Along the Trans-America Trail

Text: Ramona Eichhorn • Photography: Ramona Eichhorn

After surviving the unexpected floods in the Utah desert caused by the most rain the area had seen in the last 60 years, Jeff and I are on to the next, and hopefully drier, state of our cross-country motorcycle adventure.

Goat Trail to Iceberg Peak

In the far northwest corner of Nevada, we ride through dry and barren lands, whirling up clouds of dust. The rocky trail cuts through a narrowing valley and eventually turns into a goat trail. Rising steadily, it follows the course of a creek that we have to cross several times. A glance at the map reveals that our assumption was right - we must have taken a wrong turn a while ago. We find ourselves lost near Disaster Peak, which we hope is not a bad omen. It is already late in the afternoon and high time to look for a campsite. Instead of turning around, we follow the steep and twisty slope up the mountain. Will it lead us to a good place with a panoramic view? The trail is littered with loose rocks. The boulders that lie between the deep ruts and washouts are the size of soccer balls. Riding our heavy twins, a KTM 950 Adventure and a BMW R 1200 GS, around these obstacles without losing our balance and keeping traction demands a great deal of concentration. Drenched in sweat, we reach a high plateau, which steeply veers off on three sides. Although this is definitely the end of the trail, the grand view from Iceberg Peak is worth the struggle. At our feet, there is a wide, sun-lit valley, framed by rugged peaks. The grass covering the mountainsides shines golden in the setting sun. The fluffy clouds hang low. No sound cuts the silence. The ground is so bumpy that it would not make any sense to unpack the tent and pitch it on the grassy humps. So we inflate our Therm-a-Rest mattresses and hope to get some sleep. It is a cold and starry night. A campfire would be just great, but there are no trees or dead wood.

When we review the day, my Canadian friend Jeff remarks that he has never seen mountains without trees on them. Falling asleep beneath the stars outdoes watching any movie. The temperatures drop down near the freezing point. The next morning, our sleeping bags are covered with a thin layer of ice. Actually, we have both had a terrible night's sleep. A hot cup of Turkish coffee prepared on our camp stove warms our aching bones before we ride back down the way we came yesterday.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the January/February 2008 back issue.