Due to the large number of bikers in our community, and an even larger number of bikers visiting throughout the summer, we hope to provide a weekly column describing regional rides that locals and visitors alike can explore. If you’ve taken a ride lately that you would like to share with your brother and sister bikers, email it to elytimes.marty@gmail.com. Include pictures if you can. Stories will be edited as print space allows.  

 

Photos by Marty Bachman Top photo: A cave up in the mountains overlooks the salt flats outside Wendover. Below: Blue Lake.

Photos by Marty Bachman
Top photo: A cave up in the mountains overlooks the salt flats outside Wendover. Below: Blue Lake.

One thing you’ll notice about bikers is the way they show respect to one another. In fact, respect is a chief requirement if you’re going to be a biker. While I won’t say that all bikers understand what that means, I will say that the great majority I’ve met feel that being respectful is part of the brotherhood.

Unfortunately, It’s not always like that in regular life. We meet rude people everyday — people who park in two spaces instead of just one; folks that pull out in front of you in traffic without looking.Lake

Lately I’ve noticed, there’s been a gang of ignorant morons driving pickup trucks around Ely that think it’s funny to blow pitch black, dirty, dark exhaust smoke out of the rear of the trucks their daddy’s bought them.

It’s not funny. In fact it’s very disrespectful, and seeing as the sheriff’s department is too busy writing assault citations to 70-year-old women (not by their choice, I’m sure), the rest of us in town are having to suck in these jerk’s fumes because it’s against the law to pull them out of their trucks and slam them against a concrete wall like their parents should have done some years ago.

Dealing with morons is a part of life, but sometimes it can just wear you down so thin, you just don’t know what to do. This is where my life was at on Sunday after a week of dealing with rude people.

I was mad, I was angry, and though I’m not a violent man, I was ready to pop the next person who talked to me in a disrespectful way.

Fortunately I don’t get into states like that very often, and while I could do like most people do, go out and drink a few beers and maybe calm down some, to me, drinking is for when you’re in a good frame of mind, not for dealing with problems.

Problems are the reason motorcycles were invented.

Whenever my life gets to that point where I’ve run out of options, I know that’s the time to get on my Harley, rev that throttle so loud that everyone on the block can hear me, then roar off down the highway, destination unknown. That’s what I did Sunday.

I was pounding some heavy weights at the gym but it was doing nothing to calm my frustrated state. So I jumped on my bike and steered it toward Highway 93, north out of town. I figured I’d head over to Wendover, where I’ve never been before, or Wells, whichever and whatever way I felt when I got to the fork in the road.

It’s slow going out of Ely on 93, there’s a 35 mph speed trap as your first leaving town, then the speed is only 60 until you reach McGill, where it drops to 25. McGill, like Ely, is a cool little town to ride 25 through, the main road is filled with a bunch of really cool old, historic buildings to look at and wish you had time to check out. One day I’m going to make it a point to hang out there some, but Sunday was not the day.

Once I got out of McGill,I saw a sign that said, next gas, 124 miles or something close to that. I checked the gas tank and it was full, so I opened the throttle and rode along a flat, straight road with mountain ranges lining both sides off in the distance. My frustration was still getting the best of me though and I had a hard time enjoying the scenery as it just seemed monotonous; more and more of the same. It all seemed so similar, I almost turned around and went back. At one point I saw a sign noting there was a bend in the road, but it was such a slight turn, I didn’t even have to lean into it; that’s how straight the road was.

After some 60 miles though, I reached a fork in the road, one way heading up to Wells, the other to Wendover. I checked the mileage for each and Wendover was closer, so I chose that road.

The road became more interesting after the fork, but again, my negativity was in control and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be riding. I rode over hills, hit a few valleys, and after about 40 miles, I saw the salt flats off over the mountains to the right of me. Even still, I couldn’t enjoy it, but I kept on traveling.

I finally arrived in Wendover and stopped to get some gas. For some reason I was glad to see Interstate 80, a road I hadn’t traveled on in many, many years. After filling up, I rode down the highway until I came upon a big huge rocky mountain that seemed to be the end of town. I thought I was in Nevada still, as I hadn’t seen any signs designating it as Utah, so I turned around and headed back in the direction I had came, thinking I would grab a beer and some lunch somewhere and head on back to Ely. That’s when things got interesting.

I was riding by the LaQuinta Hotel when I saw a little hottie walking out front and so I figured I’d ride over and meet her. We talked a bit, I put a helmet on her and we took off back on 93, this time heading south to Blue Lake, which was about 20 miles from where I had came.

This chick was crazy cool, “bikerish,” and talked a lot but had a pretty voice that was more fun than irritating, and she knew the cool places to go and things to do in “exciting” Wendover.

When we hit the Blue Lake turnoff, it was dirt road for some 13 miles down toward the salt flats where the lake was situated. I’ve been taking my Harley down a lot of dirt roads lately, and despite signs all along the way saying that the road was washed out, my bike handled it all well.

I was looking for a lake the whole ride down but it turned out to be more of a grassy pond, though she said it was 100 feet deep in the middle. The girl navigated her way through some thick, green reeds and jumped in the water, swimming around like a mermaid before exiting the lake and telling me stories of the surrounding mountains, rocks, cliffs and bugs that were thriving everywhere around this desolate body of water. I’m not sure if anything she said was true, but she was turning out to be an interesting tour guide.

Unfortunately, she was wearing shorts and the flies began eating her legs to the point where, after maybe just a half hour at the lake, we were forced to load the bike back up and head to a cave she wanted to show me north of town. We made the ride back to the main highway, a jackrabbit running alongside us at one point, then shot back up Highway 93 to Wendover. After getting into town, we stopped at a truck stop to pick up some beer to take with us to the cave.

Heading east, we rode over the state line I had missed earlier, primarily because there wasn’t a sign sticking up out of the grass but rather it was just printed in the roadway. We made a left up a road off the main highway, under I-80, then headed through a small residential neighborhood, around the cemetery, and up a gravelly path into the mountains. Luckily this little honey was light on the back of my bike as it was a hellish ride holding up my 700 lb. Harley in a steep, uphill climb through loose rocks that allowed me little traction.

Not being one to give up though, I plowed through the gravel and rocks and managed to keep my bike upright all the way to the top, though I could smell tranny fluid when I finally shut it down.

The cave was really cool and the view was unreal, making me glad I had made the dangerous trek up there, though I guarantee you I’ll never do it on my Harley again. We drank some beers and enjoyed life at the top of the world for awhile until it started to get late and I had to head back home.

Going down was even scarier than going up. Most of the way I was able to cruise in neutral without even have to turn the engine on. At one point I had to go off a cliff that turned out to be a two foot drop, landing in loose gravel, moving fast and having to make a turn within seconds of hitting the ground. The bike swerved right and left and right and left as I struggled to maintain control and stay upright. How I did it, I don’t know, but it was one of my proudest moments riding a bike, and the girl kept saying, “I knew you were a good rider,” impressed as I was with my performance.

I dropped her off and said we’d meet again, though that probably will never happen, and then I made my way back to Ely. It was about 6:40 p.m. when I left, so it was a race to get back home before it got dark — but this time the ride was a blast. My head was back on right, the hills were stunning to look at and reminiscent of riding the hills of Mendocino County in California when I was a kid. I saw gangs of horses running along in the distant fields and my life was great again.

There’s no better life than the life of a biker.

Marty Bachman is editor of the Ely Times and an avid biker. He can be reached at elytimes.marty@gmail.com or 760-550-3943.