Taken from the June 2005 Newsletter

Photos from the Memorial Day outing at Smith Valley, Nevada:    (taken by Paul Boettin and Chas Moser)

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SMITH VALLEY OUTING: by Chas Moser

This was a new place for TBSA and everyone had a good time here, especially the riders. The turnout was pretty good, especially considering that this was a new location for us. Ron Cottrell and Chas know the area fairly well and between the two of them were able to lead some really outstanding rides without getting lost too many times. On Saturday, Doug Austin (potential new member) helped us out by leading us through some really super single-track in the Pine Nut region. We rode Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and put on over 250 miles. Chas wanted to ride on Monday as well to check out some additional new trails but couldn't find any riding partners.

Smith Valley is located in between Virginia City and Sweetwater, therefore some of the riding areas overlap; however, for the most part, the area is quite unique with an abundance of historical mines and a few ghost towns. The majority of riding is on two-track although some of it is fairly technical and often steep, while on Saturday and Sunday we found lots of single-track. Oh, yes, can't forget the snow. While our base camp was about 5,000 feet elevation, some of the rides approached 10,000 feet and snow was a definite factor at the higher elevations. We were ultimately able to navigate around the snow with much judicious planning and maneuvering.

There were 14 rigs and approximately 14 riders plus a gaggle of quads. We were camped in a good-sized dry lake bed with riding available in virtually every direction. The weather was mild, reaching into the low 80's during the heat of the day. A breeze was always present, and indeed we situated ourselves upwind from the quads. The quads (mostly kids) were having such a blast that they would run out of gas on a fairly regular basis. On Friday we were treated to a spectacular lightning show and thunder shower in the afternoon. In fact we were in the middle of it (fortunately) towards the end of our ride that day. We were coming out of the mountains down Red Canyon when we got pelted with heavy doses of hail, and were pretty much sopping wet by the time we arrived back at camp.

The Potluck on Saturday was, of course, a success with an excellent variety of hot dishes, fruit, salads and desserts. Chas has got to get Roberta Austin's recipe for her frozen "pink" fruity pie. It was so good that he wasn't sure if it was even legal! In order to entice more women along in the future, perhaps in addition to the Potluck we could plan a dinner out at the HeyDay Inn in Wellington on either Friday or Sunday. Wellington is about ten miles from camp. The metropolis of Yerington is also fairly close by in the other direction.

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Former TBSA member Chuck Drake recently sent in a few pictures taken at club outings in 1973-74, which are posted below:

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE by Le Wallin - "Smith Valley, Spring of 05"

It was about 143 miles from my house and, if you make all the correct turns, you end up in Smith Valley at a dry lake bed with lots of open country around you. Eleven more TBSA rigs made all the right turns and showed up for the rides - what a fine turn-out. Two other rigs showed up with about a hundred kids on quads - turned out they had been to Sweetwater Pass with TBSA last year. Most of the hot shoe riders went for the high country and duked it out with snow and cross country charges to catch the trail. Then there was that girlie blue bike with 225 cc’s that lost its get-up-and-go much over 6,000 feet. I can’t believe Yamaha could make such a puny machine. Maybe it was made for a 120-pounder. So, anyway, I got to ride the lowlands.

There are quite a few mines in the region and the Ludwig Mine is a humdinger. I’ll bet there are some bones at the bottom of some of those shafts ‘cause they go almost straight down. There were concrete pilings rising 20 to 25 feet in the air that were part of the system, and someone had painted Egyptian-type suns on the uprights and, of course, some other jerk had to shoot at the paintings - takes all kinds. The next mine we visited had a huge steam shovel - must have been made in the 1920's - all cable controlled (diesel motor) - abandoned in a deep pit. They just walked off and left it.

Some of the mines in the area were still operating but most were a thing of the past. The Pine Nut Mountains and the Smith Valley sure have a lot to offer for off-roaders. You can make it as hard as you like or mellow - there is something for everyone.

I have noticed a changing of the colors (on the trail). It used to be lots of red, a bunch of blue, some yellow, and a touch of green. But now the color orange is beginning to stand out and, sure enough, Dan Kelly traded in his yellow for an orange ride. Congratulations, Dan, on that sharp new 525. Dan says his front tire is going to last forever cause he rides on the back one most of the time. Oh, to be young again. Well, the potluck worked out well and I upgraded from peaches to fruit cocktail, but I don’t think it was the same - wait till next time. Hope to see you all on the trail, and at the meeting. Georgetown is next.  .

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