Everyone in Yeringtom seems to limp
Trip Start Oct 12, 2008
10Trip End Oct 26, 2008
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Our first stop for the day was a little breakfast. We drove around looking for a diner and could find nothing except the place we ate last night and I felt that eatin' ther twice was a little too much like playing russian roulette with a fully loaded pistol. We opted for the blander but safer McDonalds where Dave made the observation used as the title of this blog watcing some old dude crab across the parking lot. Everybody in Yerington does seem to limp, gimp or otherwise walk gingerly. Even Dave and I were feeling a bit tender from the day before.
After a hearty breakfast of something like an eggmcburritowhichbrowns, we headed for the first ride. Dave mapped us a route taking us south over some hills towards the heart of Paiute country. Unfortunately for Dave, his Garmin failed to tell us that the road was private and note open to two liberal software freaks from San Francisco. They had it barricaded with McCain/Palin for President signs so we had to turn back. We did see a pretty amazing sight watching a field get watered with one of those long wheeled sprinkler systems. The entire crop and the gear doing the watering was covered in ice and ice-cycles from the night. Further testament to te early winter hear in Nevada. Oh, I almost made it 7 riding through some mud. (I kept upright but did manage to get me and my bike all muddy. Wahoo!)
Dave found us another dirt road to take as an alternate and it was a beaut. (E. Walker Rd for those playing at home). It was our first taste of a dirt surface that did not entail me going horizontal every 20 feet. The landsacpe was stark and beautiful all at once. Miles of scrub brush in every direction and then all of a sudden there is a dude ranch in the middle of nowhere with green trees and cows everywhere. About this time, we lowered the air pressure on our tires and headed down an offshoot road called Reese River road. This was a bit rougher surface and Dave was taking it down with no problems. I was all over the place with a death grip on my handle bars. I was moving forward though. So far so good. Then it all turned bad. Sand and lots of it. The presence of sand means one thing for me...a brief, terror-filled moment with the front wheel pitching and yawing back and forth followed immediately by me violently hitting the dirt with a motorcycle lying on top of me. I am usually too slow to exit the bike gracefully. I actually made it through a half dozen near misses before the inevitable. Trip number 7 to the ground for those of you counting. Dave was ahead of me and as usual kindly turned around to help me up. The bike is just too heavy for me to do alone fully loaded. While turning around, Dave dropped his bike (#2 for him) but was able to right it quickly (the man is strong). He came back and help me get my bike upright but in the process he tweaked his back. This was an end to our adventure in dirt for this road and for the rest of the day. We decided to stick to the pavement.
A quick change of plans had us riding south through the Paiute reservation towards the town of Tonahpah located somewhere in the southern half of the the state. It was roughly 130 miles and an intersting ride through a dry lunar landscape. People live out hear and frankly, they all look very similar. We had a watress in Yerington named Barbar, who I would swear was a twin sister to the woman who served us lunch in Tonapah. Tonapah, BTW was the first town we say in Nevada with nuildings that stood over one story. They had multiple stone hotels which harken back to its origins as a mining center.
It was 3:30 when we left Tonapah and we had 200 miles to go to our layover for the evening. We had to book or we would be riding in the dark. We heads east and south around Area 51 otherwise known as the blah-blah-blah missile testing area. OK I don't know what it is called but some very big explosions have called it home. The highlight of this journey was probably the stretch known as the "Extraterrestrial Highway" although it probably should have been called the ExtraCattleOnTheHighway lake. Livestock were all over the place and I couldn't figure out where they watered as it looked mighty dry everywhere we road. We did manage to avoid a high-speed collision and later saw a coyote and a car from Wisconsin. Everyone else was apparently in California.
The last 30 miles to Caliente was through a lovely mountain pass. The sun was low in the sky and shadows played across the low-sandstone cliffs. in the distance, a bright yellow harvest moon rose just majestically above the mountain-line. It was huge and one of the most beautiful sights of the trip so far.
Pulling into Caliente in the dark, I expected to get a quick room and then maybe a meal and a beer. We passed the first Motel...No Vacancy. We passed the second Motel...No Vacancy. Uh Oh. This is not the kind of town you would expect to see 3 motels. It looks like we might be camping after all. But no, on the compete "edge of town," we find the Midway Motel (go figure). They had one room left and we took it, sight unseen. It was a classic route 66 special probably last decorated in the 60's. It did have two very lumpy beds and a 13 inch TV with ESPN on. We were golden. We unpacked and walked next door where there was a combination Breakfast cafe, Pizza Parlor and Bar all residing in three attached buildings. This is revolutionary in its concept. You can literally spend your whole day moving between them. They just need to put a motel in the back so I wouldn't have had to walk a whole block. We ordered a Pizza and had it delivered to the bar. This bar brought back memories of the 80's when you could smoke a half a pack of cigarettes through second hand smoke alone. I am convinced that for some bars a hazy smoke obscured atmosphere is a good thing. Looking around at some of the salty patrons, I'd have to say this was one of them. The bartender, John - a former bat area resident no less, was friendly and gave us some good tips for the next day along with several beers apiece (even a couple for the road.)
The day ends with a little TV and the reflection that even though today was a long haul through some seriously open country, we had a great adventure and are looking forward to what Utah provides tomorrow. Over and Out.