Highway 6 2021

Day 09

June 29


Today if all goes according to plan I will reach the 'official' end of Highway 6 in Bishop, California. I figure I'll walk next door and get a real breakfast from Cracker Barrel before I get on the road. When I reach the door it seems they have changed their hours and they will not be open until 8 AM. Their 'normal' time is 6 AM so I am much disappointed and head back to the motel as I don't want to get that late a start for today.

  As I make my way out of Spanish Fork, I'm soon out in the country once again which is fine with me.  
  It looks to be some mighty fine farm country - as long as you've got a way to get water to it and don't have to depend on the rain.  
  Highway 6 in this area takes me up through what I call the 'high desert' - a dry landscape at some altitude.  
  I remember this headframe as I pass through Eureka as I did on my Highway 50 journey and ...  
  the old shack that had the 'NO TRESPASSING' sign. That issue looks like is has been 'resolved' though the sign is still faintly visible amongst the heap of rubble. In my experience, gravity pretty much always wins the battle given enough time.  
  It's a long straight ride on this section but at least it ain't crowded.  
  When I pass this well irrigated place I figure this feller has got more money in his fancy fences and 'plumbing' to keep things green than I do in my whole place back in the Holler.  
  Out here you can go from a fertile hay field with big bales ...  
  to a barren wasteland in just a short hop and skip.  

I see this open range but I have to say to myself

"What in the world would a poor cow eat out here?"

Freedom's fine when you can get it, but it don't last long if you're starving to death.

  Soon I'm up into some elevations as I pass over the mountain ranges. Some of the passes get up to 7,000 or more feet.  
  And as I saw when I ran this section on my Highway 50 ride, I encounter the 'vanishing point' reminder.  

As I make a fuel stop at the Utah/Nevada state lines, I run into a couple from Kentucky in a new Mustang. I asked them

"You're a long way from the house like me, ain't you?"

We both laugh and chat a bit about the differences in landscape around here versus back in Kentucky and Tennessee. I wish them pleasant journeys and get back to it.

  I cross right over the Nevada state line where this road picks up the name 'The Loneliest Highway In America'. It is the route for Highway 50 and Highway 6 but this section tends to be emphasized as Highway 50.  
  I pass by the antler arch again and suddenly realize that the buildings behind it are for 'D Bar X Meats' which might explain how so many sets of antlers became available.  
  As much as I appreciate the science behind the windmill generators they are still pretty ugly marks on the landscape to me. But I reckon out here is a good place for them things since there ain't much else except scrub bush and sand.  
  At Ely, Highway 50 and Highway 6 go their separate ways. I check my gas as I know it's a pretty good distance to the next fuel stop in Tonopah - 168 miles to be exact but I should be fine according to my gauge. And once again I encounter a big green GAR sign like I did earlier in the trip to remind me that this is Highway 6.  
  When I see this old abandoned shack, I can't help but wonder what is the story behind it. It sure don't look like a feller could farm around here and there ain't enough pasture for a mouse, much less a cow or a horse.  
  Soon I am down on the flats and I notice that my fuel is disappearing a lot faster than normal. I don't know if it is the fuel mixture out here or I've got a mechanical problem. But I'm now on reserve and there is no fuel to be had. So much for not putting myself in that position again. It's an unpleasant feeling contemplating the prospect of running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere with no cell service. But all I can do is run her as long as I can until she quits - which I am expecting at any time.  
  Thanks to the my Gracious Heavenly Father, I finally make it to Tonopah and head for the first gas station I see. The 'official' fuel capacity of the ST1100 is 7.4 gallons and my fill-up is just over 7.1 gallons. I reckon I had about two coke bottles worth of gas left when I pulled up here - not something I want to try again.  

As I am taking a break in the shade, I see Mr. Begging Bird looking for a handout. I tell him

"Mr. Bird, begging food from a fat man is a losing proposition."

He nods his head wearily and then wanders off to find a more promising prospect.

  As I head for the California border, I see dust devils off in the distance. They look like they reach all the way from the ground to the clouds like a mini tornado.  
  This area must have the right thermal characteristics for them because I see a lot more as I ride along.  
  Highway 6 and Highway 95 have short 'marriage' in this area, but Highway 95 splits off at Coaldale Junction and heads north while Highway 6 heads south.  
  I'm beginning to wonder if I should pull off and put on my rain gear but it is so hot I figure a good washing would not be too bad.  
  As I go past Benton Station, I remember that it is the turnoff for Yosemite on Highway 120 that takes you through Lee Vining and into the back entrance of the park.  
  And I also know that I am real close to the sign that I saw on my Highway 50 ride that marks the 'official' end of Highway 6 and started this whole adventure in my head. I stop and grab a picture of it before I head on into Bishop.  
  And just in case you miss the big one, they've put up a small one for your viewing pleasure.  
  I've stayed at this Super 8 before and there's nothing fancy about it but the price. Once again I planned on eating at Jacks, but they have changed their hours to times that will not work for me for supper or breakfast.  
  So it's back to the Jack N Box next door that I ate at the last time I was here. The big difference is now the place is apparently run by a younger set of folks while previously it was run by much older folks. Let's just say that the difference in staff is very apparent as you look around at the condition of the facility. I notice that they have some breakfast offerings and they open at 6 AM, so I figure I'll use this as my breakfast opportunity in the morning.  
  The food's not bad and at least it is convenient so I haul it back to my room where I can enjoy some real air conditioning and a comfortable and clean eating area.  
  Tomorrow is the day I will pursue the 'historical' section of Highway 6 that runs all the way into Long Beach via Los Angeles. I am not looking forward to dealing with the craziness of the LA traffic, but it is what it is if I want to get the picture of the GAR plaque which marks the 'historical' end of Highway 6. With those thoughts rattling around in my head, I rattle right off to Slumberland in short order.