Day 10: Eureka, NV to Battle Mountain, NV

Sunday 9/18

We woke up to a cold morning — the digital thermometer read 42 degrees, which was the coldest night we’ve had so far. The wind was blowing so it felt like we were in the 30s. I put on everything I could and drank my coffee inside the tent.

We rode for less than an hour and arrived in Eureka, where we got gas. Just across from the station was the Eureka Fire Department. For a county that has less than 2,000 people, they must be waiting for a mine to blow up. Seven awesome doors!

Trying to get out of Eureka was a little problematic. Sam’s route led us right to Ruby Hill mine, where a newish looking gate and a very clean sign told us not to trespass (remember, my maps are from 2008). With the price of gold running up to $1900 per ounce, I’ll hazard a guess that just about every inch of the property was abuzz with digging, stripping, hauling, crushing, and processing, so that an adventure rider wandering onto the property would probably get accidentally scooped up into a loader and deposited into a processing machine. A year down the road somebody’s mom getting a gold bauble from Kay’s Jewelers will be wondering what the jagged little piece of metal in the design was…um, it’s a piece of a DRZ footpeg…

Even our other option — the road that ran along their fence line — had been rendered unfriendly for travel. The message was clear: Go away.

We switched to Ken’s route and found ourselves at the gate of another mine. Although there was a sign that said all visitors had to check in at the office, a) we didn’t know where the office was, and b) we weren’t visiting — just passing through. Semantics? Perhaps, but the place looked abandoned and if there was someone who gave a sh!t, they weren’t in range to convey that to us. Ever mindful, we closed the gate after we went through.

After getting through Eureka — Native American for “Too Many Mines” — we rode for hours through a variety of terrain.

One of my least favorite flavors of dirt is silt because when you crash in it, it becomes the gift that keeps on giving.

My front wheel snagged left and before I knew it I was tossed off the bike. The brown powder was everywhere: in my helmet, in my pants, in my jacket. It was even stuffed into my pockets, which was sad because that’s where I carried my toothbrush.

My teeth are crap — I started the trip missing a molar and a pre-molar — so it was always in my pocket and ready for duty after every snack. I’d continue to use it, but not until I ran it under scalding water for a minute.

The bonus gift of the crash was that Wayne was riding to my left and couldn’t avoid me. As I was falling I heard a loud CLUNK and felt my head jerk. I ended up with my face buried into the silt. I immediately got up to my knees so Wayne could see that I was conscious. I was glad not to be hurt, but I was incredibly bummed that I was now so filthy. I know it’s every dirtbiker’s fate to get dirty, but it’s different to get powdered — there’s an invasive insult to it.

We picked up the bike and figured it was a good time to take a break. I’m not sure why, but I thought I had hit his swingarm on the way down since it seemed like I had been falling for a while before I was clunked. Wayne said my head actually connected with his handguard, which surprised me. I guess the mind isn’t all that great at trying to dissect events taking place over a few seconds.

The rest of the day went on without drama. Here is Simon enjoying an in-flight refreshment.

When we pulled into Battle Mountain we found an RV park that didn’t have camp sites, but the owner was willing to let us pitch our tent behind a building on the property. We would’ve gone for it if there were showers, but he said they wouldn’t be in until next week. With the day’s silt assault I was in desperate need of a shower so we ended up at the pet friendly Big Chief Motel.

————

Day 10 overview: 142 miles

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  1. I am so glad you are a blogger, this way I can enjoy the TAT without getting silty. Seriously, I think in 2008 I would have been fine on this trip but just three years later, crotchety old grandma-ness has set in (more fully, just to clarify) and I don’t ever want to camp again.

      • piratemonkeycult
      • October 17th, 2011

      Many times on the trip I wondered how the four of us would’ve done. I think we could’ve finished if the Huskies we were going to ride held together long enough.

      I’m not sure which was worse: camping or dragging all the junk off the bike into a motel room. They were both time consuming. If I had a motel, I’d have rooms with cement floors so motorcyclists could park their bikes inside the room.

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