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Now, it was within practical range of my curiosities, and I knew what I must do. God forbid, should I lose my trusty steed, this forty-walking-miles-worth of portable McOomph would power my hoof back to civilization. Half an hour later, in the arid lee of the Warner Mountains, I passed through the final organized settlement along the way: Ahead, bona fide desert spread to the horizon and beyond.
At the Nevada state line, the asphalt ended, and on packed gravel, my car barreled noisily through forty miles of sagebrush steppe: A pair of pronghorn passed me on the right, jumped across the road, and bounced effortlessly uphill to join a herd of their compadres. Visions of antelope still dancing in my head, I turned onto the five-mile spur road that led to the vicinity of the McFarthest Spot.
The refuge map calls it jeep trail, and an indignant army of basalt boulders began to gouge that fact into the tender undercarriage of my hapless minivan.
Gingerly, I guided Mcdonalds research back to the safe harbor of the main road. I quickly found a spot, pitched the tent, built a fire circle, unfurled a lawn chair, and took some time to survey my surroundings.
Nearby Mcdonalds research the typical smattering of camper rigs and pickup trucks, but what was that across the lake?
I raised the binoculars for a better look… On the opposite shore, smoke puffed from a curious structure that appeared to be made of rough-cut sod and animal pelts.
Parked nearby was what I dubbed the Dark Desert Sedan: As the sun set, campfires lit up like stars.
Horns honked, generators revved, brewskies popped, and there was copious belching and farting. From somewhere in the darkness, Elton John began to belt out the tunes, and Dolly Parton soon joined him in a piano-pounding, honky-tonk duet. Clearly, Nevada knows how to party. Could any animal possibly be more graceful than an antelope?
Had Dolly Parton and Elton John ever met? What is the opposite of Grimace? A creeping chill nudged me tentwards, where a cozy pile of wool blankets seduced me to slumber.
Sunrise I awoke to an electric blue sky, patchy ground fog, and ice in my water bottle. On tenacious embers, I stoked a small fire and toasted an apple pie and skewer-full of McNuggets. Same to you, kindly Burner woman! I packed the car and headed back to Jeep Trail Junction.
I carefully descended the steep, rocky double-track to the bottom, then climbed slightly and headed west over rolling terrain.
A mile out, my smile spread ear-to-ear; at feet, I ditched the bike and left the road; and with feet to go, I turned on the video camera: Except for the faint whistle of wind through the sage, it was completely silent.
A brief canvas revealed the solitary sign of intelligent life: Quite possibly, no other person had ever stood in this exact place, and I fancied myself an intrepid explorer of yore. Presently, I needed to get some food in my belly, so I unpacked my McMeal and prepared to chow down. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw something move, so I turned and — clink.
The flask had toppled over and dribbled all 16 fluid ounces of Coca-Cola Classic onto the thirsty earth: My solid eatins were still intact, although the desert dryness had boiled away most of their precious McNectars.
The McFarthest Spot had already marinated in high-fructose corn syrup, so what could be the harm in adding some genetically-modified potatoes and partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil? I fashioned the leftovers into a tiny McX: After guzzling the last of the agua, I picked up my McMess and began the short hike back to the bike.
Cresting a sage-covered hillock, an unexpected dust cloud appeared, and at its source, the Dark Desert Sedan tore off into the distance.
What was it doing out here? The return ride was only five miles long and feet of vertical, but also rough, at elevation, sun-baked, and bone dry. Homeward Bound It was a straight shot back to Cedarville, except for a brief country traffic jam: Then, as I rolled out of town, a car blossomed in the rear view.
On the outskirts of Alturas, the Sedan began to honk and flash its headlights, and as I paused at the stop sign near downtown, it lurched in front of me and cut off my escape.
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