Topaz Motorcycle Ride – Day 3

Smith Valley motorcycle ride

Smith Valley Motorcycle Ride

Day 3 of our Topaz, Nevada motorcycle ride. Yesterday we followed the Mt. Patterson Route mapped out by Dual Sport West. Today we started out riding the Smith Valley Route.

We started the day on the same trail along Desert Creek, leading up toward Mt. Patterson. Unfortunately, I was leading and took a wrong turn. The roll chart had both a hard and easy route. The organizer told us we needed to take the easy splits on a large adventure bike. Well, I took the hard route. It wasn’t until we reached the first of six creek crossing did we realize my mistake. So, we turned around and headed back to the beginning of the easy route.

Before we finished back tracking to the easy route, a warning light lit up on Jeff’s Suzuki DRZ400. It was indicating an electrical fault. One possibility was that the creek crossing got water in the electrical system. So, we headed back to the Topaz Lodge to trouble shoot the problem. The day wasn’t off to a stellar start.

Once back at the lodge, Jeff pulled out his electrical tested and started poking around. He quickly figure out that the electrical system was charging at about 2/3 the normal voltage. It appeared like one of the three stators was bad. Jeff being the adventurous soul, decided we should restart the ride. His rationale was that if he kept the revs up high enough, the battery would charge at the normal level.


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Back on the trail, we took the easy route along the Eastside Lane through Hoye Canyon. I’m still not convinced we actually followed the correct route, but it was in the right direction. Although theoretically the easy route, the road had lots of rocks and sand. This was a bit of a challenge for my dual sport tires. On the positive side, it was a very scenic route. On the way, we met a guy out practice shooting with a collection of military assault rifles. I guess that’s what you do in the middle of Nowhere, Nevada.

Once again we were running quite late compared to the original route plan. We stopped for lunch in Wellington at a nice little bar and restaurant. The owner seemed quite surprised and excited to have a customer at 2:00 pm in the afternoon. According to the guy we met target shooting, the next part of our route was longer and more difficult. Jeff suggested it might be a good time for me to explore Monitor Pass, a beautifully paved, winding highway, through the Sierra Nevada mountains.

It turned out to be an excellent suggestion. Highway 89 through Monitor Pass was probably my favorite part of the ride. It was a nice relaxing way to end the day.


Related Posts

Topaz Motorcycle Ride – Day 1

Topaz Motorcycle Ride – Day 2


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