GS Nevada Dual-Sport Tour: Day 8

(Start at the beginning: GS Nevada Dual-Sport Tour: Day 1)

BMW F 800 GSUp early, we’re on the road after a quick cup of Java. Growling stomachs urge us on as we start the last day of our BMW GS Nevada dual-sport tour. At Wild Horse Reservoir we turn onto Nevada 225 for an hour’s blast to Elko and breakfast. First impression of Elko: too much traffic. Second: we picked a good restaurant. Tanked up, we burn knobs on I-80 for too many miles to Battle Mountain, then strike south on a 100 miles of gravel road. We blaze along the base of the Stillwater Mountains, enjoying the speed.

Once again on pavement, we shoot south on Nevada 121, then jog west on US 50 towards Fallon. But Jim has an agenda and drags us onto a dirt detour to find the remains of Project Shoal, the site of an underground nuclear blast in 1963. After making a few U-turns we find the monument, but Roger and I are too hot and hungry to be impressed.

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Project Shoal
Project Shoal

Air conditioning has seldom felt better than it does when we drag ourselves into a large restaurant. A savvy host seats the three of us and our gear in a corner booth for six before hurrying off for a pitcher of iced tea. We could stay here the rest of the day, but our plan (yes, we have one!) is to spend the night in Bridgeport. So we ride… and ride. South of Hawthorne we take our last dirt road, this one leading over Jolly Boy Pass. The light fades quickly when the sun drops behind the Sierra Nevada and we’re soon running 40 miles of washboard in the dark. I’ll bet it’s pretty in the sunlight – we’re following a creek and make several water crossings.

We hit pavement and enjoy some nice turns, but deer fever takes hold and I slow a bit. Closer to Bridgeport, there are more cars and less passing. Love it though I do, I can’t wait to get off this motorcycle. Soon we’re on the main street of town, seeing No Vacancy signs at every motel, hotel and lodge…except one. The Clampers (members of E. Clampus Vitus) are in town for a convention, and inside it’s chaos. We finally score two “cowboy” rooms – beds only, bathroom down the hall – and move in. I have the solo room and there’s barely space for my Great Basin, Kermit chair, helmet, riding suit and tank bag, let alone the stuff I unpack. Our priorities are showers, beers and food, and we dispatch them in that order. The hotel restaurant is fancier than we are, but we wear our cleanest clothes for the occasion and our shower-wet hair makes us look partially civilized.

Monitor Valley
Monitor Valley

The waitress catches us by the back door after dinner as we head over to check on the bikes. She offers us a barely touched bottle of wine (apparently the staff has enough for a good party already), which we’re not too proud to accept. We share it at a picnic table on the hotel lawn, reliving our adventures before turning in for the long slog home tomorrow. That’s the way we’ll leave it, sitting outdoors with old friends on a lovely evening as the good, bad and fantastic parts of the trip run through our minds and out of our mouths. So, where to next year?

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