Mammoth to Caliente, NV. 9-5-16

It was 34 degrees when I got moving this morning at 6:00am.  The sun was starting to come up and lit up the eastern face of the mountains on this perfectly clear day.

The view as I steped out the door of our motel.
The view as I steped out the door of our motel.

The restaurant across the street opened at 6:30 and had a line out the door by 7:00.  The breakfast that came with our lodging was not bad.  I had a Bagel with cream cheese, salmon and onion.

Bill and I took our bikes to the car wash to blow the dirt out of his radiators to see if we could correct his overheating problem.  I just wanted to get the first layer of crud and dust off of mine.

We filled up with gas and headed up to the ski lodge at Mammoth Mountain.  The lifts were running and taking mountain bikers up to the top to ride down.  It was in the 40’s and it’s surprising how little the temperature affects you at 8700 feet.  You also realize that in the thinner air you breathe harder to get the oxygen you need.

The lodge and our illegal parking.
The lodge and our illegal parking.
The symbol of Mammoth.
The symbol of Mammoth.
Bike riders at the Inn at Mammoth.
Bike riders at the Inn headed to the mountain.
The bike trailer behind the busses bringing bikes up from town.
The bike trailer behind the busses bringing bikes up from town.
One of the many lifts taking bikers to the to .
One of the many lifts taking bikers to the to
.

We left the lodge and went up the mountain to go to Devils Pilepost National Park.  When we got to the gate we found out that they no longer allowed you to drive up and that if we wanted to see it we would have to park back at the lodge and take a bus.  Next to the gate there was the Minaret Vista overlook so we pulled in for pictures.

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More sunscreen please.
More sunscreen please.

We went back to town and took a ride around the perimeter and then headed for the hotcreek.  There was a good number of people at the hotcreek all disobeying the rules.  Instead of pointing out their error in not abiding by the rules we just joined them.  They were not in the best spot anyway.

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Do not enter.
Keep out.

 

In the deep spot.
In the deep spot.
Bill cooling of a foot burned when he stepped on a hotspring on his way out.
Bill cooling of a foot burned when he stepped on a hotspring on his way out.

We left the hotcreek heading West on the gravel road we came in on.  After about 5 miles of gravel road and some exciting riding in loose gravel we were on the Benton Crossing Road.  This road took us East over the mountains and the start of our way home.  The terrain and what we saw seemed to constantly change. It’s difficult to explain all the changes we would see today.  Here are a few pictures we took as we started East.

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The roads namesake.
The road’s namesake.

At Benton we got on US 6 and drove into Nevada.

A wide open road.
A wide open road.

We were heading towards the town of Tonopah, NV. and as we approched there was a brilliant shining light in front of us. We approched it for miles and as we passed to the South of it heading into Tonopah we still didn’t know what it was.  I guessed it was a solar project, I had no idea.  It turned out to be the Cresent Dunes Solar Energy Project.  Something I had never heard of and as we found out, it cost 750 million dollars to build and uses a molten salt process I know nothing about, for energy storage.  It produces enough energy to power 75,000 homes.  I do know it was a bright object in the middle of a sunny day.  Don’t ask me why we didn’t take a picture. Mesmorized by its sight I guess.

We fueled in Tonopah and continued East on US 6.  Outside of town we passed a sign that said 166 miles to the next fuel stop.  The land was wide open again.

A stop in the shade
A stop in the shade
In the desert where I took this pictue I have 4 bars on my phone and 4G service. I wish I could get this good at home.
In the desert where I took this pictue I have 4 bars on my phone and 4G service. I wish I could get this good at home.

Our next turn was onto the Extraterrestrial Highway.  We just stop in the road when we feel like it, traffic is not a problem.

The gas situation has improved, only 111 miles to go.
The gas situation has improved, only 111 miles to go.

We came into an area where trees grew that I had never seen.  It was strange to me because they started abruptly and went for miles.

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Durring our trip down the Extraterrestrial Highway, SR 375, we passed through the town of Rachel.  I wish we had stopped and talked to the people at the only business in town, the Little A’Le’Inn.  There were people outside the place standing under a saucer shaped sun shade and a tow truck in front with a spaceship hanging on the hook in the back.  I’m sure good stories were to be had with a stop there.

As we continued in area 51 there were few signs of civilization.  The place in the pictures below was on the Extraterrestrial Highway West of its intersection with US93.

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US 93 would take us to our motel.  It was getting dark and we had to get to Caliente, NV for the night.

Tomorrow we are off to Bryce Canyon National Park, then we angle northeast.

By the way we’re getting rid of these aliens too.  The first hour of the first day, guaranteed!

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