It was April in 2015 that I left my job and headed out on the road towards unknown destinations. As I am getting ready to take off again for new unknowns, I thought I’d take a look back at those first weeks on the road.
It took longer than I had anticipated to prepare my Funmover, and I didn’t actually set out east on I-80 until the middle of June. From Reno, I got as far as Winnemucca before I learned the first of my RV lessons… don’t rely on old tires, no matter how much tread is remaining! I had one of my rear tires begin to separate the tread from the carcass, a slowly increasing vibration and noise that could have been mistaken for pavement changes. I limped into the Winnemucca Wal-Mart to overnight while I sorted out some replacements.
The second lesson was that Sprint’s cellular network is garbage, as they had no signal in this town of 7500 souls. Three tire shops, but I could not make a call. Job one the next morning was to get a phone with Verizon service at Wal-Mart so I could call around for an estimate. Two tires later and no small amount of hassle, I was back on my way eastbound for Elko and my second Wal-Mart overnight before heading up into the Ruby Mountains and Lamoille Canyon.
Even after 3 years and many stunning locations, Lamoille canyon remains a highlight memory, easily in the top 5. Maybe that’s just because it was the first place that took my breath away as I was starting my adventure. I spent a few days there, catching dozens of brook trout out of the creek and hiking some of the trails before heading farther east to Angel Lake over on the eastern side of the Rubies near the town of Wells. Angel was crowded but beautiful, and I floated it in my tube for an afternoon of fishing, amidst the noise of the crowd around its edges.
Farther up the mountain was Smith lake, a pretty little blue hole in the rocks that was full of enthusiastic cutthroat trout. A worthy hike to get away from the people down below and amazing views of Northern Nevada on the way up the trail.
Next I headed for a little desert exploration, searching for the ghost town of Metropolis. I went down a wash boarded dirt road, beating the hell out of the motorhome for far too long before figuring out which trail would intersect with the pile of rubble that remains. I unloaded the dirt bike and rode down a two-track jeep trail to the center of town.
After Metropolis I headed back to Elko then north to Wild Horse canyon and the Owyhee river. Wild Horse is remote with no services, but it has a couple of perfectly nice campgrounds on or near the river for cheap ($6 a night in 2015). I remember that the most amazing thunderstorm rolled through after I had setup camp. The sky was orange and red and black all at the same time, split by smashing lightning and buckets of rain.
I thought I would ride 10 miles up the road to the town of Mountain City to get some beer, but “city” is a bit of an exaggeration, not having a gas station or store of any type. I kept going north another 13 miles to the town of Owyhee, but that turned out to be on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, and it was a dry town. No beer. I backtracked to the south side of Wild Horse Reservoir where there is an outpost, and they had beer! Hallelujah.
I had to go back to Reno to sort out some issues with the RV and to get a full set of heavy duty tires for the back axle, so this trip ended up being a shakedown run rather than the real start of my journey. It took me until July 21 to get back on the road and to make it to Jarbidge, Nevada. Then into Idaho and onward to Sturgis via Yellowstone… but that’s another story. By July of 2018, I hope to be somewhere in Montana and the planning is well underway…