Our ride across Nevada is nothing but photos and memories. Even now the memories are slowly eroding with time. That province of my mental landscape is stretching, shifting, wearing down, becoming more permanent and static. There are high and low points with the strongest memories standing out like ranges in the landscape. The basins are filled with details which take a little bit of digging to uncover but that doesn’t mean there is not a rich lode there.
These memories intrude:
– the bitter cold at Illipah Reservoir
– thinking about how to describe this region, and deciding there are no words.
– Manny in Eureka
– Gene in Carson City
– riding through snow squalls in Antelope Basin and on Pancake Summit
– laughing, a lot, with Don.
– riding down the east side of ranges and halfway across the basins….covering 12 miles in 30 minutes.
– the three young people trying to get to Carson City on a rainy, windy day. They had started in Boston and were woefully under-equipped. They were mentally done.
– the buck deer I stalked on Wah Wah Summit. Until he went over a small rise and evaporated into thin air.
– Don dancing with the black-tailed jackrabbit, and playing with the pack rat.
– attempting to comprehend the scale and proportion of the country.
– the last three days in Utah as being the best days of riding. Ever.
Obviously, there were mental highs and lows too. At one point it was evident that Don might need to end his ride in Ely, NV. If he had to quit, there was not a lot I would be able to do to help. I could time trial to Cedar City, pick up the car and drive back to get him. Or I could stop riding in Ely and we could rent a car to get to Cedar City. He may also have been able to have somebody pick him up while I rode on and retrieved his car. I wanted to finish the ride, but my final decision would be based on what Don decided to do. In the end, nobody cares whether I finish or not. The important thing was not to abandon Don, since I felt like I was the one who dragged him out here. Luckily he was able to go on because we had some of our best days ahead of us.
Here are some things I need to remember:
|Save change for laundry||Wear polyester long johns for sleeping|
|Wear woolen long johns for sleeping||Be afraid to ask motorists for water (or beer)|
|Bring air activated, stick-on toe warmers||Carry camp chairs in the desert|
|Keep a written record||Be judgmental|
|Protect lips and nose from the sun||Use cheap, flimsy or prototype equipment|
|Be flexible||Underestimate the Basin and Range|