OATBRAN Part II, Putting Away the Bikes and Breaking out the Skis


2018 OATBRAN finish line, Baker NevadaOATBRAN Ride continues on US Highway 50 across Nevada. My last write-up featured the start from Lake Tahoe to the Lunch Stop at Bean Flat between Austin and Eureka. This the continuation of the ride and includes *Notes to the Mochila”. In honor of the Pony Express, we ask each rider to carry a saddlebag (Mochila) from Rest Stop to Rest Stop (Pony Station to Pony Station) and write a note about the experience of riding that segment. Then pass it off to the next rider.

Bean Flat Rest StopThe Bean Flat Rest Area is a wide paved area with a couple of picnic tables and some shade and OATBRAN has utilized this area for the lunch stop for the past 27 years. On this day, the weather was perfect and there may have also been a gentle tailwind.

Notes to the Mochila: Day 3: Lunch to End
“Appreciated the Smooth Black Top… Gorgeous views and fabulous riding partners. Thank You Nevada!” – Cheryl Tobie

Thursday: September 27, 2018Rolling Beauty – Is this Nevada?” Eureka to Ely

Another beautiful Day as the OATBRAN Tour continues east on Highway 50. Four Summits to cross today Starting with Pinto Summit, Pancake Summit, Little Antelope Summit and Robinson Pass.

I started my day early with my traditional road inspection up and over Pinto Summit down to the Newark Valley. I love the quiet time and early morning sunrises in this Central Nevada location.

Dinner at the Eureka Nevada Senior CenterBreakfast was served at the Eureka Senior Center and always features eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, as well as biscuits and gravy. And, lots of hot coffee.

With all riders fueled up they were ready to hit the first climb up Pinto Summit heading east out of Eureka. After a great descent down into the Newark Valley the Loneliest Road continues across the valley and climbs up to Pancake Summit where the second rest stop has been traditionally offered.

From Pancake Summit, OATBRAN continues east into the Crescent Valley and up a beautiful canyon to Little Antelope Summit followed by a long and gradual descent. Our original Lunch Stop on this day was at the Hamilton – Illipah Historic Marker, half way down this descent on the left side of the roadway. Last year about a mile west of this area, NDOT paved a huge turn-out work area. literally big enough to install a circus tent and since it was on the right side of the roadway we moved this day’s Lunch to this much larger and safer paved area.

Three bikers on US 50 for the 2018 OATBRANNotes to the Mochila: Eureka to Lunch

“Great Road on a recovery day. Rode with Steve, a new friend. A Wide-Open Valley.” – Mack McDaniel

“Nice Climb out of town to warm up this Chilly Morning. Great Views. Felt Great on the Climb… More Climbing after the Rest Stop that was Great Too! Descended with great views of the valley and a pleasant climb up switchbacks with a great descent to lunch. Nevada is so beautiful!” – Edgar ‘Tex’ Nielsen

The remainder of this day’s mileage included a respectable climb up and over Robinson Pass at 7,607 Feet followed by a nice descent into Ely.

Robinson Pass

Notes to the Mochila: Before Robinson Summit to Ely:
“Every Bicyclist alive lives for an 18 mile, 2-4% downhill grade with a 5mph tailwind & a smooth road. We had it!” – Alan Klaassen

Economy Drug, Ely NevadaEveryone made it into Ely and Checked in to their Cell at the Jail House Motel & Casino. Many ventured down to the Economy Drug Store to their Old Fashion Ice Cream Soda Fountain.

We enjoyed a Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner with the Ely Ladies of RHO and Kyle Horvath from White Pine County Tourism greeted and updated everyone with information on upcoming trail building and biking opportunities.

Friday: September 28, 2018: “The Awe in Awesome” Ely to the Utah Border at Border Inn

Beautiful Morning with cool temps again… 29F at the bathrooms in Steptoe Valley before the climb up Conner Pass… Coming down Conner, one can see the backside of Wheeler Peak and this view in Spring Valley is truly the “AWE” in Awesome!

Wheeler Peak at dawn

On this Final Ride of OATBRAN, I drove out to Major’s Junction for my road inspection and caught the sun rise over Wheeler Peak… It was cool this morning but the predicted high temperature at the Border Inn was to be 87F. When I got back to the Jailhouse, some riders were already hitting the road.

This day called for shifting rest stop teams to allow myself, gear truck and two 15 passengers van to be at the Finish Line at the Border Inn to set up staging and unloading and reloading of supplies and well as racking bicycles onto the transport vans… all at the same time to coordinate photos with finishers, direct them to showers and coordinate one of the vans to take participants to the Great Basin National Park for our Special OATBRAN Lehman Cave Tour.

OATBRAN Conner SummitOur first rest stop was at the base of the Conner Pass climb; the second at Osceola Junction at the base of the Sacramento Pass climb, and the Lunch Stop was set on the backside of Sacramento Pass about 20 miles from the Utah Border.

Notes to the Mochila: Day 6 of OATBRAN – Day 5 of Riding:

“Great arrival at Connor’s Pass with views of Wheeler Peak and Wind Farm. Awesome downhill even when chain came off (electronic shifting problem), fellow rider helped get chain back on & now relaxing at Osceola Rest Stop – Beautiful views, strong winds. Going to SAG over Sacramento Pass to Lunch Stop & downhill to UT Border – Truly ONE Outrageous Awesome Tour!” – Dr. Val

OATBRAN at Sacramento Pass“One of the best segments over Conner Pass… Lots of Downhill to Osceola Junction. Brought back fond memories of summiting Mt Muoch to the north of Sacramento Pass so many years ago on a snowy odd October day. I don’t think windmills do much for the scenery”. – Carl K.

Several Riders attempted to ride to the top of the roadway up Wheeler Peak… adding another 5000 feet of climbing and 20+ more miles. Everyone got cleaned up and kicked back at the Border Inn, while others enjoyed the Lehman Cave Tour at Great Basin National Park.


It’s an Oatbran tradition that every participant is recognized with an Award at our final banquet. We pride ourselves for our ‘Tongue In Cheek” approach to have fun with all the riders each year. “If we happen to Offend You . . .Tough SH!T” and all in FUN!

This award is given to the one rider who exemplifies not only riding every mile of the tour, but also making friends with all the other riders and making the tour fun for all. It doesn’t matter what kind of bike one rides or how many kits you wear, or how many miles you ride each season. It’s about enjoying each day’s ride across the Great Basin and recognizing what hardships, those that came before us, experienced against the harsh elements and terrain making their way to find “home” and start a new future. it’s all about heritage of Nevadans!

Jimmy GilesThis year we Honored a Special OATBRAN Rider that completed his 17th OATBRAN at age of 83. He has ridden his recumbent over 83,000 miles (65,000 human-powered – 18,000+ hybrid electric assist).

Inaugural OATBRAN Lifetime Achievement – Hall of Fame Award

Jimmy GilesJim Giles was also Deputized as a Deputy Marshal of Bike the West
We Love Jimmy and hope that he is able to join us next year as he represents the true meaning of OATBRAN Family. God Bless!

After dinner we loaded up and headed back for the second night at the Jail House Motel in Ely… There were appetizers set out from Juanita’s in the front bar where participants gathered for the “I Survived” Party…


Notes to the Mochila:
“Father Artemisia… his congregation of millions beckons from the playas edge… Once source of life, now symbol of drying and dying pebble, stone, gravel from the miozene fault blocks tilting towards the azure sky… Pebble, stone, gravel of 17 million years pass under my wheels, second after second. – Paul Blint

“Everything was going perfectly until Wheeler Peak! I need some payback. I’ll be Back. Viva OATBRAN!” – Anonymous

“There has never been a bike ride tour so personalized. The attention to detail is nothing short of visionary. All details are honed and planned by a truly professional crew. Thank You, Curtis for setting such an extrodinary standard of care.” – Chuck Beacham

“There was an odd occurance on my early OATBRANs. I would hear voices when no one was anywhere in sight. I don’t hear those anymore. I wonder where the voices have gone?” – George Lawless

“Incredible as always. You put it together, I’ll be here. The experience only keeps on getting better and can’t match the expectations.” – 77 mph Man

“It is always great to crew or ride OATBRAN and meet new and interesting riders (and become ‘Family’)”. – Charles Nelson

“Awesome tour across Nevada. Weather was perfect & the support was even better. Had another great time on OATBRAN. THANKS!” – Linc Feller

I want to thank this year’s Team Bike the West – OATBRAN Crew for their outstanding service provided to all the participants and the camaraderie that develops from great team work. Big Thanks to Trevor Brown, Reggie Peterson, Di Bolton, Corey Bolton, Phil Alvarado, Tina Keegan, Michael Chapman, Leo Peterson, plus Cal Pettengill and Charles Nelson for assisting and a Huge Heartfelt Thanks to Randy Wagner.

We are sorry to hear that many, including myself, got sick. food poisoning symptoms from ingesting either dinner or appetizers on our final night. We have expressed our concerns to both the Border Inn and Juanita’s and there is no defined suspect food item that we can narrow it down to. Some, like myself was affected at 4:00am in the morning. Others after breakfast, and yet others once on the roadway and delayed reactions for some in the late afternoon and that evening. And for those that did not get sick.

Here’s another Toast! We hope that you all truly SURVIVED THE LONELIEST ROAD!

2018 OATBRAN Riders

Ann Barnes, BC Canada; Michael Collins, Reno; Chuck Beacham, Carson City; Paul Blint, Eugene, OR; Charlie Eckburg, Elko; Lincoln Feller, Henderson; Steve Fentress, Stockton, CA; Jim Giles, Quilcene, WA; Alan Klaassen, Kensington, CA; Carl Kniesteadt, Reno; Rene Linares, Reno; Mack McDaniel, Truckee, CA; George Lawless, Gardena, CA; Valerie McNay, Boulder City; Chris S. Moorman, Atlanta, GA; Chuck Nelson, South Lake Tahoe; Edgar Nielson, Oakland, CA; Fred Ohr, Clearwater, FL ; Michelle Pakonis, San Francisco, CA; Cal Pettengill, Reno; Randall Pierce, Reno; Cheryl Tobie, Tacoma, WA

We want to Thank YOU! All the participants for making this 27th Annual OATBRAN a Great and Safe Ride. We had the best in Weather and our Team Support was outstanding, executing all assignments and Rest Stops. You are now members of an elite group of bicyclists that have pedaled across America’s Loneliest Road. We hope that you enjoyed every mile that you wanted to ride and that you discovered what it was about wanting to ride across Nevada, that determined your decision to join us. Ride On! We hope that you continue your journey to search out other adventures at Lake Tahoe, Fallon, Austin, Eureka, Ely and Great Basin National Park in Baker, Nevada.

You are all now OATBRAN FAMILY and are invited to join us again as Oatbran Family receives a 10% discount on all future rides. We are setting the dates for the 2019 28th Annual OATBRAN to start on Sunday, September 22-28.

There are two seasons around the Lake Tahoe Region. One is Winter and the Other is Road Construction. The road construction season has been successful with many projects that were greatly needed as well as many projects adding new bicycle and multi-use paths opportunities around Lake Tahoe. As the road construction projects start to button up by the end of October, most folks are now turning their attention to Winter and wondering what kind of ski/snowboard season will we have?

El Nino, La Nina . . . Farmer’s Almanac, Average Winter, Record Winter, Cold Winter, Wet Winter, Drought. . . . Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to predicting the Winter and take into account the effects of global warming and who really knows???

Regardless of where the Winter Reality Checks are coming from. Most all resorts are gearing up for Winter. The big question is: Epic Pass, Ikon Pass or independent Resorts?

Vail Resorts continues to purchase resorts and offer their Epic Pass allowing access to all their partnered resorts in the US, Canada and in Europe. For $929.00. The Epic Pass offers unlimited, unrestricted access to 19 mountain resorts plus additional access to 46 more, including 20 new mountains for the 2018-19 season. Discover 65 of the world’s premier resorts throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria.

The Epic Pass pays for itself in just over four days of skiing or snowboarding. Enjoy unlimited, unrestricted access to Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe as well as resorts in Colorado, Utah, Vermont, New Hampshire, Washington, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Canada; and Australia for the 2019 season. For more information please visit: www.epicpass.com

Alterra Mountain Company continues to purchase and partner with resorts and is offering their Ikon Pass for $1049.00. This new season pass is accepted at the most iconic mountains across North America, Australia and Japan, including Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California. For more information on the Ikon Pass, please visit www.ikonpass.com.

Heavenly Mountain Resort is an Epic Pass resort and is updating their Galaxy Lift on the Nevada side (Heavenly North) for this year, upgrading one of the slowest older Riblet Chairs on the mountain. This will improve skier flow and spread skiers and riders out from the get go by accessing the Galaxy Lift from the top of Stagecoach Chair. https://www.facebook.com/SkiHeavenly/videos/332401897510278/

Heavenly is scheduled to open November 16, weather permitting. Their sister Lake Tahoe area resorts, including Northstar California and Kirkwood Mountain Resort are also scheduled to open Pre-Thanksgiving, weather permitting. For more info, visit: www.skiheavenly.com

Mount Rose is OpenMt. Rose Ski Tahoe, an independent resort, is in the midst of another $2 million in capital projects designed to improve its mountain facilities and enhance the overall guest experience during the 2018-19 winter season and beyond. Major snowmaking construction includes the installation of 17 new snowmaking towers complemented by additional high capacity pumps. Facility improvements include parking lot upgrades, restroom remodels, and new resort signage. The resort opened for season pass holders the weekend of October 19, 20 & 21, 2018.

For those who plan to take advantage of one of the longest seasons in Lake Tahoe, Mt. Rose offers convenient access from both Reno and North lake Tahoe and the freedom to ski with a variety of season pass options. New passes to the resort’s already successful mix include the MY Pass +(2 days midweek) as well as well as the Midweek+ (Sunday through Friday).

Learn more about Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe or purchase a 2018-19 winter season pass at www.skirose.com. Follow Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MountRoseSkiTahoe, and on Instagram @mtroseskitahoe.

Diamond Peak continues to offer their Full Season Adult Pass for $449 and their Senior Pass (65-69) for only $179. with this you also receive 72 Bonus Lift Tickets at partnered resorts with some black out date restrictions to include; Boreal Mountain Resort, Homewood Mountain Resort in the Sierra as well as Lee Canyon out of Las Vegas to name a few. Diamond Peak is scheduled to open in early December, weather permitting. For more information visit: www.diamondpeak.com

Lee Canyon Resort, just outside of Las Vegas, is also gearing up for winter with their unlimited full season pass offered at $499.00. This pass also includes 45 days of skiing at 11 partnered resorts across the West, including Diamond Peak. For more info visit: www.Leecanyonlv.com

Ruby Mountain Helicopter Skiing will be celebrating its’ 42nd year of operation out of Elko and Lamoille. This is the Ultimate in offering first class accommodations, food, and guided helicopter and snowcat powder skiing. One day and 3 day trips are booking fast and range in cost from $1655 per seat for 1-day package and $5200 per seat for 3-day package. For more information and to reserve your dates, visit: https://helicopterskiing.com/trip-planner/book-your-trip.php

Face of WinterAlso, the Official Kick-Off to Winter is always coordinated with the annual Warren Miller Movie premiere. This past year we lost Warren, and this year’s 69th Edition, “Face of Winter”, will premiere in Reno at the Reno Ballroom on November 10. For tickets and information, please visit: https://tickets.rgj.com/e/warren-miller-face-of-winter/

Squaw Valley premieres will be at the Olympic Village Lodge on Friday & Saturday, November 23 & 24 and South Shore Lake Tahoe Premieres will be at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe showroom, Friday & Saturday, November 30 & December 1. https://warrenmillermovie.com

So, it’s time to get ready for Winter. Decide on what kind of Season Pass will work for you. Get your equipment tuned up, waxed and dialed in. Change over to your snow or winter tires. and start Praying for Snow!



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