Our trip wasn't really anything that hadn’t been done before, but for John, Mark and I, it was another great opportunity to put legs over a bike, put our product to the test and leave our desks behind. Our destination was the inaugural Adventure Rally Sierra Edition, located in the promised land of motorcycle riding, the Sierra Nevada of California. Our goal: Take the most indirect route possible, simple enough.
Being based in Rigby, Idaho makes it easy to take a number of indirect routes. Point your bike in any direction and you will find an winding route leading you into some of the most desolate, but awe-inspiring landscapes in the U.S. Our planned indirect route would take us west, skirting the southern end of Sawtooth Mountains and up and over Owyhee Mountains into the southwestern corner of Idaho. We would hang a hard left once inside Oregon making our way south through Nevada, stopping off in Reno and spending a day to experience Lake Tahoe. Finally, making our way over Carson Pass, along the foothills of the Sierras and ultimately to our destination Lakeshore, California near Huntington Lake.
The trip was filled with what you might expect to experience in the fall here in the west. We experienced Mother Nature at her worst and at her best. We encountered large temperature swings, gale-force winds and moisture in every form: dirt, mud and sand. We also ran into the unexpected…nearly-debilitating bee stings, lost keys, a 30 foot python and migrating elk.
Silver City, Idaho, was one of the first destinations of the trip. Located in the remote Owyhee Mountains at about 6,000 ft. and with access limited to dirt roads, Silver City is one destination that needs to be on all adventure riders’ bucket lists. Established in 1864, Silver City came into existence to support silver mining operations in the area. This city gives a glimpse into the history of the West and spending time in the ghost town will take you back to a time when survival was a way of life. Our stay was short, but it gave us enough time to understand and appreciate the amenities we take
After a short stay in Jordan Valley, Oregon, tackling the Sierra Nevada Mountain range was the next objective. An early October snow storm caused a little alarm, but not because we weren’t prepared. Our gear didn't let us down. We weren’t sure which mountain passes would be open. A detour was not an option knowing what laid in front of us. Luckily, the passes were clear and some of the most scenic roadways awaited us. Up over Carson Pass and down along the foothills of the Sierras presented the opportunity to sharpen our cornering skills. We were presented with mile after mile of the most winding ribbon of roads I have ever been on. As I look back at that stretch of pavement, it still causes involuntary grinning from ear-to-ear. The roller coaster rides at Disneyland have nothing on that road.
China Peak Resort in Lakeshore, California was base camp for the event, which would play out in the surrounding area. A competition of sorts, the challenge pitted you against other teams. To win required that you have honed navigation skills, or at least know which direction north is, that you are good at time management, and that you know how to ride a bike and read a map.
For the KLIM® team, victory was not in the cards this time. It was incredibly hard to focus on the task at hand in the midst of some of the most epic riding areas we’ve experienced.
After the end of the event, we suddenly remembered we would have to ride all the way home.
But that’s a whole other story.