Let’s just start this off with FUCK DEER! I now know why people hunt them with extreme prejudice. It’s not because they’re delicious, it’s not to prove you are an NRA approved ammosexual, it’s because deer are trying to fucking kill us. One antlered martyr at a time.
The day was long. I left Reno about two hours late. I hit I-80 with a purpose, I was gonna ride hard to get to Great Basin National Park before dark! Google maps says it’s only 6 hours or so away. Google is a lie. I’ve said this before, I’m sure. My resolve started to waver when my KLR650 started to wobble insanely at 75mph! It dogged me for hours. I managed to get to US50 at a sad 70mph pace. Trucks zipping past me every few minutes. It was maddening.
By the time I got to Fallon, I realized what the problem was. My windshield is not adequate for the job. If I ducked down with my helmet buried in the dash, I could do a reliable 85mph. Unfortunately that’s horribly disfiguringly uncomfortable for longer than 5 minutes. I discovered if I sit all the way back on the seat, I can get under the airstream. Go figure.
I brought the 360Fly camera with me. I’ve barely used it, though. Lehman Caves will be my next test of its 360ness.
Austin is a charming town that time forgot. I’ve been through here at least 3 times over the years, but this is the first time I’ve had interactions with the inhabitants. I was taking pictures when this stocky Irishman saw me and said why don’t you come on inside and take a look around.
Unfortunately, because my brain is so addled from long hours of riding, I forgot to take a picture of the interior. Inside that dilapidated building was a dark wood paneled tavern. Up against the left wall was an old cast iron stove and a big ass safe! On the wall behind the bar was a photo of the joints previous incarnation as a soda shop decades before.
I know you’ve been wondering how I keep track of everything on my adventures, well, this is how. This is the first time I’ve been noting events and marking miles. I need it since hours and hours of riding turns the brain into pudding, as evidenced by my attempts to communicate with the waiter at The Owl Club in Eureka.
After a few awkward moments I was able to remember how to speak and ordered much needed coffee and soup. Yes soup. Sure it’s 90 degrees outside, but I needed sustenance! Besides, I have big plans of cooking up ramen noodles at my campsite later…
And as the light fades, I see the signs! Signs warning me about deer. Those goddamned deer! 5 mikes outside Baker is a big add sign that says “Welcome to Great Basin National Park!” I made it! I’m gonnastop and takes pict…HOLY FUCK!!! A deer leaps onto the road like a gazelle on the Serengeti! I react way too slow. I hit the front brake, try to steer the fat pig of a loaded up KLR to swerve around it. Physics will not allow it. All I did was wobble and reduce speed. The deer barely missed my front tire by 2 feet at the most. The thing about deer jumping into the road, is that they don’t jump straight across. Jump at an angle towards you. So it’s fucking scary as hell. You see those eyes glowing and that big big deer body is a blur.
I just about shit myself. Instant adrenalin rush. Sphincter clamps shut, like a puckering bear trap! I let out a string of profanity! Good god.
As I pull into town it is pitch black. Apple Maps tells me my campsite is another 18 miles. I blow through town. There’s the road to the campsite. It’s a chalky gravel road leading towards inevitable wipe out death. See, followers of the blog will know what that I had Route tires installed on my Kr650. She’s a drifting, sliding pig on roads like that. I turned right the fuck around. Back to Baker.
I pull up to the Whispering Elms campsite. Outside the joint, is a wife beater wearing drunk guy. He signs me in. Serves me a damn good OMG IPA. It’s ice cold from the tap. Just what I needed. He then asks “Ever see one of these?”
I get to my site. No grass, just more of the chalky gravel. No picnic table, just a circle of rocks they call a fire pit. Wow. I set up my tent. I don’t care. I’m tired.
It’s windy as hell. Still hot, though. I figure I should get the fire started. If the past is any indication, I am going to royally fuck this up. So, I break out the kindling that I brought specially for this trip. And what do you know, Bob’s your uncle! We’ve got fire.
I improvise a food prep station using my panniers! Who needs a picnic table! I crack open some hot beer and get to fixing up dinner.
Sleep comes pretty quick as I climb into my tent. It’s an uncomfortable sleep, but what else is new?