Friday, June 08, 2007

Vegas: Trip-Report Part 1: The Long Road

I’m typing this up on MS Word from the Burger King in Tonopah, NV, which is just about halfway between Tahoe and Vegas. There are actually two wi-fi connections here, but one I have to pay for, and the other I can’t seem to pull up any websites with. I'm just having fun resting my sore buns, and watching a few little birdies play in the grill of a truck at the BK:

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The ride has had its ups and downs so far. Some of the scenery has been breath-taking. I got to ride through a little canyon for a few miles, along side a river. The curves suggested 35mph, and I did just about that, soaking it all in.

I started out the ride at 7:45am, and it couldn’t have been much warmer than freezing. When I got down to Gardnerville, the temperature on the bank reader said 7 degrees Celsius. Even with sweatpants, jeans, a shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, and ski gloves, I was still freezing. I’m glad I brought the ski gloves—I hadn’t tried them out on the bike yet, but just knew my thin bike gloves weren’t going to cut it.

I stopped for breakfast to warm up, and I found a nice little restaurant right along Hwy 395. The forest fire had been only a few hundred feet from the restaurant earlier in the week, and I took a few pictures of the scorched earth.

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It was kind of neat to see the helicopters all grouped up near the restaurant.

And of course, there was a witty sign at the restaurant:

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Close call for the restaurant! Good thing it made it, because breakfast was amazing. I was still feeling a bit under the weather, and I hadn’t really eaten anything since breakfast the day before at Thai One On. I got the “Cowboy Scramble” which was a biscuit and two eggs covered in gravy with the other half of the plate covered in hash browns. It filled me up. On the way out, the lady asked me where I was headed (seeing me lugging around my backpack, camera and motorcycle helmet). I said Vegas, and asked her which way she suggested going. I hadn’t actually written out any directions, but I was pretty sure I was going the right way. She suggested turning back and taking 208, because it is a straight-shot to 95, which leads all the way to Vegas. And also, 395, the highway I was planning on taking, had much more deer and other wildlife that could prove problematic for me on my bike.

I took the wise sage’s advice and back-tracked about 5 miles to the 208 junction. It started going NorthEast, which isn’t really the direction I wanted to be going, but then the mile-marker sign had Las Vegas on it, and only 396 more miles! Ugh. I think I’m just under 200 miles from the motherland, here in Tonopah.

In the last 200 miles, I’ve seen a jackrabbit, numerous smaller rodents, a dust-devil tornado, a canyon, desert, mountains, and… buzzards. I’ve also been playing a cat and mouse game with a trucker for the last 150 miles (although he’s long past me by now). It started about 40 miles outside of Hawthorne, the last place I stopped for gas. Outside of Hawthorne, I merged onto 95 behind a semi, and marveled at its speed. It was cruising at 85mph in a 70mph speed-limit zone, so I decided to give it some room, but basically keep up with him. He’d be the bait for the cops, was my plan.

We pulled into Hawthorne, and both stopped at the Shell station. I filled up, and he just idled and grabbed a bite to eat at the mart. On his way out, as he passed me he shouted, “WOOO!!! VEGAS!!!” I laughed and nodded in agreement. He got a head start, and I caught up to him about 10 miles outside of Tonopah. It was a long uphill stretch, so I passed him not going too much over the speed limit. While I was passing, he blared something over his PA system to me, but I had no clue what he said, because the wind was whipping pretty good. I pulled over into the Chevron/BK, and he waved on his way by. I doubt I’ll catch him again—he looked pretty determined to get to Vegas.

Definitely wish I had gotten more sleep last night. I’m glad I brought my laptop, but my neck is killing me, holding up the 20lb backpack. Nikki seems to be holding up great though—200 more miles and six hours to do it in before bowling. A nice and relaxing ride ahead of me, although the sooner I get there, the sooner I get to hop into the pool!

Update from Beatty:
98.2 miles from Tonopah—They sure plan these towns darn near 100 miles apart every time. Found a healthy treat in… of all places… a candy store. The candy store also carried dried fruits in baggies of all sizes. I went with a modest-sized bag of Turkish Apricots, and a Sobe. Sobe usually treats me good in times of sickness, with its ginseng and taurine and what not.

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I went to the bathroom at the candy shop / gas station and was amazed to see a "Toto" urinal. To-to is the word that Andrew's family used with their dog Nina (neen-ya) to go to the bathroom. "Go to-to!"

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The ride from Tonopah went quick. I put on my iPod and listened to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new CD—good stuff. The ride was very nice, with plateaus to the East, and jagged mountains to the West. And flat as far as I could see South. Some of the roads were ridiculous, like 20 miles of straight road, no turns at all. I’m making a point now to not ride back at night, because I can easily see myself hitting some critter darting out into the road.

Not many cops out on a Wednesday afternoon either, so that’s been nice.

I had something pretty gross happen though. My nose has been running pretty much non-stop since I left Tahoe (well, since yesterday, really). At home, I could counteract it by blowing my nose a ton. Riding a motorcycle however, leaves me powerless to stop the constant drizzle. It wasn’t a huge issue from Tahoe to Tonopah, it sucked, and it was basically an endless cycle of liquid rolling down from my nose, to my mouth, then back down from my nose again. (Feel free to skip ahead if this grosses you out) But about 20 minutes into my ride from Tonopah to Beatty, the cosmos aligned in such a way that at the *precise* moment a drop was starting to drip from my nose, a semi passed in the other direction, and the wind gust knocked the snot (basically just water) away from my face, and into my face shield.

*SPLATTER* Ewwww. At least it was all just liquid, since my nose has been running for an entire day now. Still, it wasn’t very pleasant.

Along with the Sobe and apricots, I bought a 10-pack of Kleenex. I’m almost out, argh! Uh oh, my iPod isn’t responding… it stopped playing about 10minutes outside of Beatty, and I thought the battery died. When I got it out, it still had 75% of its life left, so I plugged it into the computer anyways, but the computer didn’t recognize anything attached, and none of the buttons I push do anything on the iPod! ARRG! No music?!


At the mansion. OK, maybe not a mansion, but a pretty sweet house. Has to have at least 7 bedrooms, pool, hot tub, pool table--if only it were cheap and located on the WA coast, we'd be in heaven at the end of the month!

Brandon and I shot the shit for a bit, then he joined me for some blogger bowling at The Orleans. He didn't end up bowling, but we had a great time. I bowled two games, and did much better than I have in the past. Our team of three: Brdweb, one of the Panner(sp?) brothers, and me--against Irongirl, Falstaff, and the other Panner brother. We gave them 150 pins, and ended up winning by 10! They had to foot the $40 bill! I did lose $1 to Brandon on a side-bet of IG striking in the 10th frame. I bet she would. She striked in the 8th... on the lane she hated, but the one I picked her to strike on! Oh, cruel fate!

Very tired, but nose keeps drizzling--think I'm going to lie down for a bit and see if I can get to bed.

I'll add linkies and pictures tomorrow or sometime soon.

Tomorrow the plan is to play the 11am Treasure Island Tourney, then probably get some lounging/swimming in, then head to MGM for mixed games galore! If I feel sick, I might skip the TI tourney and the lounging, and just build up my immune system for the Mixed Games and sports betting.

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Blogger Ginny said...

Not to sound stupid, but why can't you bungie your backpack onto the back of the bike?

10:37 AM  
Blogger meanhappyguy said...

I thought about it, but I wasn't sure how stable it would be--I'll probably give it a go on the way back.

10:44 AM  

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