Day 9: Battle Mountain to Baker

Nevada in a nutshell:  Large, bland and highly irritating.

The tracks I was following either took you on to some very suspect land or through some truly miserable terrain.  Reports from riders coming the other direction about the last 3 legs of Nevada trail weren’t great.  They kept talking about locked gates and non-existent tracks; worst of all, the scenic trail alternative went right on to property of active gold mine. Apparently, the mine owners had grown tired of bikes accidentally coming through and started pressing charges against anyone coming onto the property.

I decided to take the road the 300 miles to Baker, NV.  I really didn’t enjoy the idea of running my tires on the road for another 300 miles, but the complications on the trail were something I didn’t want to deal with.  On top of that the tracks spent significantly more time on the road than they have to this point.  It looked like these final legs may have close to 40% road riding anyway; I figured worst case I’d get to take another scenic drive through a western state and finally get to see something.

I packed the bike with my newly lighten panniers; which just by loading I could tell were going to be much better.  Everything has it’s place on the bike which meant awkwardly holding the bag of clothes I’d packed and tripod while I road the 2 miles to the post office.

The terror in the eyes of the lady behind the counter at the post office was legendary.  I’d walked through the door wearing bulky, dusty motorcycle gear with my crazy person hair and a suspicious looking package.  Having just spent days in the desert I looked like a character out of Mad Max.  This prompted me to immediately tell her I needed to ship home some clothes and ask if they had boxes.  The terror subsided and she pointed me towards the boxes.  Total cost: $40, for shipping and a box. Oh and I even had to buy the packing tape… Rip off.

With that taken care of I hit the 305 south, passing the sheriff on my way out of town.  There was nothing in front of me for 160 miles; 87 miles to U.S. Route 50 then 73 miles to Eureka, NV where I figured I’d grab gas.  Which reminded me, about 10 miles down the road, I hadn’t gotten gas… I wouldn’t make it to Eureka on what I had. I turned around, rode back down past the sheriff, grabbed gas and then back past the sheriff one last time.  She’d looked at me funny all 3 times so I was expecting a pull over that never came.

The rest of the day was uneventful.  U.S. Route 50 isn’t particularly scenic either these signs actually exist on it:

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Indeed it was, but I snapped these regardless:

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I was making good time until I was stopped for 20 or 30 minutes for construction.  Which would have been bad enough except it was 90 degrees and there were bees just hanging out around me.  I swear I am a bee magnet…

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I camped at another RV park in Baker for the night.  Baker, NV is on the border of Nevada and Utah and is located just outside Great Basin National Park.  I’d planned to cross over into Utah the next morning. I’d hoped to get an early start since I was going to lose an hour when I crossed the time change from Pacific to Mountain time.

Again as it has been with most of my experiences in RV Parks people come up and ask the usual questions. Where are you from?  Where are you heading?  Off-road? Really?

I met a guy from California, Blaine, who was walking his wife’s dog around the park who had recently sold his KTM 450 because he was nervous of getting hurt at his age; 67.  He asked about the trip. I told him and he was blown away.  We got on the subject of riding in Nevada. His verdict: awful.

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I decided to grab real food.  My camping meals have basically consisted of a can of soup since there usually isn’t anything around. I grabbed a burger at a real cool hippie place; no Heinz though.  I don’t actually care but I figured those back home in Pittsburgh would get a kick out of it:

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What is Western Family though?  301 miles…

 

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