Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 2 - Lucky S.O.B.

Oh, my goodness, what a day. I slept as long as I could this morning, still confused about what local time is where ever I am. I ate breakfast a 'Mom's' and shipped 20 pounds of stuff home courtesy of the US Postal Service. That is the best $21 dollars spent today. Less to pack, unpack, bungee and weigh the bike down.

I got immediately on Route 50, which happened to be Main Street, which is where the post office was. I'd be on 50 for quite a while again. Yesterday's adventure was on 70/50 out of Moab, Utah. Today out of Salina 70 and 50 split and I'll be on 50 (which joins up with 6 in Delta. Delta is 88 miles from the border 'town' in Nevada that has gas ~and a casino~)

all the way to Great Basin in Nevada. I looked at gas can at one of my stops after yesterday's nonsense, but didn't know if it would be safe to carry a gallon or 2 of gas on the back of the bike in the heat. I decided not to get it. (oops.)

It went pretty well. Well, except for the vicious numbness of my posterior. I got to Great Basin National Park and was facing some nasty weather at the mountains I needed to pass through to get to Nevada.

I went from the Great Basin visitor center to the Lehman Caves visitor center about 6 miles away and watched one of their films about the caves. Very interesting. As I packed up the bike and looked at the sky it started to rain, so I finished strapping plastic down over my bags and went back in to the cafe/gift shop to wait it out. I met some lovely folks there: a group from Utah, 6 of whom ride Harleys and 2 of whom don't ride, hence the van they were traveling in. As I was talking to them I saw two bikes pull up and I got to meet

Sunshine and her Dad, Joey, I believe he said. We ate and chatted about riding and climbing and such and had a great time. The rain never came, but I was glad the threat had kept me there. Sunshine is an amazing young woman, traveling by bike with her dad for her graduation trip. They were quite a pair and I wish I could have spent some more time with them.

While the rain didn't get *me* wet, it as obvious from the roads I was on that something hard had come through and I was again glad for the break at Lehman.

For most of the day I went unnoticed by the sky. People had commented about Kansas being 'miles and miles of miles and miles', which was true. I'm not sure why no one said the same about Utah. And Nevada for that matter. Where Kansas is miles of nothing but green and more green, Utah and Nevada lacked the chlorophyl that at least gave signs of life to the midwest. I was compelled to buy a pin at the Nevada border that said "I survived 50. The world's loneliest road." I saw exactly 6 living creatures that weren't behind a wheel and I didn't see many of those, either. I did eventually pass through some rain, but clearly missed the worst of it.

From Delta, Utah to Tonopah, Nevada it ws 167 miles with 'no service'. I had decided against the gas can figuring that even at 40 mpg, rather than my usual 50, and with the 20 pounds less on the bike that I should make it, but was very aware that yesterday I'd run out of gas at 163 miles. After a very stressful ride of odo watching and trying to keep my speed constant and no stopping, my low gas light started blinking. 141.5. The last sign had said I was 30 miles away from the exit. I had been noting the distance between passing cars, using my vast mathematical knowledge to calculate approximately how long I would have to wait for someone to pass by if I had to stop. I'd marked the odo reading of every house or shack as i passed it in case I needed to find them again.

I wrapped my mind around the gas tank to keep the fumes in and I could see the exit and was still running. At the exit, I took the right yeild as the gps commanded and as I looked left for a clear path so I could merge, I saw a gas station. It occurred to me that if I had to turn around for gas I'd be going uphill and would likely *chug* not make it. My eyes got really big and my head turned to center to make the merge *chug* and I gratefully spied a Shell station on the left. I grabbed the clutch and drifted in before the 3rd *chug* came. I paid $3.24 for 4.007 gallons and was damn happy about it. (I believe I have a 4.1 gal tank.)

So, after taking off my rain gear and recovering a bit, buying some dried pineapple from the Shell and looking at my gps, I finally decided that I would call it a night.

The gps brings up 4 local motels. Can you guess which one Joanne chooses?
Silver Queen - $54.49
Best Western - $89.99
Jim Butler - $47.41
Clown Motel - $37.61

If you know me at all, it wasn't a hard choice, was it?

And this would be the 1900-1911 cemetery that was next to it.

While texts from home suggested that the Clown Motel was a perfect horror movie backdrop and the cemetery would certainly reinforce that, I slept till 530 am local time without visitation from any clowns or the occupants of the cemetery I walked through in the dark. I packed up to get going. I was about 2-3 hours from Yosemite, they tell me, and then a very long and lonely ride thru desolate Nevada again on the way to John Day, Oregon.


Robin said...

Joanne, Joanne, Joanne. What an epic adventure you are having. I hope lots of people are reading this blog. It is fascinating. I also love how you write. You know what a chickensh*t I am. You are one brave woman and although I think you are quite insane I also admire you a great deal and am jealous of your spirit of adventure.

Anonymous said...

Someone else is definitely reading the adventure and keeping track of the woman and her Iron Butt (so to speak) :-))
I think Joanne has to make trips like these on her own because nobody else can keep up with this pace! bjelwp

Dream on said...

Joanne, I couldn't agree with Robin more on your spirit of adventure. I would have loved to be right there with you! What an amazing trip. Your my idol. Oh, come on Robin....we could have a Rah Rah road adventure! We need you to help someone keep track of her things...ha...Joanne you might never live that down ya know. I still laugh at all the things you left behind! Your amazing!

jwesterman said...

aw. You guys are so rockin! We have already had Rah Rah adventures, ya know. How many folks can say that they took a working visit to a chicken farm? Now, *that's* a story to tell people. THAT was an adventure! And, Robin, chickensh*t is not a word I would ever have put with you...