Dear Family & Friends,
Another day, and another adventure.. One of the things I love about motorcycle travel is you never know what the day has in store for you let alone what is around the next turn.
We had a long ride ahead of us going from Jamestown to Ely, NV. so we got up and we were on the road by 7am. We rode up into the Sierras and stopped in a small village named Strawberry for breakfast. It was obviously a ski area in the winter and just a road stop in the summer. Oddly all the waiters where from different parts of Europe. Friendly but I wondered how they ever got legal work permits to come here to be a waiter?
After breakfast we headed up the Sonora Pass. What a terrific motorcycling road! An absolute perfect ribbon of twisty asphalt meandering over the Sierras. The weather was pleasant, very little traffic, spectacular scenery and great motorcycling. Who could ask for more..?
We passed over the summit at 9500+ feet and started down the other side to Hwy 395. When we crested the summit the road suddenly just dropped altitude and at an incredible rate. I have never ridden down a mountain so fast and before we knew it we were in high desert along Hwy 395. We then rode south for about 40 miles and turned east onto Hwy 120. This crosses California high desert and into Nevada. It is called the loneliest highway in the world and for good reason.. You are really out in the middle of no where. No towns and gas stations were about 100 miles apart. Also no cell service so you really want a RELIABLE motorcycle!! I rode this road about 40 years ago on a Triumph motorcycle, not exactly the most reliable machine built.. Wow was I young and stupid……
At least the weather was decent with temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s.. Not bad on a motorcycle. In that heat the wind does keep it reasonable. Much hotter and the wind blast just heats you up more.. The road was not particularly curvy but very undulating. Up and down so many times it felt like we were on a roller coaster.. A couple of times my butt left the seat the motorcycle dropped so fast..
By mid morning we stopped for gas and coffee at a town called Benton.. Calling this place a town is very generous.. More like a spot in the road.. The gas station had one pump, no cell service but one of the last remaining phone booths on earth! And a call was still 25 cents..
Then by early afternoon we made it to Tonopah, Nv. and stopped at a classic old time casino for lunch. There were bus loads of tourist going there and I thought how desperate do you have to be to want to vacation here?? Is it really worth an all day bus drive as a destination?
After lunch we headed north on Hwy 6 to Ely, Nv. our destination for the night. According to the GPS it was going to be an easy 2 3/4 hour ride, or about 165 miles. I can tell you after we covered the first mile, the next 150 miles were about the same.. Boring high desert with nothing but an occasional ranch. The people that live out there are a different breed all together.. Figure on a 1 hour drive for a quart of milk and certainly no morning coffee group!
We were about15 miles from Ely when we started to head up into rolling hills with some trees. The scenery was definitely an improvement. It was late afternoon and we ran into a thunderstorm. The lightening was alarmingly close and we suddenly ran into a light rain shower. Almost instantly the temperature dropped from 95 to 75 and the light rain felt great, so cool and refreshing.
We were ten miles from Ely and like a horse going home to his barn after a long ride, you start to get anxious and we were pouring it on to get to our hotel for a nice cool shower when all off a sudden there were warning lights and signs and a huge line of parked cars! We came to a stop and waited 20 minutes to move again. When we finally started moving slowly we progressed about a mile and came to a horrible accident.. A big rig slammed into the back or a motor home and completely crushed it and the motor home went into another big rig and car in front of it. We were told the people survived but it was hard to see how.
Once we passed that I thought ok minutes from our hotel now….. then another delay as the road was closed to one lane for paving… Again we stopped. Then as we started moving the biggest rain storm I have ever experienced hit us. The rain drops were so big they felt like hail and really stung. Since we dressed lightly due to the heat we were quickly soaked to the bone. The rain was so heavy you couldn’t see much and the road quickly flash flooded so you couldn’t even see the pavement! We crawled through this and as quickly as the rain came it left and we picked up speed. The next road sign said 4 miles to Ely so I thought we’ve made it!! Only to come around a bend and see a sign saying 30 minute delays due to road construction!! At this point all you can do is laugh.. What else can you do? So finally we got through that site and the next sign said 3 miles and there were not further delays.. So it took us about 1 hour to travel the last ten miles…..
After ten hours on the road it was time to go out to a good biker bar and meet another couple from SLO that was traveling to Utah also. Dinner and some wine and I am a new person.
“Creative Writing uninhibited by grammar or spelling”