Last night got hairy. Driving rain began showing signs of becoming fat, puffy snowflakes. We stopped in Winnamucca, NV for a fine dining experience at Pizza Hut. The snow made an appearance as we entered the restaurant. Inside Pizza Hut, the air conditioner was on. The place was empty and bad '70's roller-disco was coming through unseen speakers. We ate mediocre pizza, froze, and hit the road again.
We started climbing over a pass and the snow was coming down sideways. It was swirly and intense. We had to look through the snow, not at it, or else it was overwhelming. The snow covered all road signs. Other vehicles were pulling off the road or driving with their hazards on. The Stud Mobile chugged along, slow and steady in 4WD. I felt safe, in this solid piece of machinery, high above cars. Semi trucks were pulled off the road, looking like long strands of Christmas lights.
We drove until we hit rest area in Valmy, NV. It was a damn cold run to the rest room wearing Chacos and a sweatshirt. Jay popped the top on the van and we settled in for sleep, except for me running to pee several times over the course of the night.
The Cow (Jay's Blackberry, his phone-daytimer-life accessory) woke me at 6:15am with a Mooooo!! It then began chirping its stupidly giddy alarm. I hadn't realized Jay had set the alarm. I thought it was Jay receiving the morning's opening stock quotes. I got out of my darling down coccoon and went outside to shoot a few photos of the sunrise. The peaks around us were covered with snow. The skies were a cool, flat blue, the blue one sees before the warm colors of sunrise make an appearance.
We hit the road. It's a good thing we stopped when we did last night. The next pass looked like the storm was a doozy.
Starbucks 50 miles. Yep. There was a billboard in Battle Mountain announcing Starbucks in Elko, NV. Exit 303. I now had the coffee jones for 50 miles. I coerced Jay into stopping, and when we turned off at 303 we began looking for the green circled logo. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but then we saw the famed logo on the side of a casino. A casino? The Red Lion Inn and Casino housed the only Starbucks for miles and miles. Well, I wanted my fix so I braved the bling and went inside. Past all the glitz was a full-on Starbucks! How crazy, I thought, as a I tanked up on the biggest Cappucino I could buy.
We went back outside to check the van. Jay wanted to see if the poorly designed auxillary gas tank had gotten water in it. It looked pretty good. Jay tried to teach me a bit of Hacky Sackin', I sucked at it, and then we hit the road.
We got Boulders! We stopped at a rest area in between Knolls and the Cedar Mountains in Utah. Up the hill beyond the plus rest stop were rocks! I walked swiftly up the hill, appreciating how good it felt to be moving my body. We did some bouldering, sans climbing shoes, on some cool rock. Lots of loose rock, and lemme tell you how much it sucked to be leveraging one's body weight, pull a hold, and the the rock loosen and wind up in my hand. We ran back down the hill. From a distance, I spotted what looked to be a Rottie. Upon arrival, it was indeed a Rottie, a sweet big 11 month old boy named Tucker. While Jay chatted with Tucker's owner about veggie oil as fuel, I got my dog fix.