What a start to the day. I didn’t sleep very well last night because of, well the anticipation of today. I can say now that I’ve got the first day behind me and while not w/o its challenges, I’m on my way. Morning called early (for me at least), 7am. Breakfast & shower, check. After 90 minutes of packing, checking, and rechecking, I was ready to depart.
I always think about Dr. Seuss’s book “Oh the places you’ll go” in moments like this. Where would the road take me? Who would I meet along the way? With so much anticipation of the road ahead, it took about through Sacramento (about two hours) to just settle into the trip. In Davis I ran across an older couple looking for directions. The husband asked in the thickest of southern accents where the Home Depot and Super Wal-Mart were. I didn’t have a clue where either was, so I was not of much help. Part of the fun of motorcycling is that random people often want to talk to you. The gas station attendant used to ride bikes in India so we had a short chat about our bikes.
I knew I was going to have to deal with a bit of weather today so a lot of attention was focused in on the clouds and wind to see when I’d get screwed. There is this intersection in Sacramento where the freeway sort of sneaks off and the inattentive eye gets dumped on the downtown corridor. I missed that turn. No major harm done.
I plugged in the heat and into the mountains I go. The sprinkles came and went, but the weather was kind to me. About halfway into the mountains I really started thinking about what this trip means to me. Why am I really doing this? I all too quickly jumped to “oh this has been done before” and began to minimize the value of the trip. But then again, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that this is a part of my story. I’m doing this trip and because of that, I get to live in its adventure. With each mile, I see more, grow more and learn to trust more. With that, I smile.
As I’m working through all of this, my blood sugar levels are starting to rise. Insulin is not bringing them down. Not good. I didn’t want to give any more insulin as I had a lot on board, so I started chugging water. 1 liter of water and thirty minutes later things were looking a lot better. With the temperature so low I didn’t think I needed to drink as much water as I had actually needed. The elevated blood sugar was not for lack of insulin (which it most often is) but for lack of water. Guess I needed to check Dan’s fluids as well as that of the V.
Nevada was going to have its own set of challenges, mainly being so empty. It’s 110 miles from Fallon to Austin with nothing in between. I was leaving the comfort & familiarity of the freeway for the road less traveled by. This section of US-50 was deemed the loneliest piece of highway in 1987 by Life Magazine and thus became colloquially known as “The loneliest road in America.” Having not spent some time on a truly empty stretch of highway all the questions of what to do if the worst happens come to mind (at least for me).
It turns out that this stretch of highway is pretty cool. There are cars every so often so it’s not as deserted as it may seem (at least today). You’re unmistakably in the high desert. There are high mountain vistas with some snow, a few scrub trees, and lots of sagebrush dotting the landscape. The sky is a deep azure blue with all kinds of clouds rolling by. The Bay Area often the flat stratus fog clouds, if clouds at all. Today was an all kinds and all types.
The town of Austin is an old mining town deteriorating with every year. There are a few motels, two gas stations, and two restaurants. I step into the post office and come across the water quality report for the area. The water has slightly elevated levels of radioactive material and arsenic. That would be consistent with its mining heritage.
Dinner was the “three piece chicken” special. Being the only one in the restaurant service was somewhat slow. When dinner arrived the chicken was fried to the full. Being so “bay area” I’d not think that the meal was fried. That being said, a bit of culinary sin felt good tonight with a bit of beer.
After dinner I run into Gustavo from Portland who I’m rooming with tomorrow night. It just so happens that we’re staying in the same town tonight! What a small world!