With the new year just starting out, I have been going crazy with daydreaming about some different adventures and planning some new rides. I’d like to explore more of some of my favorite areas like Colorado as well as some completely new-to-me places. So with all of this on my mind, I really have been itching to get out on the KTM. After a full work week including Saturday, I started feeling a little stir-crazy. With only a few hours of daylight left, I quickly geared up after work to blast off into the desert.
Like most of my quick-fix rides, today’s ride had no plan. I just wanted to get out and enjoy some of the damp dirt from the recent rain and feel some cool air in my face. I didn’t need to go someplace new and I didn’t need anything technical. I just wanted to ride. Before I left the house I noticed I had about 89 miles on my current tank of fuel. This meant I had about 40-50 miles of fuel on the safe side. Good enough! So with little daylight left, I didn’t waste any time stopping at the gas station and I set off down Pipeline Rd and aimed for the dry lakebed.
About halfway down Pipeline Rd, I came upon a white Ford Explorer stopped in the middle of road at a dirt intersection. There was a man waving his arms and motioning me to stop. At first I thought it might have been some sort of BLM or law enforcement. I stopped and shut my bike off to see what he needed. He just wanted to know how to get to the I-15. I said, “The I-15? You mean the 95?” He said, “no, the I-15…isn’t it that way”, pointing to the west. At this point I figured out that he was just out on a little adventure and wanted to hit some dirt roads. After I explained where some of the main dirt roads led to, I gave him some general directions to McCullough Pass which would bring him to the Jean dry lakebed and I-15. I gave him a good luck and went on my way.
Not too far down the road, I turned and headed towards Eldorado Valley. I stopped to check out the view of the solar fields and cloudy skies.
After I zig-zagged my way around the shooting range, I got down to the dry lakebed. There were a couple random riders off in the distance, but there was no shortage of wide open area to open it up.
One thing I always like to do on solo rides is play around with my GoPro camera. I brought it & my little tripod with me this time in hopes of capturing a couple wheelie pics. Here comes some of my top secret GoPro techniques. lol I set my Hero 4 Silver to 1 second time lapse mode and did a few passes on the bike. I’ve never been an expert at wheelies so I also used this time to work on my technique. It’s always been a challenging balance for me to use that rear brake with the throttle to keep it up just right. After a handful of decent wheelies, I checked the camera and found out that I had only grabbed probably one good pic.
I went back to my old method and that was to use video mode on 60 fps so I could grab a screenshot later of the exact frame I wanted. A couple braaaapity braaap braaaps later…walla…wheelie pic.
After my little “wheelie sesh”, I just kicked back for a few minutes and appreciated the cool skies and awesome views of Eldorado Valley.
I don’t what it is about this area, but it’s one of my favorite local places. It’s such a vast valley surrounded by some great mountain ranges. You have the mountains of Nelson and the Eldorado Mtns to the east, Sloan Canyon Winderness Range to the west, and the McCullough & Highland Range to the south.
Not having much of a plan, I blasted across the lakebed slaloming the little bushes and mud holes. The recent rain wasn’t enough to make things muddy, but there was an occasional puddle. Gotta stay on your toes because you never know if these are 2 inches or 12″ of water.
I stayed out of the mud today though. I was just happy to be outdoors.
I hopped on the nearby powerline road and stopped to decide where the heck to go next. I wondered where the guy was that I met earlier.
Then I noticed some headlights on Pipeline Rd so I headed back that way. As I came up on the dirt intersection, there he was! haha He didn’t make it very far in all that time, mostly because that road was hammered and full of washboard.
I shut my bike off and chatted it up with bit with him. Robert, from Denver, used to live in Boulder City. He was visiting his mother in BC and went out tooling around in his Explorer with (who I think he said was) his son. We further discussed the route to McCullough Pass from where we were. After a few funny pics and an exchange of names & info, we went our separate ways.
He was fun to talk to and was quite a character, unlike some of the weirdos I have crossed paths with out in the middle of the desert. You don’t want to know what most of those people are doing or where they’re going. You just keep on riding.
I headed back towards home and stopped again for a minute to enjoy the sunset.
It was dark by the time I got back to town which I was perfectly ok with. I love playing around with long exposure shots at night. The Hero 4 Silver is quite surprising in low light conditions. I have had some pretty good experience with it capturing some great night shots. My 690 was silhouetted nicely against the glow of the Vegas on the clouds.
It felt good to get out. Sometimes all it takes is an hour or two in the desert with my bike and GoPro to make me happy. It doesn’t always have to be a 200 miles, all day adventure. Just getting outdoors to breathe in some fresh air and pulling a few wheelies is all it takes to make me feel human again.