Truckstop between Winnemucca and Lovelock, NV. 9:51pm
We didn’t make it to Winnemucca last night. After three hours of riding, we were both totally exhausted and decided to find a place to sleep by the side of the highway. Usually, we try to find a spot you can’t see from the road or exit ramp. The optimal location is a culvert under the road – but yesterday those were not to be found.
We eventually just got off at a random exit and posted up camp right by the exit ramp. At the end of the exit ramp was a T-intersection – we put all of our stuff right at the end of the T, where the headlights of cars coming off the highway would shine on us all night. This was of course stupid, but this exit being very desolate we didn’t realize that at the time. After eating and chatting for a while, we finally got to bed. Daniel told a story of how he one time had ended up at the same camp site in Georgia as a known serial killer who only two days later got arrested for murder at that very campsite.
As Daniel was telling this story, the first car came driving down the exit ramp since we’d arrived. It was a dark red Toyota mini-van with some sort of rack on the roof. It stopped at the T, its headlights shining right onto my tent (remember, Daniel has lost his tent poles so he was sleeping on the ground behind my tent, guarded from the headlights). That was the moment I realized our position was not optimal. The van stood there for maybe 10 seconds – a little too long I remember thinking – before it made a left turn and drove off. Daniel and I continued talking, but about two minutes later, the van came driving by again. This time it stopped on the road next to the tent – probably 50 feet away. There was no stop sign, it was just stopped – looking. This was a bit weird we said to each other. Eventually, it drove off again.
The van wasn’t gone for long though – it made a u-turn, came back and made a left turn as if to go up onto the highway again. Halfway up the ramp it came to a halt. The driver shut the engine and lights off. Everything became pitch black. We couldn’t even make the contours of the van out anymore. At this point I was getting worried. My heart was beating faster. These people were up to no good. Both the driver’s side and passenger’s side door opened almost simultaneously and two flashlights came on.
We were about to get robbed.
I could feel it. I knew it. I’ve been robbed once before in a similar situation and I knew the feeling very well. The flashlights started moving away from the car, out into the darkness. I had a feeling they thought I was alone. They probably only saw the one tent and thought I was solo. During this whole thing Daniel and I were whispering to each other and he knew we were about to get robbed too. He told me to stay low and shut up. I did the opposite – I really, really didn’t want any confrontation with some psychos in the middle of the desert.
I unzipped the back door of my tent and went out to my bike to get my headlamp. The flashlights continued to move away from the car. I grabbed my lamp, turned it on and waved it in their direction.
This is what makes us sure we were about to get robbed: when I did this, the two people immediately shut their flashlights off, ran back to their car and sped off onto the highway.
We were both really shaken afterwards, going through the whole thing together and trying to understand what just happened. Pretty crazy all in all, and we both of course had a bit of trouble falling asleep after that (we moved camp a few feet out of the way of car’s headlights).
To aid your imagination, here is the T (camp was exactly where the picture was taken).
Ok folks, gotta take off into the night again. Hope to get a more thorough blogging session soon – have lots more to tell you.