Monday, October 25, 2010

Pony Express Trail in the rain

(EDITED TO ADD) DOH! I didn't think to include any history of the Pony Express Trail (PET) in my RR. Here is a couple of links if you are interested.

It's raining, my Adventure Touring machine (the Strom) is sitting in the garage, I'm sitting on the couch, and I have plenty of plastic gasoline in my wallet.... Time for a ride!

I like riding dirt, but the dust messes up my hyper-sensitive nose so usually have to avoid it. I mentioned before, it's raining, (thank-you Mother Nature). So I have a perfect opportunity to ride the Pony Express Trail sans dust! I head west for the PET section that goes from Faust, to the Nevada state line near Wendover.
Quick pic of the Great Salt Lake.

I gas up at Stockton. The Strom has a 5.7 gallon tank which, if I avoid taking to many side trips, will easily get me to Wendover via the PET.
Just past Stockton is this cool old house. It's not that far off the road, so motoring over for some pixs doesn't count as a side trip.

Guest lodging?

The 'Pantry".

Note the foundation; hand labor.

Onward to the PET.

Certainly no dust here....

PET marker.
No dust here...
Still no dust, but, the wind is very strong. It's coming from the south and it makes riding on a sloppy wet clay road a challenge. I have to maintain at least 30 to 40 mph to finish this ride and make it home by the time I want to be, but the wind keeps pushing the back of the bike to the north, so at times I'm 'crabbing' down the road. I have to wonder what riding through the mud, and the wind is doing to my mileage? "Pfffft" I think, I have plenty of gas!
Pretty much a dust free enviroment.

A bird watchers paradise! If you are a "birder" this is a great place to go. It is remote but with some patience not hard to get to. The road is usually reasonably smooth, however at times, and in some places can be quite washboardy.
There is a campground nearby, and an observation road that goes around the refuge that makes 'birding' easy.
Check, check, and check.
WINDY day!
Note the birds in the distance. As I was taking these pixs, they would spook, fly around and re -land lined up straight across the road. Hmm..strange.

I kept expecting to hear a deep voice saying, "YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS!" Followed by the crack of thunder...

But, the next time they went airborne I hurried past their domain...safely. Whew!
Lots of ponds at Fish Springs.


The entrance to the observation road/area. "While I'm here" I reason, "I really should do some birding...."
Another side trip, but worth it as I ride to the end of that paticular road, and backtrack to the entrance.
There are several very nice places to park and observe. Obviously this is not the best time of the year for birding but I still saw quite a few birds.

They were very skittish, as I would approach they would fly farther away...I was just needlessly stressing the birds and not getting close enough for good pixs so I left them alone and continued on my way.

Back on the PET, another marker. The roads are getting dryer, but as luck would have it I am, for the most part, alone so I'm still able to avoid a dusty ride.

Some of these cairns were without the PET plaque. What a sad commentary on our kind.
I ride through Callao, and stop for this pic as I'm leaving. On the way through this tiny town I made a friend who followed me until this turn off...

I was to preoccupied with watching the clouds to think of offering him a piece of the jerky in my tank bag, maybe next time.

Gold Hill. At the stop sign, I should turn left and head for pavement; Nevada SR alt93, but then the way straight ahead looks interesting...hmmmm. I have enough ("enough" being a reletive term) gas, so I go straight.

The road starts to narrow, and looking less and less used, but I figure I'm going in the right direction, northwest-ish if I go far enough I will have to run into either I-80 or Nevada Sr 93.
Uhhhh ohhhhh the road continues to deteriorate, and continues to go on and on. By now the very narrow almost single track road/trail starts to turn southwest-ish, away from where I want to go.... oh well, to late to turn back now because gas is starting to become an issue. Besides, I don't want to go back through the miles of deep talcum like powder I had just ridden through. I start to consider ignoring the road/trail and turning straight into the sun and exercising my off road skills in an effort to reach the sanctuary of pavement. But then I see a flash of movement in the distance and hit the brakes to scan the horizon. Yep, I get a quick glimpse again...the top of an SUV moving fairly fast, they must be on a good road to go that speed. 15 or 20 minutes later, I come upon that much smoother, and wider, dirt road. Haha I think, and look back laughingly at the goat road I just exited. But then I realize the new road I'm on is the one I would have been on had I taken the left at the Gold Hill stop sign! The smile disappears from my face.
I still have enough gas to make Wendover easily. Now that I'm close to pavement, I stop to fluff up the tires.

Rear. And take this pic on the way out. I have about 35 miles to reach Wendover.
Just before dusk I make it to Wendover to get gas and my bike has about 3/4 of a gallon to spare. Why do I worry so?!?
I see a UHP warning sign that says "Winds 40 to 50 mph on I-80" hooo boy..I jump (cautiously step?) on I-80 for the very windy and very dark ride home.
370 miles total, 150 or so on the dirt.
Life IS good!


Raftnn said...

WHat a great ride, and in the true spirit of motorcycling. I love history and I would have found such a trek fascinating.

Ken said...

Trade the Sprint for a Tiger and c'mon over (just a short 12 hour plane ride....) and I'll give you a guided tour!

bluekat said...

Awesome ride and pics! I've rarely done 150 miles on pavement, let alone on dirt, er mud. It looks like a nice lonely area. I like that!

BeemerGirl said...

Such a sweet day! I wasn't aware the PET was there. That seems like a great road to explore proof by your "old structure" pics.

Ever thought about strapping a small gas can to that? :)

Ken said...

bluekat, lonely is right..and quiet. It's great to stop for a bite and not hear anything..then I remember to take out my earplugs, but still....

BeemerGirl, take extra gas? That would require forethought! Besides, I have pleeeeenty of gas.... :)

genecross said...

Some really beautiful country.

Brady said...

crabbing is one of my favorite terms, thank you for using it. The more blogs I check out, the more places there are I need to go. I want to see some of these things myself. Nice photos.

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