Dear Ma, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Alexa, Dec 25, 2020.

  1. RokLobster

    RokLobster Far from sanity Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Mill Creek WA - Land of perpetual wet
    Merry Christmas Penelope and Skinny Beans! What a wonderful way to ring in the new year - with one of your exceptional and engaging ride reports!! :lurk
    #21
    mikerthebiker likes this.
  2. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    110
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    near the sun
    Dear Mrs. Crane,

    Skinny Beans here, you know, Peanut’s main squeeze. Actually, her only squeeze. Well, she does do some side squeezing on the side, but those side squeezes are all motorcycles.

    Anyways, Peanut is fine, she’s just a little shy when it comes to dealing with some matters such as tooting her own horn, so please permit me to share with you some exciting news: Starting now, you will be able to read Peanut’s letters on our own personal website.

    We're on Page 2 of the Ride Report called, “Dear Ma, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.”
    Skinny Beans

    P.S. It was indeed a sunset and a beautiful one at that. And good observational skills, it was a crash on the right side. And I was indeed distracted as my goggles were steaming up from thoughts and visions of slipping into the hot spring with my Peanut.

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    #22
    ilten, AngusMcL, eaglescan and 8 others like this.
  3. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
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    CANADA-100 ft N of International Falls, MN
    I’ve been on your new site already, think I must off noticed link in your signature line here? It’s looking very good.

    However I can’t get anything to open up there.
    Using iPad.
    I’m sure it will start working for me any ol time now.
    #23
  4. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
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    Well, shucks. I'm sorry about that. Thanks for letting us know. Skinny Beans got his hammer and duck tape out, and he's pretty handy with both, so hopefully he can exorcize the demon within the system. I wonder if anyone else is shut out...?
    #24
  5. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

    Joined:
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    Fresno, CA
    Are you tapping the text, or the picture above the text? I had thought the text was the link, but then got it to open when I clicked the pic.
    #25
  6. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Oddometer:
    584
    Location:
    CANADA-100 ft N of International Falls, MN
    That worked.
    I thought I tried that already but now I’m not sure if I did.
    The videos are working so all is good.:y0!

    #26
    Alexa likes this.
  7. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    677
    Worked for me. :clap
    #27
  8. 32dgrz

    32dgrz Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2017
    Oddometer:
    319
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    Ankeny Iowa
    Me too
    #28
  9. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    110
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Ma,

    Well, as you can probably imagine, only having one motorcycle and two riders reduces the amount of gear Leo can carry by 72%. And as you can also probably imagine, this means Skinny Beans and I will freeze off our niblets and/or niplets (I’m still a tad unclear on these terms; although, Skinny does keep trying to educate me, but I just end up giggling too much). And we will starve like artists (writers especially). And according to Mr. Murphy’s comical laws, certainly get stranded without the exact necessary tool we left behind in the barn. It’s okay though because “the tug” to be out here is a stronger force on account of it being a Newtonian cosmic law and all, and thus, will protect us.

    Still, we have already suffered one and a half of these problems. Apparently, since leaving Reno earlier this afternoon and after a stop in Virginia City, Leo had silently been resisting powering the numerous apparati plugged into him, trying valiantly as he did. This resulted in an electrical power failure. My heater jacket stopped making me sweat like an alcoholic wrestler (is that a redundancy issued from the department of redundancy? I don’t know. I just don’t know.), and the heater gloves stopped broasting my knuckles like they were to be our appetizers, all of which was a welcome relief… for about five minutes, at which point, I started to feel miserably cold. And Skinny Beans’ navigational devices—a book of maps stuffed within his mobile telephone; and a GPS, which I think stands for “generally poor suggestions”—stopped suggesting which way we should go (I guess there is more than one way to go south, but I kept that sassy thought to myself).

    We were only about thirty miles into our trip when Skinny Beans stopped on the road’s shoulder. He scratched the side of his helmet, and I buried my hands down deep in the warm nook between our bodies. The sun’s dayshift had come to an end, and my cheeks determined the ambient temperature to be below freezing. Usually, a stop on the side of the road offers plenty of pretty photographic opportunities, but there were no Kodak moments to be had in this particular spot. Drab and dull are the words to describe the pale weak winter light, the faint grey gravelly sand and the washed-out silver of the sage bushes. I shuddered more from the landscape’s look of cold than from the feel of cold in my body.

    Skinny Beans unplugged me and everything else drawing life from poor Leo, and we attempted to be on our way, only Leo wouldn’t spark back to life.

    “Hopefully, it’s just the battery and not the stator,” Skinny Beans said.

    I noticed a couple of crosses leaning tiredly on the side of the road. “Make it go!” I pleaded to Skinny Beans.

    “Okay, Princess Peach,” Skinny replied, “but you’ll have to come down from your throne and help me push it.”

    Great idea, I thought to myself. Pushing this big dead beast will warm me up. But then I realized the obvious. “Wait a gosh darn second, Skinny. How’re we going to push it fast enough?” I glanced around. “The ground here is flatter than my first training brasserie.” (Sorry for my inappropriate language, but my passion always flares at the thought of dying an ugly death in the middle of nowhere.)

    Skinny Beans then said we could push the bike on the highway.

    I held up my removable wrist splint the doctor had given me after I asked her to remove the cast because my bread knife hadn’t been sharp enough to do the job, and I needed it gone to be able to get into my riding jacket and into the hot springs we planned to visit.

    Well, as you may know, Skinny Beans and I share a brain. He gets it on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I get it on Wednesdays and by appointment, and we give it the weekends off. When we have to share, he uses the left half, which I know to be true on account of him being technically gifted, and I use the right half as evident by my brimming emotions. We both get quite upset when the other tries to use our half. But working together, we are either quite clever or incredibly daft. Fortunately, we were able to produce the former to solve the problem arising from the latter.

    Skinny Beans pointed to the ditch. Good idea, I thought. We’ll dump the dead bike into a shallow grave and start building ourselves a shelter out of tumbleweeds. But instead of building a tumbleweed igloo (they can be a bit drafty anyway), Skinny Beans and I rocked the motorcycle back and forth in a low part of the ditch like we were trying to lull it to sleep—which is of course the opposite of what we were trying to do—and stabbed at the resuscitation button until Leo sputtered back to life all confused and bewildered like a revived drunk at a baby shower. Skinny Beans must have been quite relieved, for he then offered for us to camp in a motel, which for some peculiar reason, I refused, probably because accepting would have been the logical thing to do.

    We rode on into the darkening sky, searching for a spot to camp, which is sort of impossible in the dark. Eventually, even Skinny Beans was too cold to continue, and we just sort of tipped over in the dirt and went to sleep.

    XOXO,
    Peanut

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    #29
    SteveTheLocal, ilten, GR8ADV and 19 others like this.
  10. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    110
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Ma,

    The day commenced like any day on the road, except that the day didn’t actually commence until mid-morning when the sun rose high enough to warm our tent, which seemed stuck at thirteen degrees.

    I sat up on my air mattress—conductor of cold air and preserver of moisture—and peeled my clammy sleeping bag down around me like it was a banana peel, and I was a banana. (Any gentlemen in the audience should now cover their eyes). Then, like Houdini escaping a straightjacket, I wiggled out of a three-layer hide of long johns, which comprises all the spare clothing I brought on this trip—a nifty travel trick I read in a periodical called “Mad Magazine” in a feature article called “The Lighter Side.” The article, which was more of a cartoon than an actual piece of literature, showed a man checking in for an airplane flight, wearing all of the clothes he might otherwise have packed into a suitcase in order to take advantage of a luggage-prohibited economy fare. Anyway, I turned the whole three-layer garment inside out and then struggled back into it. (The gentlemen can open their eyes now. Much obliged.) The sleeves twisted up around my arms like I’d just come out of a washing machine’s spin cycle, but the fabric felt drier and less slimy against my skin. Then I slipped off just the outer layer, turned it inside out and pulled it back on. Tomorrow, I will repeat this same molting process. I figure by the time the original layer comes back in contact with my skin, it will be clean from a sudsy concoction of dust, sweat and tears, which, truth be told, is really more of a psychological “soap” than an effective cleanser. The mind is a strange and powerful thing.

    After a cold breakfast of hot cereal, we continued riding southward, moving further away from the east-west stretch of the Carson River we’d ridden along yesterday. Soon, we passed into and out of the town of Yerington, one of Nevada’s quintessential mining towns. Yerington is actually a city, a small city that grew out of a small town that grew out of a small copper mine that turned into a big pit mine. As they do in so many desert mining towns, buildings fronts of brick, stone or sun-brassed wood cozy right up to the sidewalk along Main Street. A short ways past Yerington, we headed west along the Walker River, twisting through a tall narrow passage cut in the rock. At Wilson Canyon OHV, soft dirt flattens the north wall into an off-road riding area right on the river. I suspect Wilson Canyon might be the spot where the moon broke off of the earth in that cataclysmic meteorite event as evident by its grey moon-dust dirt and barren ripple of hills.

    We set up our tent shelter before the sun dropped out of the sky and slid into our sleeping bags before the temperature dropped below twenty degrees, which it seemed determined to do and probably overshoot again. I looked at Skinny Beans in the dim lamp glow and realized with a shudder that it would near sixteen hours before the sun’s return, and we could finally climb outside, slow and stiff like lizards. I’m beginning to think maybe that “tug” was actually yanking my leg.

    Fondly,
    Your loving Peanut

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    #30
  11. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    110
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Ma,

    Remember how I mentioned that small problems have a way of snowballing together to make big problems? I was right. I’m usually right about these things. I don’t know why I don’t listen to myself more. And I don’t know why Skinny Beans still listen to me at all. We both should know better by now.

    Anyway, the day’s riding started out just fine. Being that we were two-up on Skinny Beans’ one motorcycle, we stayed to fire roads. The roads wound through the high-desert mountain forest like snakes through the grass. Save for the bountiful wildlife of rabbits—both bunnies and hares—plus wild horses and antelope—which we caught sight of—these ranges stand quiet and still this time of year. The overall landscape appears dark green, but to one familiar with the season’s subtleties, lacks the vestiges of tender grasses and wildflowers that decorate this area six months in either direction. Growing out of the stippled granitic sand, grow piñon and juniper trees, mormon’s tea and rabbit brush, and of course, sage bushes.

    In a stark comparison, when we pulled into Fish Lake Valley just outside of Dyer, Nevada, I noticed the landscape resembled the surface of Mars… or at least what I’ve seen in photographs as I’ve never actually been to the surface of Mars. Vegetation grows sparsely in the alkaline deposits of the valley floor and not at all on the strangely shaped rock formations and flood-carved mounds of dirt. The scenery looks like a cowboy oil painting, the sort hanging down at the coffee shop on Main Street—big blue sky above wide open valleys split apart by red rocky cliffs. The color scheme comes right from the earth itself… or maybe from one of those Easter-egg dying kits, the ones that look so vibrant in the bowl, but only produce muted pastel colors on the eggs themselves—maybe I shouldn’t use the brown eggs.

    Like everything on our beautiful planet, this martian land has a dark side to it. Hidden ahead on our hard-packed dirt road lay a trap, a trap patiently waiting for two weary travelers, one with the sun in his eyes and thoughts of a hot spring soaking in his mind, and the other staring at her goggle lenses. The trap surprised me the way a step into quicksand might. One moment, I could feel the washboard rippling through my body, and then suddenly the tires felt airborne, floating on nothing. Previous visions of my rope-towed motorcycle swapping side to side across the road became premonitory as I felt the back end of Skinny Beans’ motorcycle swing me side to side like I was a Raggedy Ann doll. Then we were horizontal, but still moving forward. My right foot stayed with the bike while it continued to slide down the road, and the rest of my body clawed at the ground like an anchor trying to stop a runaway train. I don’t know where Skinny Beans went.

    After the Mars dust settled, Skinny Beans picked Leo up off of me and then picked me up off of the ground. I say ground, but the word “ground” implies something solid, which there wasn’t. Underfoot was some sort of evil cloud of dry lubricant. I have enclosed a photograph of the evil dry lubricant swallowing my boot, so you can see for yourself just how deep the evil cloud of dry lubricant was. Skinny Beans said the evil dry lubricant was probably microcrystalline volcanic ash or an amorphous volcanic glass. To me, the evil dry lubricant seemed like nano-ballbearings, the kind used on a spaceship on account of it being so lightweight. I suspect NASA probably operates a nano-mine nearby, mining the nano-ballbearings and employing teeny tiny nano-bot miners. I bet they’re so adorably cute. I hope we see some. Oh my gosh! We might be stepping on them.

    “Skinny, Skinny! You’re stepping on them!” I squawked at Skinny.

    Skinny Beans and I squawked back and forth at each other for the next few minutes, expelling our shaky nervous energy from the crash until I was in tears and Skinny Beans was laughing. But once Skinny understood that he was stepping on the nano-bots, he carefully dragged me and Leo off to the side.

    I think Skinny might have bumped his head in the crash because he kept talking gibberish, asking me for my name and if I knew where we were and what day it was. Well, I told Skinny he should know my name by now, and I never know where we are, and judging by the light, it’s either November or January.

    Well, whatever that evil dry lubricant was made out of, it was slick as slug snot. I wanted crampons just to walk across the stuff. Well anyway, other than my right leg now being a bit longer, we weren’t hurt, so I thanked my lucky stars, which were starting to appear in the sky, twinkling and laughing at the mess the two of us had become. Skinny stared quietly into the sunset for several slow minutes.

    Hugs and kisses,
    Peanut

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    #31
  12. Wherever I may roam

    Wherever I may roam Mono cylindrical wanderer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Me: the Netherlands, Bike: Indonesia
    So glad I have found this tale as it unfolds, loved reading the previous letters to ma, she sure is lucky to have her Peanut send her all these wonderful stories!
    Hope you both manage to stay warm during the cold nights and don't forget to be mindful of those nano-bots, they seem to be active where you least expect them.
    #32
    liv2day likes this.
  13. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Safety Second!

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,305
    Location:
    Bellevue
    This is a brilliant report.

    I continue to be drawn in by the three layer long underwear concept. I can’t shake it. It has me baffled as did the Rubix Cube. I tried reading your post a second time, this time with my eyes open, (sorry). Still no go.

    My wife is now wondering why I am putting on three layers of clothes while reading my phone. I tell her it’s all in the name of science.
    #33
    Bunyip1260 likes this.
  14. Tim Seawel

    Tim Seawel n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2020
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    Mattawa, Washington
    Ah Peanut you never cease to amaze. :clap
    #34
  15. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    110
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    Dear Ma,

    We set up our meager one-bike “tramp camp” near the hot spring here in Fish Lake Valley. The hot spring is not only an oasis of water out here in the dry desert, but also an oasis of heat I have been reluctant to leave as the air has been cold enough to freeze the niblets off a brass monkey—one of Skinny Beans’ strange descriptions for temperature he’s been throwing around like chicken feed. Anyway, being that the hot spring sits in the low part of the valley where the cold air settles like riff raff around the railroad tracks, the temperature falls a fair bit below freezing each night. This same lazy air barely rises above freezing during the day. I shiver like a shaved poodle wearing a pink tutu even when inside our shelter, which is not surprising as it is a mesh summer tent that invites in the cold breeze the way Grammy took in stray cats. To weather the cold over the past two days, Skinny Beans and I have spent a fair bit of time huddled close together like spoons, either out exploring the area on his motorcycle or nestled close together in our sleeping bags, so much so that I’m starting to feel like one of those baby tree critters, and Skinny Beans is my mama. No offense to you, Ma.

    Speaking of spoons, we have taken to eating our meals inside of our tent on account of it probably being too cold for even grizzly bears to be out hunting for a couple of cold boney travelers to eat. Our tent is quite small like a straw-bale fort, and as such we don’t get much elbow space when we dine. This means in order to lift food to our mouths, we can’t hold our spoons the proper way—in our fists with a throttle grip and our elbows free to move around in empty space. Rather, we have to tuck our elbows in tight to our bodies and hold our spoons like elegant rich folks with the stem threaded between our fingers as if it were a writing pen. However, after a few meals with this constricted elbow-and-spoon technique—plus lots of dripped soup and missed shots of gruel—I have formed a suspicion that this fancy spoon-holding technique probably did not originally originate among rich folks as I had previously assumed. I now believe this awkward technique was born out of necessity among large families who were forced to hold their arms in on account of there being too many bodies and not enough elbow room at the family table. And I suspect that the rich folks—royalty and lords and such—still hold the stems of their spoons with a throttle-grip fist and their velvet elbows swinging comfortably around in the roomy air, ushering spoonfuls of vittles toward their open mouths.

    Despite the freezing air temperatures, the hot-spring water measures to be about 105 degrees F. When I asked Skinny Beans what the “F” stands for, he said “effin” as in “effin hot water.” Well, the effin hot water is heavily mineralized and rushes my humors and draws out swelling, which speeds the healing of my stretched leg and sore wrist. After my morning soak today, I climbed back into my feather sleeping sac and dozed off into a deep slumber. Skinny Beans didn’t bother to rouse me as he’s not too keen to leave our precious heat source, either. These winter days are as short as sprouts and take much of the fun out of being cold, for being cold in the dark of winter—unless one has a campfire, which we do not on account of this place being treeless like the surface of Mars—is not as much fun as being cold in the summer. Don’t ask me why, it’s just one of those strange perception things, I guess. Maybe we’ll press on tomorrow. I’m going in for another soak now.

    Bye for now,
    Your loving Peanut

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    #35
  16. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
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    2,609
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    @Alexa - damn! So many fantastic images, but the two quoted above are just stunning. Snow-capped mountains beyond the lake and that sunset are simply perfect desert images.

    I had to look up Fish Valley and had a laugh on what was returned when I found it - Fish Valley Hot Well...that's brilliant. Wish it wasn't so far south from my neighborhood as I have an affinity for hot springs; maybe I'll find my way down there one of these rides as I do enjoy 'em.

    "effin' hot water" :lol2 :lol2 :lol2

    Look forward to your next update, such a wonderful report to follow :D
    #36
  17. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    110
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Ma,

    We tried to leave Fish Lake Valley today. We truly did.

    After breakfast, we rolled up camp with arms flailing and feet stomping in a melee with the wind over who owned the napkins and plastic bags flying about. I watched Skinny Beans lash the bundles to his motorcycle’s flanks, demonstrating to him just how unhelpful a back-seat packer can be. In general, packing goes fairly quickly on account of not having brought half the barn. Skinny Beans politely pushed me aside and reminded me of my job to take photographs. Then when Skinny gave me the okay, I climbed into my roost behind him on the motorcycle—I will admit to you now that every time I must climb onto the bike’s rear seat, I feel a bit like a trained pet of some sort… like a ranch collie jumping into the back bed of a pickup truck. Anyway, I scurried up onto my perch, and we took off across the salt flats and up out of the valley that has been our home for the past few days.

    At Coyote Pass, we stopped to check straps and consult the oracle contained within Skinny Beans’ GPS thingie. Not far off the road, stood a sturdy stone cabin, staring back over the valley like a guardhouse, perhaps with the same yearning I felt after leaving the valley’s heat source. We found the door of the cabin to be open, well… more that the door was missing, so we stepped inside and out of the cold breeze for a spell. Around these parts, an open door probably means “come on in,” and so I figured a missing door must surely mean “come on in, poke around a bit and stay the night, if you like.” I set a hand onto my hip and looked about with pause. The place was a mess, like an abandoned barn full of nests and webs and shadows moving in the corners. But really, a decorator’s eye is all the place needs. A few furnishings, a bit of lace and two panes of glass would make the cabin fit to let for two bits a night. The cactus plant growing out of the roof, however, made me suspect that whoever owns the cabin maybe doesn’t get too many renters.

    Dropping down the other side of Coyote Pass, I got to thinking about Nevada, the land I call “home,” and her many mountains. Did you know Nevada has almost 300 mountain ranges? Skinny Beans and I don’t readily share this fact; we just hang our heads and kick the dirt when folks call Nevada a wasteland. But she’s not at all. Nevada is humble, yet strong. Sure, she’s a bit homely in places, but mostly she’s just rugged. She’s like the one girl the neighborhood boys let into their treefort—and not just out of a curious desire to smell a girl up close, but rather because she’s a good pal… and won’t snitch.

    Yes, Nevada has much reason to hold her head high. Why, she hosts part of the Sierra Nevada, so richly flowered with alpine meadows and awash with crystal clear lakes that some folks say her grandeur rivals that of the Swiss Alps—or so I’ve heard. I will send you a jugful of Sierra water along with Uncle Buck next time he visits you, so you can taste for yourself just how wonderful the place is. My next favorite range is the Toiyabe Range, which reminds me of the French Pyrenees, complete with tender green hills salted with snowy white sheep—at least, that’s what the photographs show as I’ve never actually been to the Pyrenees myself. My other second-favorite range lies outside the town of Jarbidge. From the Jarbidge jailhouse, the steep mountain slopes form jagged ramparts, but a ride up into the highlands offers visitors swelling bowls of grasslands, somewhat similar to South America’s Andes—or at least like the photographs I’ve seen. Giant Wheeler Peak and its tiny glacier glitter in the moonlight like a night in the Himalayas might. And plateaus around Boundary Peak roast so colorfully in the sun, I’d swear I was atop Haleakala in Maui—one place my own two eyes have been. True, most Nevada ranges are just plain high-desert ridges, but to those curious where a rabbit trail might lead, treasures always appear in them… like the desert bighorn sheep we saw yesterday—photograph included below.

    Indeed, the Nevada landscape is not for everyone. It’s not always the sort of scenery that takes my breath away at first glance, or even takes my attention away from whatever it is I’m focused on. It’s more the type of beauty that reveals itself only when I place my whole attention onto it, sometimes for several moments before I can see past its dusty veil of beige and grey. Then the shy splendor of the desert steps out of its shell. The gentle slope of an amber hill stretches away like a tanned athletic thigh. A rocky ridge scratches at the sky with its serrated points, an iconic skyline worth staring at for hours. The colors here are soft, muted, but warmly reflect the sun’s light and warmth toward me in golden hues of corn. And although scarce, water does exist in the desert: Silty hot springs on valley floors. Trickling mountain springs full of watercress and lined with cottonwood trees. Brown rivers flowing silently toward terminal lakes too salty to swim in.

    The road down from Coyote Pass swung back and forth, playfully sailing across the east face of the range and giving us a panoramic view of the next valley before dropping us down to the bob-wired edge of Silver Peak. Apparently, folks live in the dusty town of Silver Peak and operate the lithium mine there, but we caught neither sight nor sign of any living souls. Most likely, its quiet ghostly presence was on account of the wind, and the swirls of dust kicked up in the streets, and the wall of dust approaching in the distance like a herd of elephants marching behind frolicking young calves.

    Skinny Beans pointed at the dust. I pointed west toward the hot spring. He turned our wheels and headed us back over Coyote Pass to the spot we’ve been trying to leave for days. With the ill-mannered wind nosing through our stuff again, we hastily unrolled our camp and took shelter inside the tent. The wind banged against the tent fly, pushing and pulling the tent walls so relentlessly, I thought us in a ship swaying on squall-tossed waves. Pebbles battered the nylon like rapid-fire hail. Dust hung in the air, swaying before our goggled eyes. Covered head to tail in our sleeping bags like giant bunting-wrapped babies, Skinny Beans and I ate cold soup out of a can with a spoon carved from a carrot. We tried to play cards, but stiff fingers can’t shuffle, so we just lay there propped up against our helmets, listening in the dark to the dry violent desert.

    Hugs and kisses,
    Peanut

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    #37
  18. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    @Alexa - you've written some excellent prose in multiple reports, but I have to say I believe this post deserves some type of special recognition. I wish I had writing skills that came within a tenth of what you achieve in these reports, it truly is something incredible. The landscape and your adventures come alive.

    Being completely selfish...I hope the wider general public thinks of Vegas when they think of Nevada; not the immeasurable beauty you've captured in your travels thus far. I have only experienced a tiny sliver of what NV offers riders, but I look forward to explore more and more since it's my southerly neighbor.

    Thank you for keeping this going, I look forward to the next update. And I really think this post - 41570514 - needs some sort of special attention. Simply outstanding.
    #38
    Bunyip1260, Davidprej and jathkajoe like this.
  19. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    110
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Ma,

    Skinny Beans and I spent the morning cooking ourselves in the hot spring like a couple of bobbing brussel sprouts. I felt loath to bring the subject up, but eventually, I admitted to Skinny Beans my fading hope of making it all the way to the Grand Canyon and beyond. The short winter days cast a tepid tone on a motorcycle camping trip that—just between you and me—isn’t really my cup of hot cocoa, so to speak. Plus it’s colder than cream from a frozen cow out here. I’m not even sure a thick bottle of strong spirits could coax me through; although, I am fond of Tequila once in a while.

    Dyer, Nevada is one of those tiny towns that makes my mind ponder its origin for miles after visiting as was the case today when we went in for supplies. The town is bigger than a one-shop town—that one shop usually being just a post office. And it’s bigger than a two-shop town—a post office plus a saloon. Dyer is a three-shop town with a post office, saloon and a gasoline market. We refueled the motorcycle’s gas tanks, drove the bike a few feet to the market and went inside.

    I have noted that wooden sidewalks aren’t always an indication that the market will stock the vittles Skinny Beans and I desire. We trolled down the waist-high aisles and then back again... just in case foods like canned mandarins looked any tastier from a different angle. In the end, we stocked up on the same staples available at all such outposts: a tin of fried beans, a jar of tomato salsa and a plastic sack of fried corn chips; half a loaf of Jewish rye bread (that’s just how they’re sold) and a block of orange cheese; plus a paper sack of onions and bell peppers and a sack of Granny Smith apples. This forms our customary small-town diet. I sure would love some bone marrow on my Jewish rye, but for some reason, that’s just hard to come by in some towns.

    On the ride back to our camp, we saw a cemetery. Before even noticing the few crosses and tombstones sticking crooked up out of the sand, I noticed the flowers. Seemed each grave site had a bouquet of colorful blossoms—peculiar colors, though, like daisies drunk on egg dye. The flowers made me wonder what disaster had caused so many folks to die all at once, but as we parked and walked closer, I could see that the flowers had a strange unearthly appearance to them, sort of like weathered plastic toys in a sandbox, which turns out, was on account of the flowers also being made out of plastic—some sort of indestructible plastic fabric—and buried halfway up their stems in sand. I guess fresh flowers just wouldn’t last too long out here in the desert extremes with the same endurance as the fake flowers… some since the late 1800s. Plus the local critters probably eat any fresh flowers placed on graves before the petals even have a chance to wilt let alone shrivel up and blow away. I picture bunny couples dressed up in top hats and gowns, arriving arm in arm for a full-moon gala event. The bunnies gorge on fresh exotic blossoms of roses and lilies and then honor the rabbit god on the moon. They call this festive cemetery party a “celebration of life” and dance all the night long.

    Skinny Beans and I walked around among the headstones, morbidly calculating folk’s ages when death had taken them, searching for the oldest and youngest we could find in some sort of cemetery ritual that made me grateful to have reached a higher age than the lowest and hopeful to reach at least as high as the highest. Death has touched my life in many ways, but still the concept of death eludes me. I can’t fathom my own death any more than I can fathom what it would be like to be a dolphin. Is death good? Or is it bad? Or is it simply nothing? I collected an armful of dusty fabric flowers that had blown away and gotten stuck in the bob-wire fence and then redistributed them to the empty grave sites, wondering about each person’s story. As we rode away back toward our camp, the heavy stone-dust of the cemetery blew off, leaving me keenly aware of how riding (riding anything, really) enhances the experience of being alive.

    Big hugs,
    Peanut

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    #39
  20. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,609
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Wonderful update @Alexa; Dyer sounds like a great little town (even if it's lacking on the bone marrow front :D :D).

    Not sure if you could answer this in your next letter to Ma, but curious if the first shot is showing us frost on the plants or if it's salt.

    And that last shot of Leo with the sunset (rise?) - wow. Stunning.
    #40