Aug 13, 2011

Ride Log 14: Texas: Day 13

Current location:  HOME
Total distance traveled:  4145 miles

I woke up in Ontario, OR (which is good since that's where I went to sleep) and realized the room was dirtier than I thought. I have allergies to dust mites as well as to various plants, so I was sniffling nonstop.   In a rush to get out of there I showered at warp speed and threw on my dirty clothes from the day before (my socks almost walked out by themselves).  I loaded up the bike and hit the road around 8:00 AM.  My first stop was the Love's fueling station for a little breakfast (I know how to live!) and some ice.  There was ice for my camelback at the hotel but I wasn't willing to risk it.

At the gas station I met a nice guy and his wife who were riding two up on a Harley, just returning from Sturgis.  They were very proud of their trip and about Sturgis in general.  How precious.  They didn't ask if I was alone (so maybe people from the West coast are more observant?  I'd been asked the day before about ten times if I was alone, followed by the standard, "Oh you are brave!"  As if there are wild people all over the country waiting to find a lone female rider and do unspeakable things. See, my paranoia has limits.)
Preferable over the Budget Inn?
I took Hwy 20 from Ontario toward Burns.  Burns will fool ya.  Don't get gas at the first place you see, instead go into Hines (about a mile away) where they actually have gas stations that have new pumps.  I had to wait for the attendant to manually add up the purchase before mine and hand write a receipt.  Imagine my dismay when around the bend I see gas stations that actually have the ability to take a credit card.  Damn it.  I also found another place to sleep along the route, which would have probably been better than the one I chose (look left).

From Burns I rode toward Christmas Valley on US 395.  This is where Hank (GPS) started getting all stupid.  For awhile he told me I was on an unpaved road (good for me, finally Runkle sees something besides asphalt) and then he stopped working all together, telling me to take non existant roads to nowhere and then politely telling me to turn around and head back the way I'd come.  After that the power kept flashing off and on.  If there is one place you need a GPS to work, it's in the middle of nowhere, which I can safely say is where 395 is located.   This was a cool stretch of road but is open range (like most of the smaller roads I'd traveled on during the trip).  Of course, in Oregon when they say "open range" the cattle are so smart they can read and they actually take to the roads.  I had some great photos of this, but my expensive camera died the day before (thanks Nikon).

There was one point where I was worried about my safety as I slowly pulled up to a herd in the road.  I wasn't that frightened, having passed some earlier..until I saw the largest arse ever.  I stopped behind it about 20 feet and when the animal turned it's head it was a bull (hence the large part) with horns that could have gone right through the bike.  It looked at me and I could tell by the way it's eyes were glaring that this was not a good time to remind him about all the beef I'd consumed in Texas.  The ribs I had left in my camelback (kept cold by the ice) were pork so at least I had that going for me.  I wasn't sure if I should go by quickly, slowly, or at all.  Since he didn't seem to have any intention of moving I started to slowly ride by when the bull on the side of the road started heading onto the tarmac.  I was essentially riding between two animals that could have crushed me on accident and my paranoia, kept at bay briefly, sprung a leak and I was mentally watching them "horn" me to death.  I could think of worse ways to go, especially since my diet of beef was probably going to kill me eventually anyway.

I eased my way into LaPine around 1:00 PM and stopped at the Taco Bell for lunch.  I was going to transport it back to the house and eat while relaxing on the deck so I needed a Pepsi to compliment this gourmet meal.  I don't have a cup holder (want one, dork gage just hit the red) and trying to get the Pepsi back to the house in one piece gave all the locals something to laugh about.  I made it, though, and pulled into the driveway full of awe that I'd made it that far (to and back from Texas, not due to the Pepsi, although I'd say that really was a Pepsi Challenge.  hahahah  Okay, I'll stop)

Once there I thought about Trout who in my mind was alone and sad because I wasn't there.  I got back on the bike and hit the road again, heading toward my final destination of Aurora, OR and home.  On Highway 97 through Bend then onto Highway 22 toward Salem I rode 55-60 mph which seemed slow after my previous day of 75-80 mph. I marveled at how the mountains in Oregon still have snow, how the sun seemed to shine brighter (but not be that hot) and how a familiar road gives you a sense of contentment.

The view from Bend, OR to Sisters, OR
The last 100 miles of my trip were the most challenging.  Perhaps it is because they were miles I've done a million times, perhaps because I had to use the rest room but didn't want to take the time to stop, or perhaps because I knew I was nearing the end of my journey.  Whatever the reason, my arse felt like someone had paddled it relentlessly over the last thousand miles and no movement on the seat was making things better.  I moved up and back and sat straight and slouched.  I leaned and even tried to just take my mind off it by imagining what I was going to eat for dinner (exciting, eah?)  Nothing worked.  Near the last ten miles from Woodburn to my exit I felt relief wash over me as I counted down the miles and told myself I'd already gone over 4,000 miles, ten more would not hurt.

Pulling into my driveway I checked the GPS and saw I'd ridden 4,145 miles over the last two weeks.  Others have ridden farther, ridden faster and ridden better.  The sun was shining, my plants were all alive and the garden was tended (thanks to my landlord and neighbor!).  I threw on a pair of shorts and flip flops and jumped in the car without even unloading the bike, anxious to pick up Trout before my motivation failed.  I drove the thirty minutes and picked her up.  She licked me and jumped up to kiss me repeatedly (not a good trick to show a dog when you have friends who are shorter than you).  When I opened the front door she ran out and jumped right in the car, tail wagging and eyes glistening (maybe I imagined that glistening).
Trout at "pick up" time.  She jumped in and wouldn't get out!  

 It was then I realized that over the last 4,145 miles I'd traveled, there were so many beautiful things I'd seen; so many mountains and drylands, waterways and freeways.  But the one view I would not want to live without was the one view that warmed my heart and made me smile, time after time.

That view could only be the one from home, with Trout laying in the grass or playing in her pool, me on the porch in a comfy chair sipping on a cold drink remembering the time my journey took me solo to Texas.

Thank you all for coming along with me.  I hope you enjoy home as much as I do.

As always, Be safe.

Ride Log 13: Day 12

Current Location:  Ontario, OR
The past is but a memory...and another shack
Miles from home:  415 miles
Distance from Torrey, UT:  603 miles
Food:  Left over ribs from Utah and Cheetos (I've slipped since Texas)

From Torrey, UT I let Hank (the GPS since the bike is Runkle) tell me where to go.  I ended up riding west on 24 to Hwy 89.  This stretch in Utah was much better than the Arizona portion.  Curves,  farmland for views, and small quaint towns blessed the path.

More of this view to look forward from Torrey, UT on Hwy 24 toward SLC.  

Highway 89 between Richfield and Provo, UT:  Not bad at all!
Hwy 89 fed into the interstate (15 then 84) for hours and hours.  The interstate is a great way to travel if you're into traffic, wind, construction and large towns.  Awesome.  The only good thing I found about the stretch of interstate through Salt Lake is the HOV lane and the fact that the interstate allows you to completely bypass the city.  However, Hank (GPS, keep up, people) led me astray (even on the interstate) and I ended up doing a few loops in a part of town before finding my way back to the interstate.

I thought about stopping in Twin Falls, ID for the night (430 miles from Torrey, UT) then thought if I could make Twin Falls I could certainly make the other side of Boise (only 129 miles farther).  Once I got to Boise I figured the Oregon border was only about 60 miles more so I may as well make a run for it.  It didn't hurt that my dog sitter was sending me texts showing photos of Trout buddied up to her kids. Nothing motivates a dog mom (me) like seeing your only child loving someone else.  (Trout the traitor)

Around 7:30 PM I crossed into Oregon and wondered if I should just keep going.  Ontario, OR is right on the border and it's not the nicest of places.  Last year we camped in an RV park that was the worst place I've ever seen.  I still have nightmares.  I filled the tank and headed to the Budget Inn since it looked inexpensive and was near the gas station.

I parked outside and walked into the Budget Inn to be greeted by a nice man who's first question was "What year is that bike?"  It made me wonder if he was asking for resale value.  I got a room anyway and once inside realized I'd have been better off at the RV park.  The nonsmoking room had cigarette burns on the carpet and blankets.  The AC was a wall unit from circa 1970 that was loud and only had one speed.  The toilet didn't flush right.  I actually put my own pillow on the bed and pulled the comforter off completely, wondering how many cooties were on it.  The headboard hit the wall with every movement (I didn't even want to think about that) and towels were off white/tan (and not on purpose).  As I moved my stuff inside a praying mantis decided to hang out on the door, giving me a glimpse of the bugs I could look forward to.

I thought about leaving, just packing up and heading to a campground then I thought about the last 600 miles (and my aching hands and my iron butt that is NOT iron at all) and figured I'd sleep well, regardless of my surroundings.

The next day I was headed to LaPine to stay with the parental units...a fresh bed, a hot tub, a deck and two dogs to greet me.  I was almost home and the one thought I had was I hope I don't get in a wreck this close!  (Paranoia really never leaves, does it?) 

Aug 10, 2011

Ride log 12, Texas Day 11

Current Location:  Torrey, UT
Distance from home:  around 1,060
Distance from Lubbock:  832 miles
Food situation:  Dismal.

I stopped in Torrey, UT out of pure desperation (I'm tired!).  I've been on the road for about 12 hours, although probably only on the bike for about 10.5 after my many stops for photo ops and to buy a cowboy hat for a friend.  Skipped lunch today since I kept waiting for something to peak my interest...apparently after gorging myself this last weekend in Texas a burrito from the gas station was sufficient.  I'm at the Days Inn which was about 90 buckaroos for the night (a discounted price and the last room left).  I passed up camping despite the good views because I'm a chicken but also because I had no water.  I filled up my camelback in Albuquerque and sucked it dry about 100 miles ago.  Moto mojo is turning black again.

My mojo was bad starting this morning at the hotel when I went down for breakfast around 6 am only to find a couple empty nesters hogging the waffle maker.  I mean, really, do you need to stuff five waffles in your face while people are waiting?  And guess what?  Only white bread.  Who eats white bread anymore?  I ate a half a bowl of raisin bran and hit the road, ready to swear off hotels and free breakfast. (I like how I'm disgruntled about a free service. I'm such an ungrateful Dork.)

From Albuquerque, NM I stayed on Interstate 40 to Gallup which was about 120 miles of traffic and annoying drivers.  I had decided to keep to Interstates when I set off this morning then after about ten minutes actually on the Interstate I decided back roads, despite the fact that they take longer, would be more appealing.  In Gallup I bought a cowboy hat and then lost my bike keys.  (It's scary that I just KNEW that would happen at least once on the trip so I had a spare.)  I ended up finding them after about 15 minutes of searching.  I then went to the post office to mail the hat.  They wanted my first born child and my dog for shipping costs.  I thought the dog was excessive so I ended up strapping the hat to the back of the bike.  I look totally cool now.  (It's going to be THE thing to do in a few months, you mark my words.)

Road construction plagued my route (491 N to Shiprock) and made for delays about every fifty miles.  Of course, once I got going I was stuck behind a line of cars and missing some good curves.  From Shiprock I went into Colorado then backtracked on Highway 60 to ensure I hit Four Corners, where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah all meet at the, duh, corners.  I thought it would be cool to say I was in all the places at once.  In reality it was just an extra 30 minutes out of my way.  But gee, I can mark that off my bucket list now.  (And that's what life is all about, right?)

From Four Corners I took a small route (41, which turns into 62) which was actually quite nice.  Lots of turns and twists.  I ended up near Blanding, UT and veered onto Highway 95 toward Natural Bridges National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Glen Canyon, Utah
I'm going to share a secret with ya'll.  The Glen Canyon area is the prettiest, most spectacular thing I've seen thus far (and it feels like I've been to hell and back).  I found myself at a loss for words after using my quota of "holy shit" and "wow".  I eventually reasoned with myself that if there ever was such a thing as "God's Country,"  Utah would be it.  The sheer cliffs and columns were borne to perfection by the wind and rain.  The colors were spectacular and varied,  the views breathtaking.  In sections it was as if someone had built a Lego mound and pushed it down. The rock was flat and square.   There were big pieces and little pieces.  Other areas had round rocks that made me think of giant chocolate marsh mellows (I have a food fascination).   It was amazing.  Simply amazing.  Other locations appeared like chocolate frosting, whipped smooth and fine.   I imagined the smooth parts were giant's bellies and if I looked closely enough I would occasionally see faces or hands built into the rock. (Of course that could be in part to my overactive imagination.)  Ya'll can have Zion (which I thought was remarkable) and Moab and all the others.  I'll take Glen Canyon.

I do not kid when I say just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it did.  I think the most mind blowing thing was all that beauty and the dryness then turning the corner and seeing the Colorado River flowing through it.  I hope one day you all get to view such a place.

Glen Canyon with the Colorado River 
After riding to the edge of the Glen Canyon area I was in no rush to move quickly.  I wanted the memories to last and twisting the throttle seemed like pushing them away.  Finally I sucked it up and moved along...toward Capital Reef National Park.  Oh, and trust me when I tell you that this is also one stretch of road you do not want to miss.  It was curvy and twisty and most assuredly helped to make this day of riding the best one yet.

I'm hoping to be in Bend/LaPine, OR by Friday and frankly I'm getting frustrated that I've traveled so far and don't seem any closer to the end.  Today's beauty make up for it but still I'm ready for my bed and to see my Trout again.  I'm debating on heading straight for Twin Falls, ID (430 miles on the interstate) or monkeying around with different, smaller roads which will increase my miles and time.  I guess I've nothing but time.  And after all, this is God's Country, remember?

Aug 9, 2011

Ride Log 11: Texas: Day 10, Westward HOME

After staying up too late last night I slept in with Roxie laying at my knees.  It didn't feel right to disturb her.  So, I slinked out of bed around 8:30 AM and found some git-along in my get n go.  I left Lubbock around 10:00 AM  (it takes a long time to pack 64 ounces of BBQ sauce and spices along with t-shirts and hats plus all the stuff you came with!).  I started the day with my cooling vest and figured rain would come shortly thereafter.  Of course, when you want rain you don't get it.  I baked my way across Texas and to Clovis, NM.  The roads were nothing to write home about:  flat and dry with heat pushing it's way from the asphalt to your boots.  I stopped when the spirit moved me, quickly realizing that after a week of riding eastbound the home trip would be slower because my arse started hurting after about 30 miles.  From Clovis I went northwest toward Albuquerque.

I stopped and did a walk through the Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner, NM (since I'd passed the place he lived in Lincoln, NM, it only seem fair I stopped at the place he died).  I don't have many historial concerns (i.e. I don't give a shrat) but, I was impressed to see historical items relating to Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday (Tombstone is my favorite movie ever and yes, I know it's a movie and Doc Holliday probably wasn't as awesome as Val Kilmer was in his prime).  There were a lot of pieces on display: pistols and shotguns, irons and kettles, wagons and stoves, glassware and everything in between.   If you are a history buff it's well worth the $5.00 admission charge.

Herse wagon with a child's coffin inside
After the museum I put the rubber to the road and finally started seeing some mountains near Albuquerque (thank goodness).  Tomorrow I'll have some scenery to knock your socks off.  Today, you're stuck with Billy The Kid's remnants and my photography skills (which are lacking).
This was interesting, a calf was born with extra legs sticking out it's side.  Kind of gross.
Can you imagine packing these heavy pots around ? No wonder those women were tough.

It being my birthday (I don't look a day over 52) I had earlier decided to grab a hotel in Albuquerque and cut my day short so I could enjoy some quality hotel time (i.e. I'm too damn old to ride so damn far).  I'm in a Days Inn within walking distance to a restaurant.  Worked out great, until I went over and was informed it was an all you can eat affair.  Can you imagine what it feels like when your stomach turns around and walks out of a place and the rest of you is still inside?  My stomach agreed to go inside if I'd just get a plate to go.  So, I grabbed some roast (what is it with me and the cow?), mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, and a garlic biscuit and headed back to my hotel.  I think it's the best birthday ever.  Thank goodness my stomach has been stretched over the last week or I'd have had to cut out the biscuit.

Tomorrow I head northbound, toward Salt Lake City (maybe I'll run into Ely, riggghhht) or farther west.  My only plan is to enjoy the ride and to remember these are the best days of my life.

Ride Log 10: Texas Days: 7-9: Lubbock, Dallas & Fort Worth

Current Location:  Fort Worth, TX

Friday night to welcome me to Texas we headed right to a BBQ place in the sticks called Cagle Steaks.  It wasn't the best place but since I refused to put on jeans in the heat (around 104 degrees at 7 pm) they conceeded we should go someplace less fancy.  Cagle Steaks was like an adventure park with a saloon and a gift shop and rustic boardwalks.   All I can tell you is it was around $19.00 per person and we ordered steak that came with a baked potato.  There was a "buffet" full of baked beans, potato salad, peppers, and other assorted goodies which we piled high on our table.  The entire table was full of food and we all sat and ate until it felt like we were going to puke.  I'm not kidding when I say the word "purge" was mentioned numerous times.  By males and females.  Texans know how to eat and eat well!

After an awesome night's sleep on Friday night in a comfy bed (how could I not sleep well with a calf in my belly and a potato farm keeping it company) I didn't want to wake up at 6:45 AM on Saturday morning.  But, I somehow managed and Sonny, Cher and I jumped in the car and drove the 5 hours to Fort Worth/Dallas.  Call me crazy, after six days on the bike somehow riding in the car for 5 hours one way didn't sound that bad.  However, it was a LONG drive.  And, as some of you may be aware, Texas is the place for good BBQ but scenery, well, that's where Texas falls short.  At least this time of year, when the temperatures are high at 109 and low at 100.  The grass is brown and sharp as needles and the green only comes from trees that seem to be reaching out to you in order to suck the water from your pores.  Along the route I saw cows, fields, some more fields, and gas stations.

DISCLAIMER:  Before you read any more I should warn you.  There are several reasons I LOVE Texas but its a toss up which reason would be first on my list.  I think the people are awesome.  The Southern charm and manners is a welcome change from Portland's rush and rudeness (yeah, I said it, suck it, Portlanders).  But, the food, oh the food, the BBQ, the TexMex, the great burgers and steaks, the green chilis and the tea, well, that's what I focused on during this trip.  So what follows is a quick look at Dallas and Fort Worth via food.

Chuy's Fajitas and green chili salsa
In Dallas we hit Chuy's (  for lunch.  We found Chuy's about five years ago when Cher and I took a car trip from Albuquerque, NM to San Antonio, TX and some guy I'd met suggested it.  Chuys is now and has been since,  one of our favorite spots...hand rolled tortillas, spicy and flavorful Hatch green chili sauce, the margaritas and the salsa fresca...I may turn the bike around right now. If there's a Chuy's within a 100 mile radius, I'm making the trip.  Come temperatures that melt your boots, floods that threaten to take your bike away, and crying babies, I'll be there.  After gorging ourselves so much we could barely walk, Cher had to go to a dress fitting (yeah, great idea, stuff a bunch of food in yer gullet then head to do a fitting, heeheheh).   Sonny and I drove around until we found Chocolate, a shop in a trendy part of Dallas where we proceeded to stuff more crap in our mouths (how? I have no clue, but trust me, it was a bad idea).  We each had a banana and mango smoothy and a piece of hand made chocolate.  Mine was peanut butter and jelly chocolate.  I think I still have some mango in my spleen since it wouldn't fit anywhere else.  We picked up Cher (who waved away her piece of chocolate, a huge glob of chocolate covered peanut butter).  Of course, eventually she caved in and the glorious chocolate was consumed.

BBQ from Railhead, Fort Worth, TX
After eating enough food and chocolate to feed a small army, we headed to the hotel where we were forced to take naps in order to prepare for dinner and the evening's festivities.

After a fitful two hour nap I still wasn't that hungry, but I was able to force myself to eat since we were going to a place called Railhead BBQ ( ).   This place was a little dirty but the food was  really, really good.  When I say dirty, I mean the place needed someone to actually walk around and pick up the mass amount of napkins and straw covers that littered the floor.  They needed to wipe down a table or two and the bathroom had toilet paper instead of paper towels for you to dry your hands on (but perhaps that's how they tell who washed their hands..those who walk out with bits of TP stuck to their hands and faces).  Still, I'd go back in a heartbeat. I mean, you can't get this food in Oregon!  (By now you've probably gotten the idea that I like BBQ??)

From Railhead we went to...wait for it...Billy Bob's.  Now, I'm not much for Texas nightlife (or any nightlife that doesn't involve a couch and Trout snoring at my feet) but Cher and Sonny thought it would be cool for me to experience a honky tonk in Texas.  So, they procured some tickets to Billy Bob's Texas, THE LARGEST HONKY TONK IN THE WORLD! (  You know how some people say they're the largest, or the best, or the biggest, or the hottest, well, Billy Bob isn't a liar.  It was like walking into a freaking small town.  There were so many bars, pool tables, live bull riding, and a concert area.  It can accomodate 5,000 of your favorite cowboys and cowgirls...which to me means it will hold me, Cher, Sonny, and 4,997 strangers whom I don't care to meet.   We didn't eat while there (I know, shocking!) but we did get tickets to see David Allan Coe perform.  He's an oldie but a goodie and I like to think I was able to watch one of his last concerts (mainly because I'm a firm believer that if someone needs to be helped to his chair and then mumbles his way through a concert, he should retire).  But, I enjoyed Mr. Coe's songs and am still devoted to him enough to want to submit his lyrics to my boss when the time comes  (Take This Job and Shove It as written by Coe and sung by Johnny Paycheck in 1978)  (Oh, and take note, I was a little kid then...way little....tiny...almost not even born...)

Yucatan Taco Stand, Fort Worth
The next morning I hung out in the hotel (no, I wasn't turning tricks) while Sonny and Cher went back to Dallas.  I was an angel and ate a tiny zuchinni muffin and had a glass of milk for breakfast. Truth be told I was too lazy to go get something better and I was saving room for lunch.  Which, as it turned out, was a good idea.  We stopped at the Yucatan Taco Stand on the way back to Lubbock.  YUM.  (Sorry, I started eating before taking the photo, oops, got a little worried my expanding stomach couldn't go a full four hours without food.)   After Yucatan I was glad for the five hour car ride back to gave my belly time to stop screaming.  I mean, I haven't eaten so much food in such a short period of time since, I dunno, maybe two weeks ago.  I need to learn to pace myself.

Back in Lubbock we were all pretty tired and still full, so instead of going out we stopped and got some pizza to bring home.  We ate pizza like there was no tomorrow (and at this rate of food consumption there were serious concerns) and Sonny and I watched "The Jerk" and laughed our arses off while Cher walked around and made faces as if Sonny and I were 12 years old.  Pointing out that "The Jerk" is a classic didn't seem to add any good light to the flic.  Hmm...weird.

The next day was Monday and Sonny and Cher (both respectable with jobs and everything) had to go to work.  I took the opportunity to lay around, read a book, do some laundry (which had to be hung on the the 105 degree by the time I got a load up I was ready to relax while the sweat poured into my eyes and my brain came back down to room temperature, which was near 97).  I met Cher for lunch and had one of the biggest, thickest burgers ever.  I did errands after lunch, riding around on my moto (sans jacket and pants..I mean, I had shorts on but no protective layers) because it was so hot outside I thought I'd keel over at a stop light.   Back at the house, sunburnt from the mere ten minutes of ride time, I decided it was safest if I just kicked back on the couch with my Kindle for the rest of the day.  I mean, I wouldn't want to burn any unnecessary calories.  It takes a lot to keep this round figure.

I told them to pose, it's not my fault Cher is molesting Sonny.
That night we all trekked over to Rudy's BBQ ( for my farewell meal.  Rudy's BBQ, to me, is the holy grail of BBQ.  I don't care what you say,  I will never love anything as much as I love Rudy's.  (I'll probably have to marry someone named Rudy just so he doesn't get jealous.)   Rudy's is actually a "country store" and has gas pumps out front and a small store inside where amongst some of the best rubs, spices you can find are basic antifreeze.  Don't let the store fool ya.  Rudy's is primo numero uno in BBQ.  I actually order the stuff and have it shipped to Oregon.  A steak, potatoes, ribs, chicken (whatever you fancy) isn't complete without a dash of Rudy's Rub.  Come over sometime, I'll prove it to ya'll.

The problem with Rudy's is I never know what to get.  It's all good.  Creamed corn, smoked turkey, jalapeno sausage (to put spice in my life, the server said), brisket, potato salad, baked beans, a smoked potato (lathered in meat, cheese and butter), and sliced white bread.  So we all over-indulged yet again.  It was worth it.   We rolled back to Casa Taylor and sat around talking and playing with the dog, Roxie.

Special thanks to Sonny, Cher, and Roxie for making my Texas stay wonderfully fattening and fulfilling.  I can't wait for mid September when I head to Austin (I'm flying and shall do so shame free since my arse will still be numb).

Ride Log 9: Texas: Day 6

Location:  Lubbock, TX
Distance from home via routes I rode: 2075 miles
Distance traveled in the last week:  2300 miles (includes riding around Portland prepping)
Approximate fuel cost:  $150

Planned on a great night's sleep (aw...the best laid plans)...  I didn't plan on being the biggest yellow bellied chicken in the south.  The campground at Valley of Fire was deserted except for the camp hosts and myself.  You'd think that would be a good thing.  However, it was there that my paranoia hit an all time high amidst the glorious scenery and secluded hilltop.  I pulled my tent under the metal building that housed the metal picnic table perching it between the metal posts of the outbuilding.  I parked my moto in front of the table, thinking that would block some of the wind since I was literally on top of the bluff with a 360 degree view of all the mountains.  As dark approached I questioned my reasoning of camping in a spot with no gravel (since I wouldn't hear footsteps approaching) and be forewarned of any unwanted guests (since we ALL know there are serial killers running rampant).  Then, as the wind picked up and the flaps of my tent smacked the picnic table making me feel like I was in a wind tunnel, I sat upright and still, thinking I could hear creatures scurrying outside my tent.  It wasn't until I thought I heard the zipper being pulled that I finally laid down and rolled into a little ball covering my head with my moto jacket, thinking at least I wouldn't have to SEE the boogey man coming for me.  I started to question if I should shoot first, through the tent (and possibly ruin my new tent) or if I should actually wait until I saw the white of my would-be killer's eyes (or red, if it were an alien).  I uncurled myself and finally slept until I had to get up to pee.  What a pain in the ass that was.  I sat up, my bladder about to burst from waiting so long, and put an ear to the side of the tent.  When I didn't hear anything I grabbed my headlamp and weapon (aka stick left over from a Starbuck's cake pop) and slowly undid the zipper of the tent and peered out into the darkness.  By chance I looked up and saw the beautiful sky and thought surely the devil would be sleeping.  Now, as if worrying about animals and crazy psychotic men isn't bad enough, I realized there would be creepy crawly bugs and snakes just laying in wait for me on the asphalt.  I had to turn on my headlamp and scan the ground in front of me to ensure it was safe since I was barefoot.  Then I started thinking that if the crazies (besides me) weren't asleep and were just waiting for signs of life, I'd surely just given them a precise location via my headlamp on where to come to kill me.  I did my business and dashed back inside the tent faster than Trout eats rotisserie chicken.

I thought I should have camped closer to the hosts, then I started to wonder if maybe THEY weren't the serial killers.  I was not safe anywhere.  Back in the tent I looked at the stars through my tent window and then thought, why can't they make a material that we can see out of but no one can see in to?  Wouldn't camping be so much more fun?  I could see the danger coming from far away!  As I looked up to the sky I noticed the lightening had started in the distance again...and ya'll should remember at this point I'm in my tent under a metal building near a metal picnic table near a moto on top of a hill?  Yeah.  Great stuff.  I finally feel asleep after exhaustion hit and my eyes were so heavy I could fear no more.  Of course, before I did, there was a brief moment where I wondered if the animals would come and eat from the garbage can right next to my tent, maybe a grizzly?  He could grab the rotten bread then realize there was some chunky meat in the tent...

View from the other side of my tent
Once daylight blessed me and I thanked the Heavens I made it through the night, I unzipped the flap on the tent to look upon all the glory that is nature and quickly fell back asleep.  Around 8 I woke up again and started clearing my camp and stowing my gear.  It was then that the camp host came riding along in his four wheeler.  His first question was, "Can I ask why you didn't camp down on the grass where it's comfortable?"  Not wanting to sound paranoid (since the real reason was because it was down in the gully and my screams wouldn't travel) I said, "The view!"   He and I spoke for probably a half an hour about the campground, my yellow belly behavior the night before, and where the best food was in Roswell.  As I was ready to roll the rains were upon me again.  Someone hates me but the camp host thinks I'm the funniest "biker" he's ever met. (I've never considered myself a "biker" and frankly, it doesn't sit well.  I mean, aren't biker's tough and macho and not afraid of the wind while camping???)

On suggestion from the camp host (Earl), I headed for breakfast in Roswell to the Cowboy Cafe.  Earl had told me the weather would be HOT once I got about twenty miles down the road but I resisted my cooling vest since that had worked so well previously (so well in calling the rains, that is).  I passed Lincoln (home of outlaw Billy the Kid) where they were having a festival in his honor, but it was too early for the bbq to be done so I pressed on.   About two hours later I rode into Roswell, NM.  I was happy to be there and excited to see the UFO Museum, since Roswell is so famous. (And I'd ridden the ET highway so i sensed a theme.) I stopped at the Museum and paid my $5.00 entrance fee.  Inside were mostly written documents hanging on the wall relating to the famous sighting and other abductions and the like.  You can really just get all this information from the internet and save yourself the sweaty, 105 degree ride into town.  But, if you happen to be in Roswell, the UFO Museum seems like the tourist place to visit, so just go with it.

I lunched at the Cowboy Cafe which is at the east end of town (another MUST stop, locals only hangout!) As I was getting ready to go inside I knew I'd found the best possible food place when a cowboy walked by and said, "Ya'll best get inside and cool yerself down!"  The place was tiny and packed wall to wall with cowboy hats and wranglers.  The waitress asked if I didn't mind sitting with someone else and despite the fact that I'm normally not that social, I told her I didn't mind if they didn't mind.  I ended up sitting with a couple (I'll call them the Roswell's) who lived about 15 miles outside of town who were some of the nicest people I've ever met.  We talked about my journey, their kids, their ranch and the famous Roswell UFO Festival.  As I suspected, the locals tend to stay away from the main stretch in town when the festival occurs, July 1-4, and my hosts claimed they were sick and tired of the whole UFO thing.   Turns out Mr. Roswell was a retired trucker so he was able to give me great advice on what to see and do on my way home.  Oh, and just so you know, I ate the battered catfish with fries, home made slaw and hush puppies.  My belly misses the Cowboy Cafe.  It was a fantastic experience (food and the company).  On my way home I'm tempted to go back the way I came, just to pass through Roswell and hit the Cowboy Cafe again!

Cher and Sonny Taylor, my Lubbock pal's.
After lunch I hit the road and quickly felt the heat from the bike searing through my Aerostitch AD-1 pants.  I kept going, on and on, until Lubbock boomed in front of me like a mirage.  You can't imagine the feeling of relief when I pulled into town and then stopped in front of Sonny and Cher Taylor's house, which was my destination (Not their real names, but a close resemblance, see photo.)

After six days of straight and twisty roads, hills, mountains, dry plains, green brush and dead grass, cows, alien sightings, limited traffic, and countless hours of moving back and forth on the seat, attempting to find comfort where there was none, I was there.   I was happy I'd made it...but I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't wondering how much it would cost to ship the bike back to Oregon and fly!

Aug 7, 2011

Ride log 8: Texas: Day 5

Current location:  Valley of Fires State Park, Carrizozo
Distance from home:  1806 miles

AZ 260 out of Camp Verde, finally some twists and turns!
From Camp Verde I hit the pavement going east on AZ-260 toward Show Low.  This section of road led me through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and the White Mountains.  I must admit my earlier disappointment with Arizona waned and by the time I'd ridden a mere 50 miles I thought to myself, "This part of Arizona does NOT suck!"   AZ-260 (which later becomes 60) is perhaps the best part of Arizona I've seen and is a fantastic motorcycle road.  The flat, straight roads of the previous day were replaced with curves and lush greenery (and trust me, I don't think of lush greenery when I think of Arizona) that seemed to go on and on.

I stopped for lunch in Springerville and for the first time in the trip I actually took the time to eat in a local watering hole.  If you are ever in Springerville stop at Los Dos Molinos (the two grinders) at the east side of town (trust me, you can't miss it, it's one of the few places to stop).  The restaurant has been around since the last 1970's and serves only fresh ingredients.  Their slogan is "Some like it hot."  And trust me, it's HOT.  They serve two kinds of salsa with their chips and place a pitcher of ice water on the table at the same time.  It's needed.  The first thing I thought when I tasted the red salsa was "HOLY HELL!"  I could feel my face redden and little  tears forming in my eyes.  It wasn't pretty.  The waitress, J, was very friendly and suggested the pork burrito with a side of beans.  The beans aren't refried as "if they are done right the first time you don't have to refry them!" I have to admit I had to get a side of sour cream after testing a few bites to help "cool" the fire on my tongue.  The pork was huge chunks of perfectly seasoned goodness and the beans, well, the beans were the best I've ever tasted.  Amazing.  They have locales in Phoenix and Mesa.  If you pass this place up you will never forgive yourself.

After lunch the roads got flat and straight again but the view was fantastic while the sun was shinning.

Somewhere near the AZ, NM border
 I meandered over to Highway 380 toward Roswell, NM where I wanted to stay the night.  The heat had not been an issue but in Camp Verde I'd donned my cooling vest just in case.  It was probably due to my vest that I hit storms again.  This time, the storms were not beside me, but directly in front of me and appeared to go on and on.  I had the presence of mind (and enough experience with my bad moto mojo) to remove the cooling vest and put the rainproof liner in my vented jacket before riding into the darkness ahead.  After about half a mile my leather gloves were soaked through and I'd ridden through some weather that would even disappoint a fish.  The rains, thunder, lightening, and blackness continued for miles off and on.  When the wind arrived I almost laughed out loud.  My luck sucks!

As I continued toward Roswell the rains let up and I decided I'd stop in Carrizozo, NM instead of Roswell since I had plenty of time.  I passed the Valley of Fires Recreation area and was blessed with a view that made my mouth drop open like I was being spoon fed chocolate.  I rode about two miles past the camp ground and decided life was too short to wake up in a cheap motel when I could wake up surrounded by mountains in the distance and lava flows.  I turned around and headed back to the campground.

View from my camping spot at Valley of Fires Campground
Camping was $7.00 and the facilities were clean and well maintained.  It was, in fact, better than the RV park I'd stayed at previously.  I could almost live in the bathroom.  Showers were free!  The view was breathtaking and included a nature trail through the lava flows.  I hunkered down and planned on a great night's sleep.

Bathroom/shower area at Valley of Fires (see, they are awesome!)

Aug 3, 2011

Ride Log 7: Texas: Day 4

Current location:  Camp Verde, AZ
Distance from home:  1387 miles

Woke up in Caliente around 5:30 am.  Did I mention there was a train track right next to the RV Park?  Well, there is and it's a lovely alarm clock.  I decided I may as well get up and get moving and try to beat the heat.  After a quick shower (moto mojo black, forgot a towel) and a rather extensive pat dry with brown paper napkins, I stepped out of the shower room and almost walked into the maintenance man.  I don't know who was more scared (he was frightened since I had on short shorts, my apologies to his eye doctor).   He said I'd best be moving along since a storm was coming so I rushed to drop the tent and pack my belongings.  As I flicked as many ants away as I could (off the bike) the first drops of rain started pounding down around me.  I wasn't sure exactly where I was going but I took off anyway and rode Hwy 93 to 319 (turns into 56) toward St. George, UT.

These roads were a little better for moto enthusiasts, as they curved and turned, much to my relief.  I stopped in St. George to grab stuff to make a ham and cheese sandwich and marveled at how I was making good time.  To my dismay I realized I'd lost an hour on the ride due to time zones and now it was more like lunch time rather than breakfast.  Drat!   Oh, and somehow from the time I walked into the store and walked out someone lit a fire because it was fricking HOT outside.  I went back in and filled my Camelback with ICE and hit the road, now feeling behind schedule and sweating like a school boy in a Catholic Church (my bad, sorry).

In St. George I decided to take my time today and see the sights.  To this point, Utah had the best scenery and my moto mojo was doing great.  I'd outran the storm in the morning and rode parellel another, feeling the love from the moto Gods!

Just before Zion I stopped to buy some trinkets in the town they named after me, Virgin, UT.  
I rode into Zion and paid my $12.00 to experience 22 miles of park while attempting to reach Highway 89.  Zion is well worth the money.   What I could have lived without was everyone else who was there.  I spent the entire 22 miles following RV's that seemed intent on driving the speed limit (25mph) so the only good curves and twists and switchbacks I'd experienced on my trip thus far were wasted!  (Doh!  Moto mojo black!)  I loved (LOVED) Zion.  It is remarkable and to call it simply "beautiful" is an understatement.

I didn't dilly dally in Zion as  I was ready to hit Route 89 which runs from Canada to the Mexican border (in two sections).  I read about this route previously in National Geographic's Adventure Magazine, which said Route 89 was a MUST take route.  And, well, I did it.  And guess what?  I'd go back and ride the boring ET Highway ten times rather than take Route 89 ever again.   Traffic was heavy in both directions and the speed limit of 65 is most assuredly a "suggestion" since even semi's were passing me.  (Don't even get me started on the road construction.)  I wasn't so lucky to outrun the rain this time and unfortunately, about 50 miles before the rain caught me I was so hot I decided to give my cold vest a try.  So when it started raining and the wind started blowing I was wearing a vest packed in water.  (Moto mojo?  Off the charts B.A.D.)

I spent the next 100 miles or so shaking off the cold only to be trapped in another storm right after warming up.  I got to Flagstaff, AZ and was finally warming up enough to get gas and ponder moving on another few miles.  I hit Interstate 17 out of pure desperation to get moving quickly and get this day over with.  I ended up here, in Camp Verde at the Motel 6, counting my lucky stars I'd gotten inside before the torrential downpour, lightening and winds picked up again.

Today, not one Subway or Shell dude was there to light my way.  I think perhaps I'd already had enough chances in the love department (and failed! Doh!).  No more free lunches.  I did, however, meet a lovely man from Georgia at the hotel.  He saw the bike and looked at me and looked at the bike and then looked at me and shook his head and then said, "I can't believe you're riding that! All by yourself?"  He was amazed that a woman would get on a bike (first amazement) and go that far (second amazement) and that I wasn't gay (third amazement). Wow.  He was very nice and even saw fit to share some of his wisdom with me.  His name was LT (maybe it was, maybe it wasn't), and he said he thought I should ride as much as I wanted (err, thanks) because our lives are our own books.

As LT explained, each day is a new page and what we put on those pages (or don't put on those pages) is up to each of us individually.   Some of us have big, thick books that are full of fun and excitement and some of us have small, thin books that are closed too soon.  The only constant is the beginning and ending of each book.  We are all born and we all die.  How you choose to fill your book is up to you. If you listen to those who say you can't, and you don't, then it is only your book that suffers.

I was digging LT.  Right up until the moment he asked me to have a drink with him.  I mean, we'd already discussed the entire meaning of life.  What more was there to say???

Tomorrow I head toward Roswell, NM and then my destination of Lubbock, TX.  Today was a good day.  I was screaming into my helmet that I would not quit when the winds threatened to push me over and my head was bobbing like a pogo stick.  When I was shivering in my cold vest with the rain water smashing against me like a sledge hammer,  I was smiling, thinking how lucky I was to live in Oregon where the weather teaches us how to tolerate such things.  Tomorrow will be a new page in my book.  I hope I write it well.  

Aug 2, 2011

Ride Log 6: Texas: Day 3

Current location:  Caliente, NV
Distance from home:  932 miles

The Owl Motel's bed was about as comfortable as sleeping on a piece of plywood.  I tossed and turned all night and woke up about ten times.  Once I awoke to find myself scratching a hole in my arm.  Worried about bugs, I had to turn on the lights and inspect the sheets and surrounding area.  (Paranoid much?)  I chowed on a granola bar and hit the road around 8:00 am, heading to Austin, NV.  

Highway 305 to Austin is BORING (notice the capitals).  The best thing about the road is it finally ended.  Austin itself is a tiny town with two small cafe's where the food is adequate but expensive.  Eggs, ham, and potatoes for $9.00.  WOW.   From Austin I rode south along Highway 376 for 107 miles to Tonopah which was another 100 miles of straight but sparsly populated asphalt.  I'd guess in the almost 200 miles of riding I saw about 30 cars total.  Most of the time it was me and the road...add some curves and you'd have a terrific moto ride.
This is a good portion of the Austin to ET Highway...mostly flat and straight...blah.

The entertainment started in Tonopah, where I stopped at the Shell station to fuel up after heading toward Warm Springs and seeing a sign indicating "NEXT GAS 163 MILES."  To risk the ride or not?  I decided not, given my stellar track record on all things moto. While attempting to fuel up (I had to move twice to get a pump that worked), a guy pulled up on a 1200 GS (I call him Ely since that's where his next stop was).  He was friendly and we shared about a half hour conversation about bikes, Pelican bags and routes over candybars and soda. Having learned my lesson about falling in love at first sight (think Lakeview, OR), I played it cool.  He was on his way to Salt Lake City and was looking for dirt roads to take into Ely (NV) and I was on my way the opposite direction.  He had sold his Harley to buy the 1200GS (which quickly earned him bonus points in my book) and was from Los Angeles (which quickly removed said bonus points).  

As we stood talking near the bathroom (romantic, no?)  an older dude pulled up on his moto.  He started talking to us, assuming we were together (we must have made an adorable couple).  Eventually the older dude informed us about how dangerous the road ahead was, that gas was scarce and people got stranded all the time.  He then proceeded to give us both advice which apparently is necessary from everyone at every stop.  

When "older dude" left I asked Ely if the dude was trying to scare us.  Ely said he was trying to play it cool since he didn't want the guy to know I was alone.  You know, "it's dangerous for a women to be riding alone."  I told Ely not to worry because I had a gun.  Ely's response:  "Good, you should.  A gun is a great equalizer."  I shall remember Ely whenever I hear the word  "equalizer."  (Who says that???)

Fueled up and ready to go I put the rubber to the road and headed east on US-6 toward Warm Springs. Warm Springs used to be a town.  Now it's a few trashed buildings and a fence.  From there the excitement built as I turned onto State Route 375, the famed "Extraterrestrial Highway."   The ET Highway is 98 miles of, wait for it, BORING.  But, I probably saw ten cars the entire time so it was clear sailing...err...riding.  And, if I still owned the 1200 GS, I could have been going 90 mph, hauling along like it was nothing.  Instead, I was on Runkle, and well, it felt like I was standing still.  (Seriously, I've been passed by semi's.  How humiliating.)  

The only stop along the ET Highway is the town of Rachael, which has a cafe and that's about it.  But, since this highway is close to Area 51 and UFO sightings are high, I expected to see a little action of the science fiction kind.  With three slight movements away from "straight" the ET Highway is not going to make you feel all warm and fuzzy while on your moto.  In fact, it is mostly flat and the only real entertainment you'll get you can see in the photos on this blog (I saved you the trip, thank me later).  
This was the only UFO I spotted along the Extraterrestrial Highway.  

Oh, but wait, you don't want to miss this one, either (now you can thank me):

From my disappointing tour of the ET Highway, I set my sights on Caliente, NV for a night of camping at Young's RV Park on recommendations from Jerry.  I outran the rain and only felt about 20 pelts on my face shield (moto mojo gold!).  Young's RV park was clean and inexpensive ($15.00 for a tent sight).  It would have been awesome had my bad moto mojo not have followed me from Oregon.  My first mistake was setting my tent under a small apple tree.  The apples were only about the sizes of plums and clearly not I thought, "let's get some shade."  What I did not ponder was the wind which would blow the apples off the tree and onto my tent at various times (all coincidentally after dark) and scare the crap out of me (repeatedly).  Then there was the deer who snuck into the RV park numerous times during the night to eat the apples.  I was awakened numerous times to the sounds of "crunch crunch" when the deer were close enough for me to almost touch them.   Still, I slept better than I had the night before in the motel.  Upon packing to leave I noticed I'd parked near a main thoroughfare for sugar ants, which were crawling all over my bike the next morning.  Some of them have been relocated to Arizona (hope that helps their tourism).  

Despite my moto mojo, Caliente is thus far my favorite place.  The RV park lady told me I'd best get to the store for supplies since it closed soon.  I hopped on my bike and rushed through town (maybe a two minute ride given the speed limit) and bought some overpriced water and some potato salad for dinner.  When I walked out a woman was checking out my bike.  She looked at me and noted I was riding the bike.  She was very excited about this and proceeded to tell me her name was Susan and she owned the shop next to us.  The Spare Tire in Caliente, NV sells motorcycle &ATV parts and riding gear and, according to her business card, is right off US Highway 93.  Susan welcomed me to Caliente with a quick tour of her shop (even though it was closed) and then a tour of her apartment behind the shop.  She  told me all about her ex-boyfriend (member of a motorcycle gang, whose name I shall keep in confidence since frankly, I don't want to be killed), and gave me her phone number just in case I have any issues on my way to Texas (although I don't know what it really costs to be saved by a motorcycle gang, probably more than I'd want to expend).    Susan is a retired school teacher who is all of about 5'2" and is peppy and fun.  She has enough energy to probably start her own daycare and juggle at the same time.

Susan walked me to my bike and introduced me to three of the town folk who were going to the store.  She also told me about a date she had that night with a guy who worked for Union Pacific, which worked out great since he wasn't from town.   Turns out I was camped next to this Union Pacific guy, although he didn't talk to me that night but instead when I was on my way out of town when we were both at the gas station.  Talk about a small world (town?).   Look her up if you are ever in Caliente.  Seriously, I think you'll like her, too!

Susan, owner of The Spare Tire in Caliente, NV.

Aug 1, 2011

Ride Log 5: Texas: Days 1 & 2

Current location:  Battle Mountain, NV
Distance from home:  601 miles

In one piece and setting off from LaPine, OR
From home in Aurora, OR I rode 186 miles to LaPine, OR to stay the first night of journey.  I went to bed late because Jerry was mapping my route.  (Thanks!   This just proves procrastinating is a good thing) I didn't get up and moving until around 8 am and didn't actually end up leaving until around 10am.  I am probably one of the few people you know who can have a GPS, a paper map, and verbal directions and still get lost.  I missed the first turn of the day and ended up riding about 40 minutes in the wrong direction before realizing it and turning around.  Good times and good vibes to start the journey!  Doh!  This is why I need someone with me...I can not seem to follow directions!  (Which is one of my many faults, but the most annoying one to me personally.)

The proper route was Highway 31 which is, at least to me, a lot like Highway 97 minus the traffic.  Miles and miles of minimal traffic made this a great road.  Lots of twists and turns and no deer sightings.  That's a win win in my book.  I rode to Lakeview, OR and stopped for lunch and gas.  I actually stopped three times for food since I had a difficult time deciding what I wanted and how much time I wanted to spend since I was already behind.  I settled on Subway, which I think was fate since I encountered two locals there.  The first started chatting me up while I was in line for my food.  The woman was well dressed and about 65 and was actually getting lunch with her daughter and grandkid.  She was very kind and actually informed me after we had spoken briefly that her daughter would sit and wait for us to finish our conversation, as they had planned to take their food to go.  The woman and I stood in Subway while she continued to tell me the route I should take, how to ride in the wind, which side of the lane I needed to be on, and even how fast I should go throughout the process.  When she told me to get fuel in Denio and bypass Winnemucca I suddenly started thinking that a little advice was good, but too much was, well, literally, too much.  She left me with the standard, "May God Bless you and Keep you safe" that seems to be the standard departure line (right?).

I was smiling as I left Subway, amazed at the kinds of advice people will offer when it's not solicited, when a tall, handsome, much needed drink of water stepped up to my bike.  (I shall call him Mr. Water.)  Mr. Water asked what kind of bike it was (now if that isn't a pick up line, I don't know what is) and as I stared into his blue eyes (brown short hair with bits of gray flaked into the side, for those of you who are curious), he told me all about a trip he'd taken with his twin brother years ago.  He apparently rode a BMW F650 GS to Mexico and Belize. I could have talked to him all day and had he asked me to stay and never leave, chances were pretty good I would have.  But alas, he didn't ask, and I was back on the road around 2:00 pm.   (I just KNOW right now he's kicking himself for not coming back to Subway to find me, and truth be told, I waited an extra five minutes just in case.)

Near the top of Blizzard Gap with beautiful views.
Lakeview, OR to Denio, NV on Highway 140 was a dream come true.  Traffic was minimal and there were many of the 81 miles when I was without a view of another vehicle.  One section about mid-way through and slightly before the border had me climbing in elevation (Blizzard Gap) at a severe incline. The road follows the mountainside and seems to go on forever.  It is lacking one important item: guardrails.  I was on this stretch that I suddenly realized I have a bit of an issue with heights.  When I pulled over to take a photo I waked near the edge and thought about all the ways my photo op could go bad.  Apparently I have an obsession with negativity.

Hwy 140 from Denio to Winnemucca:  long and straight!
Denio to Winnemucca was a straight stretch from hell.  The pavement was new blacktop which you could see the heat rising off.  The two rest stops had tiny canopies for shade which were both occupied.  The bathrooms smelled like hot sewage (hmm, wonder why?) and I quickly realized riding in the heat was better than being stationary in the rest stop.  One of the rest stops even had a gaggle of forest service men hanging out, but after realizing I'm old enough to be one of their parents, the allure faded.  Why can't time stand still???

As I passed Denio I DID NOT fuel up, discounting the Subway lady's suggestion.  I was on top of the world, still picturing Mr. Water in my mind.  When my miles clicked over 200 and the gas light came on Mr. Water was suddenly replaced with the old lady and her advice to get gas in Denio.  As I sludged ahead with about 30 miles until the next fuel stop I started thinking maybe unsolicited advice is better than unrequited love.  Maybe.

My motel room, someone spilled a can of "gross".   
Fueled up in Winnemuca, I had about 51 miles on Interstate 80 to Battle Mountain.  On advice from Jerry in LaPine, I am cozied up in the Owl Casino and Motel.  It has an air conditioner and a toilet.  That's about all I care to mention.  He said it wasn't great but it was cheap.  He was spot on!  I'll be lucky if I don't get bed bugs.  But, after riding about 419 miles today, I am tuckered.  I'll probably spend the night peering out the window to ensure Runkle doesn't get stolen.  (And Yes, those are stains on the carpet.)

Tomorrow I head, against Subway lady's advice (again), southward.  She told me to just stay on Interstate 80 as long  as possible, but the thought of riding 75 mph when it's allowed isn't much fun.  I'm attempting to stay on as many highways as possible and leave the interstate to those who chose to reduce fuel consumption and drive or ride like maniacs.  In Oregon, it's "55 to stay alive" so going 75 (with permission) makes me cringe.  I'm torn between riding what is known as "The Loneliest Highway in the World" (Route 50) or staying on the side road and hitting the "Extraterrestrial Highway"(98 miles of road near Area 51 and reportedly the most "visited" areas in the country).  I'm betting the Extraterrestrial will win the battle.   After all, I hear there is a GIANT extraterrestrial in some parking lot near the road.  Who wants to miss that???

Oh, and Mr. Water, I'll be stopping back through Lakeview in about two weeks if you want to meet at Subway.

I found a house! A sale and a purchase...

Hey Readers!  (Mom and Dad) My Salem house, after MANY repairs and a new porch I haven't written in a spell because my plans took a ride...