Friday 13th November
Battle Mountain, NV to Paradise Valley, NV
Not only was the breakfast free in the morning, it was absolutely massive! It was well over a day’s worth of calories in one meal, and was a sure fire way to an expanding waistline. Still, we managed to battle our way through it, and left Battle Mountain a few pounds heavier.
We rode through town, fuelled up and then made our way along a long graded gravel trail with horrendous corrugations. I was riding along thinking that it was just as bad as the road last night, when Ed pulled over to confess that he’d lost his bearings and had taken us five miles in the wrong direction, back from where we’d come from. No wonder it reminded me of the road the night before, it WAS the road from the night before.
I couldn’t get annoyed at him as I was reluctant to ride in front and navigate, so we happily turned around and went back the way we came, eventually finding the road we should have taken literally opposite the Owl Casino where we’d been staying.
We got on to a long and easy fast graded gravel road, surrounded by pretty pale green grassland with mountains in the distance. Sometimes the scenery doesn’t have to be spectacular to really enjoy it. Like on this occasion, it was nothing special per say, but the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the green and white grassland stretching out as far as the eye could see was a delight to my eyes; everything was so soft and calming.
Thinking that we were going to eat up the miles today, the trail turned off in to scrub and dirt and I was quickly eating my words instead of the miles.
It was pretty bumpy due to the bastard bushes, and was slow going as the trail got tighter and the bushes closed in on me. I tried standing up to see if I was able to go any faster without it punishing my back, but it wasn’t any better so I returned back to a seated position, and slowly bumped my way along.
Looking at the trail you would have thought that it would be fine, but it was amazing what effect the smallest shrub or bush could have on the trike. And due to the width of it and the width of the trail, it was impossible to pick a route that was flat and obstacle free.
It was quite warm as the tiny movements created heat and the sun shone on our backs, and after going through several gates we left the scrubland and got on to a wider dirt road, much to my delight.
I loved the scenery from there. Grassland morphed in to soft gentle rolling hills, which in turn morphed in to snow dusted mountains. It was the colour of the hills that I loved; it was such a soft pale green, verging on white.
We continued riding at a decent pace, enjoying the lack of bushes on the trail, before we came to a rather tricky obstacle.
We had a water crossing to tackle, and after searching all around for a different way over, we soon came to the realisation that we were going to have to build some sort of bridge. You could see where other riders had tried to make them further up along, but as trees and bushes had come down making it impossible to get through with the bikes, we only had one place where we could cross.
It was quite wide and a foot deep and simply blasting straight through it just wasn’t an option, so we started gathering wood to fill the hole and make a bridge. We found some pallets along with some long planks of wood, and Ed balanced them precariously on top of each other as best he could, creating a ‘floating’ bridge.
It wasn’t the most stable of things, and as he slowly rode on to it with muddy slippery tyres, it started to sink. It was pretty sketchy, but he had no other option than to hit the gas and hope for the best.
After saying our favourite line ‘What’s the worst that can happen?!’ he opened the throttle and blasted over the wood, successfully reaching the other side before his bike cut out.
It didn’t want to start, but after shaking out the spark plug cap she finally fired in to life, before dying again. This happened several times, until he finally managed to get her up the bank and on to flat dry land.
Next it was my turn. I would have loved to have jumped on the trike and gone flying over the ‘bridge’ without a care in the world, but I was well aware that if it happened to tip I could be soaking wet and freezing cold, or possibly worse, trapped under the trike.
Thankfully my hero came to the rescue, and after putting another plank down so each wheel had some wood to sit on, he carefully rode the trike down the steep muddy bank.
He placed each wheel on the wood, and watched the bridge disappear completely under the water, causing him to make some funny noises.
There was nothing else for it than to commit, hope for the best, and open the throttle. Thankfully he got over and up the bank in one foul swoop, leaving me to work out how I was going to get over without getting wet feet.
There was an old building on the other side, which according to our map was a post office. Not sure how accurate that was, but it certainly had me thinking about the possible history of the place. It always makes me sad to see old buildings left to rack and ruin, and thought that it would have made a lovely home for someone who wanted to live in the middle of no-where out in the sticks.
After that we had to navigate our way round a tree that was blocking the trail, before getting out on to a sandy dirt trail. The scenery from there was so unbelievably vast and beautiful, with rolling hills and mountains as far as the eye could see; it was spectacular.
I asked Ed if it reminded him of Mongolia, but he surprisingly said not really, as Mongolia felt far more remote. And I knew what he meant. Although where we were was considered remote, and I would say that it is to some degree, with a proper trail, and fences and gates, we oddly never felt like we were that far away from civilisation.
After miles of riding through vast open spaces, we got on to a wide gravel road and turned off towards Paradise Valley. It wasn’t actually on the route, but as the next town of McDermitt was too far for us to get to, we decided to take a detour and stay at a bed and breakfast that I’d found on the internet.
Paradise Valley consisted of a small cluster of trees, houses and buildings, quite a few of which were derelict. I have to say that it was great getting somewhere in daylight, which was almost impossible to do, due to the distances between towns, the hours of daylight being so short, and the fact that we never wanted to get up because of the previous day’s riding and the cold.
We rolled in to town around 3pm, and started looking for the B&B. It was nowhere to be found, but thankfully we spotted an open bar (the only place open in town) and went and enquired. It turned out that the B&B had closed down quite some time ago, and I wished that they’d bothered to put that on their website! I also should have called up in advance, but unsure that we’d even make it to Paradise Valley, I hadn’t bothered.
Luckily we were offered a place to camp over the road, and the owner cooked us up some really good burgers and let us sit in the warm and use the internet. I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to camping out in the cold, so when a local called Lee came in and proceeded to offer us a place to stay, I jumped at the chance.
He sat down at the bar for a beer and started chatting to us, and after finding out that we were planning to camp, he wouldn’t hear of it, and promptly offered us a place to stay at the Ranch where he was living.
Not only was Lee a farmer, but he was also the local chiropractor. I thought he was joking at first, but after several locals confirmed that he was in fact a chiropractor, I half joked that I was in need a treatment. He said it would be no problem, although suggested that we waited until the morning once his beers had worn off. I agreed. While Lee drank more beer and Ed played on the Internet, I chatted to the owner Dennis who used to ride rodeo. He proudly talked me through all of the family photos on the wall, and I couldn’t believe that the person on the horses was the same man sat in front of me; the toll of life and owning a bar.
The ranch was six miles away, so we followed Lee in his pickup truck, which veered gently from side to side as he tried to keep it in a straight line. I don’t condone drink driving, but seeing as it was in the middle of no-where and no-one was in sight, I didn’t feel the need to comment.
We soon arrived at the ranch, where we discovered that we had our own little flat to stay in with a TV and heater. Lee even offered to cook us dinner, but we gratefully declined as we were still full from our burgers. It was so kind of him, and we couldn’t help feeling like we’d hit jackpot. And with that he bid us good night, leaving us on our own to enjoy a proper bed and warmth, with the prospect of cold camping a distant memory.