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Thread: Finding Old Stuff in the Desert

  1. #1
    Join Date
    12 Nov 2018
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    Finding Old Stuff in the Desert

    I started my day just a few miles north of Nixon, outside of the Paiute Reservation near an awesome Tufa formation. If you have never seen Tufa, its basically like coral but out of the water, the entire area I was riding in was once under water. After unloading my bike and gearing up I set off for my first waypoint, the MGL Stamp Mill (Nightingale Mine). I have explored this area before but never started in this spot. The trail started as a fast 2 track that was a nice hard pack with some whoops to keep your attention.

    Shortly after the fun 2 track started, it turned into some deep rutted out sand. This was the first time I had ever ridden in sand and it was a rude awakening for me. I kept the RPMs up and leaned as far back as I could and managed to get through the ruts. There were a few times I thought I was going over but I somehow managed to come out unscathed. The ruts then gave way to some fun dunes that would have been really fun to stay and play on if I had the time. I pushed through and finally found the main road I wanted to be on.

    The main trail is your stereotypical NN desert road, lots of washes, huge views and crazy rock formations. Its a quick rip to the MGL Stamp Mill (Nightingale Mine) and definitely worth the ride if you're in the area. This site used to be a Tungsten mine back in 1917. Back then, Tungsten was used for high speed metal-working equipment, steel, armor, and armor-piercing shells during World War II. If you go further up past the mill you can find Ore cart tracks, mine shafts and there used to be a core sample room that has since been vandalized and no longer has samples in it. I have camped at the stamp mill before and it was a great spot to spend the night and in the morning, the views only get better with a good cup of coffee in your hand.

    After taking a few pictures, I rolled out to my next stop: School Bus Canyon. I have no idea why the buses are up this canyon but from what I can gather, it was an old homestead. From the minimal research I have done, they look like they are from the 1940/1950s. If you know otherwise please let me know! Unfortunately, as with everything in the desert, the buses have been shot up, vandalized and destroyed however, it is still a fun lunch spot while you're out exploring.

    A friend told me about a wash farther up the canyon that I wanted to check out because it lead to some fun rocks to play on so I decided to ride through the buses and continue up the canyon. It was a really fun wash, I am not a fast rider in any sense of the word but I was having a blast riding between the narrow walls. There were a few sections where the it opened up and if you are a good rider, you could get on the throttle. Pretty soon I came upon the rock section I was trying to find. I played around for a while working on technique and not dabbing, definitely easier said than done, rocks are a lot different on a bike compared to a truck!

    My time was starting to run out and I needed to turn around so I headed back down the wash to the school buses. I wasn't going to miss out on checking them out when I was already there so I stopped to walk around. The buses are really cool, from what I could tell one of them had a furnace mounted in it at one time. There also was an old animal pin near the buses which leads me to believe it was an old homestead. Not a bad place to call your own!

    I jumped back on the bike and headed out, quickly realizing that I didn't have enough layers on. The temps were in the high 30s but with the wind it felt like it was in the teens. My hands and fingers lost all sensation and were pretty much frozen in place. I finally made it to my turn off and headed towards the dunes. Between me being half frozen, tired and sore from riding I had a heck of a time. I was lucky enough to get across without crashing or stalling and was relieved when I saw the hard pack coming up even though that meant my ride was over. I pulled up to my truck, cranked the heater and headed home.

    Last edited by BizzyRider; January 6th, 2019 at 12:58 PM.

  2. #2
    I support Reno4x4!
    Join Date
    08 Nov 2006
    Real Name
    Thank you for posting. I'm hoping to do some family outings this summer and this sounds like a fun place to check out.

  3. #3
    I support Reno4x4!
    Join Date
    10 May 2015
    Real Name
    Its great to see a write up for areas new to travel. Thank you

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