(Start at the beginning: GS Nevada Dual-Sport Tour: Day 1)
Mark has been grumbling a bit, not enjoying the evening dashes on bad roads to marginal camp sites or some of the more exploratory routes we’ve taken on our BMW GS Nevada dual-sport tour. This morning he announces he’ll start his return trip, but not before we ride up Lamoille Canyon to Road’s End. The views are straight out of Yosemite – green forests, a clear stream and glacially-carved granite peaks rising to over 11,000 feet. Who knew Nevada could look like this?
After a stop for oil in Spring Creek we part company, Mark rolling west while three of us take a wandering route to Wells. Main Street has the dry, dusted up look of a desert town on its heels, but the pool hall/diner we dive into for lunch is a hub of activity. Locals give us the eye as we walk in, stashing our gear back by the juke box, but the service is friendly and the sandwiches delicious. The committee is smaller now and there’s no chance of a tie vote when we check the map. The decision is unanimous – ride north.
Picking our way through a maze of trashy roads on the outskirts of town is tedious, but we’re soon into rolling hills covered in short, gray grass. It’s big, empty country out here and the road takes us over hill and dale at a good clip. All we see in the first hour are several pronghorn and one pickup truck.
A missed turn takes us up a challenging road to spice up the afternoon. The error works in our favor, but not before I ride into a rut and miss the easy way out. My next chance is a more difficult approach and marks the first time the F800GS spits me off. The front wheel pops out like a champagne cork, but the rear can’t find traction. The tire spins, the back end kicks out, and the bike lays down for a nap with its tires pointing uphill.
I packed light, the Giant Loop way, but lifting the bike from its awkward angle is too much for this tired rider. I could drag it around, but why bother when my friends will be back in a minute or two…or twenty. Once they miss me they start walking back. Realizing that it could be a long walk, they return to their bikes and retrace their route. C’mon guys, I could be dying down here while you’re diddling around! But I’m not – I stepped off without hitting the ground. And once the bike is up the only damage is scuff marks on my Barkbusters and engine guard. The Great Basin saddlebag kept the rear plastic off the ground and got a little dirty for its effort.
We’re off again and soon stumble onto our best camp yet (and it’s still daylight!) at Wildcat ranger station. The small A-frame is locked for the season, but the deck, fenced yard and picnic table are ours to enjoy. Other nearby cabins and out buildings are returning to the forest, with saplings sprouting through the floor boards and siding falling off to rot on the ground. Fresh spring water is a short walk through the understory. Jim and I set our freestanding tents on the deck while Roger drives pegs into a flat piece of cow pat-free ground. Dinner is pasta dressed up with olive oil, chicken, sautéed onions and garlic – and wine to wash it down with. Dishes done, we sip single malt and melt into the night.
Continue reading: GS Nevada Dual-Sport Tour: Day 7