Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Headed East!
That was the least amount of time I spent in California in all my trips. Once Sturgis was firmly planted on my mind, I really didn’t want to miss it. My goal was to get there at least by the Thursday before it ended. So sacrifices had to be made. Now I was going to follow that route that Bruce recommended. I should have taken a picture of him too. He’s a big guy with long hair. Very friendly, peaceful kind of guy. A teen of the Vietnam era. It comes up in conversation.
So into Nevada I went. I spent the whole day in Bodie, California so I had lots of riding to do to. I decided to get a room in Reno. Like in Vegas, I could get a nice room for $29. Nicer in fact than the $29 room in Vegas. I stayed at the Sands.
This was the view from my room when I arrived.
I was tired and I wanted to check my photos now that I had some electricity and a desk to sit at, but I figured I should check the town out, at least a little bit. Reno ain’t Vegas! But it has it’s share of glitz and neon.
This Thunderbird Motel sign was great. Unfortunately many of the old hotels with those clever old neon signs remained unlit.
I saw this mint Nash Metropolitan sitting shiny in a parking lot next to a tattoo parlor.
I am thinking…so fix it, right? Reno.
Now it was time to make that last right turn and head east on the loneliest road in america. That is it’s given name. Route 50, the Loneliest Road in America.
I figured lonely certainly meant I did not have to worry about speed limits. I’ve bust 100 before, but not one handed while taking a photo.
On the lonely road are occasionally lonely towns. I was worried about the availability of gas on this road. In fact I had been warned, “Make sure you carry an extra container of fuel”. The guy who runs the Triumph sales department where I got a rear tire for my bike in LA told me I should worry. He said in one town the lady only sells gas from 10am – 3pm. So I checked my maps and saw the town he spoke of. The only way that was going to be a problem was if I hadn’t filled up in the previous town. I learned long ago that out west you fill up regardless of whether your tank is low or not, so it turned out not to be a problem after all.
As is often the case, I think I am going to get a lot farther than I actually do. My plan was to make it to Great Basin National Park and camp. Nope. The sun was going down. Fortunately at my favorite hour to take pictures a subject showed up to my left. A ghost town! Right there as the sun was breaking through some clouds. Yay!
It got dark and I could see rain ahead, so I stopped in Ely and got a room for the night instead.
Great Basin National Park itself was not as spectacular as I expected. I was pleased to see big beautiful mountains with lush forest around in Nevada. My perception of Nevada was that of one big desert predominantly occupied by US military bases, flying drones and experimental aircraft along with regions of nuclear wasteland. Not so. This was a nice ride. Once I got in the park, I ditched my helmet and headed up the mountain. Sometimes when you go from state to state it’s easy to forget the rules. In Nevada wearing a helmet is mandatory.
If you do forget however, they have folks who stop to remind you.
I suppose the reason I wasn’t massively impressed with the Great Basin was because of my exposure to the Colorado Rockies. This place didn’t compare. At least not on the outside…
…On the inside, that’s another story. Lehman Cave is also located in this park, and it is spectacular.
A bacon strip. I had seen one of these somewhere before. It could have been in a Kentucky cave I saw when my friend Marc and I planned to drive to Graceland and ended up in Los Angeles.
The last stop for gas in Nevada on the loneliest road happens to be right on the border of Utah. So I lost a couple dollars in Nevada…
…then I took this photo at the same location. Notice the old lonely dog to the left of my front tire. He was just roaming around looking for scraps.
Now I was on the lonely road Utah style.
As you approach a more fertile area before the town of Delta you will find a shoe tree. Got to love a shoe tree!
I camped by the Sevier Bridge Reservoir in Utah for the night.
That night I was looking at the stars when I thought I was witnessing something apocalyptic. The upper crest of a crescent moon was just rising above the horizon. At first I had no idea what it was. Because the point first showed itself as a pointed orange glow, I thought it was some crazy volcanic activity or maybe an oil well ablaze. It quickly showed itself to be the moon and it was beautiful.
As I rode south from the campsite I passed a group of cows sitting on either side of the road just before going under this overpass. As I look at this photo it seems like a Hollywood painted backdrop. Right? Weird huh? Click it as you can all the photos to see them larger.
I continued along through a small town with numerous old former service stations.
I usually avoid Interstates, but the only choices in this part of Utah would have put me way out of my way to the upper Rockies in Colorado where I wanted to be. Besides, for an Interstate this one happens to go through some very scenic areas.
On to Colorado. I made a left upon entering the state and headed north. I wanted to ride route 14 above Rocky Mountain National Park. When I was staying at Willsville Biker Camp in Virginia a guy mentioned this road. So I camped out in the mountains outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The stars were incredible.
As I moved on there were nice views but it was hazy from forest fires in the area.
There had been forest fires along route 14 not too long ago as well. The mountains along the last part of the highway were completely burnt.
One finds fewer and fewer shiny chrome tankers to take self portraits in these days. Many of them now have a candy striped sticker to prevent one from seeing their reflection. I am always happy when I find a clean one.
From here it’s a straight shot to Sturgis.