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Well, well, we’ve been on the road for a week now and we’re taking a rest day in Tonopah. NV, known as the Queen Of The Silver Camps.  Tonopah is pretty darn quiet these days, but we met a heck of a nice fellow running a used bookshop (Whitney’s Bookshelf) in the downtown area.

I’ve got to tell you, self-supported touring is HARD work.  Especially through mountain areas – holey moley, it will humble you, and humble you ALL the way!  Going through Yosemite was awe inspiring on account of the magestic scenery and the awe that the terrain knocks into you…The road through appears to basically be an old logging road that was later widened and paved obeys the lay of the land pretty strictly – it’s not terraced or graded especially and you can find yourself climbing literally for hours.  Though the trip through the San Joaquin valley was no freakin’ joke either.  Hot ain’t a strong enough word for it, and the climbing there was enough to wring me out completely.  It was the combination of 95F heat, no breeze, and a lot of climbing that just knocked all the starch out of me – that was literally the hardest day of riding I have EVER experienced.  I think everything will be better than the day we went from Merced to Mariposa.

Riding like this – all day pedalling from early morning to late afternoon gives you a lot of time to think.  One of the thoughts I have had is that I normally don’t realize how very comfortable I am.  At home, if I’m cold, I can just go to my dresser and get an extra sweater.  I can make whatever I want for dinner without hardly thinking about it.  I can use the bathroom whenever I need to (and don’t have to worry about passing traffic!)  I realized how much I take for granted the comforts and conveniences of home – and how on the road, you adapt to a different standard of comfort.  You also learn to deal with certain inconveniences or discomforts, from saddlesores to a steady diet of peanut butter sandwiches because the climate is too dry to safely use a camp stove. 

No cell-phone reception is another challenge I never thought about.  I don’t use my phone much on a regular basis, and didn’t anticipate needing it much on the trip, but I wanted to have it for just-in-case, and also to check in with our respective parents as they want to know what we’re up to and tend to worry.  Sadly, because I had no reception not long after we left the bay area, I did not learn until a week after the fact that my grandfather had passed away. 

We left from near Santa Cruz (Ben Lomond) where my Aunt Debby & Uncle Danny live on 9-24-08.  The day before, we’d been hanging out with my relatives there – two of my cousins are temporarily bunking up with Debby & Danny as their folks prepare a move to the bay area, and we went out to dinner with them, my aunt Sylvia, Debby & Danny, and Grandpa the night before we took off.  The morning before we left, we had coffee with Grandpa, and he decided that he was going to drive back to his own house north of Sacramento.  We said our “goodbyes” to Grandpa that morning, and he headed out, remarking that he had to stop at the grocery on his way home and that he didn’t want to get in too late.  Apparently, he got back home just fine, went to bed that night, and passed in his sleep.  He was so terribly lonely up there on the hill after Grandma had died – it completely took all of the wind out of his sails.  I think he was ready to go, and this is the most peaceful way it could have happened.

We will be covering some serious desert miles in the next couple of weeks.  We’ve changed our originally-intended route.  We had planned to go to the Grand Canyon, but after the schooling we got in the Sierras, we’ve decided that a police of excessive-mountain avoidance is the best approach.  We’re going to be cutting through AZ & NM and heading up toward the TX panhandle.  I think we’re both going to be a lot more comfortable with the terrain, facilities, and general lay of the land once we hit Oklahoma – it’s going to be a while before we’re in OK, but I must day, the desert areas are a little worrying.  There’s a shocking lot of nothing out here.  Tomorrow’s going to be a long pull through some desolate land – just as yesterday was.  I may do a short video of a 360 view of the landscape to try to illustrate just how much unnervingly open and empty land there is – I thought I was okay with “remote” having grown up in the high plains of northwestern NE, but this is a whole greater degree of uninhabited. 

Just as it will be nice to get back into more inhabited and habitable countryside, it will probably shave off a bit of the feeling of being a foriegner in my own country.  I really realize how far from home I am right now!  I had a bout of homesickness the other day, missing my friends, the cats, Ruby, our in-home library (I was seriously craving one of my Sandman graphic novels!) and just being able to putter around town on my singlespeed with no weighty encumbrances.  This trip…it’s an epic adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.  It’s a personal goal I’ve long held and a childhood dream being realised, but it’s also not in the least bit easy.  I’m glad I am getting to do it, but I must admit that there are times that I do miss the comforts of home.  I think I will better appreciate all of the benefits of good ol’ KC once I return!

Goodness knows where I’ll be or when I’ll be updating next, but until then, PEACE!  ♥

3 Responses to “Hello from Tonopah, NV!”

  1. themis says:

    Oh wow, I am awed by your adventure. And sorry to hear of the loss of your grandfather.

    There was a recent thread where people back east were trying to say that there were remote sections of their part of the country, like some corner of Maine, or a few sections of the Appalachian Trail that was still pretty pristine, and I thought, but I couldn’t really say — no. Just no, you don’t know remote the way we do here. I spent a week in the Nevada desert once where planes dropped supplies to us, because there were no roads, no other way in but horses and feet. It’s desolate on a different scale than easterners are used to.

    If you have need of civilization or a rest, swing south to Phoenix, I’ll take care of you/put you up.

  2. planetmort says:

    I am in awe. *That* is some serious riding, my friend. When you’re all done, you MUST post pictures an a map of your route!

  3. Nora Charles says:

    Fahrv, your trip sounds so awesome! Belated congratulations on your nuptials, and best wishes for the rest of your trip. I smooch you and your dude!

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