Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Days 48 and 49

The California Trial - near Winnemucca, Nevada

The California Trial - near Winnemucca, Nevada

Day 48 of my motorcycle road trip, and I got up early to beat the Nevada heat. The daytime temperature in Nevada has been in the high 90’s for days. It was still dark as I rolled out of Twin Falls, Idaho, and headed south on Highway 93. I don’t know if it was because I was so close to home, or because of the long and hectic days of the past week, but exhaustion was setting in.

The ride along Highway 93 in northeastern Nevada was quite desolate. It is mostly high desert. I finally reached the small town of Wells, Nevada. I pick up Highway 80, and continue through the high desert. I’m now on the California Trail. The route used by early pioneers traveling to California. Quite desolate, like Highway 93, but I do pass through a few small towns.

A motorcycle buddy of mine was once a park ranger near Elko, Nevada, so I stopped to check out the town. I pulled into the visitors center, but it was still too early. They weren’t open. With a population of 18,000 people, Elko is quite large compared to other towns in this area. Elko has a long history, at least by California standards. In 1868 it was established as the east end of the Central Pacific Railroad. The visitor center has recreated several of the original buildings, such as the livery stable and blacksmith shop, and the one-room schoolhouse. It would have been nice to go into the buildings, but it was still a 1/2 hour before the visitor center opened. I decided to move on.



Late morning, and it was getting hot. I stopped for lunch in Battle Mountain. Supposedly the area was called Battle Mountain because of confrontations between Native Americans and early settlers in the 1850s and 60s.
My next stop was near Winnemucca, Nevada. I just had to run-a-mucca in Winnemucca. Ok, I’m probably not the first person to think of that corny joke. I was still following the California Trail, and this rest stop had information about the early pioneers traveling through the area. Although I’ve felt like a pioneer many times along this 10,000 journey, I can’t even imagine how tough it must have been traveling through this desolate desert country hauling your family, worldly possessions, water, food and utensils, and everything else you needed to survive. I find it stressful if there isn’t a gas station, restaurant or hotel when I need it.
After passing through a couple more small towns, I finally reached Reno, Nevada. The Biggest Little City in the World, so they say. This was my stop for the night. I rode through downtown, trying to decide where to stay for the night. If you haven’t been to Reno, the downtown is mostly casinos. I parked my motorcycle and walked around. I walked through a couple of hotels. They were large, noisy, and packed with people. After a few minutes of listening to slot machines, I decided to look for some place a little more quiet. My trusty iPhone hotel app found me a nice place by the airport. Not a single slot machine in the hotel, anywhere. I didn’t think there was such a hotel in Nevada.

Day 49 was a short, and relatively easy ride. The Sierra Mountains and Truckee area are quite familiar from frequent winter ski trips. A couple hours on Highway 80, and I’m down into the California central valley. I’m quickly reminded that there are 37 million people living in California. Most of them seemed to be on the highway, as usual.

After 7 weeks of traveling I’m finally home. It feels very strange to be home. I’m exhausted, but restless — like I should be doing something or going somewhere. That feeling will probably wear-off, as I settle into home, work and family. But, I’m already thinking about where to go for my next trip.


Road Trip – Previous and Next Day Posts

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 47

The End

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 1



  1. I spent half of my rainy Sunday looking for reviews on BMW 1200rt. I have been throwing the idea around to buy one. I was thinking a Golding, Harley, or Beemer. Well I spent the second half of my Sunday reading every word you typed and every picture you uploaded. I hope one day I can escape for a month and go see some of the country the way you did it. I thank you for sharing your trip and all the Awsome pictures. The one thing I was worried about was my knees being bent for so long on the BMW. Also when I was sitting on the bike the seat felt a little hard like the seat on my dirt bike. I am 38 years old and 6’2″ . I think I am going to bite the bullet and make a long term investment on a new BMW. Thanks again for sharing,

    • Marc,

      I’m 55 years old and 5’10” tall. I have the standard seat height. The seat height is comfortable for me, but I don’t know about someone 6’2″. I have my seat set in the lower of the two stock positions. I think the higher position adds about another inch (i.e., 33 inches rather than 32 inches). I don’t know about your BMW dealer, but both the San Jose and Mountain View dealers in my area will let you take out a demo bike for several hours. That will give you a sense for comfort over a reasonably long ride. Make sure they set the seat height to the higher of the two stock positions. It’s easy to change by popping the seat and moving a positioning bar.

      As for seat comfort, I read several reviews before I bought the RT where people complained about the seat comfort. Most suggested either the Corbin seat or the Alaskan Sheep Skin Pad on the stock seat. I went to the Corbin factory to check out their seats. It isn’t far from where I live. The Corbin seats are hard as a rock, but they told me you get used to it. People say they are comfortable for long rides. I decided to try the Alaskan Sheep Skin Pad rather than spending a lot of money on a Corbin seat. The Sheep Skin pad did help me get comfortable with the stock seat. The manufacturer says not to use the sheep skin pad in rain, so I took it off once after using it for several months. I never put it back on. I guess I’d gotten used to the stock seat. I now find the stock seat quite comfortable. My longest riding day so far was about 16 hours, starting from Mitchell, South Dakota riding through the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, and then some back roads to Deadwood then Sturgis. I was quite tired, and a bit stiff, but mostly from being in one position for a long time, not the bike or seat.

      Hope this helps.


  2. Dave Hammond says:

    I am on my second R1200RT. I traded my mint ’07 (with only roughly 40K miles on the clock) in on an ’11 after my sneaky salesperson got me to play with the fabulous new DOHC engine for an afternoon. I am also an IBA (Iron Butt Association) member. For true long distance comfort, the stock seat isn’t nearly as important as the seating POSITION. Most guys who are truly serious about performing consecutive high-mileage days will gladly invest in a personally fitted saddle from Rich’s Custom Seats, Russell Day-Long, or Rick Mayer (there are a couple of others, but these are the major players). Unless a bike provides geometry which is truly conducive to comfort, the rider will never be able to realize the full advantage of ANY seat. This basic fact is the whole reason that BMW dealers are so anxious to allow prospective buyers the opportunity to test ride their demos for hours (or even days). It also explains why there are relatively few Harley’s or Goldwings entered in the infamous Iron Butt Rally (in excess of 11.000 miles in 11 days). Harleys are about camaraderie and nostalgia, and very little else. It’s a great bunch of guys, and the bikes look and sound incredible (I want a new Fat Boy for social events myself… And YES, I’m SERIOUS). However, comfort is not a prevailing factor when most organized rides consist solely of 20 mile stints to the next tavern. I also would gladly own another Honda (I have owned a 1991 ST1100, and I still feel that it was the best sport-tourer available at the time), if only they produced a model that would do what my RT does (the ST1300 is just too dang heavy for my tastes). The Goldwing’s furnishings are supremely posh for the passenger, but the position it places the rider in is extremely similar to that of a Harley “touring” model. One of the most educational (and entertaining) segments of an organized “SaddleSore 1,000” (1,000 miles in 24 hours – for entry into the IBA) is hanging around the final checkpoint to observe the “tourers” peel themselves off of their Electra Glides and Road Kings and barely hobble over to the Ride Master.
    Whatever you decide on, have fun and be safe.

    • Dave,

      Thanks for the insights on long distance touring. With your experience, you may be able to help Rami on RT ergonomics. He posted a comment on my RT review page about his knees getting sore on long rides. I’m assuming it is a seat height and foot peg position issue, but I’m not sure what to suggest that might be helpful to him. Here is a link to the review page. His comments are on the bottom.



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