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.

1 comment:

  1. Blue eyes and dark hair..? dreamy indeed.

    If he rode an F650 to Belize and still asked you what kind of bike you're riding... pickup line, indeed.

    ::crosses fingers that your next $5 foot long comes with a tall drink of Mr. Water:::



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