Morning…OW! Where IS that 800 mg. Motrin bottle? A long night in the tent with only 1 ½ inches of foam between you and the ground can make one a little bit bitchy. Not to worry, though, we’re barely into our trip. It can only get better, eh? Not so fast there, snack shack. Let me first update ya’ll on the past 24 hours… It was quite an awesomely beautiful ride out of Fallon. Heading east on Highway 50, we soon came upon some salt flats. This vast expanse of white film covered the entire valley. Very cool. Because the valley was so white, locals had taken to spelling out names, sayings, blah, blah, blah in black and red lava rocks. Everything from “I Love Sue” to “” (not kidding) was written. I was itchin’ to be a part of it. But the highway is only 1 lane each way and even with almost NO ONE coming in either direction, you know that as soon as we pulled over, a traffic jam would appear. Then we spotted something called Sand Mountain to our left. No kidding, it is this hugely massive sand dune butted up against the mountain range. Now we HAD to pull over for a pic. Flashers on, head out of butt, we took our chances and squeezed over to the side as much as possible. And what are those black dots on the sand? They’re moving. Naw…are you serious?!? There are motorcycles jetting up and down the side of this sand mountain. Dude, I’m all for the thrill of adventure, it’s just the agony of defeat that scares the shit out of me. And while we were off to the side of the road, might as well check out the salt flat (I tasted it…it is indeed sodium). And how could I resist spelling out JACK using broken pieces of pavement? If you’re traveling along Highway 50 and spot Sand Mountain on your left, start looking right for Jack’s name. Our curiosity got the better of us and we headed down the dirt road to Sand Mountain. How could we not? We have no real schedule and just want to see and experience as much as we can in our 2 week voyage. As we got closer to the mountain, a plethora of quads and toy haulers came into view. Do I hear a banjo? Nope, country. Close enough. We were in awe of the balls (and beer) it took for these guys to race their quads up and down the side of this mountain. Couldn’t help but wonder what the hell happens when the liquid courage wears off and you realize what the hell it is you’re actually doing! We sat back for a while and watched the Redneck Races. Within minutes, two female park rangers came up to ask if we had a permit and if Terry was going to take his bike out for a sand spin. Sorry, ladies, but we brought all our marbles on this trip and plan on taking them all home with us. We did have a fabulous chat with one of the rangers. She’s traveled extensively and chatted it up about traveling by motorcycle. Totally dug her. What really made us chuckle was when she said there was a high “bubba factor” at the mountain. No shit! We (I) made a couple of sandwiches, bid the mountain and ranger farewell, and continued on our journey. If you ever get the chance to drive along Highway 50, I highly recommend it. Mountain ranges pierce the sky, valleys dotted with cattle and sage brush – it was all breathtaking. We made another stop at some petroglyphs. You remember those, at least if you stayed awake in any of your college anthropology classes. Having only seen them during slide presentations, I decided we should make a stop and check them out live and in person. They were tucked into the side of yet another mountain range and carved in limestone that wore shades of amber, salmon and orange. Looking at the area, you could picture Indian life way back when – men hiding atop the mountains as lookouts, women preparing meals, children running around catching lizards and snakes. It was time to get on the road again…I can’t wait to get on the road again… Stopped in Ely to grab some Jagermeister at the local liquor store. Dude. All I can say is check out the pic of the local flava…nuff said… After many hours on the road, we pulled up to Great Basin National Park. Awesome. Two out of the four campgrounds were still closed and the one’s that were open had no water. Fine. We brought our own for just such an occasion. We headed up, up, up the road to Upper Lehman Campground, elev. 7,500 feet. Ouch, my bloody nose! Seriously, we’ve all been blowin’ bloody boogers since Fallon and the skin on my hands have the texture of rough sandpaper. Soooo ladylike. We found a very cool spot near the stream that was teeming with iron as all the rocks within the flow were red. Want to know just how cold it is at night? There was still snow on the ground (with more to come…more on that later). Using my best Survivorman skills (LOVE that show!), I held my hand up to the sun and measured how much daylight we had left. Two hours. Time to light a fire under our butts (and in our fire pit) and get this camp set up cause as soon as that sun sets, it’s freezin’ time. While Terry unloaded the truck, Jack and I set forth gathering as many branches as possible. There was plenty of dry grass to start the fire, but slim pickin’s on the firewood. And DO NOT touch the poison oak!! Got the fire going (sorry, Survivorman, we had matches) and started on dinner. I’m tellin’ ya, eating polish dogs and potato salad by a campfire with your family is priceless. We were all bundled up in layers as the sun had set and were eager for our first nights attempt at sleeping in the tents. A few burnt marshmallows later, we hunkered down in our sleeping accommodations (Terry in one tent, Jack and I in the other) and settled down for a long night. The mercury was dipping well into the upper 30’s by the time Jack finally closed his eyes. He was so excited to be camping and, well, so were we. We all smelled of campfire and the outdoors with no desire to wash it away. And it did turn out to be a long night. If you’re a parent, you tend to wake up every time your child moves. I kept my headlamp on my head knowing that the night would be spent getting Jack back in his sleeping bag and putting his hat back on his head. The night did not disappoint. No worries, though, as the memories outweigh the lack of sleep. We all awoke around 7:30, a little sore from the lack of a mattress, but ready to start on some Jetboil coffee. Wait. Are those dark clouds above? Nah. It can’t rain or snow now – it’s May! Stay tuned, sports fans!