Traversing the wide open spaces of
southern Oregon and northern Nevada in leaps and bounds, the lads continue to
enjoy great fall weather and great roads. Today's major challenge:
lady's voice at directory information on the other end of the line was polite in that
"I'm-getting-paid-to-be-polite" kind of way. "What is the city for your
listing?" she queried.
"Uhm, I think the gas station is in the town of
Field or Fields Oregon," I replied. "I'm not sure. The gas station is
called Fields Service or something like that."
"Sir, our listings are by cities,
not towns. What is the city name?"
Argghhh. Momentarily stymied, I stammered
for a second, then realized that I had committed a grievous user input
error. Still wanting the damn number, I promoted the tiny hamlet of
Fields Oregon, population 23, from small town to a bustling metropolis.
"The city is Fields." But it didn't make any difference;
she still couldn't find a listing for a service station in Fields. I
thanked her for nothing and hung up.
So why was I trying to call a service
station in the middle of the vast expanse of southern Oregon today ? Well,
being the chief trip planner for this mission, I was worried about running
out of fuel and I was trying to confirm that we could buy some dead-dino
juice somewhere in the
240-mile leg of today's journey spanning Burns Oregon and Winnemucca Nevada.
I had heard previously, via the magic of the internet, that a gas station in Denio Nevada had closed, which left Fields as the only possible refueling
spot. If they were closed on Sunday, Gizmo would be towing Whizmo to Winnemucca. Not desirable.
Unable to get directory assistance to cough up a
phone number—a phone number, I might add, that I had looked up before we
left Seattle and someone didn't bring with me—I had to assume that Fields
might not be open or have gas, so on to Plan B. Which was to carry
extra gas in whatever makeshift container was handy. In this case, it
was a one-gallon water jug, emptied of water and filled with Chevron
high-test while the attendant was looking the other way. It ended up
that Fields was open, but I felt a lot better embarking on a 240-mile leg on
a 170-mile range bike carrying that extra gallon of gas. It still would
have been tight even though I was babying the throttle for a few extra miles, but I could have made it.
About halfway through the leg, we got confirmation from other motorcyclists
that Fields was open, so we made up for lost time by returning to our
Ah.... gasoline, the elixir of rapid and
efficient transportation in today's modern world. It is pretty
marvelous stuff really—put a gallon of the good stuff in your motorcycle and it will carry the
bike, your sorry carcass and all your gear for 40 or so miles. Can you
imagine what the pioneers who crossed this bleak landscape 150 years ago
would have thought of the capabilities of a gallon of gas? The thought that a
gallon of that pale, smelly liquid would have enough power to move a huge machine
across several days journey in less than an hour! It would have been
Given what great stuff gas is, I have to ask:
Why do motorcycle manufacturers persist in not installing gas tanks on
bikes that are big enough to comfortably go places far away?
Sad fact is, most bikes these days have gas tanks that hold, at best, 5 or
so gallons, seldom more and often less. Gizmo's Honda ST1300 is an
exception, holding 7.5, but this is uncommon. My BMW holds 4.8 on a
good day which is just not enough. Many sport bikes and cruisers hold
a lot less and there are a handful of street motorcycles out there that are
hard-pressed to travel 100 miles before sputtering to a stop.
Of course, we're traveling in an area of the
country where the gas stations are few and far between. Which also
means that traffic is few and far between as well. This is wonderful
country, where you can top a rise and see for a hundred miles. We're
having perfect weather and generally living large. Another great day
in the can.
Tomorrow we have a relatively easy day—275 miles or so—to Tonopah Nevada, at the northern edge of the Nellis Range where the
jet jockeys like to practice their war games, and where the spooks are holding space
aliens who landed in Roswell back in the 50's against their will. It would be very cool
to see an alien spaceship, but we'd probably settle for a low pass from a
Thanks for keeping us company.