Day Eighteen by Dave Schultheis
Monday, June 10, 2002 - Green River, Utah
Although I slept well enough, I was awake a few times in the night, and by 5:30 a.m. Mountain Time, I decided to just get up and ride. It had been a long trip and I was ready to get home.
I washed, combed and dressed, then packed and loaded the bike, then checked out of the motel at 6:10 a.m., rode across the street for fuel at an Amoco Station, then hit the road and continued west on U.S. 50/I-70 at 6:25 a.m. to cold temperatures.
It turned very cold as I continued west through canyons with huge walls of rock on one or both sides of the highway. About an hour later I pulled into a rest stop to change gloves and to add my lower face warmer. They both helped, although it was still quite cold.
About 8:20 a.m. I took exit 54 from Interstate 70 in Salina UT and stopped to warm up with a croissant and hot chocolate at Burger King. Hy 50 peels off the Interstate here, and I have ridden that way, but wanted to take a different route this time, so I continued west on I-70 and then south on Interstate 15 until I got to Beaver UT a little after 10 a.m. Mountain Time.
At Beaver, where it was still pretty cold, I stopped at a Texaco Station convenience store for an exchange of fluids (gasoline and urine, and it's not an even trade), then poked through the area, took an ABCs photo, and found my way out the other side of town.
I rode in a northwesterly direction on UT 21. Utah's nickname is The Beehive State, and their state highway signs contain a representation of a beehive along with the highway number.
There is little but farmland and open spaces to Milford, an old railroad town, where I stopped for a picture. The next 94 miles to the state line is just as rural as the map shows. Depending upon how you look at it, there is either not much of anything to look at, or there is all the beauty and majesty of America, right along both sides of the road.
The community of Garrison UT (photo) is just short of the border. I stopped moments later at the Utah/Nevada state line for a picture, noted the time change from 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time to 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time, and continued on NV 487 for a short distance, through Baker NV and then to a STOP sign, where I turned left, back onto that grand-old two-lane, U.S. Highway 50, sharing the pavement with U.S. Highway 6 for a while.
This took me over Sacramento Pass and to Majors Station, where an orange-clad Nevada Department of Transportation flagperson saw fit to interrupt my ride through their state with a fifteen-minute delay due to road work. I got off the Road King and wandered about, trying to keep warm.
I can't completely explain Majors Place, Majors Station and Majors Junction. The signs and places I saw are not exactly consistent with the map. Surely this is a historical place and perhaps I'll visit another day to find out more. I do know that the "junction" refers to U.S. Highway 93 joining with U.S. 50 and U.S. 6 for the trip over Connors Pass, which is where I went as soon as the flag was dropped.
It's another 26 miles into Ely NV, where I pulled into a familiar-looking Texaco Station with Subway Sandwich inside and McDonald's across the street. I filled the tank with 91 octane gasoline. Note that, for fuel planning purposes, if you choose to take this beautiful route, it was 176 miles from Beaver UT to Ely NV.
At Ely, U.S. 93 turns to the north and heads toward Interstate 80 at Wells NV, and U.S. 6 turns to the south and heads toward Tonopah NV. I continued west on U.S. 50, the Loneliest Highway in America, and familar territory from my trip one year ago.
I stopped at the western edge of town for a "Loneliest Highway" picture, which was pretty much ruined by the huge Red Lion billboard, which completely blocked the view of the hillsides beyond. So much for effective city planning.
It is a long way across Nevada, but this year's cold temps made it a little less uncomfortable than last year's heat. Seventy miles west of Ely, just east of Eureka, there was another construction delay, but it was only a few minutes.
I rode another 41 miles before pulling into the Wheatgrass Seed Project rest stop, where it was 3:20 p.m. Pacific Time, cold with a breeze, and my milk was still cold in the styrofoam cooler.
I continued west on Hy 50 another 38 miles into Austin NV, where I got 91 octane fuel at the Shell Station, then continued another 85 minutes and 84 miles to the Sand Mountain rest area to recover from Sore Butt Syndrome. The sign said it wasn't much farther to Fallon.
'Twasn't. I pulled into Fallon about 6:30 p.m., looked up and down the main street for the perfect motel, and wound up at the Fallon Lodge. While it looked okay from the outside, and I could park the bike right near the room, it turned out that I had chosen the worst one possible. Room 104 was too small, the mattress seemed like it had not been replaced (or even turned) for decades, the television set had last been replaced in the 70s, the towels provided were sub-standard - but - it was a place to sleep after a long and tiring day.
After stowing my gear, I walked across the street to RiteAid (drug store) but their one-hour photo was shut down for the day. I soothed the savage breast with a visit to Jack-In-The-Box, across the street the other way, took dinner back to the hovel and watched some television, took a shower, caught up on my notes and went to bed.
Miles for the day = 627. Miles for the trip = 5623.
Tomorrow: Only two pages left in my notebook, I have to get home tomorrow!