Thursday, May 11, 2017

Trip Report: Trail or Tracks?

What happens when you take a bunch of newbie adventure riders half way around the world to ride an established North American Backcountry Discovery Route?  

Firstly, you get Nevada to welcome you with 38Deg C weather, then 60km/h gale force winds, add in 3Deg C weather at 1600m above sea level and not to forget huge dust storms as you cross the border into California and Death Valley!

Trans-continental overland travel brings the world alive. Intercontinental flights dull the emotions to new countries and cultures but are needed when time poor. Patience was needed as we hopped from one flight to the next - two flights in total and more than 24hours travel time.  Our first stop in Las Vegas was Great Southern Moto Adventures.
Great Southern Moto Adventures

We met Curtis and Jeff, owners of GSMA and part of the team responsible for creating the NVBDR.  A lifetime of adventure riding has contributed to the development of one fantastic route. Jeff, the GSMA operations manager had two KLR650 and four new Africa Twin's setup and waiting and all that was needed was to sign the final paperwork, pack the panniers and hit the road South.

I had opted for the Kawasaki KLR 650 as my adventure riding experience was limited to smaller bikes and shorter distances. Curtis had advised the following: "The KLR’s will be much more fun, easy to operate and probably provide a better overall experience for the less experienced besides being more safe for them".  It sounded like the perfect bike for me!

Kawasaki KLR650
This YouTube clip sums up the bike nicely:

Six riders in convoy are not easy to manage. We had one mantra. Always try remember who is behind you and wait at each major junction for the person to arrive.  Well, this was hard to manage as we attempted to leave Las Vegas.  5km later and one of the Honda Africa Twins suffered a front tyre puncture.  Our group of six riders were now split in two.

The group I was in made the decision to push on and follow the original plan and let the two other riders meet us at the accommodation in Primm.   Thankfully they were close to GSMA which meant that Curtis and Jeff could drive over with a spare wheel and replace it.

The NVBDR has two unsealed sections between Searchlight and Primm, however the first section had suffered damage due to flash flooding and Curtis advised us to re-join the trail at Nipton.

Quick drink stop in Nipton
The Nipton to Primm section follows the rail road tracks which allow for a quick escape from the soft sandy track sections.  The trail caught a few of the riders out as the conditions quickly changed from compacted stoney gravel to loose gravel including a few sandy sections.  The temperature was a whopping 38Deg C!  This section was only 20km long but took the four of us an hour to complete!

Raw video showing sections of the track:

Trip Stats:
Accommodation: Primm Valley Casino Resort (Good enough but don't eat in the hotel as its rather expensive)
Ride distance: 161km
Total trip time: 3hr30min Track:

Our route from Nipton to Primm.   We stopped many times to reveille in the fact that we were riding the NVBDR and to enjoy the moment.  This track should not take you this long.

Additional Reading:

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