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Day Eleven - May 26, 1999

This Lonely Road

Ely NV - Winnemucca NV

4:30 riding time - 295 miles - 50 to 90 degrees

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The Loneliest Highways

Hello!  Thanks for coming back!

We are in Winnemucca Nevada (no, I never heard of it until today either).   Our route brought us along the Loneliest Highway, which is appropriately named.   But I am getting ahead of myself.

For dinner last night, we headed into the town of Ely looking for Chinese food, or a reasonable approximation.  There were two.  The first was a ex-drive-in burger joint that had drive-thru Chinese.  Really.  The second was a more traditional sit-down type restaurant, although the wagon wheels on the wall were curious.  Didn't Bonanza have an Oriental cook?   Didn't Ron Ely play Tarzan?  Isn't there a joke in here somewhere?

Back to the Holiday Inn, featuring a real casino!  Whoo-hoo!  At check-in, we get a 2-for-1 coupon.  Buy a $2 roll of nickels, they give you another $1 roll of nickels.  Really?  I approached the cashier's cage cautiously with $2 and the coupon, expecting to be told that it was only good after you had put $2 into a machine.  But the cashier gave me $3 in nickels which we split.  Mark chose Blackjack; I chose Draw Poker.  Mark ended up the evening cashing out with $1.25, and I ended up with a nice little complimentary sanitary hand towel.

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Me and my shadow

We gained an hour coming into Nevada as we returned to Pacific time, so we were both awake before 6am.  With the extra hour, it made sense to ride for a while before having breakfast.  The temperature was in the low 50's, but the sun rising behind us threw great shadows and the roads were empty.  Very nice.

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No kidding

On the way into Eureka (motto: You Found It!), we passed the high school whose team logos were painted on the side of the school.  I'm not making this up, the school's teams are called the Vandals.  The Eureka Vandals.

We stopped for breakfast at the Owl Cafe.  There were two other motorcycles parked out front, equipped for adventure touring, which is a combination of on-road and off-road riding.  They said they were doing about 150 miles a day, compared to our 300.  Almost all of their riding was on dirt roads and fire trails.

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Camaro Cop Car

As we left the cafe, there was a Nevada State Patrol vehicle parked in front.  The trooper asked us if we had a website and if we had posted an image yesterday of a motorcycle speedo at 107 mph ... just kidding, just kidding.   Seriously, the NSP has groovy Camaros with really big Chevy engines which must be necessary in these barely populated part of the country.  You go nowhere really fast.   I'll bet they can get halfway across the desert on a tank of gas.

Leaving Eureka, we headed onto the stretch of Highway 50 known as "The Loneliest Road in America".  No nothing for about 80 miles, just two lanes and scenic backdrops.  Fortunately, our bikes are running smoothly and we cross the high desert without incident.

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The Loneliest Highway

Coming into Austin


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Highway robbery

As we come into Austin, at the other end of the Loneliest Highway, we stop for gas, which is always a good idea when the stops are few and far between.  Now if you were a gas station proprietor in Austin Nevada, and you had people coming and going, what would you do with your prices?  I promised myself I would take a picture of the highest price gasoline we came across on this trip, and I am confident that this won't be topped.  Of course, we are both burning premium.

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Where's Mark?

Coming out of Austin, we head into more curvy roads, the kind where as I'm slowing down, Mark is speeding up.  Whenever I see a sign like this I know that I won't see Mark until the next stop.  Mark has been complaining that his soft sport-bike tires wear out after 3000 miles, and the middle of his treads are definitely showing wear from this trip.  I think his strategy is to stretch his tire dollars as far as possible by spending as much time on the sides of his tires as possible, so there is no tread left anywhere by the time he changes them.  Which will be immediately after this trip. 

We stop for lunch in Battle Mountain, where we reluctantly have to leave the lonely roads and take the interstate for the last 60 miles of today's ride Winnemucca, today's destination, .

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Have you checked the toilet?

The first restaurant we enter promises a 24-hour restaurant, but it is closed.  However, at the entrance is an important notice offering a reward for a lost lizard.

So, we saunter down the street to the Owl Cafe, named the same as the place we ate this morning, but definitely not under the same management.  We have a pleasant lunch, relaxing from the heat that is now in the upper 80's.  Like every other retail establishment in Nevada, this restaurant is also a casino, and the sound of slots creates a backdrop for our lunch.

On the 1997 JerkQuest, we experimented unsuccessfully with two-way radios.   On this trip, we decided not to even try to make them work, and we are both happy with the decision - it gives us more to talk about when we stop.  Today's discussion centers on how we might get commercial sponsorship for this ever-so-pleasant hobby of ours.  We need sponsorship from a satellite data system so we can do real-time web cams, we need a reliable hotel chain like Hampton.  Seems reasonable to us.   We'll start working on it as soon as we get back to Seattle.

After settling the bill at the counter, I notice this sign hanging on the wall.  Makes you wonder what kind of clientele they normally serve!

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This means you!


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Just give me the real thing

Does this annoy anyone else?  You check into a reasonable hotel (in this case, the Holiday Inn in Winnemucca Nevada, 775-625-3100), you prepare for a shower, you unwrap the soap, you look for the shampoo and conditioner, and there is only one bottle.  Upon closer inspection, it's Shampoo PLUS Conditioner.   How does it work?  How does it know which part of the apply-lather-rinse-repeat cycle I'm in?  How stupid do they think I am?  I can understand their attempts to control costs by limiting the disposables they put in the room, but this is not the way to build customer loyalty.  This is nothing new, I know it's been going on for years now, but for some reason today it just caught me the wrong way today.   And if you look at the sign in the background, it's clear that they have demoted shampoo and conditioner to be non-standard toiletry items.  How did that happen?  Has the Shampoo and Conditioner Industry Association heard about this?

To wrap on a more pleasant tone, our weather on the way back has been great.  Tomorrow we will cross into central Oregon, heading for John Day as our destination, allowing me to close with ...

Tomorrow will be John Day.

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