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Pahrump to Henderson Motorcycle Ride

Pahrump to Ely | Miles Ridden: 338

A good night's sleep. That's what we all really want, and need. I got one last night, at the Best Western Pahrump Station. Now I'm ready to ride into the high desert in Nevada – right after I eat a free hot breakfast in the hotel's Draft Picks Sports Lounge.

Yesterday, I rode from my home in Los Angeles to Pahrump, a distance of about 315 miles, on a 2014 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited. I've been looking forward to this ride for weeks, because the new Electra Glide really is new. It's a product of Harley's Project Rushmore, an initiative that the Motor Company just unveiled this fall. As a result of extensive customer research, the entire touring lineup has been redesigned, with the biggest changes coming to the top of the line Electra Glide Limited. The batwing fairing has been reshaped, and ventilation has been added below the windshield. New gauges, and a new Boom! audio system with a color screen and GPS navigation now lives in the dashboard, incorporating Bluetooth audio, a USB input, and a 12-volt power port. The bike's ergonomics have been subtly improved, with revised geometry and a more comfortable seat.

And that's not even the big news. The big news is the Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam engine, a revised 103-cubic inch V-Twin that uses liquid to cool the engine heads. The radiators are cleverly concealed in the fairing lowers. This technology is revolutionary for Harley, whose entire lineup has been air cooled, with the exception of the V-Rod. Liquid cooling should eventually trickle down to the rest of the lineup. For now, it's only available in the Electra Glide Ultra Limited, the CVO Electra Glide, and the Tri Glide.

Riding across the California desert yesterday, I noticed the increase in power that the new 103 produces, and I felt more comfortable and in control than ever. I plugged my iPhone into the USB port in the dash, and tucked the phone safely away into the cleverly concealed compartment. I plugged in my headset into the bike's port, and was rewarded with clear sound, loud enough to hear even with earplugs. I put my phone into Airplane mode, to make sure that I didn't get any distracting phone calls during my ride – even though it's possible to make and receive calls through the bike's system, I choose not to, for safety's sake.

I rolled into Best Western Pahrump Station and checked into my clean, spacious room. I had just enough time to unload the bike and head back out to ride around town before darkness fell.

Pahrump is an interesting town. With a population of about 38,000, it's the biggest town in Nye County. Like in the rest of Nevada, gambling is legal in Pahrump, and there are several casinos to take advantage of that fact. Unlike Las Vegas, the casinos in Pahrump are present but not dominant. They're smaller and a little less intimidating, but still feature all of the same gaming and many of the same amenities, like restaurants, buffets and live entertainment. Pahrump takes pride in its natural attractions, with lots of local hiking and outdoor activities. Pahrump is also home to two motorsports facilities, Pahrump Valley Speedway and Spring Mountain Motor Resort & Country Club. The Speedway is a good old-fashioned racetrack for spectators, with sprint and stock car racing; and Spring Mountain is a driver's paradise, home to several performance driving schools and track time available for hire.

I had dinner at El Jefe's Restaurant, a comfortable Mexican place just down the road from the Best Western. You can't go wrong with Mexican food in southern Nevada, and El Jefe's lived up to the tradition.

I dropped in to the Draft Picks Sports Lounge at the hotel, where a live band was playing classic rock hits. Not too bad! The Lounge has a four-lane bowling alley inside, too, set up for duckpins, but with modern electronic scoring and pin setting. That's some fun. I stuck around for a few tunes, watched a little bit of bowling, then headed for bed.

Now, I'm on the road. I've had my breakfast, the bike is loaded, and it's a beautiful day. This week, I'll be riding a counter-clockwise circle through the middle of Nevada, hitting lots of high desert scenery and crossing some of the most remote territory in the United States. I'll have to pay close attention to my gas gauge, as there will be some stretches with 100-mile gaps (and more) between service stations. I'm all geared up in a new Harley-Davidson Triple Vent System Evolution Waterproof Leather Jacket and Waterproof Textile Riding Pants. I tracked down this new jacket specifically for this trip, because it is incredibly versatile. It's designed to flow a big amount of air for cooling, with big zippered vents and on the front, sides and back. It comes with a removable jacket liner for cold weather, and it is waterproof when all the vents are closed. I'm not expecting rain or snow on this trip, but you never know. I am expecting wide temperature swings, as I'll be riding from sea level to over 4,000 feet in elevation. My usual jacket choices would be a compromise – my perforated jacket would be perfect in the heat, too cold in the mountains, and my regular jacket would be just the reverse. The riding pants are essential, too, for safety and impact resistance as well as weather protection. I should be extremely comfortable and safe on this ride.

The first leg of my ride takes me through North Las Vegas. I can see the skyline of the famous Las Vegas Strip as I skirt the city. It would be an easy hop from Pahrump in to Las Vegas – I can see the wisdom in staying overnight at the Best Western Pahrump Station instead of in the hustle and bustle of Vegas. It would be cheaper and less hectic, and probably a lot less stressful for a lot of people.

Soon, Las Vegas is in my mirrors, and I'm out into the desert. I find the Nevada desert to be immensely beautiful and awe-inspiring. Even though most of the roads are flat and straight, the scenery is so grand that I enjoy the ride. US-93 heads north into the interior of the state. I follow it for about 80 miles until I come to Gill, where I stop to fill up with gas. Four lanes go down to two, but the speed limit is still 70 in most places, except when the road passes through tiny towns. The Electra Glide is rock solid, unaffected by wind or by opposing truck traffic. I set the cruise control and enjoy the ride. There's very little traffic, and I'm extremely comfortable on the bike. This is one of those great rides.

The desert landscape changes subtly as I cruise through, morphing from sandy, rocky terrain dotted with Joshua trees to low brush to creosote bushes, a new eco system emerging each time I pass through a valley. Big stratified rock formations and hills define the valleys in the distance, closing in on the road periodically before opening up to a wide expanse of flat desert floor. It's a wonderland of muted color. I pass through some ranchland, with hearty-looking cattle munching on desert foliage in remote, rocky fields. The cows seem to appreciate the comfortable temperatures of the day, around 75 degrees in the sun. I can only imagine how tough their lives get during the summer, when it can get over 110 for days on end.

I stop for gas in the little town of Alamo. A sign warns that the next services will be in 100 miles – one of the stretches that I've been anticipating. I wouldn't want to attempt this ride on my Sportster, but the Electra Glide can easily go 200 miles or more on a tank of gas, so I'll be fine as long as I don't get foolish.

I take on some elevation as I head into the Humboldt National Forest. There's even some snow on the ground on the east side of the road, which I was not expecting to see this early in November.

Finally, I roll in to Ely and check in to the Best Western Park Vue Motel. Ely is a tiny town of 4,500. The Best Western is situated right in the middle of town on the main drag, walking distance from several small casinos, restaurants and bars. Downtown Ely has several great looking old buildings from the early 20th century, and some giant building-side murals depicting the history of the region. There's a public sculpture garden and an arts center on the main street, and a nice park in front of the county library. Pickup trucks outnumber cars by a healthy margin, and the vibe is that of a relaxed cowboy town.

I check in to my room at the Best Western Park Vue Motel, and set off to take some pictures and find some dinner. I never did stop for lunch today. Sometimes I prefer to ride a little hungry on a longer day. I find it easier to keep riding, rather than losing momentum and stopping for a meal. Some beef jerky and a bottle of water keeps me going – and then I enjoy my dinner all the more.

I settle on the Hotel Nevada Casino for dinner, and order up a beef ribeye, medium rare. Those Nevada cows sure are delicious!

Back in my room now, I'm going to study my maps and check the weather for tomorrow's ride. I'll be hitting my highest elevations, so I've got an alternated route planned in case things turn bad. So far, it's looking good for my original route plan. I'll check again tomorrow before I depart.

I'll sleep well tonight in the cool high desert air. Maybe I'll go out and check out the stars before I go to bed.

NEXT: Day Two: Ely to Elko to Eureka

Lonely Nevada Ride, Day Two

Ely to Elko to Eureka | Miles Ridden: 322.4

I'm up early this morning. I think it's the elevation – Ely is at 6,437 feet above sea level, higher than Denver, Colorado. The air is thinner, and it can definitely have an effect on you. It does on me, anyway.

I have a great chat with Larry and Brenda, the Best Western Park Vue Motel's managers, while I eat breakfast in the lobby. Larry is a real character. He wouldn't be out of place in any Old West scenario you could imagine. He's a wiry guy with long grey hair and a quick wit, and Brenda, his wife of 27 years, is his laconic foil. They tell me all about Ely, and what a great place it is to live. Larry came to town to work on the construction of the nearby prison – his specialty was as a carpenter, hanging doors. The town has gone through a number of booms and busts, with the mining of minerals and precious metals from the rich earth in the area. When a mine hits big, the town flourishes; when the vein is depleted, the town sinks back into its doldrums. From the look of things, Ely is in a bit of a slump right now, with a lot of businesses and properties sporting "For Sale" signs. Larry is positive that things are about to turn around again, as a local mine is on the verge of a hot streak.

The Best Western Park Vue Motel seems immune to the slump. According to Larry, it's a popular home base for hunters, and their rooms are fully occupied during hunting season every year. The motel also serves as a stopover for a regular crowd of snowbirds, a familiar home away from home on the way from Canada to Arizona. "We're halfway between nowhere," Larry tells me.

It's time to saddle up and move along. I bid goodbye to Larry and Brenda, pack up the Electra Glide and hit the road.

Today is Veteran's Day, so many of Ely's attractions are closed for the holiday. Still, I'm able to explore the Ely Art Trail, a series of 27 murals and works of public art that decorate and enliven downtown, while telling some of the history of the area. The White Pine Public Museum and the Nevada Northern Railway Museum both look great from the outside, but I have to ride right by. Ely is within shouting distance of several huge parks, Cave Lake State Park and Great Basin National Park. Each is a haven for outdoorsmen, with excellent camping, hunting and even OHV opportunities.

My favorite outdoor activity is, you guessed it, motorcycle riding, and that's what I'm going to do today. I pick up US-93 North out of town. My destination today is Eureka, which is about 80 miles west of Ely on US-50. But I'm not riding directly there. I'm going to take a bigger circuit, passing through Wells and Elko in the north before riding back down into Eureka. I want to see some of those long empty roads that I've read about but never ridden.

Take a look at a map of Nevada. Go ahead, I'll wait. There's not a whole lot to see on a road map of eastern Nevada. Not a lot of towns, not a lot of routes. This is desolate, high desert country. The road seems to go on forever on the flat valley floors between craggy mountain ranges. I pass signs that announce elevations of 3,500 feet to 6,600 feet, but it feels like I'm riding a flat trajectory all along. The scenery is magnificent, with snow-capped mountains in the near distance and scrub and brush in the foreground. Every once in a while, signs of human habitation, as I pass small ranches with modest herds of range cattle and a few horses. I filled up the Electra Glide before I left Ely, but I check my gauge carefully when I see a sign that says "Next Gas 124 Miles." It hardly seems possible, but it's true.

The weather has been cooperating wonderfully on this trip so far. I do hit a few cold patches when I pass through higher elevations, but I make a great discovery – the Electra Glide has heated hand grips! I twist the dial on the end of the left grip, and my hands are soon warm and toasty. Warm hands make a big difference in comfort on a chilly ride.

I reach Wells, and a gas station, with about 50 miles of range left in reserve. No problem.

I make a short blast west on I-80, exiting the Interstate in Elko 40 miles later for a lunch break. I'm seduced by a local chain called "Wingers" that specializes in chicken wings. I'm nothing if not classy. Still, unlimited wings for $9.99 with a salad and soda, not a bad deal for lunch. "Unlimited" turns out to be about 15 wings today – not even close to my record. I still have riding left to do today. Before leaving Elko, I ride past the Best Western Elko Inn to take a look. It was on my itinerary the last time I rode in Nevada, but I never made it there due to cold weather. It's a really nice property with a natural rock waterfall in front. They're in the process of upgrading the hotel's entryway, too. I'll have to come back for a stay next time I'm in the area.

Back on the bike, I pick up NV-278, a two-lane road that takes me all the way to Eureka. It's a great road, weaving in and around low hills and blasting through flat valley floors. I'm definitely adding altitude now, but the bike doesn't even seem to notice. Electronic fuel injection is amazing, compensating for altitude and atmospheric pressure in a way that used to confound conventional carburetors. Power is down a little – there's less oxygen available to fuel combustion – but not enough to make a big difference in performance. There's no hiccoughing, no stumbling – just smooth power delivery.

I make the final climb into Eureka. It's a town of about 600 – but still the biggest town in Eureka County, and the county seat. The Best Western PLUS Eureka Inn is right on the main street, where virtually all of the town's businesses are clustered. The town is really a mining camp, and touts itself as "one of the best preserved mining camps in the West." Many of the buildings on the street were built in the late 19th century, when Eureka was a boomtown with over 9,000 residents. Eureka was a stop on the Pony Express, and several historical societies have sprung up to try and preserve the heritage.

The two gems of Eureka's architectural heritage are the Eureka Opera House and the Eureka County Courthouse, both built in 1880. The Opera House was restored in the 1990s, and today serves as a performance venue and cultural center. The Courthouse is still in use as a municipal building, and they stand across from each other on Main Street to give a glimpse of the town's heyday.

When I check in at the Best Western PLUS Eureka Inn, I'm very happy with the welcome I receive from Becky at the front desk. Like nearly everyone I've talked with on this trip, she's a character you'll only find in an Old Western town. In our brief conversation, I discover that she's a grandmother, an avid photographer, and that she has a daughter-in-law who is a Captain in the US Army, serving in Afghanistan right now, and that her daughter-in-law loves Oreo Cookies and popcorn, so Becky has sent over a case of each. Becky is a prize.

The only restaurant open in town this evening is the Owl Club Bar and Steak House, which is fortunate, because all I want is steak. Why is it that after seeing cattle in the fields during the day, I want to eat them that evening? I love animals – but cows are delicious.

I'm back in my room now, thinking about the ride ahead. Tomorrow, I confront "The Loneliest Road in America." I can hardly wait.

NEXT: Day Three: Eureka to Topaz Lake

Lonely Nevada Ride, Day Three

Eureka to Topaz Lake | Miles Ridden: 287.7

Back in 1986, Life magazine called US-50 "The Loneliest Road in America," and rather than feeling insulted, Nevada took it as a rallying cry. Today, I'm going to ride most of the lonely road as I depart Eureka and head to Topaz Lake.

I stoke the fire with a free breakfast in the lobby at the Best Western PLUS Eureka Inn. I slept really well last night, exhausted after a long day yesterday. I remembered to drink plenty of water before going to bed. In the high desert climate, it's easy to become dehydrated overnight, even in an air-conditioned hotel room. I've found that if I don't drink plenty of water when I'm above 6,000 feet, I wake up every hour, and in the morning, I'm not rested. I feel great this morning, and ready to ride.

I load up the Electra Glide, and ride out to meet the day. Eureka looks great in the morning light. I can see why its 600 residents cling to it so dearly.

The skies look a little threatening today, with roiling black clouds stretching into the distance. I can see a hint of blue off in the west, where I'm headed, so I hope things stay calm until I get there. The temperature is down in the 40s as I gain elevation. I've got the liner zipped into my jacket and the grip warmers cranked to four, so I'm comfortable and snug. I haven't even broken out my winter gloves yet. Heated grips are awesome.

I pass by the majestic 10,000-foot Summit Mountain in the distance, as the road skirts north of the foothills of the Monitor Range and the Toquima Range. The roads are straight as a ruler, one lane in each direction, with very light traffic. The Loneliest Road is fantastically smooth and well paved. The biggest challenge riding across this road is remaining alert, and not taking the ride for granted. Periodic road signs remind me about the potential hazards of deer crossing, elk crossing, turkey crossing, and cattle crossing. This is free-range country, and it's not unusual for cattle to decide that they need to graze on the other side of the highway, just when vehicles are passing by. Motorcycle vs. cow is a very bad equation, so I keep my eyes scanning and my mind on the ride.

The landscape starts to transform as I enter the Toiyabe National Forest. For the first time today, I'm on a mountain road, twisting and turning though a canyon pass. Scrub gives way to pine trees, actual trees, though not in the density that the word "forest" brings to mind.

Just past the Austin Summit (7,400 feet), I reach the village of Austin and stop for gas. Austin, once a mining boomtown, is now home to about 200 people. It's a cool little place; part ghost town, part arts colony.

US-50 follows the basic path established back in 1860 by the Pony Express. The brief, yet illustrious history of the Pony Express is the stuff of legend. Young riders raced from station to station, carrying mail and messages at breakneck speed and helping to open the West to settlement while tying the country together through communication in the days before the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. When it came time to build and name roads in the early days of the automobile, one of the early routes across the country was the Lincoln Highway. US-50 was part of that route, and preservationists have tried to maintain some of the markings along the way. Every so often, I spot a small white pillar with an arrow and a brass plaque with Lincoln's head, a highway marker designating the Lincoln Highway. It's inspiring to know that I'm traversing a route that so many travelers have used before me.

Even in this era of modern transportation, US-50 is a challenging road. Services are few and far between. I shudder to think what would happen if I got a flat tire on the Electra Glide out here. The nearest motorcycle service center could be over a hundred miles away, and the nearest Harley-Davidson dealer is certainly farther away than that. Not only that, gas stations are pretty far apart, too. I keep a close eye on the fuel gauge, knowing that my comfortable range is just a bit over 200 miles per tankful. I have a siphon with me in case of emergency, but I don't want to have to use it.

After Austin, the road flattens out again, and the trees dwindle to scrub. It starts to look a lot like desert again. The scrub grows out of a sandy loam. I pass through a rocky canyon that looks for all the world like the home of Wile E. Coyote. There are even some of those balancing rocks high overhead. Then, I start to see more green, and a few lakes and creeks with running water.

In Fallon, I ride along the fenceline of the Naval Air Station, and see and hear a few aircraft making maneuvers overhead. It must be hard for Naval recruits to reconcile an assignment in the Nevada desert with their stint in the U.S. Navy.

I leave the Loneliest Road in America behind, heading south on US-95 and US-95 ALT into Yerrington. I stop for gas, even though the trip computer and GPS tell me that I should have just enough fuel to make it to my stop for the night. Why risk it when there's an easy stop at the intersection? It's always easier to fill up than it is to try and flag down a passing motorist for help.

I'm riding along the eastern slopes of the Sierra Mountain Range now, and the California border is close by. Finally, I see Topaz Lake glittering in the late afternoon sunshine. I'm approaching from the northwest, and the hills on the east side of the lake are reflected in the smooth surface of the water. It's beautiful.

High above the west bank of Topaz Lake, I find the Best Western Topaz Lake Inn. Nestled into the hillside, the hotel has a million dollar view of the Lake and the valley below.

I check in to my room, and I've got that same view from my room. Gorgeous!

Topaz Lake is a great alternative to the hustle and bustle of nearby Lake Tahoe, just 400 miles to the north. There's a little casino within walking distance of the hotel. I take a stroll down to the Topaz Lodge Resort and Casino, and have dinner in the restaurant there. It's very relaxed, without the frenzy of Tahoe and Las Vegas casinos.

Back in my room now, I'm studying maps. There doesn't seem to be any way around it – I've got a very long ride tomorrow, over 400 miles. Sunrise doesn't come until 6:38 am, so that's the earliest I can safely ride. It's going to be chilly, probably in the upper 20s, but it'll get warmer as I ride.

A good night's sleep awaits.

NEXT: Day Four: Topaz Lake to Henderson and Home Again

Lonely Nevada Ride, Day Four

Topaz Lake to Henderson | Miles Ridden: 453.1

I love motorcycle travel. Not just for the riding. The riding is a given. And not just for the destinations. I love motorcycle travel because I get to meet the most interesting people, and the fact that I'm traveling on a bike opens up great conversations.

This morning, I met Shyam Patel, who is the Manager of the Best Western Topaz Lake Inn. Shyam is not a motorcyclist, but he could be a traveling motorcyclist's best friend. He knows the roads and attractions in his area like the back of his hand, and he loves talking about routes and day trips. He says that motorcyclists are among his best customers, and he'd love to see more bikes at his hotel. The Best Western Topaz Lake Inn is perfectly situated for great motorcycling, right on the Nevada/California border, south of Lake Tahoe and north of Death Valley. Some of the best roads in the United States are just minutes away from Topaz Lake, fantastic mountain twisties through the eastern part of the Sierra Mountain Range. Shyam can suggest a myriad of routes, from short loops to long, and his enthusiasm is contagious.

While I have a cup of coffee this morning, Shyam asks me about my route for today. I have a long day of riding ahead of me, and I have planned to ride down US-95 all the way down the state. Shyam points out an alternate route that will take me through the Sierras, adding just a few miles to my day, but rewarding me with fantastic scenery and roads through the canyons and trees, instead of a straight, flat desert road. A day's ride just turned into an adventure, thanks to Shyam.

I pack up the Electra Glide, and start out down the road.

I turn left out of the hotel parking lot and head south on US-395, almost immediately crossing the border into California. For the next hour, I ride the beautiful twists and turns through foothills and rising into mountain passes lined with pine trees. The air seems crisper than before. It's cold – down in the low 30s – but I'm bundled against the weather, and my heated grips are doing their job. The Electra Glide has great wind protection, even for my feet, and I am perfectly comfortable from head to toe. After an hour of great riding, I crest a summit and Mono Lake comes into view. Mono Lake is a sad story that seems to be turning around, thanks to a concerted effort from conservationists. The once thriving lake fell victim to the water demands of southern California, and its ecology was disrupted to the point that native wildlife disappeared and water levels fell to perilous levels. Thanks to concerted resource management, the lake is on its way to recovery, but it's still going to take decades. This is the first time I've been back past Mono Lake in about three years, and it looks much better and healthier than before. I can't wait to see how it looks in another three years.

I stop to fill up the Electra Glide at Lee Vining. Fuel management is going to be an issue today, I already know that. I've got a long stretch through the desert, and I know that gas stations are few and far between. I'll have to keep an eye on things.

At Lee Vining, I pick up CA-120. This is one of the stretches of road that Shyam promised would be worth my while. He was right. The road twists and turns, dips and rises like a roller coaster. In one stretch, I have to reduce my speed to avoid taking air over some of the hills, the rises and dips are so severe. It's a hoot, and I'm laughing in my helmet all the way.

In Benton, I turn onto US-6, and return to Nevada, then turn south again on NV-264, which weaves back and forth across the Nevada/California border as CA-266 and CA-168. Finally, I am firmly back in Nevada on NV-266, and I settle in for a long straight ride down US-95.

I make good time through the desert, casting a nervous eye on the trip computer. The next gas is in Beatty, and there's about a 12-mile differential between my projected range and the calculated distance I need to travel before I can fill up. Doable, but nerve-wracking. I make it to Beatty just as the "low fuel" warning flashes across my dashboard. Close enough for comfort, but just barely.

At the gas station, I meet a man who has a capuchin monkey on a leash. His monkey is named Daisy, and she's three years old. The man (I don't know his name) says that if she likes me, she might climb up on my shoulder, as long as I don't reach for her. I stand still and let Daisy climb up on my shoulder. "If she takes anything out of your pocket, don't try to take it away from her. Let me," warns the man. Sure enough, Daisy tries to steal the motorcycle key fob out of my jacket pocket. The man gently warns Daisy to leave the keys alone, and she scampers back to his shoulder, hiding her head in shame. I guess Daisy is a kleptomaniac. The man, who is in his fifties, tells me that his biggest worry is what will happen to Daisy if anything should happen to him. Capuchin monkeys have a life expectancy of about 40 years in captivity; a fifty year-old man has less than that. He hopes that his daughter will want to care for Daisy after he's gone. I hope they both lead a long, healthy life together.

Full of gas and dreams of a monkey, I press on for the rest of my ride through the desert. There's not much to tell – it's a long, straight road with stark scenery. Low scrub in the foreground, rocky hills and mountains in the distance. Soon the desert gives way to the sprawling oasis that is Las Vegas.

I weave my way through the complex of freeways that is the Las Vegas road system, heading east to Henderson and the Best Western PLUS Henderson Hotel. I've covered over 430 miles today, and I've never been happier to see that blue sign. I get a very warm welcome from the front desk. They tell me that I can park my bike underneath the elegant canopy in front of the hotel, where it will be safe and easily accessible. I love it when a hotel understands the special needs of a motorcyclist. The little things make a big difference – and not being treated like a second-class citizen just because you ride a bike is very important. Best Western gets it right.

Henderson, like most of the Las Vegas area, is not really a walking area, so I have to saddle back up to ride to a dinner spot. Within a 10-minute ride of the Best Western PLUS Henderson Hotel there are hundreds of choices, from casino buffets to fast food to every chain restaurant you can imagine. I've got a craving for barbecue, so I select Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, part of a small southwestern chain that I've heard good things about, but never tried. Turns out to be an excellent choice, far above my expectations. Now I'm stuffed, back in my room and thinking about my ride home tomorrow.

It's been a great trip on a great bike. The new Electra Glide Ultra Limited might be the best bike I've ever ridden. The newly revised engine feels more powerful and smoother than ever before. The new batwing fairing is beautiful and tremendously functional. The new latches and locks on the saddlebags are more secure, easier to operate and better looking than before, and the one-hand latch on the Tour Pak is a hundred times improved over the old twin latches. I was more comfortable, and felt more secure on this bike than on any previous Electra Glide. Even with a 400-plus mile day under my belt, I feel relaxed and rested, and not at all saddle sore. And that's with the stock seat – not usually a strong point for a Harley. I'm very impressed, and I'll be sad to return my ride tomorrow when I get back to L.A.

In the morning, I'll have a great free breakfast here at the Best Western PLUS Henderson Hotel, then I'll ride off on the freeway to my home. I love riding in Nevada. It's got a landscape that has to be experienced to be believed, and I think I hit it at just the right time of year for comfortable temperatures and riding conditions. I'm amazed by the people who make rural Nevada their home, but after spending a week riding through the state, I understand it better. I can't wait to return again to explore more great roads and fantastic sights.

Now the only question is – where should I ride next?

Total Miles Ridden: 2,038.3