September 1, 2016 – Sand Pass Road and US 95, NV to Arock Road and US 95, OR

A couple more vehicles pulled into Sand Pass Road last night, but didn’t seem to mind that a tent was set up right there. It was pretty cool out all night, eventually I had to climb into my sleeping bag for warmth. I woke up a little bit before 6 and I could see the sun was trying to peak over the hills to the east but I knew I had more time so I stayed laying down and dozed back off. More vehicles came in and the sun was now above the hills, so I figured I should get up. This was shortly before 8 and it was still a little cool outside so it actually felt good to soak up some of the sun. Two Humboldt County trucks pulled in as I was packing up my tent and waved at me but didn’t say anything. Yet another successful night of free lodging for me. I eat a little breakfast and get on the road by 8:30.

I’m really in no mans land out here now. There is a Chevron about 15 miles up the road, but I’m content and don’t feel like stopping yet. After that is maybe a 1.5 to 2 mile climb that I can see a couple of semis that have passed me way up ahead going around turns, so I know it’ll be a significant climb. It would’ve been a good move for me to have kept on going last night and tackled this climb in the late PM/early AM hours just to avoid the heat, but obviously I did not do that. I take a little rest at the top of the hill in the shade of a semi that is sleeping or something along a chain removal pullout at the top. The downhill isn’t as drastic as the uphill, which is nice because it goes on for longer and allows me to just coast in the low 20’s for a bit. There is a small town called Orovada that I roll into about 30 miles into the day and stop off at the Shell station in town to grab some food and cold drink. I end up spending about an hour here, feels nice to be out of the sun. An uneventful 35 miles from here through relatively flat land with some mountains in the distance to the east and west and nothing but dirt, sagebrush, and the occasional patch of green where a house is somewhere off in the distance.

McDermitt is the next stop and it’s right on the border of Nevada and Oregon. I stop at the Ideal Market grabbing a sandwich and some Gatoeade and then sit in the dirt and gravel along the north side of the building because that is the only place where there is shade. While I’m hanging out a couple of motorcycles come in and join me in the shade. They are wearing full padded suits and helmets and I can’t even imagine how hot they are out here. These guys grab a couple of beers out of their bags and proceed to drink them. I can’t imagine they are very cold since there isn’t really anything for about 70 miles north of here. They started up on Coeur d’Alene yesterday and are hoping to make it to Reno or Tahoe later today. I chat with them for maybe 15 minutes and then since the Rome Station is 70 miles away and closes at 8 Mountain Time and it is about 1 Pacific Time, I need to get going. It is a pretty hilly and windy ride for the first stretch as I climb over the Blue Mountain Pass at 5293 feet. Tumbleweeds kept blowing across the road and getting caught in my fenders and spokes, causing me stop a few times to get them out. After the climb I get some really good downhill and seem to make pretty good time in the process. I cross into the Mountain Time Zone maybe 30 miles before getting to Rome and I’ve got a little over 3 hours still until the Rome Station closes, so I figure I’ll be fine. I take a couple of breaks to grab some cold water out of my bags and end up finishing this water at Burns Junction.

It looks like there was a store/gas station here at one point in time, but it’s a ghost town now. If I head to the northwest on SR 78 it’ll take me into Burns and onto US 20. Staying on US 95 takes me to the East Northeast, which is more of where I need to be heading. Another 13 miles from here gets me to Rome and it’s actually quite scenic in comparison to what I’ve been through all day in here. There are some green sections in here and cliff sides as it appears I’m getting into the Owhyee Canyon. I pull up to Rome Station on a downhill stretch that nearly takes me all the way to the Owhyee River at about 7:15, plenty of time to spare. I order a burger and drink probably about a gallon of water and get all of my bottles refilled in the process. As I head out I think about stopping to take a dip in the river, but it’s getting to be the point in the evening that the mosquitos are out and about, and I really don’t want to deal with them on the river and as I climb at least a mile to get back out of the canyon.

My Garmin has again pulled an amateur hour move in resetting itself when I got back on the bike. I had just crossed the 130 mile mark before getting to the restaurant and then it couldn’t locate the required satellites for a while as I started to climb. When it did finally turn back on, my information was gone. This is the 3rd time on this trip that this has happened, and it’s starting to bug me. In particular since when I have called the customer service, the people I talk to don’t seem to have any idea why it does this. It particularly sucks because I don’t know what my elevation gained and lost was. I can constantly see how many miles I’ve gone and how long I’ve been riding, but I don’t have the elevation as one of the stats on my main screen.

Anyway, I end up riding a little over 5 miles and spot a campsite that I can’t pass up because I doubt I’ll find anything better soon. It is right at the intersection of Arock Rd and US 95 and there are a few mounds of gravel that create a blockade from either road. The sun hasn’t set yet and I start to set up my camp. In the process I get a few dozen mosquito bites, but also get the joy of trapping a few of them in my tent where they have nowhere to go and I get to kill them all. It’s been a little while since I’ve stopped riding this early in the night and feels weird laying in my tent with it still being light outside. Before I know it I open up my eyes to go to the bathroom and it’s a little after 11 PM with stars as far as the eye can see in this desert sky.

135.84 miles
8:34:18 in the saddle
15.8 Avg. MPH
436 feet of elevation gained
600 feet of elevation lost

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About darrenmodonnell

I've been bike touring each summer for the last 5 years. Summer of 2016 I'll be flying up to Alaska on June 1st and riding my bike back down towards the lower 48.
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2 Responses to September 1, 2016 – Sand Pass Road and US 95, NV to Arock Road and US 95, OR

  1. john h =) says:

    I think Garmin would be better if they had a little more competition. =)

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