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Author Topic: Angel Lake (Wells, NV)  (Read 1955 times)

Offline Elko450

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Angel Lake (Wells, NV)
« on: July 13, 2014, 04:12:30 PM »
Seems like it's been kinda quiet in here lately, so here's my latest contribution.   A coupla years ago, I wrote about riding to Wells for breakfast or lunch or whatever; i didn't know what I wanted until i got there.  I settled on the prime rib sammich as I recall, and at the end of the ride report, I hinted about taking a later trip up to Angel Lake, southwest of Wells.  I hadn't done that up until now, because I didn't get the aged fork seals fixed until last fall, and brand new tires this spring to replace the ridiculously old ones.  Now that the bike is completely healthy & running like the proverbial champ, it was high time to do this.

Wells is about 50 miles east of Elko here on I80.  The lake is another 12 miles southwest of Wells on SR231, high up in the Ruby Mountains.  It's a tiny little lake, created by ranchers back in the 30's I think.  Let's get on with it, eh? 


So yesterday, my wife was hosting a little hen party.  I sure didn't want to get in the way of that, & it couldn't have been a better day to ride.  A little on the warmish side - in the 90's - but wind up the sleeves of my jacket at speed kept me cool enough.  Speaking of speed, i stayed on the interstate all the way over to Wells.  Last time I took frontage roads which parallel the highway for the most part, in sections that amount to about half the distance over there.  It's pretty much uphill all the way over there & sometimes the little 450 struggles on some of the steeper grades, especially when it's windy.

As it happened, the bike was running perfectly, so I settled in at 70 indicated (75 posted speed limit) and only had to kick it down out of overdrive on a couple of the longer inclines.  It kept up with traffic just fine, in fact, passing a lot of it!  It was 20+ miles before i got passed for the first time.


Traffic was pretty light really.  And mostly well behaved.  No left-lane hogs, no cut-offs, etc.  There was one a$$hat that came up behind me out of the blue & stayed within spitting distance of the back of my bike for no apparent reason.  I tried to wave him around, no dice.  I slowed down, but he still wouldn't pass.  Eventually another vehicle passed us both, so he fell in behind that one and finally came around.   Wouldn't ya know it -- Colorado tags.  Say no more.
 2cool

I was a little concerned that those clouds might evolve into thunderstorms per the forecast, but never did see a drop of rain the whole way. Or lightning for that matter. 

So, motoring on...  The lake is just behind those mountains above my mirror.  This is from another 25 miles or so to Wells yet.


Jumping off at the first Wells exit and coming to the stop sign at the end of the ramp, guess who was right in front of me.  You guessed it -- Mr. Colorado.  He couldn't decide which way he wanted to go, as there are no real services in sight at the bottom of the ramp.   You either have to know where you're going from there, or follow the signs to the next exit where most of the food, fuel, & other services are concentrated.  So while he was reflecting at the bottom of the ramp.  I came around on the right to take the 180° right turn onto SR231.  Now he decides he wants to bear right onto the clearly marked Dead End/No Outlet road across the way. Cleared him, but i gave him a go-to-hell look along with a palm up WTF?! gesture. 

Four or 5 miles out of town, the road starts to get fun.  It's not particularly curvy yet, but it's hardly straight either, as many Nevada roads are.  Just lots gentle of ups & downs, & fast, wide sweeping turns. 


This goes on for maybe 8 miles or so, until the last few miles of super twisties up to the top where the lake is.  Under closed-course conditions, i bet that would be really fun to flog the snot out of a bike.  BUT... just about every curve through there is completely blind, and you never know when you'll run across livestock or wildlife (deer, elk, mountain sheep, etc.), rocks & gravel coming from the hillsides, or worst of all... blue-hairs driving their ultimate behemoth RVs as they straddle the double-yellow center line on this rather narrow roadway.  So it's best to just take it slow & easy & enjoy the climb.


The views going up there really are stunning.  Wish these pics did justice...




I think this formation is known as Chimney Rock.  The base of it kinda forms part of the rim of the lake.


Incidentally, my son & I came up here this last Memorial Day, which is when the forest service officially opens access to the top to kick off the start of the summer camping/fishing/hiking season.  He was on his SV650 & i was on my FJR.  The whole road from Wells to the top was still covered in dust, sand, & gravel, most of it likely left over from snowplow action during the winter.  It was pretty unnerving riding on that stuff.  He said he could feel his back tire wanting to kick out sometimes.  I didn't feel anything like that, but it still messes with your head riding on that loose stuff.  Through an abundance of caution, we safely made it to the top and back down.

Here's looking down at some of the twisty bits coming up to this point, and we're not even close to the top yet....


...Getting closer.  This is from somewhere around 8000' elevation (the lake sits around 8400'), looking northeast-ish.  You might as well be on top of the world here, looking out over a tiny little section of the Great Basin.

 

Here's a 30x zoom shot of Wells from about the same spot.  US93 cuts from right-center to upper-left, north toward Jackpot & the Idaho line. 


Finally, up at the top!  Not surprisingly, there were lots of fisher-peoples & rafters here.  The parking lot was pretty full. 






Here's what the lake looked like when my boy & i were here a few short weeks ago.  It was still mostly frozen except for the first 20-30 ft. out from the shore.  The fish that survived the winter were very hungry and biting on anything that went in the water.  I've never had that luck up there tho. 




I was only up there a few minutes, drank a bottle of water & got set to head back down.



On the way down, looking east, I saw this monstrous dust devil waaaaaay out there.  It's hard to describe the magnitude of this thing, but it was clearly visible at what I'd estimate to be 8-10 miles away.  Glad not to be riding through that one!  This was taken at 30x zoom too.   


On the way down, about 4 miles from the top, is the entrance to the Angel Creek campground.  I'd argue that it's a better campground than that up at the lake, because there are more trees for shade, and it's not quite as congested.  I wanted to try to get some more photos in that area, but didn't see what i was looking for, and just headed out back to the highway.  Still on the access road, i saw a stick in the middle of the road that seemed oddly out of place since i hadn't seen it minutes before on the way in.  As i got closer, it clearly was not a stick, but a bullsnake!  Barely had time to stop, dismount, fire up the camera & snap a shot before it slithered off into the high grass. 



I took a bunch of other pictures along the way, but the clouds really messed with the light & they didn't come out real well.  Doesn't really matter... it was a fantastic ride up there for the first time on this mighty little Nighthawk, & there was nary a hiccup, even at altitude.



Next up, i'm thinkin' maybe a tri-state 600 miler.

Offline nhawk57

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Re: Angel Lake (Wells, NV)
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2014, 08:27:36 PM »
Wow, those are some great pictures.  Thanks for the report.

Offline Hog Dog

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Re: Angel Lake (Wells, NV)
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 09:41:57 PM »
Great pics and report Elko.  Just about every time I ride I come across one idiot cager like your Mr. Colorado.  Hope you don't hold it against the state of CO for 1 bad driver.  Idiot drivers are everywhere unfortunately.  Glad he didn't ruin your ride as it looks like you had a great one.  The 3 state ride looks promising.   
Lucky Lindy's evil twin

Offline Elko450

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Re: Angel Lake (Wells, NV)
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 12:58:11 AM »
Hey, no offense meant toward Coloradans or anyone else!  I was a state trooper for 17 years, so pretty much seen it all -- from folks from all over the world.

Stay tuned.... Tri-state coming soon.  Like later today, maybe tomorrow.

Offline Bajakirch

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Re: Angel Lake (Wells, NV)
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2014, 05:03:18 AM »
Beautiful country out there.

I'll trade you some Wisconsin greenery for a bit of that elevation.

 deal1
Get on your bikes and ride!

Offline Elko450

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Re: Angel Lake (Wells, NV)
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2014, 09:51:11 AM »
Throw in some Sheboygan brats & beer, & you got a deal! cheers3

 

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