Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oct 4th-Wind, rain, thunder, lightning, sunshine, and snow... in the desert?

Rain woke me up this morning.  pounding rain. Not the thunder or lightning, just the rain.  sorry for the lack of pictures, but when it rains, i try not to ride and take pictures... a bit too dangerous.

The picture isn't grainy. that's rain. you can see it bounce off the concrete.
When i packed up the bike, it was only a drizzle...
I filled up and spoke to a few people.  small town people do that... Truckers too. They say hi, ask you questions, etc.
Many were saying that when it gets like this, it may snow up the road at Pioche, being a higher altitude.
Crap. many were saying that. crap

But when left, it was a downpour. Rain and cold, fine, but the lightning and thunder was scaring the crap out of me.  At one point, i saw a lighting strike hit the mountain on my left about 1/4 mile away.  scary as shit.  Lighting kills motorcyclists every year, and here i am running through a storm.  Oh well.  Luckily for me, it soon passed and I was left with the rain and wind.  The rain died down to a light shower, but the wind... the wind was fierce.
I stopped over when it cleared up and i was left with the wind.

storm clouds to my left, mostly clear behind me
as you can see, storm clouds up ahead.
storm clouds to my left, heading my way
behind me.  still storm clouds there.
i'm heading that way.  I stood in the middle of the highway.  a car goes by very seldom
I finally got to Ely.  I wanted to get to Ely because of the Loneliest Road in America US50. I was freezing cold, but never hit snow.  I rode around town looking for a place.  The town is pretty neat actually.  A small Nevada gambling town.  On the main street (they all have a main street) i found a casino that looked promising.  BINGO!  I found exactly what i was looking for.  The Loneliest road in america passport.  If you hit all the towns along the way and get it stamped and send in the passport you get something signed from the governor stating you survived.  heh.  i like cheesy things like that.  The casino stamped the first one, so i had 4 more towns to go.  It was already 11:30, and i was hoping that i could get to Reno before nightfall but the sun sets quickly in the basin, as you are surrounded by mountains all the time.

I went back to this restaurant i saw on the way into town.  Why here? it's not a chain, it looks old and locally run and it's filled with locals.  You know these places have good food.  Places don't stay open forever if they suck.

I asked the waitress what their specialty was and they were all out. damn.  I like to always try what the local favorite is... how else can you get a taste of their culture, if not by their food?  She said that her husband sitting at the counter (while pointing) always gets the cheeseburger with avocado. She was hot. looked just like a
Amy Adams and had a cute accent. Too bad she's married. lol
The fries hand cut, and the bacon cheeseburger with avocado was great.  everything fresh and they even had cream for the coffee and not whitener.  I had whitener.  The locals all looked like rednecks.  Many in hunting type clothing, Many in dirty baseball caps and flannel.  Everyone spoke to each other by name, so you know this isn't a tourist trap.  Great little place.


more storms coming my way
It was quite deserted, but somehow caught up to a couple riding 2-up on a bmw sport-touring.  Even though Beast was running very rough, i coaxed it to going 83mph, passing the couple.  Going up hills on the other hand was an issue.  i couldn't keep it going 60 mph... rpm's dropping, speed dropping.  bah.  It's been like this since New Mexico.  I hope i haven't broken anything, 

I got to Eureka, and got off the bike to look at where i could get the passport stamped. and while fumbling in my pockets, i dropped my camera on the ground.  I tried to turn it on and kept getting "Lens error, restart camera"  fack.  i broke it.

I went to the museum where the passport said i could get it stamped.  "back in 20 mins"  dammit.  wasn't making good time at all.
While having a smoke and waiting, and re-adjusting the duffelbag since i wasn't comfortable, someone came up to me an introduced himself.  I met kyle, The IT guy.  He has his own business and runs the town's IT.  cool.  He's an Ex-pat! he's from ontario himself and moved down here to be with his wife.  He actually rides dualsports too, and told me not too worry too  much about the lack of power due to altitude. hmm... i hope that's the only problem.

The museum was open and got my passport stamped, two down.  She said if i didn't get them all to send it in anyhow.  The museum was neat, all local and by donation.  The building was the original printing press shop.  They had a lot of old printing presses from the 1880s.  pretty cool if you think about it as the printing press is one of the most influential innovations that has furthered our species.  A stepping stone, if you will.

I left town and once again heading for Austin.  Beautiful scenery. So desolate, so barren, yet so beautiful.
The Basin is odd, how you are continually surrounded by mountains, making you feel like you enter a bowl and exit, only to enter another.  it's very surreal.

I got to Austin, and found where i had to stamp my passport and chatted with the old lady. 3 down.
I fueled up and spoke to the BMW couple.  He didn't understand why i lost power going up hill after i passed him.  I told him Carbs and he understood.  He's got FI, and didn't notice any problems. arg
He did say that it could be a clogged air filter, or bad fuel.  Air filter? never cleaned it.  17,000 kms and i haven't done the basic maintenance schedule.  doh.
spark plug, chain adjust, air filter, valve clearance and a bunch of other things i should have done before i left on this trip. DAMMIT.  i knew i procrastinated too much. oh well.

I needed a coffee and saw this neat looking building across the courthouse i got the stamp from.  I went over and got a coffee to go.  If you go to austin, go there. you can't miss it. it's full of awesomeness.

While having my coffee/smoke break, i kept banging the camera hoping to get it to work.  I didn't want to miss out on pictures, nor have to buy a new one right away.
Eureka! wait, that's the last town... but the camera started working again, although sporadically.

international cafe. good coffee. awesome joint. know why? tons of freaky stuff everywhere.
Like this:
how awesome is that sign?

onward to Fallon!
right above the sign you can see the road leading out of the bowl. that's 12 miles away.
From Austin to Fallon, it's the longest stretch at 121 miles.
I had an epiphany here.  seriously.  the sounds, smell and sights of the basin made struck me with pure awe.

Light was beginning to fade fast, and i tried all i could to get beast to respond quicker... to no avail.  it was really worrisome.  That, and the constant wind and sporadic rain really put a damper on my spirits.

snow capped mountain in the middle.
snow capped mountains? in the desert? Now i've seen everything!
oh wait, i've never seen a man eat his own head.
Sand Dunes!
Pay per use Sand Mountain Dune.  I wished i could have tried out the klr on that stuff. hah.
Don't know why, but Beast looks more beastly here.  must be the lighting.

freaky cloud on the outskirts of Fallon
Anyone see something wrong with this picture?
I headed into Fallon and got a room for the night as it was already dark.  
i saw a cheap motor-in, retro 60s with the pool, etc.  cheap. clean. has wifi.  all you really need.

The owner was hilarious.  He's east indian and kept calling me 'brother'.  east indians always make me laugh for some reason, such a different outlook on life.  It's also helps how he kept calling me brother, and brother in his accent comes out braddah. He was cool.  I avoided all the chain restaurants in town.  Did you know mcdicks has a casino inside? hah.  gambling town.

I hit a joint called Jerry's Restaurant.  It's been there since the 60s and the staff there looked like they've been working there since.  Great place.  Mostly locals too.

Inside Jerry's. a customer in the booth beside me had a holster with a 9mm glock.  I'm so not used to people carrying guns around.  I'm so Canadian.
2 eggs, bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy and rye toast. it was all great.
I was totally exhausted from the day's run.  burned out, depressed and generally in a bad mood, i looked at the weather forecast for the area. Bad news.  Where i was heading, they were counting on snow.  srsly?

There were two locations i could go.  North to the Redwood national park, or south a bit to Mono Lake.
Many have seen pictures of Mono Lake, mainly Pink Floyd Fans.

"The diver" on the Wish you were here album
Depending on the weather, i'll have to choose where to go.  South to Mono Lake, West to San Francisco, or north to the giant redwoods.


  1. Ummmm that weird cloud you took a picture of kind of looks like the mothership should be coming out from it... :-)

  2. glad you got the camera working.....:)


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