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I know that some of you were disappointed today that I cancelled the ride to Mill City, but I believe it was for the best. Cancellations are never optimum, but I think we have had to do it every year the Club has been in existence.
Watching the weather on TV Friday night as well as the forecast for Saturday, it was apparent that the area where we were planning to ride was going to be right in the cold front that was moving through the area. Low temperatures, precipitation, and high winds were forecast.
That front came through Fallon later in the day, and I think we all agree that the winds were strong and not something we wanted to ride in.
We have rescheduled the ride for next Saturday, which is supposed to have much nicer weather. Hopefully you will be able to make it.
What is it they say: "If you don't like the weather in Nevada, wait, and it will change."
The ride last weekend to the Goldyke area was a fun one, even though we only rode 31 miles. This has to be one of the shortest rides for the Club, but there is a lot to see, which is why it took us all day!
We had our first flat tire of the new riding season by the Henderson's on their Ranger. The Hendersons are friends of the Petersons. Carlos was also on the ride, so he was on that flat like white on rice--isn't he always! So while we were waiting for Carlos to get the tire repaired, I was thinking that it's great that Carlos was here. But, I also was thinking that every time Carlos comes on a ride we have a flat? Hmmm, what gives? So I'm just putting it out there for all of us to watch for the next flat tire and if Carlos is on the ride. Maybe it's a coincidence, maybe not.
We had a big turn-out with 17 ATVs/UTVs in attendance. Rides are always going to take longer with a group of this size as compared to a group of 6-8, so don't be surprised.
Our first stop along the ride was the town ruins of Goldyke. There's not much left except for a foundation or two. It was here that Toby stirred up the first rattle snake of the season. He was really "rattling" to alert us to his presence.
Next on the route we stopped at a number of old buildings and explored. After a few miles, we came to the site of an arrastra, which is explained below and can be seen in the pictures from the ride.
What is an arrastra: An Arrastra (or Arastra) is a primitive mill for grinding and pulverizing (typically) gold or silver ore. The simplest form of the arrastra is two or more flat-bottomed drag stones placed in a circular pit paved with flat stones, and connected to a center post by a long arm. With a horse, mule or human providing power at the other end of the arm, the stones were dragged slowly around in a circle, crushing the ore.
For gold ore, the gold was typically recovered by amalgamation with quicksilver. The miner would add clean mercury to the ground ore, continue grinding, rinse out the fines, then add more ore and repeat the process. At cleanup, the gold amalgam was carefully recovered from the low places and crevices in the arrastra floor. The amalgam was then heated in a distillation retort to recover the gold, and the mercury was saved for reuse.
After the arrastra we rode for a little while longer before taking a break for lunch on top or a ridge. It was a beautiful view during lunch.
Our ride took us up and down hills while steadily climbing to our next artifact, which was a Roaster. It was still standing, but who knows for how long. It's balanced precariously on four natural timber posts and it wouldn't take more than a heavy winter to fall it. We were over 8,000 fett in elevation now and there was still snow on the northern face of the hills. If it would have been a bad winter we never would have made it to this point as the roads would probably have been covered in snow.
After leaving taking pictures at the Roaster, we rode to the top of the nearby hill and then turned around. Our trip back to the vehicles was via a loop, so we weren't back-tracking very much. The trails were much better on the way back and we made pretty good time, arriving well ahead of the darkness!
Most of us stopped at Middlegate Junction for dinner on the way home. This put a nice finish to a nice ride and made it a complete day.
If you haven't been reading the paper or watching the news, you may not be aware of some very sad news: Vandals spray-painted the Hidden Cave Archaeological site - including the interior of the cave. They also shot up the information kiosk below the cave. The BLM is offering a $1000 reward for information.
Hidden Cave is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the region with deposits dating back 5,000 years. The damage to the interior of the cave will cost many thousands of dollars to erase but the damage to the archaeological deposit is incalculable.