When my adventurous, photojournalist daughter asked me if I wanted to be her driver on a trip exploring the backroads of Nevada, on a motorcycle, my astonished reply was “well of course I do”. I’d only made it back to Nevada once to ride in the 10 years since I moved away and I especially missed the serenity and beauty of the desert, and her plans included riding through a lot of rural Nevada. So, the next thing I knew, I was climbing on a new Harley-Davidson with only 26 miles on the clock. With Sydney on the back balancing a lap full of camera gear, we were off adventuring.
Starting in Carson City, we headed south on US 95 for Beatty, Las Vegas and Boulder City, and looped north on US 93 through Pioche and Ely before returning back to Reno on the Loneliest Road in America [one of my all-time favorite motorcycle roads in the USA.] I pointed the bike where she told me, rode some great roads, and was her dutiful photo assistant for a week.
We discovered some great roads, ate lunch in a variety of bars, stopped at beautiful but mostly unknown Nevada State Parks [Valley of Fire was impressive], saw a ton of attractions, and stayed in local motels with names like the Atomic Inn. There were some unforgettable moments, like riding the ET Highway. With no cars in sight for as far as the eye could see, we seized the moment and even laid down right in the middle of the road. A true only-in-Nevada experience.
We met friendly locals everywhere from Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas to Pioche with Sydney doing her best to spread the word on the amazing state of Nevada, sharing a ton of history about the state, and also capturing some great photos and video to share.
She was a trooper on the back, as she’s been since she was a teen, rarely complaining even when riding through a variety of conditions – 98 degrees on Tuesday, 38 degrees on Friday. Chalk it up to unpredictable Nevada weather...I guess that's just springtime in the Silver State!
Seeing most of those places was new for me, mostly new for her, but the perspective on a motorcycle is a different experience every time. Riding in a car to see these places is great, but you don’t get those sweeping, 180-degree views, and you can only experience the colors, smells and weather when you're exposed and in the middle of it on a motorcycle. During these moments, you start to grasp how big Nevada really is. And it really is big. The giant vistas seem to be over every hill, the number of immensely beautiful natural attractions, the vastly interesting history, and how the people you meet are hugely genuine and well...western. There's really no other place like it that I've seen. But don't take my word for it. Go ride a motorcycle through it and see for yourself.