UPDATE, 22 October 2008

David and Chiva are taking a break from the Tour de Dog but are sure to plan another ride in the near future. A sincere thank you to all of you who helped David and Chiva in countless ways. The Tour de Dog would not be possible without your support. THANK YOU!

View a Photo Documentary of Tour de Dog by Jason Houge

Tour de Dog is past states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, and New York.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tour de Desert

Monitor Valley is the essence of Nevada: rough, remote and open. Located in central Nevada, the valley floor is covered in sagebrush, situated at 6,000 ft. above sea level and runs seventy miles from north to south.

The satisfactorily maintained dirt and sometimes rocky road through the valley is for the most part flat. On either side are mountain ranges with peaks sometimes reaching over 10,000 ft.

When I researched the valley and listened to Nevadans describe its awesome beauty and remoteness, I had no other choice but to experience everything firsthand. So I biked the fifty miles north from Tonopah to its starting point and did just that.

The high desert environment presents numerous challenges with the most critical one for Chiva and me being where to find water. Luckily this time of year, snow melt from the upper slopes creates a few ice-cold and refreshing runoff streams that descend into the lower canyons and foothills below. After discussing my plans with locals in the ghost town of Belmont, I was confident Chiva and I would be just fine.

Twenty miles in I setup camp along an impressively flowing stream, Pine Creek. Chiva and I spent the next couple of days here hydrating ourselves and taking in the unique and stunning surroundings. At times were intense feelings of loneliness and isolation. Although this may sound somewhat depressing, the sensation was splendid in its own way. The valley is as far away from the modern world as I have ever been.

Nights were lit up with countless stars, and the days started and ended with spectacular displays of orange, red, purple, and yellow.

Being on a bicycle, I was only able to visit a few of the valley’s many attractions. One of my favorites was a hot spring known as Diana’s Punch Bowl, a 100 foot volcano-like hill filled with steaming aqua and turquoise water. Energy scientists are looking to tap into the geothermal energy throughtout the area.

Several days of exploring the valley and navigating the dirt road was leading Chiva and me to exhaustion so when two friendly prospect miners drove by and offered us a ride to paved road, we readily accepted. Thank you Bruce and Carl.

I am thrilled to have been able to experience central Nevada. What a unique and stunning environment! I look forward to spending more time in this area in the future. Anybody who is simply looking to “get away”, I recommend hitting up the beautiful but challenging Monitor Valley.

Couple of notes:

Chiva did excellent in the desert. It was all about giving her constant water and food and keeping her as comfortable as possible. Days were hot but mostly spent in shade. Nights quickly cooled into the low 40s.

Jefferson Summit, at 11,941 feet, is the tallest point in central Nevada. I wanted to climb this peak but decided it would be smarter to conserve energy for exiting the valley. The mountain is home to an archeological site that is apparently the highest known Native American village in all of North America.

The Doggyride Novel continues to perform excellent and to exceed expectations.

Thank you to those who continue to write me emails of support and/or donate. Also thank you to passing motorists who were kind enough to offer us water. You guys honestly keep my pedaling.


dave said...

Way to go David! I am keeping track of your progress as our blog as tiny exerps of your latest travels. That is one hardcore adventure.

Dave Everett

Tracy said...

Wow... sounds like a tough, but beautiful place. Great photos!! Keep on pedaling!

Jeremy said...

Back to a PC and I can finally get back into your travels and absorb myself. Your descriptions of the valley are amazing, and the photos of long dirt roads and endless landscapes go some way to capturing the idea of isolation.

Brilliant stuff!