In the summer of 1982, the US-50 called to me once again, and this time I embarked on the journey astride my trusty motorcycle. With my girlfriend’s new job in Monterey, California, we decided to seize the opportunity to spend some quality time together. We settled in a charming cabin nestled in the countryside between Monterey and Salinas, where days were filled with laughter, dreams, and uncertainty about our future.
As August approached, I knew it was time to return to my teaching job back in Utah. The thrill of the open road beckoned me, and with a mix of sadness and excitement, I bid my girlfriend farewell, promising to return soon.
My motorcycle was loaded into the back of a hauling truck, eagerly awaiting the moment I could ride it back home. The anticipation built up inside me as I traced my route from Salinas to Sacramento, where I would pick up the legendary US-50.
My first stop was in Salinas, where I paid my respects to the great author John Steinbeck by visiting his home. The feeling of being in the presence of literary history was both inspiring and humbling.
With a full tank and a heart eager for adventure, I set my sights on the iconic US-50. As I ascended Echo Summit, the heavens seemed to have other plans. A sudden snowstorm struck, accompanied by thunder and lightning. I found shelter under the shortest tree I could find, knowing it might not be the wisest choice, but it was better than nothing.
When the storm finally subsided, I continued on my way, the chill of the snow lingering in the air. The sight of Lake Tahoe, with its crystal-clear waters, was a welcome respite after the tumultuous weather. I took a moment to bask in the breathtaking view before resuming my journey.
Descending into the Carson Valley, the road stretched out before me, wet and inviting. Eager to test the limits of my motorcycle, I accelerated to 90 mph. The wind roared in my ears, and I felt a moment of euphoria. But as the speed increased, so did the sensation of losing contact with the road. Realizing the danger, I wisely eased off the accelerator and gradually reduced my speed to a safer 55 mph.
From Carson City, I rode the long stretches of US-50 across Nevada. The scenery changed, but the feeling of adventure remained constant. Although some memories of the exact locations have faded, two moments stand out vividly.
The first was when I crossed paths with the humble Reese River, making its way towards Battle Mountain on I-80. The sight of its modest flow reminded me of the power and beauty of nature even in the most unassuming places.
The second unforgettable moment was a faint rainbow gracing the summit of a mountain near Ely. It felt like a sign of good fortune, a reminder that the road was filled with surprises and wonders waiting to be discovered.
Completing the ride down the central California coast on the Pacific Coast Highway was an exceptional experience, but this journey on US-50 was unparalleled. The combination of camaraderie, love, and the thrill of the road made it the greatest ride of my life.
As I finally arrived back home in Utah, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of fulfillment and gratitude for the adventures and memories created during this ride. The US-50 had once again proven itself to be the highway of adventure, offering not just a physical journey but also a profound voyage of the heart and soul.