We began the long, lonely journey into the desert. Highway 50 is known as the loneliest highway in the US. It’s true. We drove miles and miles without seeing another car.
The air was filled with smoke due to the California wildfires.
The temperature was beginning to reach the low 90s so we stopped in Fallon to wet our cooling vests. After about another 50 more miles of desert, we finally began to enter our familiar Sierra Nevada mountains.
Although there was a lot of traffic, we enjoyed some cooler temperatures (80s) and beautiful views. Eventually we started to make our way down to the hot Sacramento valley, but we were close to home. As we turned onto our street, the temperature was 102. Thank goodness we have the cooling vests. They make a big difference in our comfort.
So, 3,404 miles and nine states in ten days. We saw some beautiful sights and met some interesting folks along the way. We’ve already started to explore where we will go next year but for now, we’re happy to be home and snuggling with our puppy! And, Cathy is grateful to have something besides this to look at:
It’s Tom’s birthday! We got up early and hit the road by 8am in order to beat the incoming storms. It was a good thing we did because Price received two inches of rain in 90 minutes today.
We didn’t have high hopes for an interesting ride but we were wrong! Just outside of Price, we began to climb into the surrounding mountains.
Soon this beautiful ride was over and we descended into the Great Basin which is surrounded by high desert mountains and laced with salt flats. And it’s windy.
We entered Nevada and arrived in Ely around 2pm. The birthday boy was tired so we took a nap. After a good rest and a shower, we walked into Ely. Not much here. We decided to be very bad and have an ice cream cone before dinner. We then found the one restaurant that wasn’t in a casino and therefore not full of smoke. Not exactly the Ritz but it was an adequate birthday dinner.
Tomorrow we head home. It will be a long day – about 430 miles and it is supposed to be very hot. Our cooling vests are a lifesaver. We are ready to be home and off the bike for a while.
The Nordic Inn was great. Clean, comfortable and offered the best cup of coffee and breakfast we have had thus far. We took off around 9am. We passed some beautiful ranches along the outskirts of Steamboat.We hadn’t realized that Steamboat Springs is on the edge of the Rocky’s forested area. Within minutes of leaving Steamboat we were back in high desert.
The surrounding mountains were so interesting with their colors and different rocks formations. Dinosaur fossils have been found in this area so in addition to the Dinosour National Monument, the locals have embraced that theme as well.
We stopped in Vernal for lunch and overheard some locals talking about flash floods the day before. We saw flash flood warnings on the weather report due to monsoonal storms. We weren’t sure of the area they were talking about. It was here. We decided to get back on the road and try to beat the incoming storm.
Luckily it was only a few more miles to Price, Utah. And, of course once we arrived, the rain stopped.
Tomorrow we hope to beat the afternoon showers and get to Nevada’s dry, hot desert without arriving soggy.
The landscape soon changed into meadow and then high desert. Cathy hit the wall today and was struggling to stay awake. Falling asleep would not end well so despite the boring landscape, she tried to take some interesting photos.As we re-entered Wyoming, the high desert went on and on and was a bit tedious, but the pastel pinks and greens are really beautiful. In some places, even the road is pink. Great place to film a western.
Thankfully we turned before heading into the heavy rain. We got a few sprinkles as we pulled into Steamboat Springs. Our motel is very nice and the innkeepers were helpful in choosing a great dinner spot. We ate at a restaurant right on the Yampa River. The food was delicious and the view spectacular.
Tomorrow we head to Utah and the weather there now is stormy. Fingers crossed…
We awoke early in anticipation of Yellowstone. We were out of the hotel and on the road by 8:30. Once inside the park we were immediately greeted with beauty.We passed by some fumaroles soon after we entered the park. The first wildlife we encountered were elk.We stoppped at Gibbon Falls.And then had to let this little friend cross the road.Yellowstone is fascinating with its geological formations.And the wildflowers were in full bloom.Then, we hit a Yellowstone traffic jam. This was sketchy because they were in front of us, next to us and behind us. We had no metal between us and them. And they are huge. At one point they were only a few feet away from us.We soon exited the park and jumped on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway with more fantastic scenery and great roads. We even encountered a little rain.
We rolled into Cody around 2pm and stopped for a quick lunch, which turned into an interesting event. We met Skye, a Vietnam vet from Ontario, Canada, widower, and general BSer. He invited himself to join us and carried on all sides of the conversation. Nice enough man but we were ready to get to that museum. We rode a few blocks down and entered one of the best museums around.
The innkeeper gave us a great recommendation for dinner at an Italian restaurant. While we waited for our 7:30 reservation, we went to the Silver Dollar Bar. Tom was happy.Tomorrow we go to Little Bighorn and will wind up in Gillette, WY.
We entered Idaho and continued east on Hwy 52 where we met the Payette river. It was starting to warm up to the low 90s and it was cloudy which made the air muggy.
At Horseshoe Bend we turned north on Hwy 55 for a short while that followed one of the forks of the Payette and saw several kayaks navigating the rapids. This road was called the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway and was very twisty. Hundreds of curves later, we reached the Sawtooth Mountains which are spectacular. We could smell rain and see it in the distance. We encountered some damp roads but nary a drop on us!
We met several other bikers along the way. Tonight at dinner we met two guys who are on a six to eight week ride and have no formal plan. They were from North Carolina and both retired – one an engineer and the other a psychologist. They just decide where they want to go each day. We were envious of their freedom. Earlier we met two gentlemen from Atlanta and Tom met a Frenchman from Banff.
Tomorrow we head to Montana; one of our favorite states. We have about 300 miles tomorrow and will end up in West Yellowstone. We are hoping to see some wildlife. Today we only saw raptors and a bunch of “Game Crossing” signs. Fingers crossed.
And… Cathy’s “Barn of the Day” pic:
We’ll start from Cathy’s parents house in Grass Valley; they’ll be dog sitting the Duds. We’ll make our way up to Ashland via Mt. Lassen National Park. In Ashland we plan on seeing two shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival – Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. We’ll take a day to go see Crater Lake and we’ll head to the coast for one night in Bandon, Or. On the way home, we’ll stay one night in Weaverville.
The entire trip will be seven days and not nearly as far as we’ve gone in the past. We’re looking forward to more sightseeing than time in the saddle this year. We’ll post pictures daily and Cathy promises to keep the barn pics to a minimum.