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On the Back of Old Blue- Pt. 1, To the Desert (PIX)

by NearlyNormal Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 08:33:43 AM EST

Howdy You All, I been in the sticks (backcountry)the last couple of days on a little bit of a whirlwind tour of Nevada with a little Arizona-very little-and some Utah for some needed seasoning.  The truth is that there is general similarities throughout the region I covered once I slipped over the Sierra Nevada Mountains at Lake Tahoe and headed east into the classic west.

The grand departure.
Word to the prospective shopper-2 piece zip together leathers are much more convenient than a 1 piece suit.  The one piece suit is very comfortable while on the bike but a pain off it.

From the diaries with minor pic edit - afew


Out across the Sonoma county landscape on a gorgeous morning.  This is pretty countryside aching to be the "New Provence".

Then out of the coastal hills and onto the flat lands of the Central Valley toward Sacramento.

Then up into the Sierra Nevada foothills along Highway 50

Then over the pass and down toward Lake Tahoe

Gambling was legal in Nevada but not in California for many years, and though there are now casino's in CA, the established Casino here is right, exactly on the State line, my old Geopgraphy professor used to use this border as an example of the effect of politics on economic activity.

And then, the Desert

Poll
Too Much??
. Yes, spare us the trees and get to the Desert, will ya 11%
. Yes spare us the trees and the desert and hit the casino 0%
. No, but easy on the pictures 0%
. No, let er rip 77%
. Maybe, when do we get to Tonopah? 11%
. Why don't you make the pictures big enough to see? 0%

Votes: 9
Results | Other Polls
Display:
We'll go roughly 1700 miles (2735 km) in the next couple of days.  If you want to really enjoy it the best way, set in front of an open oven in a thinly padded chair with a fan blowing the hot air into your face and a light aimed in your face.  Keep looking at the pictures-maybe put some earphones on your head with no sound to them-hold this position for about an hour and a half at a time just looking at the pictures from a slightly different vantage point each few minutes-over and over and over.

The oddest part is that it is so enchanting in person and sounds so dismal when told.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 12:51:34 AM EST
Thanks, NN!  I love seeing these.  I lived in Fallon for a couple years and used to drive home to LA quite frequently, so most of this looks so familiar to me!  The explosion of casinos across the state line always made me laugh, too.  The worst trip was getting stuck in a fluke blizzard in the middle of Donner Pass, but we survived and no one ate anyone.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 02:28:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Izzy, I noticed that the old block whorehouse east of Fallon has been torched, Salt Wells I think it was called.  Rode by there many years ago and there were a couple of guys in uniforms sitting on a bench outside having a beer.  I didn't know what the place was and told the guys I was with that was odd to go that far out of town to have beers.  They thought I was a fricking idiot.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 11:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the, uh, establishment was Salt Wells.  I don't know anything about it, but it was frequently mentioned in jokes.  

btw, I couldn't help but notice the ivy in your driveway.  Is it considered a bad thing in your neck of the woods?  Here, they refer to it as "English ivy" and it's listed as an invasive species.  People have been trying for years to get Home Depot and various garden centers not to sell it.  It just goes crazy in our climate and chokes trees to death.  Seems like a losing battle, though -- it's everywhere.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 12:45:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it is invasive.  It got ripped out a few years ago and needs it again.  Probably will take out the two bay trees that it is climing because they seem to be vectors for the stuff that is killing the oaks around here.  

Good eye.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 09:28:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great photos. I love the wooded scenery best. I'm british, deserts just don't look right.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 08:07:21 AM EST
I think there are pictures of a few trees in the next section.  They get pretty scarce.  I like the forests best myself, in a couple of weeks I hope to hop old blue and head across the rockies and then across the great plains and over the corn belt to Indiana.  Got to pinch some pennies and snivel for some time off from work though.  If it works out I'll show you some trees.

Zion Natl Park Utah.


"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 10:06:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice pics, NN, thanks for showing us the first part of your trip. If you put up a lot of pics in a diary, it might be helpful if you reduced the size of each pic in Kb (not in pixels). But don't worry about it if you can't!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 09:09:56 AM EST
What's the mpg of your motorcycle?

:)

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 12:36:16 PM EST
Dismal!! When you push it up to about 80 mph it drops to about 30 mpg while fully loaded. Hit reserve at about 100 miles and about 20 on reserve so it gets pretty touchy out there, especially since they have closed some gas stations.  I bought two hard plastic 1 gallon gas containers and carried them with me, though that makes me a little queasy.  Truth is that anything that gets through the bags and chews through the hard plastic will already have caused a pretty big problem.

My next bike will have at least a 6 gal tank.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 12:48:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow some cars do better. I wonder why motorcycle don't do better than that...
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 01:26:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Small(ish) engines, lousy aerodynamics at highway speeds, and NN is carrying a lot of weight for the engine design which eats gas at high RPM.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 01:52:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 04:04:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it dangerous to take pictures while piloting a motorcycle?

</my mom>

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 01:39:07 PM EST
It is much easier with digital because you don't have to worry as much about wasting film, just shoot and if it doesn't work out, oh well.  I took about two hundred pictures in three days, some are okay, some are unfathomable, most are in between.  A bike is pretty stable at speed, the two wheels act as gyroscopes, at slow speed it is much more unstable.  At 65 mph on this bike you can take both hands off the bars and just roll down the road for miles if you want as long as you have some way of locking the throttle open so that the engine doesn't slow down.  Course if the unexpected happens you may get to test your leathers.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 03:46:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here on the other side, Massachusetts is having it's very own death by casino issues.  The "vote" to accept a casino on "Indian" land was by most accounts a staged proposition from the beginning.
by Lasthorseman on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 06:44:09 PM EST
Thanks, the "Indian land" casino question they had out here was pretty much a shuck and a jive.  Now most people regret opening that door.  The "tribes" are buying land and claiming they can build it on their new reservations.  I liked it better when the confined gambling to Nevada.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 07:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Casinos bring about moral degradation and this is given high priority in the global agenda.
by Lasthorseman on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 08:04:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually kinda/sorta agree with this.  I don't like gambling.  I don't like the Something-for-Nothing philosophy gambling sponsors.  

I don't like the fact the only viable economic activity the nations can do is run casinos.  

On the other hand there is no question the best jobs on the res are associated with the casinos.  And the profits from the casino fund housing, health care, education, cultural activities, and so on.  And the taxes casinos pay into the state are a big part of the income of the state; New Mexico simply can't afford to do away with casinos.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 10:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is "out here" Sonoma County?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 10:35:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bay area in general, not so much problem yet in Sonoma County, though something hinky is developing around Cotati.  Big casino up on hwy 128 is terrible eyesore and traffic fiasco, but not too intrusive other than that.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 11:07:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I dunno.  I get a big laugh when going past a casino filled with cars with Texas license plates sporting various GOP, Evangelical, and Conservative bumper stickers while their owners are inside pissing their money away.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 12:01:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While many tribal elders still believe casinos will hurt the preservation of native culture, many argue that native culture was being decimated anyway.  At least now there are native controlled hospitals and clinics, language immersion schools for the youth, and all manner of cultural preservation techniques.  Filmed interviews with elders, digital storytelling, and most importantly, the preservation (and rebirth) of native languages are some of the many side effects of casino profits.

Indian women are no longer systematically sterilized when they control their own clinics.  I've been to households where the kids can keep secrets from their parents, 'cause the kids can speak the language better.  The growth of native filmmaking, particularly digital, is a huge new feature of reservation life.  On the whole, casinos (despite some abuse as in every culture or business) have turned around reservation life.

Plus everyone gets a cool pickup truck.  (OK, i'm not minimizing the intense problems that still exist on many reservations... unemployment, suicide, alcohol.  But they're gradually diminishing.)  Health care alone  is a huge win.

I've heard a thousand jokes about how the tribes have found a way to stick the needle in the vein of the culture which tried to eliminate them.  

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 10:49:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the increase in income to people is a good thing generally, but I don't think this is an appropriate vehicle for it.  At least in my area, the tribe has put in a big casino, but the Indian Health budget has not increased, and we still don't have anywhere near appropriat programs for the at-risk youth I work with every day.  It seems to also have caused much animosity and concern about who is "indian" enough to get in on the largesse.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 05:30:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't get a new Provence without at least a couple millennia, and probably more, of land use, village buildings, deforestation, people moving back to the cities, etc... Provence or Tuscany are masterpieces of civilisation in the very long haul. Will be hard to do any time soon in Sonoma...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 07:45:53 PM EST
They just want the disneyland version; a few french or italian sounding named villas gated off from the hoi polloi, cool breeze on the shaded veranda and some illegal immigrants to do the work.  Don't wanna pay no taxes, don't wanna build good roads, schools, or infrastructure, just want to preen about how gracious we are.

Could be nice if they would try to be the "new Sonoma".

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 08:30:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great pics of the Sierra & Lake Tahoe. Reminds me of when I went skiing at Heavenly, about 10 years ago; we were staying at a nice chalet in a forested area on the CA side, blissfully ignoring the high rise buildings and the flooding lights of the NV side... (who gives a f--- about gambling when you have the ski slopes with a gorgeous view on the lake?)

BTW, where was the first pic taken? Are these redwood trees in the background?

by Bernard on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 03:48:02 PM EST
1st pic was just heading out my driveway, Nita handed off the camera on the fly.  Big firs, though there are redwoods nearby, none in the picture.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 05:28:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Backyard is in the hills above Calistoga 60 or so miles N of San Francisco.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 05:32:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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