The only thing about riding a bike from Portland to Phoenix is that in-between there is something called... NEVADA.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sandstorms, Ghost Towns, and Riding into Orion's Belt

Thank you once again to John, Sheri, and Sky for hosting us on such short notice in Hawthorne! The pancake and bacon breakfast got us through the worst of the day!

After a picturesque roll through the town of Hawthorne heading East we saw in the distance our imminent trial. Fierce South winds, kicking up sand and requiring a 20° lean to stay on the shoulder. We fought on, flanked on either side by munitions bunkers, until we reached brief shelter among the hills.

Leaving the calm we pressed on along the painfully straight and horribly windy road to Luning rest area for more than 10 miles. Drained from the effort we collapsed to eat honey, peanut butter sugar-cookies. Fearing the headwind our senses heightened in search of a new friend - one with a pickup truck.

Soon he arrived, eyeing us and our bikes curiously, headed our direction. Though it was only 18 miles to the junction where he turned off for Bishop, Palmer Oron got us through the headwind. The glorious lack of headwind was as good as a tailwind pushing us over the Esmeralda County Line and up Redlich Pass.

Then we dropped. Swooping into the alkaline valley towards the ghost town of Coaldale. We met a curious shrub,  still covered in dried flower petals whose roasty, musky scent was unlike anything we had smelled. Pressing on we reached Coaldale at sunset and wandered around its abandoned,  derelict structures. Not wanting to spend the night we had a late lunch and rode on under the stars.

Traffic was low and the moonlight bright. Heading East Orion's Belt welcomed us into the twilight sands. We laid our heads to rest under the rich blanket of stars, surrounded by sagebrush, 20 miles from Tonopah.


  1. Good pictures, like that landscape. Martianesque.

  2. I was wondering how you two would manage through those strong headwinds. The blowing sand sounds horrible. Thank you Palmer for giving them a lift! Enjoying the pictures, and the updates are fun to read,(I start with a sigh of relief, then finish with a smile).

  3. Wow! I am continually amazed by your adventure! Thanks indeed to Palmer! And to John, Sheri, & Sky ;) Mmmm pancakes & bacon, yum! Did you find out what the curious bush was? Can't say I blame you for not wanting to spend the night in a "ghost" town! Spooky! Sleeping under the stars sounds nice.
    Looking forward to the next post :)

  4. Another day of adventure! Thanks also to Palmer for the ride. I enjoy the posts and the pictures although reading them I agree with "start with a sigh of relief, then finish with a smile".