I’d left Beatty that morning heading east into the Great Basin. When I met this view I felt compelled to stop and take a photograph. It was a baking hot day, easily over 40 degrees. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I couldn’t believe how free I felt. The joy of a roadtrip is knowing that one is free to roam at one’s whim, but at the same time once the road is chosen, one’s journey is laid out before you like an asphalt carpet.
I thundered down this road at 110mph. There was no FM radio, no AM radio even, no mp3s to listen to, just my slowly recovering inner voice, whispering, learning to speak to me again. I opened the windows all the way down and remember the sound and feeling of the billowing pillows of hot air that slapped into the open car windows. I felt such a rushing sensation. I let rip several full-throated jubilant yells that I felt no need to hold in. The wind sucked them away almost before I could hear them.
I had no idea if I could cross the Basin in a single day, and was hoping the tiny dot on the map – the only dot on the entire road to Utah – would have somewhere for me to put up for the night. And maybe some gas.
Just one or two bends in the empty road and several hours later, I pulled in front of the extended trailer that is the Little A ‘Le’ inn at Rachel. The only sound on this still, empty desert evening was from the car’s hot tyres as they crunched over the dusty gravel. I slowly rolled passed the amusing flying saucer suspended from a broken down pick-up truck. I was only halfway across Nevada. Concerned I might be short of gas, hungry and thirsty for a Budweiser, I sat on a bar stool and waited to catch the barmaid’s attention. She popped the top on that cold brown bottle and I sunk half of it before I put it back on the counter. The assorted locals enjoyed my accent and I enjoyed their talk of UFO hunters, CB radio before the internet came along and one chap recited me a poem drunkenly, about his drunken life in Las Vegas as a younger man. All I’d eaten that day was a twinkie at lunch and a sandwich for supper, so the Buds had got my ears warm and head light. It’s a poor excuse I suppose but I can’t remember to this day that chap’s name, or the poem he recited. It may be better that way.