Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Today was a gas!  Or rather, a lack of it.  Traveling through Utah and Nevada could not have been more unpredictable.  We ran out of gas twice, had to drive at a snail’s pace, saw more animals than people, had close encounters with some antelope, and were almost abducted by aliens.  Interesting day.

After our first fill-up, we put on 85 miles before we started to reach the middle of nowhere.  We decided that we should start filling up whenever we saw a gas station, so we took the first one.  Pulling up to the pumps there was a bag over each one… uh oh.  This one was closed.  We had to continue sputtering onward.

Jerry’s GPS said there was a gas station 12 miles out.  Thank goodness.  Upon arriving to where his GPS thought there was one… this is the city we found:

Wonderful...

Wonderful...

He searched again.  This time he received the message ‘No services found.’ Great, so now Greg’s bike was running really low on fuel and no gas station.  We couldn’t go back because we knew it was at least 80 miles that way, and we had no idea how far if we continue on.  So we continued on anyways because we had no other alternative.

Not more than 5 miles after the empty town, Greg’s bike sputters, hiccups, and dies as he coasts gently to the side of the road in a perfectly safe spot about 6 inches off the side of the road.  Thankfully, we were well prepared.  We’ve been carrying around a 1-gallon jug of gas for the last 34 days and we are finally using it!

Always be prepared...

Always be prepared...

One problem still.  We had no idea how much farther it was to the next city and Greg could only get between 30 and 45 miles more.  We hit the road driving at a steady 50 mph without stressing our engines in the slightest.  We saw a sign for the next city… 40 miles away and we’ve already driven about 10 miles.  That is still more than Greg’s bike has ever gotten before.  We drove steadily at low speeds, and only up-shifted on downward slopes.  We milked this gas tank as best as we knew how and were mentally prepared to push it the rest of the way.  Sure enough, 40 miles later, we successfully coasted into a local gas station. It is amazing the smile and satisfaction a full tank can bring you.

We can finally breathe again

We can finally breathe again

We drove another 60 miles and turned onto a new highway… The Extraterrestrial Highway.

Eerie right?

Eerie right?

As spooky as the sign appeared, it wasn’t half as spooky as the next one:

Even spookier.  Not cool!

Even spookier. Not cool!

Eek!  We were already 60 miles into this tank.  Trouble found us again.  We returned to the previous highway and took a 20 mile detour to GET gas.  We filled Greg’s tank to the brim, made sure the spare gallon was full, and then we repeated the previous scenario… we drove 2.5 hours as if we were giving a ride to our grandma.  If there was ever a road we needed to make great mileage with… this was it.  No hills, no turns, little wind, and lots of spacecrafts and aliens cheering us on:

Out of this world.

Out of this world.

On this highway, we saw only 11 cars, 4 antelope, and hundreds of delicious steaks waiting to be processed (open-range cows).  We drove 156 miles and as we saw the sign for “Tonopah – 2 miles” we got excited.  After a mile we had one last obstacle… a tiny hill!  “Uh oh” – we both thought.  We made it three-quarters up the hill and sure enough… sputter-sputter then slience.  Coasting to the side of the road, we laughed at the irony of the situation.  After we brought out ‘the jug’ and filled up, we finished the tiny portion of the hill and literally coasted into the town and to the gas station.  If we had only a few more drops of gas, we would have made it (but it is still a new tank record… 156.8 miles!).  But we weren’t complaining, because we had reached our destination and were not stuck in the middle of the desert waiting to be abducted on the Extraterrestrial Highway.

To finish off this interesting day, we stayed at the creepiest hotel in the nation… the Clown Motel:

Clown Motel.  It was no laughing matter.

Clown Motel. It was no laughing matter.

This hotel had clowns everywhere.  If you had problems with Ronald McDonald as a kid (or adult), then you would not be able to stay here.  Especially since its neighbor… is a cemetery.

If he moved one inch I was going to stab him.

If he moved one inch I was going to stab him.

We packed it in for the night, and surprisingly, this hotel turned out to be one of the nicest we’ve stayed in and it was only $35 for the night.  Now… if we could only manage to fall asleep without hearing all the maniacal laughter…