So where were we? Oh yeah, worst sleep I’ve had yet.
As it turned out the Burning Man crowd was still on it’s way into town when I went to bed and the motel erupted with noise at about 1 am; which didn’t seem to stop until about 3 am. I could hear the old lady from the front desk showing people to their rooms, asking everyone if they were coming from Burning Man. Which was sort of hilarious because I think it’s pretty obvious who’s been at Burning Man. I’ve become sort of lame during this trip though; when I camp I go to bed when it gets dark, when I’m in a motel it’s when I get tired, which is like 9:30.
I woke up the next morning, got my gear together and headed to the gas station across the street. There was a line of RVs waiting to fill up that stretched out onto the road and, of course, in true TAT form the station was down to only one pump. Apparently the principles of gift giving and community that are considered “sacred” by Burners doesn’t extend beyond the gates of Burning Man because no one seemed willing to just let me top off the last gallon of my tiny tank and be on my way. One guy even said it had to suck having to wait for all of these RVs to fill up just to top off my tiny tank. Yea man, it kind of does…
A few minutes later a guy came walking through the parking lot and tipped me off to another gas station about a half mile up the road; which still had a line but at least there were more pumps. This gas station’s parking lot had a lot more locals looking less than thrilled with all the hippies hanging out in their town. I’d waited a half hour at the first station but only about 10 minutes at the second one. I finally got on the road about 10.
The vibe in California is infinitely cooler; even in a remote town in the desert. I was sort of sad to leave it and head back to Oregon; especially since it appeared I was heading to a pretty tiny town.
I thought about tackling two legs of the trail that day but I had read and heard only bad things about the town I’d end up in, McDermitt. This section was kind of short; 126 miles but I would go through three states. I was going to leave California, cut off the northwest corner of Nevada and end in Oregon. The trail started about 10 miles outside of Cedarville at the CA-NV state-line where the road instantly changed from beautiful pavement to gravel. It was really my first day in the open desert and the scenery had changed dramatically:
I passed a few guys on dual sports heading the other direction. They told me I was going the wrong way (the running TAT joke since most people go East-West) and asked where I was headed. I told them Pennsylvania. They had started out in Colorado 6 days earlier having already done the section of trail from Tennessee to Colorado back in June and were making their push for the coast. We wished each other well and headed our separate ways. A short time later I came up on a 2500 Ram they waved me by; most people realize the bike is a bit faster out on these roads.
The next hour and half the track just wound through the desert. I was coming down a gravel road section at about 40-45 mph when I hit a patch of deep sand with the consistency of talcum powder. The front end went one direction, the rear went another and I went a third. It took everything I had to get the bike slowed down and keep it upright. I didn’t want to stop in this stuff but by the time I was able to get the bike under control until I was at a dead stop. I had somehow managed to stay upright though and a cloud of dust swallowed the bike and I. Holy crap…
I let the cloud pass and started going again. I was almost completely out of control, feet paddling to keep myself upright and and plumes of dust everywhere. I finally made it out; the section couldn’t have been more than 100 yards long. I could feel the fine sand on my teeth; just a gritty feel as I ground my teeth.
About a mile or so later we did it all over again; this time without the emergency stop at the beginning.
I pulled into Fields about 2 pm. This is Fields, OR:
That is entire town. It’s pretty much the only market/gas station/liquor store/motel/campground for miles and people from all around stop to resupply with whatever they need.
I pulled in looking for a place to stay; thinking the motel would be cheap which was again incorrect. There were 2 motel rooms at $65 each or I could camp for $5. I opted to camp and asked where to set up and was to to set up here:
While I was setting up camp the guy in the 2500 Ram pulled in asking if I was guy he waved on. I got nervous; I didn’t think I’d roosted his truck when I passed. I told him yes and he wanted to know how miserable those sand pits were because he’d seen my tracks. Apparently I left quite the impression.
I finished setting up camp, awkwardly changed out of my riding gear in the Porta John and decided to grab some dinner. It was 3:58 when I walked in looking for something to eat; the kitchen closed at 4. They were nice enough to make me a ham and cheese melt though and I went out to grab gas while I was waiting for it. Wikipedia says there’s 120 residents in Fields; however the girl pumping gas told me there were 7 residents and 4 houses. She also pointed out that I’d met 6 of them by that point.
The whole place was closed down by 6. There isn’t a whole lot to do camping in a one person tent in a parking lot so I kind of just texted and looked at the GPS for a couple hours then went to bed.