Sunday, October 2, 2011

XC Trip day 10 Wendover to Tonopah

It was hard to leave Bonneville but we wanted to get to Tonapah by evening, and that was going to be close to 300 miles, so we left the salt flats around noon and rode back into Wendover in search of gas, food and a car wash to rinse the salt off the bikes.

Then it was south on Rt 93 into the Nevada desert, which got more interesting the farther we went. Arrow straight roads with scrub all around and mountains in the indeterminate distance...20 miles?...50? Hard to say, 'cause they never seem to get closer until you realize you're on a grade going up through a low pass, then you empty back into the next basin for another hour or so.

Gas in Ely, then we're in some entertaining stretch of highway, actual turns, and yet another National Forest although the trees didn't seem to be more than bigger scrub bushes, but scenic, then more desert. At some point I saw a sign that identified this area as the Black Rock desert.

At another point we were passing a farm and I saw 4 different raptors in less than a minute, turkey vulture, red tailed hawk, northern harrier, and a falcon, most likely a prairie falcon.

A little further on I spotted 2 antelope near the highway, and because I was consumed with get-there-itis, I kept on going until Hannah piped up on the radio. We turned around and went back for a longer look at the antelope, after all the times we'd stopped in Yellowstone to see animals it didn't make sense to just blast by these simply because they weren't in a National Park! I was glad we did, Hannah got off the bike and did her best cartoon deer stalker approach, and one of the antelope did his instant simultaneous all four legs off the ground leap. Priceless.

When I saw a roadsign that Tonopah was 15 miles, I stopped to call Sandy to ask her to see about booking us into a room, rather than arriving in town and taking our chances. It was a good thing I did, 'cause when we got into town I called back to find out where we were staying, and she'd gotten us booked into the last available room in town. We celebrated by going to the local hot spot and playing pool and enjoying cheap rounds of beer.

Striking a pose in the Black Rock Desert

Click on this picture, you should be able to see the antelope

Good place to launch rockets.

The Jim Butler Inn, Tonopah

The Club House in Tonopah, great little watering hole. I looked for the song "Willin" on the juke box, but couldn't find it. The lady at the Inn told me the real name of the song is "Dallas Alice", but she didn't know who Lowell George was, so I'm not sure I should believe her, even if she does live in Tonopah. I had to take a picture with a truck in it...

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