Miles Today: 88
Miles to Date: 7,565
States to Date: 25
I had been warmed that US 395 to Reno had gyrating, variable winds, so I rolled out of Susanville at first light when winds are light. The warnings were supported by big yellow danger signs along the road, but my strategy proved sound. I logged fifty miles along a generous shoulder through stark desert landscape before noon.
I encountered two cyclists on the road. The first blew by me in his black spandex without a word. The second was a grey haired guy in work shorts and a dirty T-shirt, walking his bike along the gravel. I stopped and asked if all was okay. JR is a homeless person from west of Redding en route to Reno and a warmer winter. “I got another flat, a slow leak. That’s five so far this trip.” One look at his lightweight bike, burdened by all of his possessions, explained the problem. “Don’t worry, guy, I’ve had seven flats.” I didn’t mention mine were over 7,000 miles instead of 200. JR let me give him a Presta valve adaptor so we could pump his tire up, but he wouldn’t take any food or water even though I knew he had less than I carried. I respected his pride and wished him well.
Although my legs keep moving to propel me forward, the journeys in my mind often cover greater range. I couldn’t decide who was the greater challenge in our world: the man who whisked by without notice or the one who couldn’t possibly cope. I mulled that one over, then solved the world’s problems and discovered eternal love at least three times before lunch. My musings lent meaning to the message tucked into the guardrail that I leaned my bike against for lunch:
No shade today; I snacked with sagebrush for companions and then shouldered on. True to form, the wind was much stronger after lunch, which just gave me more opportunity to upright our planet – in my mind at least. This was my fourth consecutive long distance day, and I was much more patient than earlier days.
I arrived in Reno along with several thousand motorcycles for a rally. Since it’s a city that never sleeps, I decided to do some sleeping and checked into a local place for an early night. Tomorrow is time enough to explore The Biggest Little City in the World.