Sunday, July 19, 2009

Border to Border Ride Day Four

Day Four

Start – Ely, NV 8:30am

End – Ketchum, ID 5:35pm

Tired. Long day today. Not the longest miles-wise, but emotionally the longest thus far. Today felt like a grind. And it started right away.

Today we rode north. That’s all. Point the bikes north and roll on the throttle. All highway, which is how we like it (Ed. Note: As opposed to freeway. We really would prefer canyons. But you need mountains for that. Check out a map of southern Idaho.). Freeway is faster, but if we wanted to get to Canada quick we’d fly. So today was nearly all done on a two lane road. Today was also Construction Day, apparently. Three times we encountered orange flags reading One Lane Ahead. The first was the worst. We had barely started, maybe 50 miles in, and we were stopped. We sat around for ten or fifteen minutes. Long enough to turn off the bikes, get off, stretch, and take some pictures. And dance to Papa Rocket’s radio in the middle of the road. (Ed. Note: The leather-clad marauding horde, here for the amusement of cagers in traffic.)

When we finally got going again the chill wind woke us up pretty good. But it was still straight, flat, and boring. 141 miles of straight, flat, and boring. Amazingly straight, flat, and boring. Mind-numbingly straight, flat, and boring. Our first real stop was two hours later, at 10:30am. We sat at that huge truck stop for an hour resting, moving around, being off the bikes. That was the hardest stretch so far, because the cold can zap you just as bad as the heat (shivering takes a lot of energy, right Too Good?) and it was BORING. Stayed check in for all of it though, I’m living every mile of this trip.

The rest of the day was, for the most part, short hops interrupted by short breaks. We stopped at Cactus Pete’s in Jackpot, NV for lunch, the last possible stop in Nevada. Seriouslys. Papa Rocket handed out gambling money (Ed. Note: ie “money to be thrown at the nearest machine and waved at as it disappeared”), which we all promptly lost. I lost last night too. I hate gambling. Stitches and Too Good had never gambled before. They were not impressed.

Speaking of Too Good, today he isn’t living up to his name. He woke up feeling crappy and spent the whole day ick. This it’s allergies. Hope so. (Ed. Note: WRONG!) Be bad if he was sick. He passed out as soon as we hit Ketchum.

From Jackpot it was two seconds over the border to Idaho. New state for all of us. And in a matter of miles the scenery flattened out and everything got real rural real fast. Idaho is just as nothing-filled as Nevada. Utah is by far the prettiest as of yet, though upcountry Idaho, where we are now, is awfully nice. But southern Idaho…not so much. At some point, when still in the southern part of the state, we stopped for gas in Twin Falls, ID, on the outskirts of town. The wayoutskirts. We’re talking rural here folks. Farmland. We hung out for a bit there so Not Too Good could let the Claritin work its magic. Watching all the people come and go, and being watched by those same people, I have never felt come conspicuous. It was an intense feeling. Very much a, “Ya’ll ain’t from ‘round here,” vibe coming from everyone. I’m sure they’re nice Republicans, but damn. Don’t think I’m coming back.

The ride from Twin Falls to Ketchum was more of the same. Straight and flat with the rare, “Oh look! A gentle curve! Aww, all done.” And I’m talking flat. Curve of the Earth flat. Cows for miles. And the flatness was trippy because we were heading due north, our bikes eating up the miles. And slowly on the horizon, just below the gently brush-stroked clouds, a mountain range appeared. Over the miles it grew, seeming never closer, just bigger. Then we were climbing. Suddenly, via slight uphill grades, we rode up into the once-distant mountains. Flat nothing gave way to lush green trees.

To be fair, as we were climbing we did pass one cool thing – a lava rock field. About a half mile long stretch of dark volcanic rock marring the brown-green landscape. Pretty and familiar for s islanders.

Ketchum, ID is gorgeous, a small mountain town that is really a ski-haven in the winter. Glas we’re here in the summer. Still, chilly. And for about two hours, until we ate, the altitude kicked my ass. Drinking lots of water now and feeling better. (Ed. Note: Maybe it was in my head, I dunno. We weren’t that high. But I sure felt short of breath and sick for a while.)

Today was our Wall Day I think. Being from where we are, there’s no way to train for this many miles, this much variety. The three of us, Stitches, Not Too Good, and I, all were dragging ass at the casino earlier today. Two of us are feeling better now though (Ed. Note: though one of us not for long). I just rant the local QuickyMart to grab some off-brand Nyquil to fix Sidekick up. The teens of Ketchum are out tonight, stocking up on Monsters and Red Bull. Why? Transformers midnight showing, dude! (Ed. Note: Too Good had been talking for weeks about how he was going to see Transformers the day it came out no matter where we were. Now he was knocked out, whimpering in his sleep. This only makes me giggle a little.)

Must shower and sleep. Long day tomorrow.

343 miles today

1566 miles total


  1. Doug this is so cool! Are these the entries you wrote down during your trip? So cool to hear the details (I think your crew was a little too tired to spill the details of the trip the night we saw you). And I am so excited for you and Angela!

    And Megran?!?! So cool!!

  2. Yeah, I was keeping the journal each night after we stopped, before I went to sleep.