Know what’s weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything’s different.
Escaping the Reno metro area (and earning Bonus Miles for taking an alternate route*), Ulrich and I motored east on Lonely Highway 50. Middlegate was to be our base while we visited the Navy’s electronic bombing range in nearby Dixie Valley.
A rainstorm had preceded us; dirt roads in its wake would be impassable for…days. We had two.
But the porous soil drinks rain almost as fast as it falls, and so we kept our date with surplus targets in Dixie on our second day there.
Better yet, we met Martin, from Switzerland, who was walking across America. We stayed a night in the Rawhide House (and got the door mostly closed). Ate some good food (Martin commented that, in America, “everyone can cook.”)
Listened to Paul Smith sing the blues. Felt unhurried, and Welcome.
Places like this used to be called oases. This one still is.
*When asking for directions, remember: the person(s) you query may have moved there five days prior to your arrival. But they won’t tell you that. And do yourself a favor: don’t use an outdated map.
After twenty-four days and
six seven Western states, I came home a few nights ago, the last miles cloaked in classic Oregon fog ‘n rain. What a great trip! My friend Ulrich and I enjoyed front row Toyota seats to landscapes that changed daily. We stopped in towns that cling to life by a thread, and in busted ones that couldn’t. I think we saw every color of rock and bush and tree and rusted automobile, all of them on a wide, bright screen.
When we needed them, kind people saved the day with their music and stories, and character. We never had a bad day.
On our next-to-last evening we stayed in a back room at a haunted bar in Goldfield, Nevada. That’s where I met Dave, a regular customer and genuinely friendly fellow who is rumored to be the favorite in the next mayoral election. Dave also happens to be a Basset hound, but that’s beside the point.
Until that night I’d kept The News at bay—only a couple of sports pages and an accidental glance at a TV had sullied that—and I can tell you, I traveled with a clearer mind and heart. But Dave’s motives were quickly and utterly convincing—how can there ever be scandal or rumors when a candidate’s only desires are sleep, pizza crusts, and affection? A few rubs of Dave’s big soft ears sealed the deal for me.
You can bet I’ll hesitate a second or two when I mark my ballot.
I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons. —Will Rogers
Evening light caresses Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.
The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding. —Francis Bacon