Nothing beats a ride through the desert after a good rain. Sunday morning I met up with some buddies to do just that. Our plan was to ride to Nelson and meet up with another group of guys, hit some singletrack, and then grab some lunch in Searchlight.
Our meetup spot was Railroad Pass at 9AM.
As we got going, Steve motioned to me that I was #1.
We headed south down a short stretch of highway 95.
The air was clean and crisp. Clouds were still hanging low from the recent storms.
We hopped on the Nelson Shortcut road and Steve grabbed a handful of throttle.
Getting closer to Nelson, we spotted some other riders from our riding group (My2wheels.com)
The back of the pack arrived and we ended up linking up with the other riders.
Nelson was a blast. We ripped through tons of singletrack, hill climbs and washes. The clouds rolled low through the hills and made for some really cool views. I led the group through my favorite canyon and they loved it. It was even more challenging that day because there was still water in the wash. It made for a couple slippery rocky areas.
We had two other buddies that we’re riding in the area that morning up at Knob Hill. On the way there, Steve took us up to one of his favorite Nelson spots, the “BBQ grill”. It’s an area at the top of a tall hill overlooking the river. Well, not today because of the clouds, but on a clear day you can see it. There are a couple memorials, a park bench and an BBQ grill which is a permanent landmark.
We headed over to Knob Hill to look for the other guys. Steve got singletrack A.D.D. and took a shortcut.
Once we got up to the hill, the fog was thick. It was hanging between the rocks and there was probably only 100 feet of visibility.
Some areas were a little more clear, but the dense fog still lingered in the surrounding hills.
We spotted our buddy’s trucks, but they were nowhere around.
We took some well carved-out singletrack leaving Knob Hill.
We split up from Tom & Hatch earlier in the ride and planned to meet at Knob Hill, but that didn’t work out. We spotted them and we linked back up before heading into Searchlight for lunch.
We took the powerline road to quickly cover some ground.
We split up again since Tom & Hatch weren’t in the mood for our singletrack. Brian, Rob and I opted for the fun route!
It was a gorgeous day, perfect for riding. The wet dirt was felt like Velcro. There was tons of traction and zero dust.
I had only been on this trail once before and I was on my 690. This time I was able to have a little more fun since I was riding the new 500. Being about 75 lbs lighter, it was much easier to maneuver through the loose pea-gravel. Brian and Rob both enjoyed the “pucker forest” as they called it. It’s packed full of some prickly and pointy vegetation.
Gotta be careful in these parts. The desert is out to get you!
Brian and Rob made it through unscathed.
After making it through Pucker Forest, we met Tom & Hatch at Terrible’s Roadhouse Casino in Searchlight for lunch.
I ordered the Reuben along with some nice hot coffee. It hit the spot. The food there is very reasonably priced and good. Tom went big with sirloin steak and made it into his own mega steak sandwich.
After lunch we opted for a different route back to Henderson so we headed down the highway towards Nipton to link up with the Joshua Tree dirt road.
Brian was on “the little DR that could”. His DR200 doesn’t have much of a top speed on the highway, so he does whatever it takes to squeeze an extra mph out of it.
Once we rode down the Joshua Tree Rd, the sun came out and it felt much better out. It was still a little cool and soggy in Searchlight.
We stopped to let the lunchtime drinks out. I posed for a quick pic with my 500.
We arrived in Eldorado Valley near the solar fields.
We chose to ride back via Pipeline Rd since the dry lake bed wouldn’t have been very dry. Well, neither was Pipeline. The mud was like snot and we were slipping and sliding all over the place. We kept having to dodge all over the place looking for dry ground.
After the mud was over, we thought it was smooth sailing. Nope! This smooth looking road was wash-boarded to hell! I joked that it took 5 years off my new bike.
110 miles later, I was back home with a smile on my face. It was a great day of riding with some good people. It was the perfect mix of technical riding and a little adventure. I couldn’t be happier with my new 500.
Download these tracks by:
Right clicking and “save link as” → Nelson-Knob Hill-Searchlight
Do you have tracks for this route? We ride around down in the Wee Thump often, and the route from Nelson Hills to Searchlight looks fun. Thanks for sharing.
Hey Aaron. Yes I do, although there may be a few gaps in the tracks. My Garmin shut off a few times. I’ll get them posted soon minus the BBQ grill location. Out of respect for the miner who lives up near there, Steve doesn’t want that to go public. 😉