We headed out of town with the late morning wind pushing the truck down the wobbly back roads. It was blowing so hard we used less than a quarter of a tank to get to Gerlach.. and the right says wind power is a sham. I was laughing at tumbleweeds as they got blown across the road and mowed down by the truck bumper. Tumbleweed Takedown is one of a handful of western backroad traditions that transcend race, age, religion, or gender. I have only seen a few people swerve to avoid a 2 ounce clump of invasive fibers bouncing into their lane, and each time I immediately summoned the powers that be and let them know the terrorists were in our midst. Swerving away from a tumbleweed is a true sign that we are indeed, losing on all fronts. You plow through the heart of them and you enjoy it deeply. It’s as American as apple pie to destroy Russian invaders, no matter what phylum they belong to. If only I could get a Tumbleweed Takedown GIF tattooed on me.. This overnighter was something I’ve been brewing up for a few months. Weather and schedules lined up and Jesse, Casey, and Glenn joined me for about a hundred miles of desert doggin’. “THERE ARE NO SERVICES. NO WATER. YOU WILL BE ON YOUR OWN.” – Probably the sweetest words ever put on a sign. Hallelujah and all that jive, praise Jengus, high fives Mohammad. We arrived at the playa just before noon and put the bikes together. Glenn had never done a bike trip before, nor had he been as far out into the desert bush as we were planning. And he was counting on me as his guide. He either has some issues or his trust in me was messiah-esque. I’m going to go with the former. All smiles, the poor fool. Infectious, candy tooth smiles. We loaded down the steeds with all of the necessary survival beer and pointed them toward the rippling horizon. The wind was blowing so hard in our favor that we didn’t have to pedal much, if at all, for the first 15 miles. Casey and I played a game of who could drink an entire beer without pedalling or touching the bars. We both won, a few times. If you think this is impossible you must understand the playa on the Black Rock. It’s flatter than a pancake and smoother than a babies bottom for nearly 200 square miles. It’s one of the flattest surface expanses on the entire planet earth. Dudes have broken the sound barrier in rocket cars here. Some dummies put cars on cruise control and climb on the roof to drink beers. COUGH. Uhem.. I rocketed ahead of the boys for some alone time. A mass of people have been seeking freedom, transcendence, or enlightenment in this desert for years. But that’s not my cup of tea. I just smiled and tasted the alkali dust, cranked my max gear like I was racing a time trial, and closed my eyes while pedaling full speed for over a minute, then smiled some more. The Black Rock is a truly unique place, and I was very happy to have a piece of it all to myself for awhile. I don’t understand how people can cram into a tiny sliver of the playa to form a shanty town of 60,000 people and be stoked about it. Then again, I’m not one for crowds or organized gatherings. More power to you, burners. We reached the end of the playa and started down an often used dirt road, but we still only managed to see one car the rest of the ride. Home Means Nevada Looks like I’m not hunting these hills anytime soon.. This may not look like much, but it’s as close to heaven as it gets in the desert. The long shadows began to show and since we were starting to battle the wind on the second half of the day we were pretty wiped out and ready for some warm beers and some relaxation. Luckily there were hot springs at the end of the day. As well as our supply of bean and cheese burritos. You can bring a stove and spend $$$ on freeze dried, or you can spend $6 at a certain taco dealer and eat food that is slightly more edible and will last for days in a backpack. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but don’t mock it till you try it. And hell yes, these hot springs felt good after a long day on the bike. They even soothed my uh, jangled nerves. Pumping some water. Excuse a rare plug here, but the Sawyer mini filter is amazing, fits in your pocket, and it’s $25. Jesse is using the regular Sawyer here, which is a bit bigger but still tiny.
We had some fantastic lenticular clouds on the way to camp from the hot springs, as well as BLKEDY and his infectious smile doing standies and cracking us up. Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the BLM maintain this free to the public cabin near the hot springs. I’ve spent a lot of nights out in the bush, so a free cabin was a no brainer as long as we went out to watch the untainted stars before I snored everyone into insanity. I really need a CPAP machine. And kudos to Pat and the Friends of Nevada Wilderness on the bang up job restoring this little beauty. Log book in the cabin, and the birth of the Nacho Boyz. Every day is 1986. Day 2 started with a little climb into a head wind that would plague us all day. We didn’t really give a shit till the last few miles of the trip. The Nacho Boyz don’t care ’bout no wind. Wild horse in it’s natural habitat. You probably don’t have to guess how I feel about them. Majestic free range dog food. Three of the four horseman of the drunkpocalypse. If you can spot the bikes, you win a prize. From the flats of the Black Rock to canyon country. Ghost town or hipster bar, you be the judge. We rode to the edge of this beautiful wilderness area, and soaked up the lush ferment that belies the Big Empty all around it. We even found some preciously awesome singletrack to climb over a pass. I give credit to the burros. A wild ass knows how to build a tame trail! We ate some 6th meal and tuna. Beef jerky and gummy bears. You can eat whatever the hell you want when you’re burning calories like the sun. The lupins were in full glory while we took a break before the trip long 12 mile downhill. The wind had other plans, and what should have been a sweet downhill turned into a battle to stay moving forward. Here you can actually witness gravity losing. A few hours and 30 miles later we were having beers at Bruno’s. We did get to mess with some snakes as well. It’s not the gnarliest, but it was one of the most fun trips I’ve ever done. My stomach hurt from laughing more than my legs. I think the other Nacho Boyz would concur.