Saturday, July 17, 2010

Great Basin National Park.

I took the opportunity of being staff for the Wild Wild West rally to go visit the Great Basin National Park in Nevada. This is a small but beautiful park, which is vastly under-rated and doesn't get much visitors. I hope to visit here again soon, because there is a lot that I missed at the park. The story of this journey narrates below.

I went to Ely to assist with the Wild Wild West Rally. Brian thought I would be a good pair of eyes for bonus picture approval and possibly scoring, since I had already seen much of the bonus locations and because he had drilled the rally and scoring format into me over the past few times I visited him.

I started on Friday morning, the eve of the Rally. I wanted to get there before the Nevada heat turned unbearable, so I got a half hour before sunrise start.

I took Hwy 50 to Mormon Emigrant Trail to Hwy 88 over Carson pass, through Markleeville and over Monitor Pass into Nevada.

I always love riding through Smith Valley in Nevada, besides having the initials (SV) of my other beloved bike - I think it is very pretty through here. Today there was a fire somewhere on the horizon...

I headed towards Middlegate to my favorite Breakfast stop. I was expecting it to start heating up but fornutately there was a weather system moving through and I had some shelter from the brutal Nevada desert sun!

What happens at Ely party central, stays in Ely party central (until RenoJohn spills the beans) :^), but the next day after the riders were off on their fun 32 hour rally, I went for a little ride to Great Basin National Park.
When I left Ely, it was almost noon and the sun was getting strong and it was getting hot, however just a few miles from the park, it was like monsoon season. It rained on me hard on the way to the park. It was nice to cool off!

I got to Baker, NV and stopped at the Ranger's station where this cute lady Ranger behind the Information desk convinced me that I need to do some hiking. Hmm, I wasn't planning on it and didn't bring my hiking shoes, but what the heck - I will go!

I took the scenic drive up to Wheeler Peak and caught the first glimpses of Wheeler Peak driving up this fun twisty road. It was still raining on and off at this point, so the camera stayed mostly under covers...

The views looking back were also very pretty.

The great thing about Great Basin National Park (and Crater Lake National Park, although the secret is out on that one, I am seeing more and more ride reports to Crater Lake on the forums - you peeps need to stay away! assassin.gif) is the lack of maddening crowds. I admit I do not like crowds, one of the reasons I shy away from going into Yosemite in peak tourist season. I guess I am not much of a (lot of) people person.

At the beginning of the hiking trail...see no people just me and mother Nature - I love it!

3 miles up to the Glaciers and back with a climb of 1200 feet in my riding boots - I am a sucker for punishment.

Not the most friendly terrain to walk in your motorcycle boots - but I still loved every minute of it. It was going to get picture heavy here (but I paid the price for it later).

Took the short detour to Teresa Lake

This is actually another hike loop, but I didn't do this one.

...and like I said I paid the price for getting too trigger happy too early with the camera - I had not been paying attention and the damn camera battery died before I got to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine grove and the spare was on the bike. @#$%!!!

The hike was very worth the vistas and the Ancient Bristlecone Pines are a gorgeously eerie sight, something right out of a strange dream of the sleepy hollow variety! If you ever get a chance to go to Great Basin National Park - DONT!! Stay away and don't tell your friends either lest they come here trampling... assassin.gif

Once I was back from the hike, I replaced the battery in the camera and headed back towards Ely, but on the drive down the mountain I stopped to take more pictures...

Wheeler peak is a gorgeous sight and deserves lots of camera exposures from a lots of different angles, so please bear with me (one of these days I will learn how to pick and choose which pictures to post, well, actually I kinda did as I took a whole lot more pictures than I am posting, besides are you really reading this or are you just here for the pictures anyway?)...

The storm was still raging in the distance, although it seems it had moved away from the portion of the highway I was going to take to head back to Ely.

Looks clear in that direction, but I am not heading that way...

One last look at Wheeler Peak...

Racing back to Ely.

This rider on a BMW was hanging behind me, sorry buddy BMW's can't pass an FJR...

Back at Rally Central. Parked next to Dad...

Once again refer to RenoJohn's fine reporting of the after Rally festivities, I get camera envy around guys like Sadlesor and RenoJohn's mega lenses and don't do much exposures with my compact point and shoot... rolleyes.gif

The morning after the festivities - Brian and I decided to head back to Fernley and hang out for the day at his place. We met for Breakfast and then decided to meet again in Middlegate for Lunch (the best Western Burger I have ever had in my life, pics will not do it justice. You will just have to go there and order one!)

Breakfast was nothing special - just your usual heart attack special.

The ride back was fun. I got a reminder that this is indeed still the Wild Wild West out here. I saw these Cattle Ranchers on the side of the road. I slowed down to wave as I rode past - the girl up front was smiling and kind of cute! The cowboy in the back gave me the stink eye...

Whoa! I had been goofing around too much and Brian caught up to me...

I took the Hwy 722 alternate to Middlegate for lunch and then to Fernley for Beer, dinner and the movies.....

Parting comment for the ride report was on Hwy 722 alternate....

"Yea! - run away now buddy, but someday you would make a tasty burger!"


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