DAY 15: September 09, 2011 (Friday)
30 miles east of Susanville to southern Reno, Nevada: 65 miles (549 thus far)
Up at first light, a time when the electric lighting of the gas station fades compared to the brightening horizon to the east. The mostly full moon last night kept the shadow of the Q on the side of the tent for many hours. By first light, that shadow was long gone. Ate breakfast on the picnic table outside the mini-mart. From my tires, I pulled 3 goatheads that I had mopped up riding to the tent site last evening, although I no longer worry about these spikes because I know my tire/liner/tube combination absolutely stops them from flattening my ride. It’s about 55 miles from here to the northwestern outskirts of Reno, Nevada, and with this heat, I want an early start. Quite a bit of the road today is relatively flat, making for some good progress, along with a few descents of short duration, and of course, those seemingly endless and treeless uphills in the blazing California and Nevada sunshine. The closer I got to the famous gambling town of Reno, the heavier the traffic became … great news because all my air conditioning vehicles were really helping to cool my quickly dehydrating triker’s body as they raced by to gamble. Jack Freer had told me a few days earlier to exit US 395 at North Virginia Street, and a good thing he did too, because just prior to where the North Virginia exit is, a large sign reads: BICYCLES MUST EXIT (of course, I’m not on a bicycle, but who am I to argue minutia?). I pulled into the Sierra Zoo, parked in the shade, got some further directions from locals who loved my trike and the trip, and then ate some bars, bought some ice water in the zoo store, again refilled my water bottles on the trike, and used their air conditioned toilet facility. Heaven! Upon entering downtown Reno, through which I triked the main drag on the Business 395 route, it became immediately obvious that this town is not cyclist-friendly when it comes to bike lanes, a situation that would really spook most bicyclists and tricyclists. Yet, after 15 days of this triking business in all kinds of settings, combined with past experiences in traffic prior to this journey, I just assumed my rightful spot as another human propelling myself about the Earth, albeit with an organic engine instead of a petroleum one. What did I learn? Even in Reno on late a Friday afternoon rush hour, I was afforded all due courtesies mile after mile along the casino-laden boulevard, and this with no bicycle lane whatsoever. No close calls. No angry motorists. No issues at all. There was however, a lot of pointing and interest in my unusual mode of transport. People were so busy trying to figure me out that impatience was the last thing on their minds. Air temps were only 86 degrees compared to Susanville. This town was a sea of automobiles, people, and air pollution, and near the southern end of town, I quick like a bunny spun into the Meadow Wood Courtyard Inn where my mom and her friend Betty had invited me to vacation with them a few days many years ago. I showered, did a laundry, updated Trike Asylum, and just relaxed having made it through Reno, knowing I was now more than half way to my destination of Apple Valley, California.