I have the opportunity this week to travel to northeast Nevada with my partner in life for a work conference. I will have a few days to explore the local gravel travel around Elko, NV. It’s pretty exciting as I haven’t really ridden much for actual gravel the last few years. “Gravel” in the Southern Nevada/California/Arizona area is actually just a mix of small boulders, sand, and dust. There is nothing remotely comparable to the rolling hills and rock roads of the Midwest, aside from MAYBE a few of the telephone pole access roads that run parallel to I15 near the California/Nevada border. Even those get super sketchy for long periods of time. I’m not complaining, as I really do appreciate the desert terrain and its challenges, but sometimes one pines for the long stretches of hardpack Iowa winter gravel…
Picking a route in an area you’ve never ridden is challenging, especially when there are zero gravel routes listed for the area on AllTrails, MapMyRide, or even Strava. The GPS based mapping/ride tracking apps are usually very helpful when looking for good local ride routes, but not this time. There are a few bike shops in town, I suppose I could call them up and ask some questions about routes but I rarely exercise that option and I’m staying true to that form this week.
For this trip I’ve decided to only use Google Maps for route planning purposes. The Street View function is fairly helpful when checking out potential roads, but remember those are not real time pictures so you absolutely need to check the local weather for the past few weeks to gauge what condition the gravel might be. My route leaves town heading west along the Humbolt River on Bullion Road, then off into the unknown of double-track ranch roads and ATV trails over to Grindstone Mountain getting as close to the summit as I can get. From there I’m hoping to find some sort of trail over/around Grindstone to South Fork Reservoir, then after a gas station lunch, head back north to town via the highway. We shall see how that all goes, and how the weather is this week. The ride out to Grindstone and back to town may be enough.
Bike Selection is a very important aspect of riding off into the unknown. You want to take into consideration all the terrain you may encounter, from paved to trail. I was planning on taking the Pink Bike for the ride, but the pictures of the area surrounding Grindstone are steering me toward bringing the Fargo. That’s probably going to be the way to go for exploration, and it will also enable me to hit a few of the MTB trails around town.
Anyway, enough pontificating. We are headed up in two days, should be a great time. I’ll check back in with a ride report.