This was my first trip planned to be chronicled here. This was my first day tour on my Salsa Fargo. And it was a long time coming! So what a perfect trip to invite my friends Billy and Amy. Also a first at riding with them. I had ridden all around this area by road bike but had been limited to its perimeter every time the paved road ended. Once I had ridden from Eagle Canyon Drive to Chickadee Drive on my cross bike, but the narrow tires did not track well through patches of soft sand. I knew I could start this ride at points in Golden Valley, Sun Valley, Lemon Valley, Antelope Valley, or the Indian Reservation off Eagle Canyon Drive.
Billy and Amy helped me decide to get on dirt at the end of Chickadee Dr in Lemon Valley as opposed to the end of Antelope Valley Rd. Excellent choice, more dirt, less pavement! Once we were on BLM roads we saw a few signs but after that route finding was by committee. We were flanked on the west by Coyote Ridge and on the east by Hungry Ridge and the Reno Sparks Indian Colony. We decided to follow a road along the base of Hungry Ridge with the Painted Hills as a focal point to the north. To the south we had great views of Mt. Rose and the city of Reno was hidden by the elevation of the valley. The area is primarily visited by OHV users and for certain sandy sections quads and dirt bikes make a great choice of transportation.
Late winter and fall are great times to travel by bike. The roads were packed and fast from the sparse rain we had received. There is no shade to speak of, this is the land of “pygmy forests”, so temperatures in the 50’s-60’s are ideal. I would discourage this route in the summer as temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s would be brutal. Route choice requires some preparation, some luck, and adventuresome spirit. The openness combined with the distinct geographical features in each of the cardinal directions kept us headed in the right direction.
As a short day trip this was fun. The company made the miles pass easily under our tires. In retrospect I need to slow down, take more pictures, and enjoy mid trip snacks with my fellow tourists. With longer days, I need to take the time to explore what is over there. I look forward to following up this trip with an “over-nighter” in the Painted Hills.