The Reno Bike Project‘s annual Staff Retreat for 2014 was a day tour out of Gerlach, NV, the southern tip of the Black Rock Desert. We drove out to Gerlach with the idea to ride out of town on NV 34 along the south west border of the Black Rock Desert, across a short section of the playa to Jungo Rd. Then close the loop back to Gerlach for dinner at Bruno’s and a dip in the Mud Pots Hot Springs.
This was my first experience riding on the playa. I had driven on it about 15 years years ago when visiting Gerlach on my way to High Rock Canyon. My most memorable moment on that trip was, my companion Dave Miller, said to me, “What are those birds doing out there?” At the moment my GMC pickup was floored, speeding across the open expanse.
“Turn the wheel, TURN THE WHEEL!” was all Dave could say. The birds were out on a wet patch of the playa which is sudden tragedy for visitors who do not heed the warning of staying off the playa when wet. Disaster averted, we made it off the playa.
Riding a bicycle at a fraction of the speed is just as exhilarating. The expanse of the Black Rock Desert is greater appreciated from the saddle than the auto. I imagine the feeling vastness is even more apparent on foot. We passed over a rivulet of water on the otherwise dry playa but all the bikes made it through without gumming up their stays in the clay.
Between the playa and the railroad tracks and Jungo Rd is a fragile dune system known for its wildlife. For us it is known for its hike-a-bike. Once on Jungo Rd we stopped at Frog Pond hot springs then made the trek along Jungo to NV 447 back to Gerlach.
The 34 mile loop in the Northern Nevada desert ended quietly at Bruno’s. If you are stopping in at the bar I highly recommend the Picon Punch. If you are in any old Nevada bar I recommend sampling the Picon Punch. One of our staff asked what beers they had on tap. The bar tender glanced at the obvious solitary tap on the bar, Budwiser. May I recommend the Picon Punch.
Dinner at Bruno’s is famous for its homemade ravioli. It’s all I can recommend but I am sure the meatloaf is tasty. Have another Picon Punch.
Before leaving Gerlach we popped in at Mud Pot Hot Springs. We were invited to this private hot springs and who would pass up such an opportunity? The satisfaction of this trip could be measured by the silence of the drive home.