In preparation for our ~2000 mile long journey, Toe and I loaded up the shiney Nissan with all our shiney camera gear, 5 days worth of shiney clothes, and a shiney black and red GSXR 600. None of it would stay shiney for long as we would find out.
We’ve been shooting the same tracks for a few years now. The first was Buttonwillow in 2006. The last new track we’ve shot was Reno Fernley, in 2007. It was time to see, shoot, and ride something new.
The trip started out on Thursday around noon with me realizing that I’d forgotten to unpack some things from the Element, which Melissa had taken to work in downtown Sacramento…20 minutes the opposite way in which we needed to go. I’d left my emergency roadside pump and my GPS in there, and I like to always have both with me. We headed north around noon to meet Melissa and get what we needed, then set out on a slightly augmented travel plan… roughly: hwy 50 > 95 > 93 > 10.
We brought a travel buddy with us, thanks to Mike @ Ace Custom Graphics
We were ready to rock and roll!
Lookit…so nice and shiney…
We headed east and everywhere like such as [the iraq]. Climbing in elevation to round 6500 feet where it the air was crisp and there was snow on the ground. I’m always in such awe everytime I drive through the Sierra Mountains. They’re so beautiful and offer such diversity in terrain and ecology.
Drive by shooting
We dropped down the other side and into the higher desert area.
Until we eventually hit hwy 95 where there was much of this to be found…
…for many miles…we needed to do something fun, and quick…
To break up the monotony of highway 95, I mentioned to Toe about how I’d stopped at Walker Lake once before in a cargovan and had gotten stuck in sand. I asked him if he wanted to stop by there, since “we’re in a 4 wheel drive now, and definately won’t have any problems getting over the sand.” Well…I was right….we had ZERO problems in the sand.. what I didn’t account for was alkaline. :( Just as I was about to turn around and head back up to the highway, the truck simply fell through the ground, buried up to the frame, in a mucky substance that I can only equate to meconium. The texture, the smell, and even the color. It was no bueno.
DON’T STOP HERE! IT’S A TRAP!!!
Yeah, my bad, Toe. Sorry homie.
First thing first, we unload the GSXR to lighten up the rear.
And then we start digging. We dug and dug forever. It wasn’t looking good, as the frame was resting on top of the harder pack. Rocks, ramps, and anything else we could find we threw under the tires…
It was all to no avail. The truck was buried deep. In gear, foot OFF the gas, all 4 wheels would just spin freely, as if the truck was on a lift. There was no way we were getting this out alone. When I’d gotten stuck before, I was alone. I had no GSXR. I ended up walking about 9 miles south in the middle of the night, with no moon light, down hwy 95, before a nice family from Denmark who were in a rental motorhome picked me up and drove me the rest of the way to Hawthorne. $226 and 4 hours later, I was unstuck by some hillbilly in lifted Ford Bronco.
I donned my riding gear and set out south towards Hawthorne, NV to search for help. ANYTHING but a tow truck or a lifted Ford Bronco…
I didn’t have to go far before I saw a huge 4×4 with a buncha FOX decals on the back (score! a dirtbiker!). I got him to try and help us…long story short, he had no tow ropes, neither did we…so I jumped back on the bike and hauled ass at about an average speed of 140mph down to some place that had chains… we were stuck 3.5 hours in all. Thanks huge 4×4 dirtbiker guys.
And back to having gone out of the way to pick up my emergency air compressor… :) I’d aired all 4 tires down to 15psi while stuck in hopes to gain more traction…good thing I’d grabbed it to fill up for the ~90 miles we had to drive before any gas stations had air!
Anyhow, it was dark by the time we got back on the road. We wanted to make up some time… so we drove…and drove and filled up and drove some more all through the night until we finally found something worth taking a picture of…
WTF? We were getting pretty damned tired by the time we got to Beatty, NV.
Buuuuuut…we drove on anyways… here’s a small version of a 24 shot panoramic of the Hoover Dam. Clicky for higher rez
The place is unreal. I hadn’t been to the Hoover Dam since I was about 12. It’s changed so much. Toe was all excited and hung out the sunroof trying to take pictures, and of course, we got pulled over. Luckily, the cop-lady was nice in a really mean way and let us go with a “verbal warning.”
We pulled over 100ft later and took some pics for posterity.
Totally looks fake…even in real life it looks fake. Especially at 3am when you’re deliriously tired.
We ended up driving another 2 or so hours until we got to Kingman, AZ, where we stayed the night in some sleezy Motel 6. And by “night,” I mean we got there at about 5:15am and slept until 10am before checking out and getting back on the road.
We stopped at some little river thingo by the tracks for a girly shoot…
And there was a mud puddle…
That was actually the last of the pics we took on the trip before getting to the track… We pressed on for a few more hours until we got to my dad’s house in Prescott Valley, AZ. I’d never been there before, and was kinda shocked as to how much of a podunk town it was. We stopped long enough to do a load of laundry and clean our filthy, muddy, alkaline-crusted clothes from the night before then headed out for Wilcox, AZ.
We got to Wilcox around midnight on Friday night. We stayed at another mangy Motel 6. We woke up early as we didn’t know where the track was exactly or what to expect… we got there just fine. We had a blast with Ti2TT. Did a lot of riding. Shot a lot of pictures. Even shot some video (I’ll do another write-up on the track itself seperately).
Toe ninjas from behind a cactus
Toe goobers his way around some turn
As usual, I look like a complete bad ass (even though I’m prolly about 50 ft off line right here)
Toe gets the track figured out and gets SAVAGE on the throttle
Then we drove home.
Nearly straight through… interstate 10 > 5 > home. It was full of suck. We did park in a nice neighborhood in Pasedena at around 3:30am to take a nap in the truck though… that was the highlight of the return trip. In fact, We didn’t even take any pics on the way back until we were already at my house…Sorry for the anti-climax. :D
My GPS only logs 5 days worth of tracks…so there’s about 4 hours of deleted tracks from Sacramento up to the mountains.
More to come soon about the track itself, including video.