Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nevada

After finishing me last post in Pahrump, NV, I was outside the library snacking and messing around with my gear when an older man, Sonny, called over over to a bench and said "sit down, make yourself comfortable." He wanted to talk and we talked for a t least two hours. He's 73 and has lived all over the country, he continuously cracked me up with comments such as "I like it here, this is the first place where people have called me "good looking" or "cute," I'm not moving from here. Look around for yourself, it's true!" Sonny told me about his dream trips that he never got to take and I encouraged him that he still had time. He was quite flattering and a pleasure to talk with-he skipped his genealogy class he'd come for to talk with me. As I said goodbye he made me promise I'd give him a call somewhere down the road.


Sonny

This was just one of the encounters that I've had along my way that are a lot of what this trip is about. Although I've taken this journey for selfish reasons, one of my hopes is that along the way I can help inspire at least a few of the people I meet to go on an adventure of their own. It's important to be selfish at times and just go out and have fun, explore, and be free; I want to remind people of that and be an example that it is possible. I've already heard a few people say that I inspire them to get out on a trip, hopefully they follow through and I hope to keep spreading the vibe. This may seem like an unrealistic goal, especially for those that I only meet briefly; however, the one who really gave me the courage an inspiration to take this trip was someone I'd just met and talked with briefly about his adventure. I believe that it can be a very simple, brief encounter that jump starts your wanderlust!

Back to my trip, the next day was riding in familiar territory. Last November, for the fire assignment I was on we worked outside of Pahrump and drove everyday from Vegas, making me very familiar with the road and pass ahead-didn't think I'd be back there. I arrived in Las Vegas earlier then expected, so remembered a park outside the city that I'd driven by numerous times and always wanted to stop at. So, that's where I headed and spent a few relaxing hours cleaning the mud off my bike and reading.


The sea of cookie-cutter houses outside of Vegas

Kevin, my warmshowers host in Vegas, met me at the park with the gift of a cold pear (yum!) and then guided me an hours ride to his house. This was another great warmshowers experience as Kevin gave me loads of route information and fed me until I could barely move. He's also quite an interesting guy: parked his car eight years ago and hasn't driven since, he's hiked the PCT, AT (almost twice), and Continental Divide Trail, as well as touring around the west. I'm hoping to live like Kevin someday, taking a few months off each year for some big bike/trek sounds pretty darn good to me!


Kevin

From Vegas, I rode into Lake Mead National Rec. Area where I enjoyed every shade of red rock and decently quiet roads. I saw the "bathtub ring" showing how low the reservoir is these days. The next morning, I rode to Overton Beach on the north end of the lake. This is one of the boat launches that no longer leads to the lake, now it's only a small river there. It was strange to see this entire area with campgrounds and buildings abandoned.

Lake Mead, you can kind of see the old water level.

Nice sandstone


Overton Beach and the boat launch to nowwhere

More long, flat straightaways stood in front of me, around 30 miles in one stretch. Although I've continues to have a headwind, it's been much lighter, so doesn't hurt me too badly and cools me down. Even though I'm able to keep good speed on these flat sections, it never seems like I"m making any progress and I have to keep looking down at my speedometer to assure myself that I am.


LONG flat streches

In the boarder town of Mesquite, I met a quirky fellow outside the grocery store. After telling me I needed to be carrying a gun (or two) or at least huge knifes, he said I should write a book after my trip and call it "Back to the Dark Ages," or something with "Dark Ages" in the title. He said how he doesn't believe in global warming, but that we're going into another ice age--I didn't get the chance to try and clarify what global warming entails for him, though I don't think he would have listened anyway.

I then rode into Arizona for a short stretch and got into Utah this morning. I'll be exploring Zion tomorrow! From there it will depend on the weather whether I continue north (which I really hope to do), or if I begin me retreat south back to Arizona.


View of the Virgin River from the road in AZ

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