Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Road Into Desolation and Beauty, Day 1

Lonely roads that meander through deserts always seem to stir my interest. So dry and so arid, it almost seems lifeless. Few ever want to come here.

I know that something so much as a flat tire could bring about my demise, not because I might lose control of the motorcycle, but because being stranded in such desolation, under 100+ degree temperatures, can be fatal.

Maybe there's a fascination with being so close to death. Maybe it's tempting Fate that draws me in? Somehow the character of this place seems so comforting to me.

The reddish hues of earth found in the hills and canyons around Lake Mead, NV and the nearby Valley of Fire State Park, paints the desert in a different light. Dabs of gray-green sage and chaparral, and a broad brushes of blue skies create a bold contrast to what is otherwise a hot, dry, rocky landscape.

State Highway 169 plots a relaxing but entertaining course through canyons and over hills offering easy twisties along smooth pavement. A sign post up ahead with the number "30" warns me of a more sharp curve coming up. I take notice and slow the ST1300 down to 60mph, but realize I could've done 70.

Highway 169 through Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV

But I'm not disappointed.

Thinking about my life may seem monotonous at other times, but this time something about the desert and this relaxing ride helps me sort stuff out in a productive way. A place such as this is not so much lonely as it is solitary, and Highway 169 being an easy ride, doesn't demand much of my focus.

But I didn't set out on this ride to think. Rather, I wanted to feel. Feel what's inside me. To feel good about being me, and not having to feel guilty, or responsible anymore.

Eventually, the highway lead me into a town called Overton. At 109 degrees F that afternoon, Overton appeared lifeless too.

I found a dive called "Sportsman's Bar". I decided to stop there for a couple of cold ones. A few people at the bar took notice of me walking in, and then immediately resumed their attention.

"What will you have?" the bartender asked.

"Give me something cold and wet." I answered.

"I'll bring you my ex-wife" he replied.

We had a good conversation after that.

Sportsman's Bar in Overton, NV

Originally, I thought about heading to Zion National Park afterwards and camping out for the night. But I found the weather forecast in Zion to be 100+ degrees F as well, with mid-80s being the coldest overnight. I just didn't want to sleep in a tent under those conditions.

So, I opted to spend the night tonight at Virgin River Hotel & Casino in Mesquite, NV. $25.00 rooms with air conditioning sounded too good to pass up.

Ah! The joys of not planning ahead.

4 comments:

  1. Loved every part of this, from the feeling of riding, to the shots, to the random friends we meet along our journeys on two wheels, and finally, the unplanned surprises we come across around the next corner.

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  2. Nice post, you find the funniest characters on the road. I love Utah and Nevada, I love the long roads that seem to go on forever. Last year I rode through Hwy 50 across Nevada (loneliest road in America) it was 111 F and mostly deserted, it was simply amazing. I wish I had the time to go back.

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  3. I forgot to mention, the pictures are stunning and I'm glad you upload them in a big size. Thanks

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  4. I love how you present your post. I would love to ride on the places that you've been. The pictures are so amazing!It can trigger a sudden desire to hop into your bike and to go to these places!

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)