James does nearly all the driving. We pass through remote, remote settlements with populations of a few hundreds.
We cross over into Nevada and start the drive of a lifetime down Highway 447. The weather is cold and the visibility is perfect. Nevada is a big place and we can see for hundreds of miles. We come across 7 Golden Eagles dining on dead coyote. They eventually lumber into the sky like fully loaded Lancaster bombers. 7 Golden Eagles taking off just yards in front of you into the crystal blue above snowy desert is a good thing to see.
A Highway Patrol truck pulls us over. It is one of the very few vehicles we have seen. I look into the wing mirror and my body thrills to the sight of two highway patrolmen in cowboy hats and sunglasses striding towards the truck unclasping the catches on the holsters of their 357 Magnums. Oh! USA!
“Are there any weapons in the vehicle, guns, knives?”
“Driving license and registration.”
“ Sir, you were driving at 75mph in a 55mph zone. This is a violation in the State of Nevada.’
Of course the truck does not have registration nor is it insured. We are busted!
“Where are you from Sir?”
“Scotland! Why Sir, so am I.” This is the cop on my side. The other one is doing the official stuff with James who was unlucky enough to be driving at the time.
“ Yep, my family used to live in the castle of Dunbar. Always wanted to go to Europe and see where my folks are from.” We chat amiably about the history of emigration, the best bird watching spots down the road and Burning Man, which takes places on the Black Rock flat just a few miles away.
Finally the official patrolman says, ”This time you guys are just getting warnings for the speeding and no registration but I will have to write you up for the other offence. Travel safe guys.”
So, I guess James will get a citation and fine but they could have been way meaner. Somehow it is almost worth it to have been a performer in one of the great USA movie scenes.
We turn off at Pyramid Lake and take a back track down to the lakeshore.
We swoop back through Reno and over the Sierras. We stop in Auburn for a burger.
” I’ ll have a Juicy Jack 3/4 pound triple with cheese combo, please.”
The woman in front of me turns around, with a big grin and thumbs up sign she says, “Way to go, Brother!”
Check out this boring video of GoPro shots going through Nevada. I wish I had had the nerve to swing the camera around whilst we were being busted. There is some good footage at the end of us swooping back over the new Bay Bridge into the city.