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September 29, 2017

Day 1 - Berkeley, CA to Tonopah, NV

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully along US Highway 6 in Tonopah, Nevada.

Miles driven today: 357 miles
Starting Odometer:51,055
Ending Odometer: 51,412

This was a beautiful ride.

I stopped and got a gas can and some tie downs at a Walmart on I-580. I'm deathly afraid of running out of gas crossing Nevada. It's 180 miles between Tonopah and Ely. No gas stations.

I only stopped once in the Central Valley for carne asado tacos at a mexican food truck. I tried one of the grapes at a fruit stand, and it was nothing like the Concord Grapes that Ben found in Koreatown in Oakland. I'm forever ruined on grapes, I think.

I always forget how large Yosemite is. It's freaking huge. It's roughly 100 miles to drive from Groveland to Lee Vining.

I stopped and got some photos of a bear forraging the forrest. It would have been better if he didn't have a collar on, I think.

The ride is just stunning. Like...I always forget how nice it is. And I'm really enjoying myself. It's so much better than sitting in an office.

Just south of Lee Vining, I turn left to follow 120 east. To the north is Mono Lake. Really a beautiful ride. The road rises and falls dramatically like a roller coaster for some distance. I remember this part of the ride, but much of it I don't recall really.

Then, we come up to Benton Hot Springs on the left. It's a natural hot springs hotel, it seems. I feel like maybe I stayed here once before. On the ride out west, I think maybe.

This is where I pick up US Highway 6. Really an amazing ride. I just sort of open the throttle and decide that I'll make it to Tonopah today. It's another 110 miles, and it's already about 5:00 pm., but I decide to push it a little. I want to get home. It's a long way to Denver. It's not safe to ride in the dark, due to animals on the road, etc. But I push on.

By the time I roll into Tonopah, it's nearly dark. I'm looking for a place to spend the night. I don't make reservations in advance because nothing can ruin a good motorcycle ride than having to ride based on where you made your reservations.

I check on hotels.com and it says everything is over $100 a night, which is hard to imagine, given that Tonopah is not that great of a town. So I roll back to a shabby looking hotel called the Economy Inn and ask her how much is a room for the night.

$42 she says.


Like, the hotel is not nice, but I don't care. I'm not trying to impress anyone. Just a place to crash for the night.

There are a few things I'm missing. I expected there to be a gas station when I crossed the state line into Nevada. And a cattle gap. But now, I'm thinking that may be on the UT/NV border?

Also, there's a turn or two that I'm missing. Maybe they're up ahead though. Can't recall for sure.

I'm trying to figure out how many times I've made this trip. I'll have to go back and check my notes. The first time I ever rode on a bike from SF to Denver was when I was working on the UCSF project, rode my XR up to Alaska, and then rode back to SF, and then back to Denver.

OK. Here's the first time I ever made this trip. It was 6 years ago in August of 2011.

Then, I made the trip again, in May of 2013.

IF you're crossing the desert, you need chapstick, gatorade, food, cell coverage, charged cell phone.

I need to buy a 3-1 power adapter that doesn't have a ground plug. Last night, my ground plug messed me up because I couldn't charge my laptop which is my USB hub also.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 29, 2017 at 8:32 PM


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