June 22, 2005 GMT
Bridgeport (California) to Ely (Nevada)

Wednesday was our longest, most punishing day in the saddle.

We were setting out to head almost due east across Nevada, heading for southern Utah and Bryce Canyon.

Roads don’t seem to run east-west across Nevada, so we were taking the one that came closest to it, Highway 6. The first leg was on Highway 120 (the eastern extension of the road we couldn’t take the day before because of snow), and it wasn’t until we joined Highway 6 that we found out it is also known as ‘the loneliest road in America’—and I can believe it. The road seemed to consist of a series of 20- or 30-mile straights, with the odd twisty bit in between, and about 100 miles between ‘towns’. And these ‘towns’ often consisted of not much more than a staging post—a motel and a petrol station (usually with one pump!).

Nevada here we come!

And a constant headwind blowing out of the desert towards the Sierra Nevada mountains. I thought that the wind blowing off the Pacific was a pain, but it was nothing compared with this. I reckon this headwind was blowing at about 40 to 50 miles per hour, so with our ‘ground speed’ of 60 mph, it was like riding at 100 mph with no protection from the wind. My hands were cramped ‘claws’ every time we stopped, from hanging on for dear life! When the road swung so we were sideways to the wind, we had to lean the bike into the wind to go in a straight line. No trees, only sage brush and tumble weed. We came to hate Nevada, but we did give a thought to the people who had originally crossed it on horseback or with covered wagons. It was bad enough at 60 mph, what must it have been like for them!?!

The most bizarre episode was when we were stopped by a woman standing by the side of the road with a sign that said ‘Road Works Ahead—Expect Delays of up to 30 Minutes’ and a big ‘Stop’ lollipop sign. My first thought was that it was a joke, or a hijack, but there were a couple of cars already stopped there, and she had a big jeep with official-looking writing and flashing lights on it, so we stopped. But we could see for at least 10 miles and there was nothing going on!

It was OK for the people in their cars—they just sat there with their engines running and the air-conditioning going full pelt. David and I got off the bike and unzipped our jackets and stood there, arms out from our sides like a pair of scarecrows, trying to catch the breeze. (The wind had, of course, taken the opportunity to take a rest.)

After about 20 minutes of this, a convoy of cars appeared in the distance, led by a big jeep with flashing lights. As it reached us, it pulled over and the driver waved all the following cars past. He then turned round and we could see a big sign on the back: ‘Follow Me’. So we did. And about 20 miles further on we found the place where they were resurfacing about 10 miles of the road. Why they had to stop us so far away, I will never know.

We finally reached Ely, tired, windblown and in need of sustenance. We had covered about 320 miles in the day.

Sunset over Ely, Nevada

Which led to another bizarre episode. There we were in the local McDonalds (the only eating place that was open by the time we got there!), eating our burgers and chatting, when this chap sitting across the way asked us where we were from and started to chat. We had seen him come in, dressed in dirty old ‘Limey pants’ and a decaying singlet and assumed he was the local bum. But he was eloquent and cultured in his speech and astonishingly knowledgeable. When I told him what kind of work I do, he immediately brought up the regeneration of an ancient date cultivar from a stone that had been found at Massada, in modern Israel. I hadn’t even heard about it, but when I checked up when I got back to Rome he had all his facts right! And he carried on a very knowledgeable discussion about computers with David.

He had some fascinating things to say about present-day America. He said he was glad to have the opportunity to talk to us, because we could understand what he was saying and he didn’t have to worry about whether we would denounce him to the authorities.

It was a strange and intriguing encounter, but when he invited us back to his house we chickened out, claimed fatigue and went back to the motel.

Posted by Paul Neate at June 22, 2005 05:15 PM GMT

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!