Day 4 of our Topaz, Nevada motorcycle adventure ride put on by Dual Sport West. For the final day we saved the Ebbetts Pass and Sonora Pass route. Since we rode up on Sonora Pass, we planned to ride the first have through Ebbetts Pass then continue on home. Like every plan so far on the trip, reality got in the way.
We headed up into the mountains on a rocky dirt road that paralleled Monitor Pass. It was quite challenging, but very scenic. Roughly twenty miles into the ride things started to get sketchy. While the ride so far appeared to be a rocky fire road, we were now on a dual track trail. It had trail markings, so it may have been part of an off road motorcycle or 4WD park. After a few quick pictures, Jeff took of in the lead.
The trail started to climb. It was loose rock and sand, with a considerable slope to the right. I didn’t get far up the climb before my rear tire started to slide downhill to the right. Then my front wheel started to slide. I was now at about a 45 degree angle to the trail, sliding downhill. I cranked open the throttle hoping to climb back toward the top left side of the trail. What happened next is a bit of a blur. Either my front tire caught traction, or my rear tire hit the right side of the trail. I was thrown off the high side. My motorcycle was lying what at first appear quite upside down — wheels pointing uphill.
At this point, Jeff was up around several turns, out of sight. I called for him, and honked my horn. I could hear his motorcycle off in the distance. I then heard his motorcycle stop, but I didn’t hear any response to my calls. After several minutes, I heard his motorcycle start up again and ride off. As the sound was getting fainter, I assumed he was continuing up the trail.
When I took the BMW Off Road Academy Course with Raw-Hyde Adventures, they taught us how to lift a 600 pound motorcycle. Even better, they taught us what to do if you bike was laying downhill. I grabbed the front tire and started to spin the bike around so the tires would be facing downhill. After a few minutes, I heard Jeff’s motorcycle returning. He had continued up the trail to explore. He said that just head, around a few turns, the trail got very steep and rocky. He thought it would be tough for his bike, and probably impassable for my large adventure bike. He helped be get my bike uprighted and turned around. Then we headed back the way we came.
We stopped at the start of the dual track trail, and Jeff started exploring his GPS system to see where the other fork in the trail ended. Surprisingly, and with great relief to me, we were only a short distance from Highway 89. After a few more minutes of riding, we came out near the top of Monitor Pass. At that point both of us were ready to ride pavement home.
The remainder of the trip, although quite long, with rather uneventful. The ride on Highway 4 through Ebbetts Pass with quite slow. It is basically a one lane, paved highway through the mountains. We had to constantly watch for vehicles coming the other direction, particularly around corners. It was a very beautiful road, but a little stressful. At Vallecito, we headed back onto small backroads. We took Old Parrots Ferry Road, then another series of backroads until we stopped in Jamestown for lunch. From Jamestown, we were once again on the backroads we used to on the trip to Topaz, such as Willms Road and Coral Canyon Road. We arrived home about 5:00 pm, dirty and tired. But it was a fun trip.