Archive for the ‘Nevada’ Category

Day 4, Don’t get cocky kid, we’re not out of this yet

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

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Today would be our final ascent of the Sierra’s. 25 miles to Carson Pass (el. 8,573 ft), from there on another 50 miles (mostly downhill) to Carson City. There were a couple fearsome climbs during the first half of the day, the worst just before Kirkwood and the approach to Carson Pass. On a whole, they did not wear on us like the climbing of day 3, perhaps because we are getting our legs, or the climbs were more steady. Over the last 2 days we have become very familiar with our granny gear. For those who are not bike geeks, the granny gear is the smallest chain ring (in the front) of a 3 ring crankset. It’s definitely slow going in the granny gear, but it’s the only way to make these climbs if you’re on loaded bikes and not a bike stud.

We finally reached Carson Pass around 3:30. The question was could we make it to Andrea and Jose’s in Dayton for a good bed, hot shower, home cooked dinner, and cold beer by the end of the day. Another biker resting at the pass gave us some encouraging words, and assured us we could make it without pedaling, as it was all downhill from there. We knocked out the first 15 miles of our descent in a flash, as we flew down the mountain well over 25 mph. As it started to flatten out we did have to pedal a little, but were still making good time as we crossed into Nevada. The wind started to turn against us, the shadows started to grow long, and our legs were turning to rubber. We compromised and met Jose in Carson in front of the Golden Nugget casino, with his truck and got a ride the last 10 miles to Dayton. No regrets on skipping the 10 miles from Carson City to Dayton, it’s not a particularly pretty stretched, and it gave us extra hour of visiting with Andrea, Jose, and the kids, without being completely comatose at the end of the day. Total mileage today 76 miles, one mountain range down, two to go. Day 5 is a rest day of cleaning up and prepping for our ride across the desert.

Day 6, Into the desert

Friday, August 28th, 2009

After a relaxing day in Dayton, it was tough to leave and head out into the desert. Once we got going though we made quick progress to our destination in Fallon. It was nice to maintain an average speed in the double digits, unlike our climbs in the Sierra’s. It was a relatively short day with a total mileage of 51 miles. Our days in the desert will be regulated by where there are available services. The next stop with services is another 51 miles down the road. We took one last opportunity to pamper ourselves by staying at a hotel with a pool.

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Day 7, No country for honest men

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

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We got a nice early start, hoping to get to our destination in Middlegate before it got too hot. We were making great time with mostly flat terrain and only a couple mild summits to climb. The road shoulders were not great, but it wasn’t a big deal since we could see cars and cars/trucks could see us from miles away.

We reached Middlegate around 11:30 (50 miles) and found that it was a bar/resteraunt/hotel/campground all rolled into one. The food was tasty and the people were friendly, but since we made such good time we decided to push on another 12 miles to Cold Springs Campsite the last place to stay for another 50 miles.

Just outside Middlegate we passed the infamous shoe tree. One of the few trees for miles and miles, it is completely draped with shoes.
When we reached Cold Springs Campsite it seemed a nice enough campsite, primarily an RV park but with nice grassy patches and a beautiful mountain range backdrop. As we prepared to pay our $7, the proprietor asked us where we were from. Upon hearing New York, he became concerned. He said “I’m going to ask you a question, if you answer it wrong you can’t stay… Who did you vote for for president?” It was clear what answer he wanted, and it was also clear was the true answer was. Sarah decided to give him the true answer instead of the answer he wanted, I would have done the same. He told us to leave. Sarah was very patient with him, and insisted he must be joking, or can’t we just agree to disagree. He wasn’t buying it, he said there were plenty of places for us to stay 48 miles down the road. Us being on bikes, running low on water, and it already being mid afternoon in the desert, this wasn’t a realistic option.

Luckily my sister and her family were nearby in their car, planning to meet up with us, and were able to give us a lift to a really nice campsite on Bob Scott peak just past Austin.

This was a very disappointing incident. We have had almost exclusively good experiences with everyone we have met which has been very uplifting. I guess it was a little dose of reality for us, there are plenty of people out there who will go out of their way to be jerks. At least now we won’t lose our jaded New Yorker edge. By the way the picture of the guy working on a deck is the jerk who sent us on our way. I will make sure to report this to adventure cycling and anybody else that will listen, so other cyclist don’t make the same mistake.

Day 8, Austin to Eureka

Monday, August 31st, 2009

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Day 8: Austin to Eureka NV – the friendliest town on the loneliest road.

This morning we got an early start at our camp site outside of Austin. Mike even had a chance to finally road test our penny stove, by making us some oatmeal and hot tea.
Now that we’re riding through the desert, our daily mileage is dictated by where the next town is located. Eureka is only about 64 miles away and there aren’t any tough climbs. Eureka, by the way is the very place where some guy struck silver and exclaimed “EUREKA!”, hence the name. Also, eveyone here has been super friendly. We pitched our tent under the apple trees at the Silver Sky RV park, had a hot shower and the owner told us that we could help ourselves to the apples, or the fresh spring water. While we were busy being overwhelmed by his niceness, the proprietor of the local Best Western, who happens to enjoy bicycling and hanging out at the RV parks, brought us a bagful of apples and fruit cups.
We also ran into a couple of guys biking to California, Alex, started in Colorado and is making his way to Santa Barbara. He’s riding solo, and didn’t even know about the Western Express route, until he ran into some other cyclists. We chatted for awhile, sharing advice on our upcoming routes, until it was time for dinner. My appetite is finally returning, and I ate a delicious and huge chili dog and shared a banana split with Mike. Maybe I won’t lose too much weight after all.
I like Eureka, tomorrow we continue our trek along the Pony Express, it’s going to be a long day.
– Sarah

Day 9, Basin bound

Monday, August 31st, 2009

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Another long day without services. Our destination Ely was 76 miles away. To get there we needed to make it over 4 passes and the basins in between.

This area of Nevada is comprised of numerous ranges and basins, primarily running north to south. The basins are wide expanses where only small brush and desert grasses can survive. They are bookended with gradual grades that eventually rise to mountain ranges.

On one of our descents we met Daniel yet another cross country rider headed west. He was traveling light and fast, and had only been on the road 28 days, already in his second to last state.

After a long day of climbing in and out of basins carrying lots of water and snacks, we finally reached our destination of Ely, which seems to be a popular launching point for visiting the Great Basin National Park.

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