Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Diary Day 3: Benton to Belmont

Our primary goal of this motorcycle trip was to find hot springs and ghost towns in Nevada. So, we cheated a little and booked our first hot springs campground in California... But it was worth it.

The little town of Benton was pretty much a ghost town but the hot springs campground did not disappoint. We pulled in and signed all the forms, paperwork and legal documents. Then we rode past the broken down wagon into a grove of trees and right up to campsite number 6.

Fresh hot spring water was flowing into our private concrete tub and there was plenty of space in the clean campsite to pitch our tents. So we went through our ritual of setting up camp and getting some food going. Then into the tub... Perfect temperature, and the water must have some minerals in it because my skin was silky smooth. Needless to say, we spent more time in the tub than out, and I slept like a baby.

In the morning we packed up early and hit the road toward Tonopah, NV. This stretch is pretty barren but necessary. It's our gateway to the Toiyabe mountains.

We stopped for a quick lunch and filled our tanks. The route we were taking is dirt with no gas for 150 miles. But we were on a mission.

First we rode up to Belmont to see the old ghost town and take some photos. Then we hit the gravel road.

There's not much to say about this except that we found ourselves racing a pack of antelope. I stopped and John stopped next to me and about 6-8 antelope were running full sprint down the road. We watched them as they crossed in front of us and headed up the mountain. 

Finally, we came to Diana's Punch Bowl. This is a beautiful hot spring that you can't swim in, you'll die. Legend has it a woman's dog jumped in and she jumped in to save it... They both died.

Then we headed down the road to Potts Ranch where we found one we could soak in safely. Potts hot spring is a beautifully kept tub that's filled from the spring nearby. We were so stoked to find it empty and desolate, we stripped to our birthday suits and jumped in. 

This was the highlight of our day for sure...

After Potts it was time to start thinking about camping. I heard about a campground just up fire road 001. So John trusted me to lead us there. Well, a half hour later we were out in the Toiyabe national forest on some other fire trail... The wrong one. 


Luckily for us, we love getting lost in the mountains. So, we found a nice spot, started a fire and pitched our camp. A little Mountain House dinner and some hot chocolate. A little mandolin and a hot fire. Now it's time to hit the sack and think about what tomorrow may bring... More hot springs I think.

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