormon Emigrant Trail was open and since I was in Utah earlier in the trip, I thought it would be fitting to cut across the Mormon Emigrant Trail back home, however, there was still a lot of snow alongside the road, but the road itself was more or less clear. 


Finally home...the hills are already turning Golden. 


The sky was pretty and it was a nice cool day in Folsom that day, it is however getting hotter each day - our first 100 degree day should be this Saturday :(

Thanks for reading, I am going to pull a George Lucas and post the prequel to this bonus hunting ride as you watch the credits of this bonus hunting show....


I took Old Historic Hwy 40 up to Truckee, with some good sceneries along the way...

Donner Ski Area...


Approaching Donner Lake.


What are those tunnels along the side of the mountain?


Donner Lake and the bridge. The road was also very fun!


View of the lake from the lookout...


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