Day Nineteen by Dave Schultheis
Thursday, June 7, 2001 - Salina, Utah
I was awake at 6:10 a.m. and up at 6:47 a.m. I dressed, packed and checked out at 7:25 a.m. to bright sunshine but cool temperatures.
Instead of getting back onto Interstate 70, I stayed on U.S. 50 as it went over to a little town called Scipio, UT, then rode south on Interstate 15 for a few miles and followed Hy 50 again when it peeled off the interstate near Holden.
I stopped for fuel in Delta, UT about 9 a.m. after fighting road construction all through the downtown area. Temperatures were warming up as the day went on.
West of there, U.S. Highway 6 joins with Highway 50 and they are the same road for a while, on into Nevada.
I knew that the trip was winding down and the long miles were wearing on me. I stopped near the top of a pass, 66 miles into my day, with a touch of sore butt syndrome.
I took another break at the Nevada state line at 9:42 a.m. (back on Pacific Time) at The Border Inn.
Now I've been into Nevada from several directions (Stateline on Hy 50, Primm Valley and Mesquite on I-15, Verdi and Wendover on I-80). There are usually casinos, hotels and lots of bright flashing lights. This particular portal to the state was by far the plainest I had ever seen. The few buildings were completely surrounded by scrub brush and desert, of which I had already seen mile after mile. Evidently not a lot of people come this way, so there hadn't been much development. And I kind of liked it that way.
At the Border Inn, the motel rooms and gas station were in Utah, and the restaurant, gift shop (and slot machines) were in Nevada. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
As I stopped by the "Nevada" sign to take a picture, a couple who had also stopped for pictures offered to take one for me. Then they were kind enough to take my picture on the other side of the road next to the "Utah" sign.
It seems that they were from Las Vegas, had left early that morning and come up either Interstate 15 (or more likely U.S. 93) to drive Highway 50 across Nevada. They took their own pictures at the Border Inn (UT/NV line), then were going to drive to South Lake Tahoe (NV/CA line), then go back home. At least I think that's what they said they were doing. As I said once before, "to each his own."
They said that I would not have any problem getting gasoline in Ely, Eureka and Austin. I was glad to hear that because the distance from Ely to Fallon was greater than my tank would take me.
Back to the state signs: I noticed that the Nevada road people had posted a sign that said "Pacific Time Zone," while the Utah sign said "Mountain Daylight Time Zone." The word "Daylight" was on a piece of metal that evidently had to be bolted to the sign in April and removed in October; presumably the word "Standard" was underneath. It's curious how the two highway departments had chosen to do things just a little differently.
I went into the restaurant/gift shop/casino and sat down at a slot machine, put in $20 and promptly left when I had $10 left. Such self-control.
The sun was out and it was pretty hot outside, so I decided it would be a good idea to get back into the wind.
About an hour and a half later I pulled into a Texaco Station in Ely for fuel. I talked to a couple from Oregon on nearly-matching BMW motorcycles, who again confirmed that I should be able to get gasoline in both Eureka and Austin. I got a Mountain Dew and a Subway sandwich inside the gas station and then continued.
Just before leaving Ely, I stopped at the western outskirts to take a picture by the sign that said "U.S. Highway 50 - the Loneliest Road in America." I got a good picture of the bike and the magazine when I heard a voice ask if I would like to be in the picture. I looked down the hill to see a guy at a nearby trailer park who had seen me stop and walked up to take a picture. So again I was able to take advantage of the kindness of a stranger. I thanked him and got on my way.
A little before 1 p.m. I stopped in the M.F.N., near the turnoff for Strawberry (?) and took some pictures. It was hot, with blue skies and clouds above. About an hour later I stopped again to rest, noting it wasn't much farther to Austin, NV. It was bright and sunny and very windy, with blue skies and poofy clouds. (Okay, I said poofy. Get over it. I won't say it again. Next time I'll say "cumulus.")
Somewhere along here I came across an accident scene: a tractor-trailer rig had overturned along the road and spilled off-road diesel fuel (does that sound right?), so there were Nevada Highway Patrol units, road workers and other people doing their work.
I got into Austin, NV and found a Shell Station (more like a Shell pump) with prices just about the same as they'd been when I had left the Bay area two weeks before. When you're in the Middle of Nowhere, you pay what they ask.
I went into the office to pay, and the barely friendly clerk was watching a very crummy television picture and reading a book, so I guess I should have been sorry to have disrupted her day by actually purchasing gasoline.
About an hour and a half later I stopped to rest at the turnoff for Sand Mountain. I was suffering a severe case of S.B.S. and it was very hot. I could see Sand Mountain down the road about a mile, and cars were going down there, but I figured I was close enough. It wasn't too much farther to Fallon, so I kept going.
Just before 5 p.m. I got into Fallon, NV and rested at a convenience store. I had 111 miles on the fuel tank, and I knew I was getting closer to civilization all the time, so I did not refuel, but I did have a long conversation with a talkative hitchhiker. When I could finally get away, I continued west.
On the approach to Carson City I had to struggle with some pretty severe crosswinds. It was not fun in the heat at the end of a long, hot day.
Many of you will recognize NV 341 as being the road that comes south from Virginia City and Gold Hill. I did, too. I've been on that road on my way back to Carson City from Virginia City during Street Vibrations the last two Septembers. So I knew that it wasn't much further into Nevada's capital city.
The crosswinds and the heat were beating me up pretty good, so I pulled into the parking lot at a Smith's grocery store about 6:15 p.m. After a short rest and rehydration, I continued into Dayton, NV and found a 76 Station.
While refueling, I had a short conversation with a very nice and very good looking female H-D rider, who lived in the Dayton area and didn't mind talking to a raggedy old cross-country rider.
I attempted and failed to find the phone number for my friends in South Lake Tahoe, to make sure they were still going to be home when I got there. So I forged on west on Hy 50, turned left on the main drag in Carson City (south on U.S. 395) and then followed Hy 50 when it turned west at the south end of town. Did I mention there was highway construction in Carson City? I didn't? Oh, yes, there's *always* highway construction in Carson City.
Carson City is growing by leaps and bounds. I'd been through there before this trip and have been through afterwards, and the number of orange barrels has increased multi-fold. It almost looks like the whole city/county is a construction zone. And they've built lots of stores and homes all over the place.
It's only about 30-something miles through Spooner Pass before you can see beautiful Lake Tahoe, and even though it was late in the day, the lake looked great!
I got into the community of Zephyr Cove, NV and tried to find a place to take my "Z" city picture. No such luck. Zephyr Cove is not a city but an unincorporated area of Douglas County, NV. As such, there are no "city limits" and no city buildings. I did manage to get a picture at the Zephyr Cove Resort, but I didn't think it would be good enough.
With the help of a gas station attendant, I found the Zephyr Cove post office in a shopping center but there was no sign that said "post office," let alone "Zephyr Cove," so no picture was possible.
As it was somewhere around 8 p.m., I decided that I would simply have to "let it go," and worry about it later. (When you get "old," it's easier to "let it go.") I continued past the casinos in Stateline, NV, crossed into the city of South Lake Tahoe, California and stopped at another 76 Station, where the employee let me use the phone book to find my friend's phone number.
Ted and his wife Cathy got on the phone and invited me to come on by, and gave me directions to their place. They live just a few blocks from Hy 50 and a few blocks from the lake.
I soon I realized that I needed to stop again and phoned my friend Mark to make arrangements to visit them the next day.
That done, I continued to Ted and Cathy's, and got there just before 9 p.m. They had made room for the Road King in their garage, so Pearl got to enjoy her first garaged night in about three weeks.
Cathy's mother was visiting from Arkansas. They had just returned from a family visit and she accompanied them back in their motor home. She'd baked some wonderful cookies and shared them with me.
I used to work with Ted and he retired a while back. So we caught up on many of the people from work and others in our common circle of acquaintances. While we were talking about my crash, they recalled driving through that same area and I think they said they remembered that rough patch of road in Arkansas.
It was too late for dinner, but they forced me to have a few more cookies and something to drink. Then they forced me to go upstairs, take a nice warm shower, then climb into a wonderful spare bed with flannel sheets. I don't get out much, so this was a real treat!
Before retiring, I checked phone messages and was pleased to have gotten one from the insurance adjuster who said that she'd sent a check for what I'd paid in Fort Smith, less my $300 deductible. So I was pretty sure there'd be a check waiting when I got home.
I lay down and enjoyed about the best night of rest I'd had the whole trip!
Miles for the day = 583, second-highest-mileage day of the trip.
Miles for the trip = 6893.
Tomorrow: It ain't over yet. A wagon train, more friends, and a wonderful dinner in Diamond Springs, CA.