Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 02 - Winnemucca, NV....zzzz...zzzz...zzzz

It always takes awhile getting back into the regimen of touring; everything seems to take longer than it should, repacking amounts to fumbling around, stuff gets lost or misplaced, simple tasks take too long.  Today was absolutely classic; the morning was chaotic and the rest of the day went downhill from there. Not wanting to sound negative as overall it was fun but things could have been a bit better.
To begin with I ate breakfast early; exhibiting a non-characteristic exercise in self-control I limited myself to oatmeal – 2 pkgs, they’re small - and a glass of orange juice. Healthy and low-cal, right? Right. That lasted for all of 20 minutes before I decided that manly men need more than a bowl of mush to carry them through the morning so I returned to the feeding frenzy aka Days Inn complimentary breakfast. The second time around I gobbled up a more substantial helping of eggs, sausage, muffin, CREAM CHEESE, and a glass of milk. The world looked better.
First things first, I needed fuel for the day and since the Garmin thing was yelling at me about it I let her guide me to the nearest gas stop, a local Shell station. Problem is, sometimes when it comes to finding gas stations the Garmin gizmo goes into its entertainment mode with “let’s go exploring today kiddies”. Sometimes I catch onto this sadistic trait early and resort to just finding a place on my own but today I decided to play the game and follow the directions. For the most part it was interesting as I got to visit areas of Klamath Falls I’d never been too, some of which were located on long uphill water-rutted gravel roads.
After awhile I realized it was getting late and I should be on the road so I hopped on what appeared to be a main thoroughfare and sure enough, a Texaco station materialized. Once gassed up I headed out on highway 140 which would take me to Winnemucca, NV where I would spend the night. Highway 140 is an interesting route that encompasses long straight stretches through open grazing lands filled with fragrant sage and populated with all sorts of critters.

Highway 140 in the mountains west of Klamath Falls

Overlooking the valley I'd crossed earlier - I wouldn't have parked this close to the edge on the Gold Wing

Twisty road without guard rails. It's a long way to the bottom.

After the long climb up it's official, you're in Nevada

I spooked a pair of adult Pronghorn Antelopes who took flight as soon as they detected the slowing of my engine. No photos of them I guess. Not long after that a coyote trotted across the road in front of me at a pace that could only be described as leisurely. “Can’t have that” I thought so I gave him a sample toot of my Flamm Freeway Blasters, horns designed to alert sleeping drivers of semi-trucks. One blast and his gait picked up to a more hurried rate, sort of like a slow run. Still too slow and not showing respect I thought so I gave him two more toots and those seemed to scare hell out of him as he dropped down two gears and hammered it hard. Coyotes can really haul the mail when encouraged.

The next thing I spotted was a solitary wild mustang that looked for all the world like he came from a time capsule. His huge mane was really scraggly and he looked like he was getting pretty long in tooth. I’d liked to have taken his picture but his manner seemed nervous and the road was twisty and without shoulders so I had to pass. Maybe next time, ehh?
Finally I spotted a couple of characters who were willing to pose and seemed to care less about the noisy contraption parked next to their hang out. Two big mules ogled me while I snapped away,  proof positive that at last I was experiencing real wilderness.

Fearlessly I pause to photograph the unpredictable wild mule
There was a fair amount of snow still covering the mountains that I was riding through but it was warm out and overall very enjoyable. Not long after sighting the mules my low fuel light popped on and the next little stop was Adel, literally a wide spot in the road type of place. I’d stopped there a couple of years ago and it’s a real trip back in time. Inside the small metal building there’s a bar and restaurant, both decorated with saddles hanging from the ceiling and other old west artifacts.
Today the place was crowded with locals, obviously out for a Sunday lunch and some socializing with neighbors. Everyone was wearing western clothes, boots, hats, snap-button shirts, the works.  Enter myself, world traveler, biker extraordinaire garbed in HiViz screaming yellow jacket and sporting a bright white Schuberth helmet. I didn’t make a ripple, I think they were too polite to stare and not one snicker was heard. I'd have liked to snap their picture for this blog but the odds of having one of the cowboys take offense and pound the crap out of me seemed like a reasonable enough excuse to pass.
Outside the girl who pumps gas got me started and it was a fast fill. The rusty old pump had to be turned on using a huge screwdriver and a laundry marker message across the front declared “cash only”.  That was the easy part; the difficult part came later after I’d gone inside to pay and once back at the bike discovered I’d kicked the key in the gas cap while dismounting and it now had a new shape, a 90 degree bend.  Keys are tricky to reform as they’re made out of soft metal and break easily so I was especially careful reforming it. The good part is I got it out of the cap; the bad part is it no longer works in the ignition. My spare was buried in one of the bags but I found it and was soon back on the road.  Maybe I can find a Kawasaki dealer with key blanks but for now I’ll just be extra careful.
Not long after leaving Adel my GPS stopped working. It had been acting fussy in the morning but rebooting it had seemed to help and it remained normal until now. Nothing seemed to help, the lights were out and that was that so I continued on into Winnemucca and my digs for the night, the Days Inn. A n early dinner at a nearby Mexican eatery called La Margaritas’ (what else?) and I was ready for a nap. Back at my room I somehow managed to dispatch one of the lenses in my dollar reading glasses – God knows where it’s at but I’ll no doubt find it with my bare feet in the morning.

First two days travel according to Google Maps

My nap was interrupted by an enormous crash, the type I can only imagine as the result of a large aircraft plowing through a series of motel rooms just like mine. I bolted outside just in time for several large raindrops to splat the top of my head. Lightning was going off regularly, apparently as part of a local thunderstorm, the type that is common in these parts. All of this served to goad me into posting today’s accounting of my exciting tour, mule sighting and all.

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