Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kokomo to Canton

Near campsite
 From Kokomo Indiana to just outside Canton Ohio, today’s ride was 493.5 km. Having had things all packed and ready to load before going to bed last night meant I could get on the road fairly early and was on my way by 7:15 (okay, fairly early for a Sunday morning.) I rode for 3 hours stopping only to get gas, trying to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. There was a light fog when I started and no one else on the road. You’ve gotta love Sunday mornings whether you’re sleeping in or enjoying having the road to yourself. I took a short detour back to Wabash then headed east again toward tonight’s campsite.
By nine there were a lot of bikes on the road and I do mean a lot. I thought that maybe I was witnessing the beginnings of a major pilgrimage to Sturgis until I talked with a Goldwing rider at a gas stop who told me there had been a large bike rally in the area (VanWert) and folks were just leaving. I rode along with him for a few kilometers, until he headed off, with a wave, in his own direction.

Painted ponies
by the roadside
I’m at a fairly large campsite/ranch which the weekenders have deserted. It has a huge pool where I headed immediately after setting up the tent. I managed to arrive by 2 this afternoon just as the heat was becoming oppressive and now, having had a two hour swim and vittles am sitting in the somewhat air conditioned games room. The games room, an old converted barn is like the campsite, deserted except for the big video game machines, lights flashing, voices every once in a while blaring – “Gadzooz” … It’s a bit like being in a thriller movie sitting here, just me and the possessed video games – spooky!
Ohio back road
The countryside is beginning to roll again, the prairies are behind me and I can tell I’m nearing the gentle, old eastern mountains. I had to laugh going through the town of Swayzee. Their sign boasted they had the only town in the world named Swayzee. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rode through places with the same name I’d been through in the state before and sometimes even in the state before that. It can get a little confusing. If only all towns were like Swayzee.

Sometimes - but not today.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kokomo Indiana

I woke up this morning to a tent drenched and dripping wet from dew. There had been no rain but unbelievable condensation had build up on the tent fly which had dripped onto the inner tent and was beginning to pool on the floor. After an hour of drying and shaking I was no further ahead of the game and had to roll it and pack it wet. Trying to roll and stuff a wet tent into a small sack is somewhat like trying to pull a spandex swimsuit up over a chubby, wet body. There was a lot of inching and grunting involved. I talked to a resident camper who told me he’d never seen dew that heavy in the campground before! Needless to say I had already worked up a sweat in the burgeoning heat and didn’t get on my way until after 9am.
I haven’t made much progress today. After a few disagreements with Dan, country roads with slower speed limits, lots of map checking stops and a major construction detour I rode only 353 km and have fortuitously ended up in Kokomo Indiana. I had never heard of Kokomo before but it seems to be a lovely little city that has just about everything one could need including a Motel 6 that charges only 39.99 a night – and in 95 degree heat at 5 in the afternoon that is a beautiful thing.

Thanks Mom
for the Motel Mad Money
And speaking of Motels … I am having a bit of a battle with the first hotel that I stayed in on this journey. As a very disgruntled customer I’m not afraid to say it was a Days Inn. My first planned hotel stay was to be at the Days Inn in Reno Nevada since the campground was not available for tenting. I have been booking campsites and hotels the night before since travelling by bike I’m never sure (like today) that I will get as far as I have planned. I booked the hotel late in the evening then realized there were two Days Inn hotels in Reno and I had not booked the one that I had told my friends and family I’d be at when I got to Reno. I immediately cancelled the incorrect hotel and booked the correct hotel. The Days Inn has since informed me that, since I did not cancel before 4pm the day before my stay (as per their cancellation policy), I have been charged for the hotel room I did not use. The major flaw here is that I hadn’t booked the hotel room before 4pm and therefore couldn’t cancel it before 4. Not that it makes any difference to the hotel chain but I will not choose to stay with Days Inn again and hope you will join me in my boycott. Tonight I am at a Motel 6. It might not be frilly but it is air conditioned, very reasonably priced and quite adequate. Hey you never know who you'll meet at a Motel 6.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Camped In Illinois - Its Been A Hot Day

Tonight I’m camped in the heartland state of Illinois with its bountiful fields of corn and soybeans. The traffic was heavy today, both car and truck. It’s been the busiest day I’ve seen to date so I was glad to leave the interstate on one of Dan’s famous long way around short cuts.  I passed through numerous towns and stop lights going Dan’s way but it was far less frantic for awhile than the freeway. I read, on one of those digital signs, that the temperature was 93. On and off throughout the day I watched busy little crop dusters swooping in low over fields, leaving their smoky trails of dust behind, then darting away again like dragonflies over a pond.

I’ll be meeting up with the path I started on by tomorrow but for tonight, the dew has already settled on the grass, the fireflies have begun to sparkle and thousands of cicadas are screeching their song as the sun sets. They’re telling me something I already know – it’s been a hot day!

Black River Under Black Skies - My Weather Luck Ends

The 27th was a quiet and short ride from Bismarck to Fargo where I decided to stop early avoiding predicted stormy weather ahead. The day heated up early as I moved from cowboy country to the edge of the prairie. The land turned from brown to lush and green. The smell of clover and new mown hay was absolutely wonderful. Riding east on the 94 I couldn’t help but wonder what early settlers might have thought about life in the west today. The wagon trains have been replaced by caravans of RVs and semis, cowboys are riding the ranges on their ATVs and riding into town in their Dodge hemis.
Well, the tires did not last and neither did my weather luck. When I checked the air pressure in Fargo I noticed that the front tire was showing weather cracking, much more than it had in Portland and needed to be replaced. I headed to Monticello MN and Moon Motorsports. They were more than fabulous and I had the new tire installed and was on my way in less than half an hour – I hadn’t even had time to finish the free cup of coffee. Moon Motorsports services Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and BMW. If you’re in the area it’s on 3613 Chelsea Rd, easy to find off the interstate.

The Star snuggled up to a Saturn
hiding from the rain.
I had been riding under a sunny sky most of the day and if I had followed my first instinct when things started to darken I would have checked into a roadside motel and I wouldn’t have gotten wet. Instead I pushed on. I headed off the highway to where I thought my campsite would be. I found the address, but apparently it wasn’t the correct address because I didn’t find the campground so it meant doubling back, an extra half hours ride, to get to the interstate. I could see a wall of darkness ahead; it was like riding toward a black hole. A few drops started to hit my visor so I pulled off the road onto a paved drive to stow the camera and cell phone in their water tight containers and the heavens opened up. It was a deluge. From behind I heard a whistle and turned to see a vision - there standing in the open doors of the three bay garage was the mechanic/owner waving me in. I parked inside the garage for about an  hour discussing the west, the liquor laws, the helmet laws, the weather and how so much rain could fall in so little time as he and his son kept working. As soon as the rain let up, with directions to the nearest motel that he thought would be suitable, I was on my way. It was still raining and I checked into the Comfort Inn dripping wet for the first time on this ride. Of course, by the time I’d changed and headed out for food the weather fairies were back with me and I had a pleasant walk to a nearby eatery under sunny skies.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Scenes From North Dakota

Last night's Miles City storm never materialized but this morning it looked like I'd be running out of luck. I headed east again on I-94 under a suspicious sky but once again the weather fairies have been on my side. I'm comfortably camped in Bismark North Dakota without so much as a cloud in the sky despite the forecast for severe storms, hail and possible tornadoes. The campground owners have been more than wonderful and the Star is parked just as safely inside their garage as I am in a protected little spot. Not so lucky was a fellow Canadian rider in from Winnipeg who has seen more rain on his first day out than I have the entire time. Here's hoping the weather holds.
By far, the best KOA campground I've stayed at. The owners and employees seem to be having lots of fun in their new business.

I stop for horses...

Pretty rocks ...

And giant dandilions...

Scenes From The Roadside

 621 km later and I am in Miles City Montana. The temperature rose more quickly today as I left Butte and the mountains behind. Someone told me it reached 100F today, but it didn't seem that hot. Right now there is a beautiful breeze blowing in the campground. As I walked around the city of Miles the breeze seemed to be trying to blow away the ugly clouds that were forming overhead. Let's hope so. Now, if it would just blow the bugs off my computer screen all would be perfect.

When I left home I had everything packed and organized so neatly - cool clothes, warm clothes, underwear, socks, t-shirts. Everything had it's own special place. I've since refined my packing system. They are simply dirty or clean. The campground has a laundry - tonight the clean bag is full, the dirty empty, just in the nick of time.

Miles is an interesting little city, proud of its heritage and history and many of the homes and buildings are marked with historical plaques. I was glad to see it had its share of gas stations as the tank that I thought would get close to 300km today ran dry at 220 and I rode into town on reserve and yet another prayer. From now on I'll fill up at 150.

The Mountains As Seen In The Rearview Mirror

Enough to make
me stay on the
I knew I had a longer ride today but was determined to stop and take some photos along the way. I'm finding now that my right foot doesn't seem to have enough space after awhile and I need to give it a break anyway.  Guess what - tonight's campsite has a train track near by (and I think, a resident skunk).

Big Horn River

Montana Farmers Use The Dragons Too
Stopped to capture one in action.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

528 km Today - Montana

Butte - Surrounded By Snow Capped Mountains
It was another beautiful riding day - 528 km from Spokane Washington to Butte Montana. The highway passed effortlessly from Washington through Idaho and into Montana; the mountains calmed to rolling hills around Butte but still jagged, snow covered peaks are all around. Butte became famous for its copper mines - it still has the look and feel of a rugged mining town.
Clark Fork Riverbank - Ponderosa Country
Highway 90 followed the Clark Fork River much of the way. I hear this is Ponderosa country  (they don't make westerns like that anymore.) Tomorrow the weather still looks good so I’ll head to Miles City, it will be a longer ride than today. I'm gonna miss that hour.

Where I've Been

608 km Today (Really it's Saturday, my computer is on EST)

As I dressed this morning with my under-armor, my fleece, my alpine star winter gloves and I turned on the heated grips I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the rest of the country. I had just received a text from one son letting me know that the temperature had hit 40+ that’s 104 F, even worse, “it feels like 50 C” with the humid-ex (that’s 122 F). I hope you are all managing safely through the heat wave.

Early Morning
 Columbia River Gorge
I headed east from Portland on I-84 following the magnificent Columbia River and wondered what Lewis and Clark would have thought about a super highway built along their route. The morning sun was sparkling on the water making it shine like silver, behind the clouds reached down to touch the hill tops. It was a breathtaking sight. Again I was disappointed that there were no easy vista spots to take pictures and considered turning to go back but knew the sun and the clouds would not wait so I headed on. The Columbia River Gorge is a fabulous natural sculpture. Its worn sides are seemingly covered with fawn colored velvet and all around, on top of the gorge, the land is like a rolling plain. This was not what I had expected Washington State to look like (another of my geographical misconceptions).
Along the Columbia gorge, Portland until I turned north toward Spokane, is an agriculturally rich plateau. Despite the river, the land is dry but man has managed to conquer nature by irrigating. The fields are littered with tubular dragons that spew life giving water from their nostrils. Where the dragons are - the crops are green and lush or already ripe and golden. There were some fields, freshly plowed and not yet protected by the water dragons where I watched funnel clouds of dust spiraling into the air.

I turned north, leaving the plateau, to catch the 395 and crossed over the Columbia. The 395 is another beautifully maintained highway. At times I seemed to have it all to myself and I can’t help wondering if the lack of traffic had to do with the lack of super sized truck stops en-route. I was glad that I had filled the tank along I-84 and knew (from my little California experience) that I could get 300 km to a tank. As I neared Spokane and met the I-90, traffic picked up considerably.

Coming into Spokane (the locals pronounce it Spo-can, you could tell I was a tourist) there was construction but I seem to be getting better accustomed to the way the clutch is set and had little difficulty. I loved the large overhead traffic signs asking motorists to “Look twice for Motorcycles.” There should be a lot more of these signs across the continent.

Tomorrow I’ll be in Montana. I love Montana but it’s where time turns against me. Tomorrow I will lose an hour moving from Pacific to Mountain Time. Oh no, does that mean I have to get up an hour earlier?

Friday, July 22, 2011

6,674 km

After a delightful stay and dinner with the real "Wild Hogs" in quiet Medford Oregon I headed out early toward Portland and Bob Lanphere’s Beaverton HONDA-YAMAHA-SUZUKI. I thought I had dressed warmly but soon found riding under a layer of cloud that I wasn’t prepared for the chill and needed, once again, to stop and add more layers. The hills were green and lush with forest and flowers but the farther north I rode the poorer the country appeared to be.

Bob Lanphere's
Mission Accomplished
The cloud and fog hanging over the mountains were picture worthy but today I was on a mission and that was to get an oil change and bike check up before the weekend. I made it to Beaverton (a burb of Portland) after lunch and the service department was very accommodating arranging to have my Star taken care of right away. Breaks checked, tire wear checked ...they even washed her. I have to say, Chad, the young man in service went way beyond the call of duty. He treated me just like his mother and helped me find a nearby hotel, concerned that I stay in a safe neighborhood. In Portland – Bob Lanphere’s is the dealership to stop at for unbelievable costumer service. My only complaint, hey guys, when you adjust the clutch think about whose hand has to squeeze it. Too tight, really hard to find the sweet spot and that was challenging heading out into Friday night, stop and go commuter traffic on the way to my safe hotel.

Oregon - July 21

I could tell the fog had rolled over Petaluma last night by the chill in the air when I opened my eyes this morning. There are some times, when you’re camping, that you wish you were in a cozy, warm motel room - where the bathroom isn’t an entire vacation away. I decided to cocoon myself in my sleeping bag long enough to let the sun work its magic on the California fog and for the coffee to be ready at the camp store.

 The sun did its job by 7 and I was packing for the ride north – coffee in hand. First stop was gas and air, both front and rear tires were down by 2psi (I didn’t realize air cost a buck a shot these days). Then it was on to the 101 south to pick up highway 37 then 1-80 to the 505 and to I-5 north all the way to Oregon.

Shasta Mountain
Interstate 5 is a well maintained highway that rips right up the valley directly north with few curves until near the Oregon border. In places the highway median is abloom with philodendrons that reminded me of the lilacs in Ontario in the spring. I stopped as many times riding up the valley to remove layers as I did to add layers entering California from the east. The hills of northern California reminded me of the hills of Nevada in their shape and texture but these hills seemed friendlier, more inhabitable and were covered with ranches, cattle, forests and life. Nearing the Oregon border snow covered Shasta Mountain towered over the highway - Lake Shasta, an unforgettable vista with its shore of iron red rocks bleeding into the aqua blue water.

It’s time for an oil change so I’ve stopped in Medford in hopes of finding someone who can Yamalube.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Scenes from San Francisco

I was glad I took a bus tour to the city ... the traffic, the steep grades, it's a city like no other.

The sun was shining and untypically there was no fog hanging over the bay or the bridge. The temperature was absolutely balmy for San Francisco. Angela our competent tour guide and bus driver hauled that little bus through the city like she'd been doing it for years, taking us to all the must see spots; The Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, Haight Ashbury, China Town, Little Italy. We (all six of us on the tour) rode a famous San Francisco Cable car and all in all I snapped over 200 photos ... Lunch, for me, was at Boudin Sourdough on Fisherman's Wharf where they make their own bread on site (Sourdough was first made in San Francisco).

One thing I noticed, motorcyclists lane splitting to the extreme. Not just between lanes on the freeway but cutting on the curb side trying to beat the traffic onto on ramps. Not my style of riding.

Tomorrow - north, weatherman still promising great things!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

California Costal Highway

The fog rolled over the campsite last night around nine adding a chill to the air that made me glad my little cabin was heated. I looked at the route ahead and did a little fine tuning then went to sleep early despite an invitation from neighbors to join them for a campfire

This morning the fog was still hanging over the camp and I procrastinated until the store opened and I could get a hot cup of coffee before heading down the twisting, turning California Coastal Highway on day 10 of my adventure. I wasn’t expecting to see much in the fog but it lifted enough for some beautiful views. A group of pelicans flew with me for a bit down the coast but there were few paved pull offs for picture taking opportunities. I’m afraid the ‘dog’ was still on my trail this morning but I think I’ve finally shaken him and felt more like myself and taking a swim again by the time I reached Petaluma. The road from Bodega Bay to Petaluma was an entirely different California than I had seen so far. It turned from cold and damp to sunny and warm in a few short kilometers once I turned inland. I’ve booked a sight-seeing tour of San Francisco tomorrow … Batteries are charging, I’m ready to ‘click’.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Scenes from the Beach

I’ve decided to stay here for one more night to get some rest and visit the beach. It’s a good day to stay put with an angry sky overhead, though, “they say it never rains in California…” the forecast is calling for rain.

I took the one mile hiking trail down to the Manchester State Beach – it’s beautiful and seemingly untouched by man, except for the outdoor biffy I found when I reached the parking area. (I have to say it was like seeing a lighthouse in a storm as I am seemingly still being chased by that ‘dog.’)

Today’s post … a picture is worth a thousand words so here are some scenes from the hike to the beach.

Kingston to California by motorcycle in 9 days - so, let me tell you about my day…

Last night’s planned stay was in a hotel and though a little cheesy looking on the outside offered a very comfortable bed, free morning coffee and friendly staff. After a great night’s sleep I was packed and ready to go early having already responded to some emails from “Mustang Sally” of California who had great advice for travelling along my planned route. Garmin Dan was programmed and we headed off to Interstate 80 West…I missed the turn due to construction. No problem, Dan calmly guided me to the next best way and we were on our way to California.
Blue Star Memorial Highway - California
At 7:44 this morning I passed the “Welcome to California” sign - what I didn’t expect was the next sign that read, “Caution, watch for snow removal vehicles.” I don’t know why it came as a surprise, I was after all 7,000 feet up in the mountains … but it’s California - the land of sunshine, vineyards and oranges (funny what our perceptions are). I had dressed warmly starting out this morning, but not warmly enough and had to stop to add layers to my layers. The mountains in California wore the brownness of drought but I could see, unlike Nevada’s mountains, they were alive. It was a refreshing change.

I started, finally, to descend and thought (clearly another misconception) that I might see flat land and maybe even the ocean after a bit. What I saw in the distance instead were more mountains. To avoid Sacramento I veered off northwest on the 20 and decided to stop in Yuba City for a snack and gas. My first introduction to Californians in their native habitat - friendly smiles were returned not by matching smiles but by scowls that said, “What the h#@!” do you want! I decided to get my gas and get going without my snack; it was kinda chilly in Yuba. I stopped later for a hotdog at a little spot on the highway which shall forever in my mind be known as Montezuma. From there I rode into Nice and thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to live in Nice,’ a small town on Clear Lake. The loon filled lake was surrounded by little wooden cottages that seemed to hover at the water’s edge, almost floating, hugged by pink and white and fuchsia colored rhododendrons. I would have taken more time to enjoy the palm dotted town but for the revenge of the ‘dog’. Lucky for me Nice had had one nice little gas station too.

I spent most of the day riding twisting, turning, mountain roads that I swear should be travelled only by goat. I passed ‘elk crossing’, ‘rock falling’ and ‘rock slide ahead’ signs. I was finally, according to Dan, only kilometers away from my destination, just over one more blessed mountain. I didn’t like the sound of the road when I saw it, ‘Mountain View.’ I’d viewed enough mountains for one day, but still on I went. In hindsight, I should have gone with my first instinct. It was on Mountain View Road, on a 10+ degree incline on a sharp right, 120 degree turn that I shifted down and somehow hit neutral and found out … no gear, no go forward so must go down. The Star and I took a soft, slow landing in pine needles and dirt but luckily there were instantly three strong men and one strong woman to help put her back on her wheels again. At that point I reconsidered Mountain Viewing and with road advice from one of my rescuers decided to take the less treacherous, but longer way round.
First View From The Pacific Coast Higway #1
Highway 128, which is on the map, was lined with towering California Redwoods but by 5 o’clock the afternoon sun had become a hindrance and I was freezing. I finally had my first glimpse of the famous California Coastal Highway #1 and pulled off to take a photo. It was when I started up again that Garmin Dan quietly reminded me I might be low on fuel. “%$#&” I must be riding on fumes. After the excitement of the day I hadn’t filled up at my usual 200 km mark. With no more stops for photos and a lot of finger crossing I made it to the campground where I have decided, in self pity, to once again trade my tent for the indulgence of a cabin.

Maybe I’ll just go back to Reno and start the day over, or maybe I’ll stay here forever since the nearest gas station is about 13km away. But for tonight, I’ll just sit here, eat my Pringles and ponder the irony of it all – my cabin is on ‘Falling Star’ Drive.

Falling Star - Caution

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I-80, Nevada - Crossing The Desert

I seemed to get off to a slow start this morning and by the time the bike was “neatly packaged” I had already worked up a sweat in the Salt Flats heat so decided to leave West Wendover with minimal layers. Of course I wasn’t far out when I found it necessary to stop and put the layers back on. It seems the weather fairies have been on my side. While most of the rest of the US is in the midst of a heat wave the route I’m following has remained comfortably cool and dry and appears may stay that way for the next few days at least.

I wanted to see new things on this tour; I just don’t think I was prepared for how much of the something new I was going to see. The desert seems to go on forever, the road following nature’s route, twisting and turning through natural canyons and mountain passes. It’s bleak, dry and barren. The only trees are made by man – telephone poles and hydro lines stretching across the desert. Again today, the railroad paralleled my path most of the way. The brown countryside became monotonous with only a few shanty towns and the odd ranch or mining site. I watched many a dust whirlwind dance beside the highway. Who are the people who live in this rugged wilderness? I now understand why the cowboy I chatted with in Nebraska said nothing, just raised an eyebrow when I said I was going to follow 80 west.

An Oasis frozen in time
I-80 from West Wendover to Reno seemed a long ride on a modern steel horse I cannot imagine the journey in the 1840s by horse and wagon … or even in the 1920s by motorcar. I stopped at the Oasis exit to photograph a memory of those days gone by - A truck stop that was abandoned on a stretch of pavement now overgrown. It was frozen in time, the people having just walked away. Its sign was still boasting ice cream and groceries, the last vehicle to visit was still parked in front.

In contrast to the desert, Reno is a vibrant, color-filled and bubbling place; my oasis here, Whole Foods Market – a travelers dream. It has everything imaginable including delicious foods of all kinds to go, just 7.99 a pound. I’m close to a car wash - tomorrow the dirty girl gets a bath but tonight she and I are California dreaming!

Friday, July 15, 2011

One Week

Uinta Mountain Range
Day 7 – Can you believe it’s been one week and 4,189.3 km since I left home. I headed west from Lyman Wyoming this morning with lots of time for the short ride planned – time enough to stop and take a few photos today. The mountain climb on highway 80 was relatively gradual and I hadn’t realized how high up Lyman was until the temperature dropped. At 6000 feet above sea level it gets cold at night, I was glad I’d packed the under armors. I rode out of Lyman (fully dressed and with the heat on) surrounded by mountains – jagged rocky peaks to the left, older rounded peaks to the right, mountains in front, mountains behind … mountains as far as my eye could see. I finally felt like I was travelling through the mountains. The Yamaha Star is climbing to the top, effortlessly, so far.

Echo Canyon Train
 I stopped at Evanston for gas, air and a drive around town then it was back to highway 80. The countryside was desolate yet peacefully serene. There was nothing but the hills, the highway and the train track that paralleled my ride. It almost seemed untouched by the hands of man except for the ugliness every now and then of mounds of wrecked cars. I stopped at Echo Canyon, the red canyon, and climbed to the top of a hill to wait for the train (have you noticed a recurring theme here?) coming down the track. I had been planning on ways to avoid travelling across the salt flats until I spoke with the tourist information people who assured me that it really wouldn’t be all that hot today. So, I decided, I’m here now, I might as well see it all and headed directly to Salt Lake City and beyond.

Great Salt Lake
 The ride into the basin and Salt Lake City seemed like a sheer drop compared to the way the road had been winding up. Garmin Dan and I took a detour to avoid most of the city making sure to fill up with gas (as wisely advised by the tourist information man) and to remove any extra layers of clothing before heading toward the desert. Great Salt Lake smelled of the sea. I stopped for a picture of a train (surprise) rolling east on the track in front of the lake and then headed onto the flats. There was a blue heat haze across the evaporated lake but the breeze felt surprisingly cool. The desert turned to white as I entered the salt flats area. The salt flats were littered with tire tracks from would be racers right off the 80 and one young man, he and his Toyota still sitting there in the salt, mired to the hubcaps. There was a viewing area where I took a picture of the Star against the Salt Flats backdrop and ventured a step onto the salt. It reminded me of a frozen white lake.

I pulled into the campsite at the edge of the Flats behind a familiar RV hauling a 69 VW bug. This was the third night I’d seen the same vehicle and couldn’t help starting up a conversation with Gabe and Sandy from California on the home stretch of their cross country adventure.

Tonight, I’m camping in the desert, on one side the Salt Flats on the other the flashing casino lights all surrounded by rocky peaks ... oh, wait a minute. I think I hear a train!
The Star and The Salt Flats