Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning knowing I want to go for a ride, but I’m just not sure where I want to ride to. I’d been pondering my next escape for a week at least, but when it came time to load up and go, I still wasn’t sure which direction I should point my two-wheeler. I finally just got on the road and headed south down Highway 93/50. Someone had told me about a road on the west side of the windmills east of Major’s Junction, so I figured I’d go explore that way.
Of course the ride through the mountains and forest was breathtaking and when I got to the flats, I opened it up, looking for that road on the left that went off into a new direction for me. It was Nevada 893 I found out, and I pulled onto it just a few miles past the southbound 93 turnoff. The road was straight and narrow, running alongside the windmills on my right and a sparsely covered mountain range on the left. The road went on and on, the scenery flat and unchanging; just grasses and brush filling both sides of the highway. I was beginning to think I had been given a bum steer in that there was absolutely nothing exciting about this stretch of roadway other than it was vacant of any civilization and traffic. If I had wanted to roll the throttle into the 100 mph range, I more than likely could have safely done it as there probably wasn’t a cop around for a hundred miles.
But I ride a Harley and while I love the feel of the power I’m sitting on top of, I’m not always into breaking land speed records, and on this trip I wanted to check out something beautiful, not a flat highway.
I passed the entrance to the Cleve Creek recreation area but I wasn’t into dirt bike riding on this day either, so I flew past it, hoping that somewhere in the road ahead there was a bend or climb or anything other than a flat straightaway. A sign I had read earlier had noted that the next destination was a town some 40 miles away, but I was sure I didn’t want to continue for that long on a road with little of any entertainment value.
I continued to roll for many more miles but nothing changed and finally I gave up all hope and turned the bike around, deciding to check out Cleve Creek. Was I glad I did.
I turned off on the dirt road leading to the park, which was many miles deep moving west toward the mountains and Humboldt National Forest, putt, putt, putting my way on the hard, yellow clay. I got to the entrance and sure enough, just as advertised, there was a creek rushing rapidly next to and underneath the roadway. I cruised into the park, which had picnic tables and a huge fireplace welcoming campers to the entrance, and made the decision to follow the dirt path to wherever it led me.
There wasn’t anyone in the park that I saw, and only one truck had passed me going in and then went by me when they were leaving about 10 minutes later. The road began to fill with trees and brush and became more rockier and un-maintained the deeper I went in.
I wasn’t sure how far I had traveled, but it was a ways over twists and hillsides when I came to a fork in the road, one way looked like a steep downhill while the other seemed more safe until it turned into an even deeper, steep descent. I looked toward the edge and figured I didn’t want to ride down the decline as, like I mentioned, it was a little steep and the road was badly configured with rocks jutting out in every direction, meaning I would be wobbling the entire way down, shifting between the clutch and the brake, hoping to stay upright. If I was on a dirt bike, no problem, but on my Road King, it didn’t seem too cool, so I decided to turn around.
I went back to the first fork and got closer to the edge, and while listening to the creek running loudly below, I decided I would take a chance on that shorter downhill, which I did, and though rocky and uneven, I made it safely to the bottom without spilling my bike.
At the bottom I had to make a sharp left in order to avoid landing in the creek, and tucked into a corner at the end of the short spur was a picnic table and fire pit sitting within feet of the water and surrounded by tall green trees and thick bushes, hiding one from the road above and the surrounding hills. I parked my bike and took a seat at the picnic table where it was peaceful, quiet and relaxing; the sound of the water rolling over a makeshift tree stump dam within sight of my resting spot.
“This is where I plan to camp next time,” I decided while sitting there, but I’ll be bringing my truck and my dog when I come back. I couldn’t believe I had found such a cool site.
I sat there for a long while, maybe 30 minutes or more, just resting from the treacherous ride down and enjoying the serenity this mountain hideout afforded me. I was making plans to return, dreaming of a cooler full of beer and a fire and stars in the sky — when I saw it.
Now no one is going to believe me, and most everyone is going to say I’m crazy, and scientists will tell me it’s impossible, but as I was sitting at the picnic table looking over toward where the drive ended into the creek, a white and grey wolf came out from the water below and began walking toward me.
Talk about freaking out! I jumped from my seat when I saw it and looked it square in the eye as it was only about 50 yards away from me. I didn’t know what to do? Grab a stick? Throw a stone? Run?
The beautiful monster saw me and then, without any hesitation, slowly turned toward the uphill road, disappearing behind the greenery, not the least bit impressed by me or worried.
I grabbed my leather vest, fumbling to put it on and wondering how it was going to protect me if this giant, dog-like beast attacked, then I ran to my Harley, turned it on and cranked the throttle, hoping the scream emanating from my pipes would scare the hell out of it and send it on its way. It must have worked because he never did come down my way.
I packed my stuff and got back on my bike and rode over the gravel and rocks to get out of there. I looked for the creature, knowing I had saw what I saw, but not sure if I had saw what I had saw. Believe me, the only thing I had been drinking was a Powerade Zero, so I wasn’t the least bit buzzed, but I was in a state of amazement.
I rode out of there and back onto the highway, then over to Major’s Place to get a beer. I asked the bartender, who said she had done a lot of hunting in the area, if there were wolves in the mountains, but she said it must have been a coyote.
“A white coyote?” I asked. She said that during some seasons they turn white.
I’ve lived in the desert most of my life and I’ve seen a lot of coyotes, but I knew this was not a coyote. The fur was too thick and so was the body. Maybe there was someone camped way out there that I didn’t see or hear that had a wolf-like looking dog that was out there wandering, but as far as I know, I was the only one out there for miles and miles around and this looked like a wolf.
I rode back to Ely and stopped at the Hotel Nevada to have a beer, not mentioning what I saw to anyone at the bar out of fear they would think I was stupid and from the city. My internet was working on my phone there, so I looked up images of wolves, and sure enough, the pictures looked just like what I saw. I then looked up white coyotes, and no, that’s not what I saw — not even close.
I guess I’ll never know if my eyes were playing tricks on me, and if there is a wolf up in those mountains, it’s for the BLM to deal with. As for me though, it was just another ride on my Harley in central Nevada that turned out to be a fantastic adventure.
Marty Bachman is editor of the Ely Times and an avid biker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-550-3943.