We packed up in Ely and headed out without breakfast, figuring we would get something along the way. On our planning trip earlier this year I got a look at Blake in his armored underwear. Sensing that he was going to morph into some kind of superhero, I dubbed him “Bug Boy”. He’s still not sure what his superpower is going to be though. Maybe he’ll learn how to fly through the air like a bug. Seeing as he doesn’t have wings, or even a cape, it could be a disasterously short flight.
As we headed towards Osceola I recognized the road. On our trip in 1992 we all saw this road from the previous mountain range. Since twisty roads in Nevada are far and few between, for miles we could see this road going over the mountains, knowing that it would be a welcome diversion from the endless, boring flat highway that makes up most of Hwy 50. When we finally got there we were all heartbroken to find that Hwy 50 skirted the mountain range, and continued on a flat path around it. But this trip we had the right equipment for the road so we headed up and over instead of around.
The trip to Osceola was our first off-road excursion on the trip. It was great knowing that we were using the KLRs for their intended use, back road exploration. The road up to Osceola was a very easy gravel ride. There isn’t much left in the town itself other than the remains of the stone general store. But the most interesting spot photographically was an old dump truck whose rusted yellow paint blended well with the local sagebrush that was in bloom.
The backside of the Osceola road was pretty steep so we stopped and aired down the tires a bit. I took a few pictures of Blake descending the curvy road, and then took off to catch up with him.
A short time later we rejoined Hwy 50, and pulled off to pump up the tires back to street pressure. We then got back on the road with the intention of riding for an hour or so before stopping for breakfast. But less than 20 miles later Blake was pulling over at a cafe in Baker. I asked him if we really needed to stop here, and I got a very emphatic “Yes!” I took this as a sign to just shut up and obey so I parked the bike and followed Blake into the Lectrolux Cafe.
Blake explained how he had seen this cafe profiled on the Food Network and he had to check it out. I’m realizing at this point that Blake and I are very different. He watches the Food Channel. He likes gourmet food. Me, I’m your basic meat and potatoes kind of guy. The kind that doesn’t have any criticism of English cooking.
I decide to use the restroom and while I’m sitting there doing my business, I notice a shop vac in the corner. Later I mention to the owner that it’s ironic that the real work in the Lectrolux Cafe gets done by a shop vac. This seems to go over the owner’s head, and once it’s explained it’s not even funny.
So we have a nice breakfast of sourdough French Toast, and admire the owner’s photographs on the walls. He tries to sell me some, but has no better luck selling me a photo than I do when photographers visit my studio. It seems we all have our walls covered with our own work.
Shortly after leaving Baker and the Lectrolux Cafe behind we hit our next state, Utah. I always like it when I get more than one state away from California when traveling on the motorcycle. If you’re just one state away, it looks like maybe you’re just on a day ride and you crossed the border. But two or more states under your belt, now you’re traveling. Conversations with locals seem to pick up at every stop because now it’s really apparent you’re having more fun than they are.
Entering Utah also put us on Hwy 21, which actually made Hwy 50 seem exciting. During one long straight stretch I counted the number of vehicles that passed us going the other direction. During this 75 mile stretch where I barely needed to turn the handle bars, I counted only 20 vehicles going the other direction.
In this huge flat desert valley I was struck by something I could see in the distance. Yes, it was a tree! Not a forest or even a small group of trees, but just one solitary tree. That’s how desolate it was, one tree in 75 miles. Apparently planted there by some hopeless rancher who took pity on his cows and decided to provide them some desperately needed shade.
We also found a short diversion visiting the ghost town of Frisco. We rode up to get a view of the charcoal ovens, and then made our way over to an old shed where outside a boiler was slowly returning to the raw iron from which it was made. I noted the lettering on the panel that the “instructions are inside” but when Blake opened up the cabinet I could see that they had previously been pilfered. Our hopes to get this boiler running and get Frisco back on its feet were dashed.
We reluctantly headed back on Hwy 21 to continue our eastward trek. We passed through the town of Beaver where I noticed a totally rural sign, warning that this was an ATV Crossing area. It must be legal in Utah to drive your ATV on streets because I saw people using them everywhere for local transportation. Why not? They get better gas mileage than your standard SUV.
Leaving Beaver we took Hwy 153 that goes up and over the Tushar Mountains. This was a pretty steep and winding road at times, with the eastern side being a gravel road. That didn’t stop several people from towing up some of the most monsterous travel trailers that you will see on the road. Holy cow! How can that be a relaxing vacation?
We followed 153 to the appropriately named town of Junction, where we switched to 89 and then shortly thereafter diverted onto 62. At this point we were starting see that the storm that we passed earlier in the day was threatening to overtake us so we kept riding. As 62 turned north it flattened out and ran in a valley where we could watch thunderstorms developing on both the left and right of us.
At one point we passed a small pasture with two long horns grazing. Blake mentioned that they were very rare, expensive cattle. I forget the details of the breed, but all I can think is that somewhere out there in Texas there is a Cadillac waiting for the proper adornment.
As the storm got closer and closer and the skies got darker and darker, I also remembered something from earlier in the day. We lost an hour crossing into Utah, and it’s an hour later than I thought it was. Now I was worried that we were going to get wet, in the dark, before we got to our planned stop. That’s if we didn’t get electrocuted first. I dialed my throttle back a little more, trying to make the best time I could.
That’s when Blake sees these beautiful God’s Rays. I saw them too and at that point I was more than happy to watch them while going 75mph. Blake figured me being the photographer, I would probably like to stop and take photos of the scene. I really wanted to keep going, but seeing we were already stopped I unloaded the camera equipment and started setting up. I didn’t finish taking the photos before it started raining on us again. Just didn’t pay to stop. Got to keep going to stay ahead of the storm.
At the junction of 24 we take that east and ride down to Bicknell, where we end up camping at Sunglow campground. We had burritos for dinner which made Blake happy since this was closer to cooking than just heating up a can of pork and beans. Seemed inefficient to me though. We ended up throwing away a half pound of beef, half a package of tortillas, half a can of refries and half a bag of cheese. A refrigerator or even an ice chest would have been great, as then we could have finished everything off at breakfast.
We went to sleep with the rain fly on due to the weather. It got cold during the evening, but even so I slept pretty good. The campground was in a real scenic spot and I was looking forward to starting through the real scenic part of the trip.