What kind of motorcycle does it take for touring? 1800 cc's of goldwing? Maybe a 1500 cc v-twin is the requirement? My new mount and choice for todays jaunt is 230 cc's of mind blowing power and torque. The Honda crf230m. The m is for motard, but I think it's more of a mini motard than a super motard. Anyway, first ever brand new motorcycle so had to take it for a break in run. Slight downer for the day, only cell phone available for picture taking.
Now of course I needed a destination. I just moved back to Las Vegas after spending a year in Seattle. I'd lived there before and thought I needed a change. Wrong. I prefer to skip as much winter as possible. What I will miss is the beauty of the NW and riding in the shadow of Mount Ranier. But Nevada has a great selection of ghost towns to serve as riding destinations. So a quick consult of Ghosttown.com to see what was in Clark county and my destination was set. Nelson, Nv.
Original mining began in Nelson about 1858 and ended in 1945. And it's close.
I set off going south on Highway 95 towards Boulder city. At this point it's 93/95 and they split from each other right before Boulder city.
Although I will miss touring in Washington, the desolation of the desert has it's own appeal. The howling wind across the vast open valleys appeal to some primal yearning in me to be alone and again feel small in an ever shrinking world.
Luckily it was only about 10 miles on the 95 to highway 165 because I was fighting a 40 mph headwind. The bike can manage a steady 65-70 normally but with that kind of a headwind I was between 45-55 mph most of the way.
Finally reached the turnoff to Nevada 165 which goes to Nelson and El Dorado canyon where the spaniards made gold discoveries in 1775.
Historic marker at the turnoff for 165:
Now I had the wind coming from the side. Was uphill but the bike was happy to tool along at about 55 mph. The whole area out here seems to be immensely popular with the local atv crowd. I past several people who had trailered their atv's in and were enjoying the roads and trails.
Looking up highway 165, looks like a Nv road:
ust a lonely two lane stretching off into the desert landscape. About 5 miles up the road looking back towards Boulder city:
Now the Honda comes with sport bike tires on it, so clearly I won't be entering any rally's. But I did take the opportunity to check out several side roads that had soft sandy surfaces. I had done some offroading on my Concours (10), so doing it on a 275 pound bike felt much safer. Just had to keep in mind that the front tire wasn't going to bite into the dirt well when I turned the wheel.
About 11 miles up highway 165 you come to Nelson. There are two towns really. The first one appears to be retirees and mostly mobile homes. Maybe 200 people total. I was disappointed thinking that the old buildings had been torn down. Then I noticed a sign for mine tours 2 miles ahead. I continued on down the road (which actually has some enjoyable twisties on it, rare in Nv) and came to the old part of town. I didn't actually drive up to the mine which is right behind this building because it was posted.
Old building in front of mine:
I'm assuming the canoes are for rentals as the Colorado river is very close by. On the other side of the road the rest of town:
Just past these buildings on the right hand side is some type of airplane junkyard. Looks like mostly the exact same types of fighter plane from the late 1950's. Through town I found several trails that led to mine tailings, but no standing structures. Clearly you can see that Nelson is a town with several old buildings, not truly a ghost town. But an accessible ghost town from Las Vegas is either going to be far away, 'restored' for tourism, or have few if any remains. So this was satisfying for a quick run.
I couldn't help imagining 100 years ago how desolate and inhospitable this place must have been. But for the love of gold.
Finally decided I wanted to see the Colorado river. Eight years in Las Vegas and I have never seen the river, Lake Mead, or the damn big dam they have here. So I rode about 6 miles farther on until I saw water:
Then it was a beeline home with a tail wind the whole way. Total riding, 80 miles. Used exactly 1 gallon of gas. I'm definitely going to be replacing the original seat with a corbin as it's just not that comfortable after more than ½ hour. But overall I'm happy that I will be able to do some distances on such a small bike.