Day Two by Dave Schultheis
Saturday, May 25, 2002 - Reno, Nevada
I did not sleep well. Too warm? Worried about motorcycle security? Who knows? I woke several times in the night, tossed and turned, looked down three floors to the parking area, saw the bikes were still there and went back to bed.
I got up shortly before 6 a.m. The bikes were still fine. I watched CNN while dressing and packing, then made a trip downstairs at 6:20 a.m. with some of my stuff. Dave was awake, too. We both made two or three trips down, then checked out of the hotel and hit the road at 6:55 a.m.
Mornings were still pretty chilly, so I had left the splash guards ("protective soft lowers," 58502-80B) on overnight because they are hard to snap on when cold.
Our short-term goal was to get some pictures before leaving town, so we rode a few miles up U.S. 395 to Parr Boulevard and took a couple pictures in front of the Washoe County Sheriff's Department. While there, one of Reno PD's drunk wagons rolled by on the way back from the jail, and the officers waved. Must have been riders.
We rode back into Reno and got pictures of the arch near the auto museum and the arch near Fitzgerald's Casino Hotel. We stopped for fuel at a Union 76 at 4th and Center, then headed south. It was mighty chilly at 7:30 a.m. but we were properly dressed and stayed warm.
Southbound U.S. 395 through Washoe City, Carson City, Minden and Gardnerville. We stopped near Topaz Lake at NV/CA the state line for pictures at 9:10 a.m., then were flagged through the agricultural inspection station before continuing through Topaz, Coleville and Walker.
A sign warned us of ten miles of twisting road ahead, so we slowed down, not to avoid the curves, but to see a part of eastern California that I've never seen: the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. We rode between tall canyon walls and a fast-running river; much natural beauty that we city boys don't see very often.
I took a photo of a large "major deer crossing" sign for my friends TL and Roger (the other one), but thankfully we didn't see any deer "up close and personal."
Later we rode into Bridgeport CA, former home of a major motorcycle rally, and took a few pictures. There's a nice motel on the main street that would be a great place to stay when the town isn't too crowded. I took a couple more highway sign pictures.
Down the road was the community of Lee Vining, right near Mono Lake, where we took photos and then continued south. We passed the CA 120 turnoff (to Yosemite National Park) and continued south, stopped for fuel at the Shell Station at June Lake Junction and then continued about 30 miles to the "Inyo County" sign.
After photos, we rode south to the first place we could make a u-turn and returned to Tom's Place Resort near Crowley Lake CA. While riding north we were passed by two California Highway Patrol cars travelling at "excessive speed." It turns out they were going the same place as we were. By the time we got to Tom's, they were sitting at the big round table with a bunch of other law enforcement types.
Tom's puts on an excellent lunch and the Highway Patrol knows it. I think there were five patrol cars there, one with the air conditioning running the whole time, to keep the K-9 officer cool. The place was really busy with a lot of fisher-people and one or two other riders. We said hello to Daisy the bloodhound (we met her on our last trip), and sat down to a steak sandwich and salad lunch. Service was a little slow because they were busy, but that happens sometimes.
About 1:45 p.m. we saddled up again and parted ways. Dave rode back north on Hy 395 to Hy 120 and went home through Yosemite while I continued south on Hy 395. About two minutes after I left, I saw a rider pulled over in the dirt on the other side. Due to roadside assistance I have received from strangers, I always stop to see if people need help. He was on the cel-phone with a towing company and everything was under control, so I got back on the road.
It was warm and started to get windy as I rode south. A while later, I was passed (whoosh-whoosh-whoosh) by three bats outta h...I mean CHP cars. I'm guessing they were hurrying to get back on their beats after lunch at Tom's place.
It was still windy and quite hot when I pulled into Bishop, took some photos, removed the soft lowers and stowed them.
A few miles later, I stopped in Big Pine for some photos, checked the map, resupplied with Mountain Dew and took off my lucky green shirt, as it was getting downright hot!
As I continued south, there was lots o' nothin' but wide open spaces.
Independence is the county seat of Inyo County, and I rode right by the court house. Later I got into Lone Pine and refueled at a big Union 76 station right next to a big Carl's Jr. I talked with a couple riding BMWs. They were going to Death Valley. Of all the places in America that I want to see, Death Valley isn't one of them. Especially in this heat. But to each his or her own.
South of Independence is the Manzanar National Historic Site, formerly a "war relocation center" for Japanese American citizens during World War II. This is one of those places that you make note to come and visit at length some time.
The weather continued to be warm and windy as I rode south, stopped for a picture in Cartago and passed right by the Olancha sign.
I looked for anything in the area that was labeled "Dunmovin" on the map, but found nothing left of the community. This will bear further investigation at another time.
It was hot and windy, and the countryside was barren as I passed Pearsonville, the "hub cap capital of the world." (I should have taken a picture.) A few minutes later I got the "Kern County" sign and then about 10 miles later stopped for a picture of CA 14 (goes down to Mojave) but continued south on Hy 395, through Johannesburg (picture) and finally made it to (the traffic signal at) Kramer Junction (U.S. 395 and CA 58).
This is familiar territory as I drive Hy 58 from Bakersfield to Barstow a couple times a year on my way to Las Vegas. In this case, I took a Hy 58 photo, then continued east into Barstow, took Interstate 15 to CA 247 to the Chevron Station for bodily fluids exchange. I talked with a father and son - dad on a Gold Wing and son on an H-D - who were riding to San Francisco via Yosemite.
Fresh again, I headed south on Barstow Road to a Union 76-Circle K for gasoline at 7:05 p.m. As this was my third Union 76 purchase for the day, the message on the pump directed me to go inside the store. Unfortunately, the store was busy and the two clerks on duty were sharing only one brain, so there was a wait involved. Eventually I paid for my gas and signed the slip, then found my way back to the freeway.
I tried to make a cellular call just before getting onto Interstate 40, but my battery was low, so that didn't work.
Interstate 15 heads north-east from Barstow and Interstate 40 heads south-east. Shortly after getting onto I-40, I saw a sign that (I think) said Needles 136 and Kingman 203. It was dusk and I had not made reservations anywhere. About 45 minutes later I stopped at a rest stop (dark) and then kept going eastbound.
Near Ludlow CA there was a Caltrans sign "Road Work 22 miles." My momma didn't raise no fool, so I chose to ride those 22 miles during the light of the (next) day and pulled off the freeway in Ludlow at about 8:20 p.m.
There I found a Chevron Station with convenience store, a cafe, a motel and a dirt parking lot full of trucks. The motel looked like it was closed, but a sign in the window directed me to the Chevron Station. I got a couple Mountain Dews (for tomorrow) and paid $50.14 (!) for a room, no AAA discount available. They gave me the key to Room 3 and said I could park right in front.
I went back across the street, parked the bike, opened the room, turned on the air conditioning, locked the bike and took my stuff inside at 8:45 p.m. The television set had three (?) channels, nothing useful, so (and you may find this hard to believe) I turned it off!
My $50 entitled me to a cup of ice, but I had to walk back across the street to the Chevron Station to get it. While there I got another orange juice as I was still thirsty and it didn't seem like a good idea to drink the local water.
I took a shower and tried to relax a little. I should have brought a portable radio. One final check that the bike was secure and I went to bed about 10:10 p.m.
Miles for the day = 513. Miles for the trip = 809.
Tomorrow: Cold - warm - cool - hot - and my longest day yet.