The Long Awaited Inaugural Quad Adventure – July 7, 2014

9 Jul

Almost as soon as I decided to move to Carson Valley, Jerri and I began talking about getting a quad to zoom around the Pine Nuts and other off road places to play. It seems like so much fun! Our friend, Dick Schmidt, even gave us pictures of what we’d look like after we described what we wanted to get.

It doesn't get any better than this.  Right?

It doesn’t get any better than this. Right?

Well, after doing some shopping and deciding that we couldn’t afford what we really wanted – a side by side quad (that means two can sit side by side while one drives. It’s a lot safer…roll bars, a roof for shade, a little trunk to carry our gear and a very spiffy red color). It seemed like a ton of money for something we weren’t sure we’d use a lot.

So we got very practical and bought a used khaki green quad from Jerri’s next-door neighbor. Doug used his quad only in the back yard to knock down weeds, etc. It was kind of like the “Little Old Lady from Pasadena” who only used her car on Colorado Blvd.   It took a while to get our NV off road permit and then our helmets and finally, we were ready for the inaugural ride! YEA!!!

Somehow our first picture doesn’t compare to Dick’s original photo. Heels in the desert don’t work very well and one sweats a lot, so one needs longer skirts to sit on the hot seat.  Then, it’s mandatory to have helmets (Allan wouldn’t let us out of the house without helmets…rightfully so). So, we don’t look quite as sexy as the above picture.

Not as sexy, but practical

Not as sexy, but practical

I think Allan was filled with trepidation when he waved goodbye to us as we took off down the street to get to the off road area. There are possibilities of having an accident, running out of gas, falling off the darn thing and/or getting lost in the multitude of roads, paths, and tiny trails in the Pine Nuts Range. We, on the other hand, were filled with confidence as we took off. After all, we had a full tank of gas, a phone (that didn’t have reception in the outback), water and snacks, a borrowed GPS that had the capability of showing us how to get back using the same route we went in on and even some maps of the area. BUT, nothing bad happened. It was a good ride!

The off road area is just a couple of miles from where we live and we can use side roads to get to the jumping off spot. So theoretically, we wouldn’t have any hassle from the cops for using an OHV (off highway vehicle) on a public road.

Re-create responsibly?   We would never do otherwise!

Re-create responsibly? We would never do otherwise!

Luckily, this sign hadn't been shot up yet

Luckily, this sign hadn’t been shot up yet

It was exciting to zoom along the road and then get onto the unpaved, rocky road. We took the Sunrise Pass road, primarily because it was marked… for the first couple of miles. At least we had an idea of what was to come with this signpost. Our first decision was at third big fork in the road with no marking. We chose the right one (literally and figuratively) and zoomed on.

Our first stop was at the Painted Rock where we did Scott’s Pose in honor of him and his firefighting efforts in California this week. This rock is like a giant piece of graffiti with all colors of the rainbow on it. I have no idea why this particular rock was chosen, but it has become a landmark in the area.

Jerri really doesn't have her finger up her nose

Jerri really doesn’t have her finger up her nose

The area is tinder dry, as we all know, from the drought and probably would be a lot prettier had it been a good winter. But we find our desert/mountains to have their own distinct brand of beauty. Subtle colors, faint and sharp smells, sparse to thick vegetation and often cloud formations that tickle one’s imagination.

When we used to play or swim in the ocean, the water temperature would vary and we would enjoy a warm streak now and then. The same type of sensation occurred yesterday as we zoomed through differing air currents. This time, we enjoyed the cool currents embracing our arms and faces.

We began our journey at 4660’ and rose to 6827’ according to the GPS. We are not sure if that was Sunrise Summit or not as we elected to turn around and go home shortly after what was our summit. (We did this so as to get home before Allan went to work so that he wouldn’t worry about us). We do know that the road goes on for many miles and that someday we would like to do that when we have more experience and time.

The elevation change causes a change in vegetation as you can see in the following pictures.

A hazy day looking toward the Sierras from the Pine Nuts

A hazy day looking toward the Sierras from the Pine Nuts

Pine Nut trees alongside the trail

Pine Nut trees alongside the trail

The first picture is looking west to the Sierras across a high plain of sagebrush and other desert plants. No cactus though. The second picture is more than a 1000’ feet higher. This terrain sports many piñon pines as well as some sagebrush and other plants. I don’t know enough about these plants to give you names. Anyway, the local Indian tribes would travel to the mountains in the fall to harvest the nuts from these trees. The nuts (which we call pine nuts, amazing name, huh?) are very nutritious and have been used for centuries for sustenance.   The Paiute, Western Shoshone and the Washoe tribes all consumed the piñones in great quantity in various manners…raw, roasted, soup and probably a lot more. Interestingly, the tribes did not go to the same area of trees every year because, apparently, the trees don’t yield a good crop every single year. So the Indians let the trees “rest” for a couple of years before returning to a specific area. As far as I know, it would have been the Washoe who would have been in the area we were in. Except for the trails and some mines, the area is virtually the same as it was when the Washoe were living there. I find that kind of exciting to be on historical land and imagining what those folks might have done there.

This is the view when you are the back seat driver. Note the beginning of the wispy clouds. They got prettier as they day wore on.

Back seat view of the trail

Back seat view of the trail

Wispy clouds above pinon pines

Wispy clouds above pinon pines

We didn’t see any big animals but saw a lot of chipmunks, and ground squirrels and heard a lot of birds. Not much different from our backyards, but it was fun to see these little critters. We know there are deer up there, wild horses and perhaps some bears. Someday we hope to see at least the deer and horses.

Of course, we had to fool around a bit with some pictures. After we got home, I wished that we had taken a picture of us jumping for joy with our quad (Beside it, not on it! We’re not that silly…yet)

It's ours!!!

It’s ours!!!

I suppose that in the future, we will be saying that this adventure was so-so without many thrills and no close calls. It was a pretty straightforward ride and we were happy for that.  Everyone we talked to had warned us about  hazards that could befall us, especially getting lost.  I think I might have listened a bit too much and made us be a bit too extra cautious.  Yes, I know that “an ounce of prevention” and all that.  I don’t know what we would have done, but perhaps next time we’ll add a thrill or two.  Again, I don’t know what that would be.

We learned a few things on the road, too.  We learned to ride together and to ride fairly smoothly despite many rocks in the road. We also learned that the seat gets pretty hot and we sweat a lot on it. Next time we’ll be taking a towel to sit on. We need to be more thorough in using bug repellant. Jerri was bitten by a horsefly right through her pants! Those flies are real pests! We call them tsetse horseflies because the bites itch like crazy, sometimes raise a blister and take forever to go away. We don’t like them!  We also need to get our own GPS soon, too, as we want to be more adventurous and will need that tool.  I also learned that the quad doesn’t have power steering (I actually knew that, I’m being silly) and am quite sore today from steering it.  Jerri isn’t.  She’s in better shape than I am from working out with her Kaia group.

Jerri is expressing our feeling at having completed our first ride successfully while having a lot of fun doing it. I can see why folks get hooked on off-roading. It was fun and we’re glad we have our quad.

A happy camper

A happy camper









One Response to “The Long Awaited Inaugural Quad Adventure – July 7, 2014”

  1. amashoo July 9, 2014 at 2:08 am #

    Great pictures. Wonderful adventure! Thanks for a terrific adventure! Shoo

    Sent from my iPhone


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