It's 113 degrees back in Las Vegas, so here I am climbing the eight percent grade of the Great Basin National park scenic drive.
It was closed earlier in the week for road repairs.
But today, it's back open and I'm working my way up the mountain for a closer peek at Wheeler Peak.
In my bicycle book, Great Basin is the most under-rated and most unheralded national park in the national park portfolio.
It has both Nevada's highest peak at Wheeler soaring more than 13,000 feet tall, while below there are the famed caves that are closed because of the pandemic.
Great Basin can be a little under-rated because it's so isolated, a good five hours north of Las Vegas off US 50 near the Utah border. There's a cluster of homes and a motel, restaurant and post office a few miles from the national park entrance in a community called Baker and that's about it.
But I love Great Basin's raw natural feel, grand vistas and out-of-the-way serene setting.
And of course, it decided to rain as I bicycled up the scenic drive. Not a hard-driving rain, just raindrops and a light pour as I pedaled up the steep grade.
Great Basin is Nevada's only national park. The state has plenty of terrific state parks like Valley of Fire. And to reach Great Basin from Las Vegas, you drive north on US 93 through the spine of Lincoln County, which has a nice collection of state parks at your disposal.
Red Rock outside Las Vegas is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, not the National Parks, while Mount Charleston is run by the US Forestry Service.
I strongly recommend Great Basin as a great get-away.
* * *