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Published: October 1st 2019
Day 6 Tecopa to Needles
A Delights resort breakfast at their newly opened restaurant where our waitress from last night stopped by as she was walking her coon-dog. We were soon on Tecopa Pass heading south. Marked on the BDR as a sealed road, it had been sealed once, but has now transitioned back to mainly gravel due to no maintenance. Occasional patches of seal most with large potholes were ready to catch you out if not alert. After a few kms of this, the route turned off onto gravel which gradually got rougher with patches of soft sand through desolate countryside but with plenty of Joshua Trees to enhance the scenery . Challenging riding but interesting and as we were at an altitude of around 1000m, it was positively cool. More of this track led us back onto the main sealed road for a decent distance before we turned left onto Excelsior Mine road. This was a pretty rough rocky single track which eventually dropped down into our destination for lunch – Primm Nevada, complete with mandatory casino. As we approched Primm, we had an elevated view of Ivanpah Solar power station. Apparently this is the biggest solar power
station in the world. It looks it, as it covers a vast area of around 4000 acres.The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System which is a concentrated solar thermal plant is sited here in the Mojave Desert as they hardly ever have a sunless day. It is located at the base of Clark Mountain which is in California, just across the state line from our lunch destination at Primm Nevada. The plant has a gross capacity of 392 megawatts whatever that means.
The station operates primarily by having 352,000 mirrors focus heat from the sun onto three boilers mounted on towers, each taller than the length of a football field. Water in these boilers is turned into steam that then turns turbines to generate electricity. The mirrors are huge & you can see the sunlight being reflected as you drive past. The build cost was $US2.2billion. The behemoth solar power plant apparently is quite controversial as it was built with federal subsidies to combat climate change but is actually using increasing amounts of natural gas to run at night. This is a greenhouse-gas-emitting fuel, state and federal data show. It has also had a major fire caused by a mirror
being misaligned. Nevertheless it is an amazing piece of complex engineering & shows what humans can design & build as the need arises.See Google for more information on this interesting project.
Lunch break in Primm then out of town for 20kms on a freeway before turning left into Mojave Preserve land. A gravel/sand track wound for kilometres among Joshua Trees. Exciting & fun riding - gravel, sand,whoop-dees & then onto a fast wide gravel road for a few kms before more single track desert riding. Reaching a sealed road we then took Route 66 & the I40 into Needles. 340kms today & probably one of our most enjoyable. Day 7 Needles to Blythe.
Out of Blythe after breakfast at a 1950s American Diner "Wagon Wheel" on Route 66. We had a 30km ride on the I40 to get to the start of today's section of the BDR. Arriving at the start point the road was closed with a sign telling us the only way through was a road another 50kms up the I40. We tried another option but this was closed too. We think this was because of recent floods. Eventually finding the recommended detour we stopped
at a small town? at a place called
Amboy on Route 66. There was an old gas station & diner here where we got a coffee & gassed up. Talking to another motorcyclist (who was on a road trip from Alabama to return his mother's ashes to her place of birth. Her & his father were keen motorcyclists) He told us he had been in Amboy 6 years ago and the place was shut down & falling into disrepair...now it's thriving with big Route 66 logos painted on the road outside the diner, which two bus loads of European Tourists were taking photos of. There was also half a dozen European Harley riders on rented bikes doing a Route 66 tour. Their WAGS were accompanying them in cars & they we also posing all over the road with their Harleys complete with tassles, leather jackets - the full nine yards. Bus tourists, motorcycle entourage, motorcyclists all taking photos mostly of each other. You couldn't hear yourself think for the sound of shutters clicking! Think of the film wasted.
Onwards south we took a shortcut through a 10km gravel/sand road - our first non sealed road of the day. A few
soft sand patches in here woke us all up as we had just been cruising so far. Back on seal for quite a while, we soon rejoined our route which then took us across a desert track for around 20kms. Sandy rocky, whoopdees & challenging including crossing lots of dry river beds filled with soft sand rather than water. Eventually we emerged onto a sealed road which we thought was an easy ride to our destination of Blythe but just as we were relaxing the route took us right, up a hill off seal and up a gravel track quite rocky & technical but......this soon changed to a dry river bed which had recently had some heavy duty flooding. Now it was small & large rocks, take your pick, tree branches, soft sand patches & generally a serious challenge section. To reach the track out we had a Pikes Peak type hill climb. By now we had built up a decent sweat, run out of energy, & were dreaming of a cold beer or two. Getting out of this area required a drop into a now dry river where the bank been eroded into a 1m sheer drop. In all
manner of ways we achieved this & cruised into Blythe to our booked motel. 380kms today - probably 130kms more than planned because of road closures.
Tot: 2.122s; Tpl: 0.045s; cc: 13; qc: 74; dbt: 0.0423s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.7mb