Camping in Mina

This was a comfortable and affordable motel, so I was a bit sad to leave it, but the road was calling.

Packed up and ready for the road again.

First it was time to ride around town and look for more snacks!

This building is for sale. If I wanted to open a bistro, I wouldn't need to replace the sign!

Eventually I found this nifty burger joint.

Gotta hit the burger joint on the way out of town!

I'm detecting a theme here...

After chomping two orders of deep fried fish – one salmon, one cod – I was feeling fortified. Just one more thing before leaving town: The Ordnance Museum!

It's the Hawthrone Ordnance Museum! Gonna have to check this thing out!
Lots of dangerous-looking but inert stuff sitting around here.
Lots of America in here.
Lots of instruments and bomb parts here.
Fwoooosh! Bzzeeaarrrmm BANG!!
Check out those nosecones!
Vrrrrp... Clank! Whoooosshhhh.... BOOOOM!

Wild, weird stuff. Okay, now let’s get out of here.

Good thing I don't need gas.

Apropos of the documentary I've been watching lately.

The highway to the east brought me close to some of those weird bunkers.

A closer look at one of the countless ammo bunkers.

When those faded away, it was just open road, shared between me and the truckers. The sky decided there weren’t enough mountains around and decided to add a few — or maybe it was going for a giant winged serpent?

Cloud mountains.

A small anonymous road went bending away on the right, and I decided to follow it for a minute or two just to look around. It brought me to a tiny improvised graveyard.

An intriguing side road.
A touching roadside memorial.
An adjacent memorial.
Ready for more adventure!

I thought about mortality and memory for a bit, then went pedaling down the road some more. I was leaving a region of clouds and cool air, and slowly entering a region of clear skies and heat.

Another fine cloudy day.

Lots of land.

Miles and miles ahead.

During a roadside pee break I spotted a lizard, and decided to chase after it, screaming “RUN LIZARD! TWO-LEGS IS AFTER YOU! RUN RUN RUN!” and cackling like a maniac. Eventually the lizard plunged into a burrow in some sagebrush, winning the race. I pouted, then looked up and realized I had gone about a hundred yards from the road. Tricky lizard, leading me away from all my supplies!

While walking back to the bike I found a neat rock, though:

Neat rocks!

The day wore on. I listened to desert-y music and chatted with my workmates, doing some followup from yesterday. I threw in a few chapters from an audiobook about materials science called Liquid Rules. The wind, which had been blowing softly but directly against me for hours, decided to step it up a notch and slap me around.

Aww, I wish I had time to go see it...

It's a random 42!

I passed through the microscopic “town” of Luning. Google Maps promised me that the remaining miles were “mostly flat” but that turned out to be a lie.

Hey look! A spare bicycle!

At long last I rolled into Mina — and kept on pedaling. The RV park I was due to camp at was on the opposite edge of the town. Up a hill of course.

MINA stands for Middle of Nowhere Absolutely.

There was exactly one place in town that served food, and they were about to shut down the grill. I ordered a big basket of chicken strips and was quite happy with them even though they cost me almost as much as the campsite fee.

No horse play! No duck or pony play either!

It was the only thing available in town.

The bar patrons were all locals, and they asked the usual questions about where I started and where I was going. A friendly group. Above the jukebox was a four-foot banner reading “TRUMP 2020”. I sure ain’t on the west coast any more.

One of the patrons – a man with work boots, shoulder-length hair, and a big toothy grin — in fact, a kind of smaller landlocked-state version of Aquaman – said, “If you’re heading south, watch out for the highway construction. There was an earthquake a few weeks ago; tore up the highway. They set up a long detour.”

“Uh oh,” I said. “How long of a detour?”

I pulled out my phone and the man pointed to a section of highway about 30 miles south of the town. The detour was a big V-shape, using highway 360 and a chunk of highway 6. I poked a few buttons and realized it added 40 miles and several thousand more feet of climbing to the route, which was already a grueling 65 miles and 2400 feet. There were no services anywhere along it. If I had to take that detour, I would need to stealth-camp, and bring along an absurd amount of food and water.

“They might be already finished with the work, though,” said Nevada Aquaman. “Maybe you could find someone who’s been that way and ask.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I’m gonna have to do that. There’s no way I can take that detour on a bike.”

I finished my snacks and pedaled back to the RV park, thinking about my predicament. Should I just turn around tomorrow? Should I try to ride out to the construction and then ride back? I decided to sleep on it.

Starting to get dark around 9:00pm...

Now all I needed to do was put together the tent. Good thing it’s easy in the dark. Hooray for the inflatable tent!

Time to turn this pile of stuff into a campsite.

Presto! I was a little rusty, so complete setup took half an hour.

This was the first time I’d deployed the tent since Iceland, almost a year ago. It was just as cozy as I remembered.

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