Morning arrived clear and calm. Had there not been so much grit embedded in everything we owned, I might have thought the storm on the previous evening was an illusion, a nightmare caused by something I ate.
The store where we’d gotten our dinner had only a few items that appealed to us for breakfast. It was just as well we passed, because with the morning came the yearn for hot coffee and fresh pastries. We immediately prepared for departure. I was almost ready to crank the Thumper when we noticed a solitary cyclist leaving the park.
He was a middle-aged man in gray clothing, gloves, and helmet. His four panniers were bulging. He either was traveling, or had traveled a great distance.
“I didn’t see him last night,” said Barb.
I nodded over the sound of the motorcycle engine.
We caught up to him less than a mile from the park. Hoping to learn where he’d started from and his destination, I stopped and shut the motor off. We evidently posed some sort of threat, because he also halted, but some twenty yards back. A wordless fear emanated from him and I hesitated to approach him.
“Are you okay?” I shouted.
“Can I get food for you from back in Hawthorne?” I offered.
Obviously, he wanted no companionship. Though I didn’t see one, I sensed that he had a weapon at the ready. Realizing there was no future in pursuing this adventure, I climbed back on our motorcycle and we left him in our mirror.
Near the northern edge of Walker Reservation we found a small gas station/convenience store. The pastry lady was leaving her fresh donuts and whatnots as we pushed through the door. Sitting outside on a large wooden spool that had once held cable, we swilled our morning coffee and enjoyed our breakfast.
The journey to Fallon was lengthy, but uneventful. From there we traveled west on US 50 to Interstate 80 and then stopped at a desert truck stop at Fernley where we took a room to consider the following day.
There was a literal fork in our road. We could follow the Interstate to Reno before going north on US 395, or we could turn north at Wadsworth, venturing past Pyramid Lake and into the deserted backcountry toward Northern California.
We favored the second choice, but more than a hundred miles lay between us and Cedarville, California. There were only two gas stations. Sometimes they were open. Sometimes they were closed.