Day 5

After breakfast we setup a makeshift workshop next to the gas station. Clean air filters, oil, gas, tires, chain, etc. We went south about 15 miles to Empire, then east on Hays Canyon Rd. Here we are crossing the valley. The winding road up the mountain is Hays Canyon Rd.

Looking back at Surprise Valley.

This was a nice way back east and up over the hills. I was getting better with the GPS and the maps and we had no trouble navigating back to the playa. This is somewhat challenging as very few roads have signs and there are lots of roads out there which don’t show up on the map at all. I enjoyed the powerline road. I have lots of good memories of riding powerline roads as a kid. The map shows where the powerlines go, so as long as you can see them you won't make a wrong turn.

As we came over the hill and got this view of the playa, it was like seeing the promised land! The road down taunted us though. It kept zig zagging up and down through rocky, painful terrain. I kept wondering when the bloody thing would finally go down the hill! The rocks were quite a workout and made for slow going with our luggage.

We finally made it down. I was so happy that I wanted to keep riding as long as we had daylight. Dale was getting pretty burned out on riding and the dust. To make matters worse, as we began to setup camp he discovered a water bottle had leaked and his sleeping bag was soaked! We decided to get on Soldier Meadows road (washboard dirt) and ride back to Gerlach in the dark so we could sleep in a hotel. This took about 1.5 hrs and seemed longer after a long day in the saddle. We checked in to Bruno’s motel which was a bit crude, but the only thing in town. Bruno owns most of Gerlach, so you don't get a lot of choices. Everyone in town was very friendly and Dale chatted them up thoroughly. He was very interested in the story of Bruno.

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