The day started out OK, I checked out of the over-priced Holiday Inn Express in Vernal, put on the heated gear and rain gear and even the leather underneath the rain gear just to be safe, and gassed up before heading West on US-40. The goal was to stay in US-40 up towards Park City and then catch I-80 and I-84 up into Idaho and northwest towards home. However I got 60 miles from Vernal and stopped for a quick pee break and found out that there was upwards of 5 inches of snow on US-40 over the pass and towards Park City, and seeing the ominous black clouds I decided to turn south on US-191 and go towards Price -- my alternate route being pick up US-6 in Price and head west into Nevada. Well, going "south" you think, hmmm, warmer, less snow etc.. right? Well that isolated little stretch of road, after about 15 miles, started to climb and climb and climb, and before I knew it I was in the snow again! So -- turn back? Or press forward? I'd turned back once yesterday, and wasn't about to do it again so I pressed forward. This is what I was driving in. For 45 miles! All the way down to Price where it started to rain very heavily.
Thank goodness for Harley-Davidson dealerships however. I remembered one in Orem and so I decided to buzz in and see if they could figure out what was wrong with my electrical gear. A huge thanks to Barry Grow their service manager who allowed me to pile up soaking wet rain gear on their counter while he and I fiddled with the electrical gear. Turns out that the thermostat on my jacket liner was bad. They didn't have any in my size in the clothing department, but he did sell me a "used" one from their rental gear closet. It was very kind and saved the day. I bundled back up, now wrapped in an operating cozy electric blanket under my jacket, and headed north on I-15.
Just past Point of The Mountain another rain squall loomed so I headed west on that side of the Salt Lake Valley -- and stayed mostly dry. I made a quick pit stop at my brother's house and then gassed up and hit the road again. As I dropped down towards the Great Salt Lake I could see more storms out over the desert, so I throttled up for the 105 miles to Wendover, Nevada.
I actually stayed dry again, and at 85 miles an hour the heated gear was nice and toasty. It was 56 degrees in Wendover as I gassed up and decided to head towards Elko, Nevada for the night. Elko is 110 miles from Wendover, and I figured it was 110 miles closer to Seattle, which is still 2 days away. It was only 5pm now that I was back in Pacific Time, so I headed out. The road starts to climb outside of Wendover, and sure enough, more black clouds. DAMN DAMN DAMN I shouted to no one in particular, along with a few choice other words. As I climbed the rain turned to sleet again. Sleet at 70 mph on a bike feels like acupuncture all over your face, and being in Nevada, towns were 100 miles apart. So on I pressed until I couldn't take it any more and saw the lights of Wells, Nevada up ahead. There are two motels in Wells, and one Casino/Truck Stop/Restaurant. The motel had rooms and I took one. After shimmying out of all those wet clothes I took a long hot shower, and meandered across the street to the Casino/Truck Stop/Restaurant.
The food was actually good, and the casino, full of smokers AND real slots too -- the kind you put coins in and pull a handle! If it weren't for the smokers I'd stay and play some. This was a truck stop right out of a Felini film too -- full of characters. UGLY characters. SMOKING characters. If i weren't so tired I might strike up a conversation, but instead I took a slice of pie back across the street to the motel and will enjoy that before going to bed.
In scanning the Weather Channel and web sites, it appears the storm should be moved off by morning. I'm hoping. My plan now is to ride I-80 either to Winnemucca and turn north, retracing my route south last week up through Burns, Oregon, and hoping for Yakima, Washington for tomorrow night, and then into Seattle on Saturday. Or I could go into Oregon on a north-west track and go up past Crater Lake and into Salem and up I-5 home to Seattle. We'll see how it looks tomorrow.
I've been out on the road for the better part of a week now, and truth be told, I'm looking forward to going home. I'm not sure I've resolved anything, but I'm getting there. The last two days on the bike haven't allowed for much contemplative thought -- it's been more of "grip and grab and curse and scream" -- my hand are permanently bent into the shape of motorcycle grips. However lots of hot water will allow me to relax them a bit. My mind is still scattered and confused on some things, and hopeful on others, so we'll see how it goes over the next two days and once I get back home. The song that was running through my head most of the day was John Denver's "Poems Prayers and Promises", which has a line that goes:
"I've been lately thinking, about my life's time -- all the things I've done, and how it's been.
And I can't help believing, in my own mind -- I know I'm gonna hate to see it end.
I've seen a lot of sunshine, slept out in the rain, spent a night or two all on my own...
And I have to say it now, it's been a good life all in all -- it's really fine to have had a chance to hang around...
The days they pass so quickly now, the nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers winter''s close.
The changes somehow frighten me, but still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old.
For though this life's been good to me, there's still so much to do
So many things my mind has never known...."
Poems, Prayer's and Promises - John Denver
I actually have "work" on my calendar for Monday so at least I'll have Sunday to rest. Knowing me, and knowing how damn dirty and ugly the bike is I'll spend part of Sunday washing her and getting her back in shape. Even my brother said she was looking a bit war-torn and weary -- just like her rider. Getting home will hopefully clean both of us up.