KTM Buckaroo Rally in Elko

The 2006 KTM High Desert Rally in a great region of Nevada + Some ghost town on the way

We had a good time on our way to the KTM Rally in Elko and I met some really cool people during the trip. Here's a way to share pictures if hopefully those guys have some to share .

Our group was the one leaving from San Francisco at 9 am, organized by Don, Scuderia's owner. 6 riders...

Don had scheduled 2 days to Elko so we were able to take some nice roads like the 108 and the Dardanelles Pass.

Aren't we lucky to have a dealer like Don in town?!?

Jeremiah (Balzac) bleeding his clutch...

See, Don can be serious (and useful) too...

Before and after that break we were just hauling ass on one of the greatest pavement on earth so no time for more pics... We then arrived in Bridgeport for the night and since it was still relatively early (i.e: daylight to leverage ) most of us went for a quick ride in the dirt.

Soon the trail started to be really fun

The issue is that after a while waiting, the others were still not catching up with Jeremiah and me...

We came back to hear that they wanted to go back in town 'cause their reserve light came on. Lame excuse if you ask me .

A few pics on the way back...

Don again...


And myself

At Bridgeport we joined a 2nd group coming from So Cal, the "Pointman group", with 6 riders too. It was nice to meet them at the Virginia Settlement. Pointman had beers on ice in one of his cases and nothing tasted better .

Bad news though, the hotel (or me) had my reservation for the following day and no room was available . Good news, they were cool about it and gave me a cabin for free. Just a tad above camping but with a good bed:

C-dub, LKN4DRT and Randy were sharing a room and offered me to use their shower .

Bridgeport is a nice town

But quite expensive, gas included

If you are really, but really not in hurry (did we wait 1.5 hour?) the steak is quite good at Sportmens...

12 people at dinner and it's a great party . 12 Adv Riders in one riding group and it's a.... Which road to take? More dirt? Less dirt? Faster? Slower?

At least we all agreed on stopping at Bodie:

Bodie is by far my favorite ghost town and is now a state historic park. In a middle of nowhere (accessible only by dirt road) at high altitude (over 7000 feets?) it's recovered by 6ft of snow in winter. That didn't stop it for having 10,000 people with 2,000 buildings in 1879!

Yes, there was a church... but also 65 saloons!

I like that they kept a lot of stuff intact in the houses like plates and bottles still on the tables or the safe like it had just been opened by some bank robbers...

And the site itself high in the hills is awesome

4 riders didn't want to visit Bodie so here is the remaining group of 8

Not too many pictures left for me of the high desert (besides the ones in the Elko thread) since we had 370 miles to do to reach Elko and we still tried to hit the dirt as often as possible. So not much time for pictures. Besides, with all the dust we we're quite spread apart.

But hey, we had some stops too and it was quite funny (but long ) to have almost everyone jump on compressors and all to adjust the pressure when going from dirt to pavement.

C-dub and Randy

The dirt roads we took were mostly smooth and easy so we ended going faster on them (triple-digits) than on pavement. Quite fun I must say...

LKN4DRT keeping busy during the stops...

And... back on the road

Some may wonder what's a Buckaroo... Since Scot Harden enlighten us I would like to share:

The three terms vaquero, buckaroo, and cowboy mean roughly the same thing. The term of preference in the early days in northern Nevada was vaquero, and the preferred word today is buckaroo. The term cowboy has never been used much in northern Nevada, where "cowboys" are from Texas, Montana, or some other place. Vaquero (from the Spanish vaca for cow) is the obvious source for buckaroo.

Anyway, the buckaroos are still here and well as this one, met on one of the trails:

Scot also made the analogy of buckaroos being the first Adventure Riders and the similarities between what we both enjoy to do and how much we care about our "equipment".

But I'm sure you guys don't care much about your horses... you want some riding . Well I don't have too many pictures of that since there was so much riding to do and also that I've lost my riding buddies twice in different circumstances .

First, let's get ready for the ride! A few courageous like C-dub change their tires themselves in the parking lot.

But his new bead breaker seems to be no good for the mighty Skorpion

Thankfully someone came to the rescue with a different system (forgot the name). And it worked fine:

The great Team Panamamerica with Niles in black, mechanic at Scuderia and for the Dakar, always ready to give you a hand.

Always eager to ride I skipped part of the morning presentations and lunch and just went on riding with Jeremiah, met 2 days earlier in the group leaving San Francisco to the Rally.

What a contrast with the Nevada I had envisioned from my trip to Vegas, just a week ago with a temperature of 110-120. Elko couldn't be more different, very much at the Nort-East of the state, close to Idaho. The weather was great and we were both happily surprised by how green and beautiful the scenery was.

Remote trails, with no one around (or so it seemed)

People may not be rich around here...

But they have a good sense of humor

We were having a lot of fun in the North loop, confident in the fact that we would not meet one of the other 150 crazy riders since they were enjoying lunch at Red Lion .

What a beautiful climb that is! You maybe able to see Jeremiah right in the middle.

But with Skorpions tires he couldn't get up to the top...

On the way down

As you can see there was plenty of options for fun climbings

After gasing in Mountain City we cut East through very small and remote dirt roads, still having a great time until... THIS showed up just after a blind turn, taking much of the road width

Jeremiah who was riding up front saw it way too late and even if his speed was moderate at that moment (there were cows on the road earlier) he just couldn't stop on the very slippery fine gravel. Sadly he slided and ended up hitting the truck head-on creating a major impact

I don't want to go into too many details about this terrible accident and will let Jeremiah comment about it in Face Plant if he feels like it. I will just share a few pics like this one showing the strength of the impact:

Or this one, showing the driver of the truck on the left and some nice locals who came to offer their help. The Sheriff was a very nice guy too, rider of a dirt bike and sport bike and drooling about the 950.

The chopper came pretty quicly and miraculously Jeremiah ended with no broken bones but has some serious injuries like internal bleedind and a strained (or more) knee.

Many riders offered their support and Scot Harden and others paid a visit at the local hospital to see him as well as Casey McCoy, a Dakar rider who broke his ankle the same day.

After seeing Jeremiah leaving in a chopper, my riding was obviously over for the day. I was blessed however by some great views on my way back to the pavement.

The following morning it was obvious that people were here to RIDE, and at 6 am the breackfast room was filling up quickly. I was teaming with 2 great riders met in Bridgeport coming to the rally: Chris (C-dub) and Russ (LKN4DRT), both on 950. C-dub is an ex-pro motocross racer and it shows:

But even in very remote trails the danger could show up at any turn...

Maybe the only solution is to avoid the trails

This is my last picture of them since after only 1 hour of riding I lost them (I was riding last).

So now, I'm by myself and I really don't like riding solo off-road. I learned the hard way that it can be a very bad idea. But the day is still young and I figure out that I will hook up with someone eventually. I just decide to take it really easy especially since I'm exploring some very little traveled trails.

The scenery is beautiful, no one around, taking the time to take a few pictures... life is good!

I tried to watch out for rattlesnakes common in the area, but the only thing I saw was those ugly black and fat "beetles"...

As you can see from another pic taken on the road, they're eating their cadavers not realizing that by staying on the road they will be the next ones!

OK, here I was forced to go back on my tracks (something I really hate ) and finally reached a road. I went up North and followed one the tracks suggested by the organizers but for whatever reason it appears that I was the only one to do it from West to East . No big deal you might think except that I was facing (literally) one excited after another coming from the other way at, let's say, a spirited pace . Some with Red Bull bikes (they know who they are ) were even riding side by side on those one lane trails, and they were not the slowest. Still a bit traumatized by the accident from the day before I was carefully keeping my right and taking it easy but there were some "moments" .

It was fun however and the scenery remained beautiful

It was a very long morning and I was glad to arrive at Jarbidge and incredible small town separated from the rest of the world by at least 30 miles of dirt, one way or the other. Needless to say our motorcycles were quite the event! (you can see my black 950, the only one facing the other way )

Friends and family all came to the rescue of the excellent burger joint to help serving and if it was slow it was still a great ambiance.

I continued after lunch under a short but heavy rain

It was the same the day before... Why do they call that a desert?

Following the great advice from JimC I then took the Bruneaux rd that, he told me, was the most beautiful he did, and because it was not highlighted in the Rally maps he hadn't seen any rider on it. Cool!

It was indeed a great trail, more "challenging" (midly) than the others with some water crossing and rocky sections. I was having a great time, still pretty careful since I was on a trail solo with "no one around", taking the time for some pictures.

Maybe 30 secounds after the last picture I saw too late a rider coming the other way . Being in a one-lane trail I was pretty much on the middle and tried to jump on my right. But the other rider seeing me originally too much on the left was also aiming from my right side . Left, right, left, right after several tergiversations what had to happen happened and we crashed onto each other!

Luckily we had lost most of our speed before the final impact and we didn't fell or hurt each other. There was some damage on the bikes though. Hard to see but my headlight cover is broken and the whole subframe supporting it is bent too...

Trying to fix the other bike that luckily was not as damaged

I just couldn't belive it!!! I had ridden so carefully the whole day and still I was getting involved in a second head-on in 2 days . I guess you lose your focus when you ride too slowly . Anyway the group I ran into were coming from Idaho and were all very nice despite the circumstances. They offered me to go back with them and since it was such a great trail I did a U-turn (again ) and stayed with them up to the hotel.

Despite those 2 accidents I can say that this was by far the best Rally I ever been to and I'll be doing it again for sure .