The above map isn’t quite accurate. The route we took went more through the middle route.
T – Another day, another goodbye. We hate this part. Having to say goodbyes to the lovely people we meet really does suck. But onwards we must go! We dragged our asses out of bed and upstairs today. Jude and Andreas were already up and ready to tackle the day! We said our goodbyes to Jude who had to go to work and then began the steady process of our packing up.
Andreas was amazing and made sure we had everything we needed to keep us comfortably on the road for the next little while. Thanks guys so much for having us stay and for feeding us and keeping us entertained!
C – It was definitely sad to say goodbye to Jude and Andreas, such lovely and wonderful people. We were both looking forward to the next part of our journey though, which, all going well, we would travel the Pony Express trail from Vernon, Utah into Ely, Nevada. After contacting the White Pine County roads department in Nevada, we confirmed that the Nevada side of the trail was also open and driveable. From what I can understand, part of the Pony Express trail was also used to create the first highway crossing America and was called the US50 Lincoln Highway, or the Lonely Highway. So we would also get to traverse some of this historic route as well. Time to hit the road!
T – We waved goodbye to Andreas and headed off for Walmart. We needed to grab a few extra bits and pieces plus we wanted to grab some small jerry cans to carry a little bit of extra fuel. Chantelle had worked out that the distance between our last fuel stop here in Utah and our first one over in Nevada was around 400 kms. Right on the edge of our safe fuel range. So long as we didn’t backtrack, work the bikes hard, or get lost we would make it. So we thought it was a smart idea to grab a little bit extra.
New cans strapped down and filled with fuel and we were heading for the town of Vernon. The last fuel stop and the beginning, for us, of the Pony Express route in this area.
It wasn’t too long and we had covered our first 100 km’s to Vernon. We topped off our tanks and rode on out of town. We had to take our postie bikes down the old postie route!
C – It was such an exciting moment leaving the Silver Sage cafe in Vernon. The rush of the knowing there is nothing out here but desert basically all the way to Ely. We expected the cafe to have some Pony Express maps, after we saw a sign advertising this, but they didn’t have any info. It appears it isn’t as popular as I thought the route would of been!
T – The road was a little rocky and slippery in places but otherwise quite nice. We rode along towards a set of mountains. The road climbing slowly. White dust pouring from our tyres, coating everything instantly in a talcum powder. Then suddenly…
Chantelle came over the intercom saying “Shit shit shit shit what do I do? Help!”
Uh oh… That didn’t sound good……
Turns out that Rosie blew her rear tyre out in a big way! The sudden deflation of which caused Chantelle to be taken for a wild sliding side to side ride as she coasted to a stop. Well this was a good start to this road! We had built this section of our trip up to be such a big thing in our minds, and both of us had some doubts as to whether we would make it on fuel, on our bikes, or even because of the road conditions.
C – I wasn’t very articulate at the time, but what I meant to be asking Todd was how quickly can you brake when your rear tyre does this? Rosie was swinging wildly from side to side, although I seemed to be able to keep her front end straight on the gravel if I didn’t brake too hard. So I figured it was better to coast and gently brake to a stop, rather than trying to stop the wild ride quicker.
T – We stripped Rosie down and pulled her tube out. Two holes. Something had gone through the side of the tread and sliced a 2 cm gash into the tyre, then pierced the tube from one side straight through to the other. I walked back down the road to where Rosie had started sliding around. There I found the broken remains of some type of animal and a heap of sharp jagged bones sticking up in the air. That’ll do it!
We put Rosie back together and after we were certain she was holding air again got ready to meander on. Our total distance so far down this road… 2 km’s… 398 to go….
As we were about to leave a fellow pulled up in his car and asked where we were going, where we were coming from, and if we were ok or if we needed nay help. He really wasn’t too happy when we told him of our plan to cross through into Nevada on the Pony Express. He shook his head a lot, told us it was a very long way, that there was no services out here, no mobile reception, and mostly no water. He looked very unhappy as he drove away. Now we did have some doubts and agreed that should we have any more bike issues in the next 20 km that we would take it as a sign and turn around.
Well needless to say there were no more issues. We rode along this stunning and iconic road which also followed, in part, the Old Lincoln Highway. Which we learned was Americas very first cross country highway. Well before Route 66 even!
C – The road was actually a maintained gravel road and in reasonable condition. There were sections of road which had recently been graded and this slowed us down a little, as the gravel became a bit loose and soft in these sections. We both certainly noticed the extra 5.5kg we were each carrying in fuel and water, with the girls feeling like they had extra super duper power steering!
As we came to the first stop on this section of the travel, Simpson Springs, we saw three beautiful mustangs standing just off the road side grazing. They threw their heads up proudly as we passed slowly and we could see their muscles twitching as they readied themselves to flee. They were simply the most beautiful horses I have ever seen.
T – The road dipped and curved down and around a huge salt lake. The Dugway Proving Grounds which the military used for all types of military things. The road was recently graded which gave us a few sphincter clenching moments as we skated off of the marble type rock strewn across the road and into the deep soft sandy stuff that was spread on the shoulders. And every centimetre of it spewed out this fine white dust that just hung in the air. Filling our helmets, our jackets and our bags with the stuff.
It was so beautiful out here. Just stunning. We stopped at an old mine tunnel for a bum break and I ventured a little ways inside. Not too far. As much as I wanted too. We set our next stop on Ibapah. It was at Ibapah that we didn’t know the road conditions etc. We had only heard about people getting there and then turning north to Wendover. We wanted to go south to Ely and the ET Highway.
We finally pulled in Ibapah. A small town way out here in the middle of nowhere. There are no services here. No gas, no food, nothing. We had used barely half of our long range tank of fuel to get this far but decided to top it up with our gas cans. We were about two thirds of the way across.
We picked up the Pony Express trail again and headed back out into flat grasslands towards some distant mountains. The dirt road here was ungraded, very hard, and very smooth. We flew along it! Our dust rising high into the still air. The sun beginning its downward arc in front of us and really lighting up the golden coloured grass and hills around us. It was just amazing.
Seeing as we were on BLM land we found a narrow track that lead off towards some hills where we found a flat grassy area to pitch our tent.
We checked the bikes over and gave the chains a lube. Mabels rear sprocket is wearing terribly. Super fast. While Rosies still looks like brand new. Weird. They both have the same chains, same engines, same miles on them, we ride in a similar fashion and apart from weight differences they are basically loaded the same. Hopefully Mabel can get me to LA where I will have a new rear sprocket waiting for me.
C – No more broken spokes. Are we declaring this incident officially over yet??? Thanks so much to Frank from ZMW Adventures in Tucson for getting this sorted for us!!!
The view from our tent was mangificant and we watched the colours change across the valley and the mountain as the sun made its final descent and darkness began to come over us. The most wonderful thing about the desert at night is the sky, especially when you are far away from any light pollution. It did not disappoint tonight, with the sky completely covered with bright stars. It was calm and quiet and a wonderful camp spot!
T – Tomorrow we head for the ET highway after we traverse the last section of this trail.