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Monday, April 9, 2012

Across the Desert

When I said the ride across Nevada was not at all what I expected, this is what I expected for hundreds of miles.

But as you can see, there are mountains in the background, and the ride seemed like mountain range after mountain range, with large basins between. The basins grew as we traveled west, such as the salt plains we saw in western Nevada.

But I should start with Salina, Utah. We ended up staying at the Econo Lodge instead of camping (duh!) on Saturday night. We got gas there before heading out, trying to organize our gas stops by looking at our route and assuming we might be going about 150 miles between gas services. At the gas station, I saw these...

... and was daydreaming that it would be cool if they were really filled with soda.  Of course, Steve might say that I was serious when I asked if he thought those tanks were filled with soda.

As we continued driving, it never ceased to amaze me how much the scenery changed as we traveled west. The desert started stretching out a bit, but the increasing shades of mountain ranges looked like a painting, impossible to capture on a camera, at least not with any of mine. I do have a non-destructible camera, but it just takes o.k. pictures. Here is a Pano I took with my phone on Hwy 50 in Utah. This was on the eastern side of I-15.

We continued on Hwy 50 west of I-15 and it was remarkable how little traffic there was, almost none, as made evident by Steve taking a break in the middle of the road.

The mountains in the distance in the previous photos are in Nevada. We only stayed on Hwy 50 into Ely, otherwise we would have done the Passport and been stamped certified travelers of the "Loneliest Road in America."  In Ely, we started down U.S. 6 to Tonopah. Good thing we got gas in Ely; there was no service for 167 miles.  There were lots of signs that said Open Range for cattle and we had to slow down a couple of times for cows in the middle of the road.

I had rigged my camera to sit on top of my tank bag, hooked with some parachute cord and small carabiner so if it fell it wouldn't fall far. This is the same camera I thought I had lost back in October but was apparently lodged somewhere, not visible to me and only dislodged after 900 miles of either 80 mph highway speeds, dirt roads, or pouring rain and then, finally, a drop of the bike and it shows up. Takes a licking and keeps on clicking. Anyway, now it was easily accessible and I could turn it on and take a picture all with my left hand and without looking at it. I really need to find a camera I can mount on my helmet that has a remote. I could point my head at the great scenery and hit a remote button mounted next to my info switch or something. If anyone knows of anything like that, please let me know. Here are a few pictures I took with that method.

We stayed on U.S. 6 into California to Benton. We had grand plans to stop at the California border and get pictures with our bikes in front of the sign. I was even counting down the mile posts starting at about seven, just so I would know when to start slowing down. Imagine my disappointment when this is what we found.

So, I turned around and took a photo of the in-tact Nevada sign with the highest point in Nevada in the background.

We also saw this nice sign just as we crossed into California.

Once in California, we took Hwy 120 headed North towards Yosemite. We crossed the mountains on Benton Crossing Road. That was one of the highlights of this trip so far. An absolutely beautiful road with no traffic and the perfect amount of sweeping curves.

It was difficult for me to get pictures that actually portray the Benton Crossing Road. I can't use my camera while driving in curves. It only works on straight roads with no traffic.

We made it to Mammoth and we skied today and will ski again tomorrow. We will start heading towards Flagstaff, Ariz. on Wednesday, though we may not make it quite that far. Looking forward to the rest of the trip, but really enjoying the skiing here in Mammoth.


  1. looks like a great trip, I am so jealous.

  2. Looks great! I remember route 50 stretching out for as far as I could see. Thanks for sharing.