(Start at the beginning: GS Nevada Dual-Sport Tour: Day 1)
Seven days into our nine-day BMW GS Nevada dual-sport tour we start to think about heading home – but not before riding farther north. Jarbidge is one of those dots on a map that piques interest because it’s the only dot for many, many miles. You just know that something that remote has to be interesting. We make our way back to the main road, cross Mary’s River and head for “town.” We’ve heard there’s gas there, and hope we heard right. This is gorgeous country, well worth the ride. We follow the Bruneau River into the mountains and climb past forests and meadows to find vast panoramas of rugged country laid out below us. A lone sheep grazes near the edge of a small lake. Brave soul, as this looks like wolf country.
Jarbidge, which had its heyday early in the last century as a gold mining town, has a single dirt road down the middle and a 10mph speed limit to keep down the dust. There’s not a lot here, but it’s the only town we’ll see today and it suits our needs. The gas station/gift shop has a phone number posted. We call from a nearby pay phone and an ATV-mounted attendant arrives within minutes to unlock the pump. Down the street is the Outdoor Inn, where they’re happy to serve me breakfast in the afternoon while Jim and Roger wolf down hamburgers. On our way out of town we replenish our mobile larder from the sparse shelves at the Trading Post – looks like we’ll make do with soup for dinner tonight.
The road follows a river out of town then climbs steeply in rocky switchbacks. I spy something red in the road – Jim has lost a stove fuel bottle off the back of his Jesse bag. Dammit – that’s the one I loaned him! New dents give it little more character and a little less capacity. I catch the boys on top of a plateau, where we survey a landscape of brown grass and lava outcroppings. It reminds me of Hell’s Canyon country, and no wonder – we’re just a few miles from the Idaho border. We enjoy the scenery change as we motor down a ratty road that leads through the wide open spaces.
Turning south, we cross the Bruneau and take a break to dump cool river water over our heads. We’ve ridden all day every day since we left home and the exertion is catching up with us. Moving on, the road leads us through a narrow, twisting chasm. A badger darts into the road, considers the odds, and retreats. It’s a good day for animal sightings: besides the badger we spot pronghorn, grouse, quail, a rattlesnake and the ubiquitous daredevil rabbits careening across the road. Another twenty miles and Jim leads us into a campground set in an aspen grove. Finding it empty, we pick an extra large site and unpack. Then it’s tea time, followed by dinner and star gazing. We lay on the picnic tables in the complete darkness of a moonless night and peer through the aspen leaves. Jim counts down the time until the Space Station will whiz by overhead. We watch, wait – and there it goes, a bright streak of silver that fades quickly. So do we.
Continue reading: GS Nevada Dual-Sport Tour: Day 8