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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

From the Wild West to California Cool ...

Middlegate Junction, NV to Crowley Lake, CA / Rainbow Tarns - 182 miles.

Oh boy, my gold digger friend was knocking at the door as promised at 6 to wake me up - hadn't slept too well as the archaic AC had been rumbling all night and was freezing cold. The weather temperatures are still soaring to records never before seen!
Open the old shutters in this cabin and was welcomed by bright sun and blue skies. 'hey the coffees already on the stove' he called and I pulled my biking jeans on and wanted to get on with the day.
Days like this are a rarity, middle of nowhere but map prepped, and ready to load the bike and hit the road.
Nevada seems to be an enormous place and I wasn't sure again when I was going to be able to get gas - we're so spoilt in the UK - stations every couple of hundred yards that we very rarely totally top up - here is the total opposite - top up when you can!
This wasn't going to be a 4th time of the trip panicking for fuel but I knew I'd chosen a route that was very isolated down Rte 361 - amazing I reached Gabbs 40 miles into the route and had been told that although the small gas station down a side road would be closed, I could walk across the street to the coffee shop and they'd open the pump for me - and that they did - in fact they take it in turns with the paper shop who opens it up in the afternoon - community spirit!
Petrified Summit soared to over 6000 ft and then passed into the quirky Mina town with funky gas station, a boat turned into a restaurant as the authorities wouldn't allow the owner to breed river lobster and a desert 'Girls House' for the roaming traveller and cowboy - that's Nevada, a very free state.
The landscape quickly changed to soaring mountain peaks with Boundary Peak between NV and CA @ 13141 ft being the tallest.
All of a sudden thought I was entering passport control but it was something to do with California's food and agriculture laws - funny I had my GoPro on at the time when the lady was asking me questions on what I was bringing into California - nothing of much interest! So she didn't bother to search as didn't think much would be in the panniers! Looking for what?
Agriculturally green irrigated fields lined the mountain valley entering Bishop and up Rte 395 to my next stop over next to Mono Lake- beautiful fishing lake/tarn place in the hills.
Spent afternoon driving to lake to maybe doing canoeing tomorrow - due to my years rowing the boat club captain offered me to use a boat tomorrow - cool, and up into the mountains to organise some horse riding - yippee- and not forgetting driving to the nearest half decent place for buying food of over 12 miles each way in Mammoth Lakes.
Great hillside house with a kitchen I can stock the good healthy food and some excellent Californian wine - that's what I call the good life then savouring the wine in a hammock overlooking the tarns and drinking further with the hosts.
California here we come! Or rather, here I am!
This is what it's like here from Gary Brechin - 'it's a place where the grand processions make you acutely aware of being alive on the planet. You watch the passage of the moon, sun and stars over the knife-edged horizons, and the jagged shadows of evening reaching beyond the lake into Nevada and the sky beyond. You watch the birds in their arrivals, departures and intricate ceremonies and stalking grace, and you take comfort from such order and cyclical permanence.'

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