January 13, 2010

The Badass Beemer Bikers run to Tonopah

Ever since the bike was unloaded I was having trouble with one of my mirrors, trying to fix it with my limited tools I managed to strip the mounting threads.  Fortunately, Antelope Valley Kawasaki Yamaha also sells KTMs and was able to repair my mirror, so here is a plug, if you are ever in Lancaster CA with a busted KTM (or Yamaha or Kawasaki) these guys are great.

On Saturday my plan was to head for Needles.  I had stopped at the spaceport just to get a few more photos.  While I was there this guy zooms in on a BMW and we start to talk.  It turns out he is meeting with a group of BMW riders coming from One Thousand Oaks CA.  My new friend Rick says, 'Come in to the restaurant and have some breakfast'.  So in I go for a coffee, and next thing you know the rest show up, and I accept their invitation to join them on a ride to Tonopah Nevada.

Now Needles is south, and Tonopa is north,  but I figure, what the heck, these guys are from around here, they would not lead me astray.  That was my first mistake (that day anyway).  It was still early.



It was really great to be able to ride with a group who know where all the best roads and sights are.  We visited an old gold mining town,  and a group with adventure bikes went down a road where the KTM could hold its own with its larger cousins from Germany.




The big Beemers travelled at a faster pace than the KTM is comfortable, so I was mostly in the rear.   As we approached Tonopah, I realized my new friends had led me astray.  There was snow all over the place.

Fortunately the snow was all on the side of the road and not on it, but it was still cold.  Turns out this was an annual affair that takes place every second weekend in January, and gives the LA guys something to talk about all year.  The riders were all pretty much of an age (my age), some in even in their 70's.  We had had a good ride and we hoisted a few that night.

The next day they headed back to the palm trees and I decided to take a route to Las Vegas that would take me further east into Nevada.  That was my second mistake. 

As I left Tonopah and turned onto Highway 6, the first thing I saw was a sign indicating that there were no gas stations for 167 miles.  This is not a problem for the KTM and it's 7 gallon tank, but it probably also means no restaurants or coffee shops, which turned out to be the case.  And it got colder, and there was more snow.  I was now at over 6,000 feet and climbing higher, thinking that this was probably not the best idea I ever had.  But I hate to turn back so I pushed on thinking that just up ahead the road would descend into a nice warm valley.  Nope, didn't happen.

There was nothing but a few picnic table rest stops between Tonopah and Ely.  I think I saw maybe four cars for the whole 167 miles.  This would have been great, but I was freezing my ass off.

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