Neil and Becky's Business

Neil and Mel's Big Adventure

Adventure Tunes

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Ceremonial Ride

San Francisco was great. The pictures tell the story. The "Whitebeards" rode the ferry from Vallejo to San Fran. Karen and I met Neil and Mel at Pier 41 at about 2pm on Wednesday. It was great to see them! We finished the day sight seeing and eating great food. Thursday morning was the final and ceremonial ride to the ocean, dipping in the wheels. We visited the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausilito; then spent some time in Muir woods -- more quiet time. It was a great trip for all of us. We're glad to have them back home, and hope they can be happy here after such a marvelous adventure. The hard work paid off -- they both have skinnied down. The beards are white, not grey, and Mel's hair has grown back. They parted with a handshake and are back to normal today; their normal. (?)
Here's Mel's final chapter:
We're home now. The saga has finished. My son, Adam, told me that a lot of people will be disappointed as they have been following our journey avidly. That is amazing to Neil and I--that our children's co-workers (and their mothers, and neighbors, etc.) would find the trip of two old geezers on bikes so interesting. As I have mentioned previously, we really aren't that unique. We didn't see anybody close to our age out there, but we have heard about oldsters doing this from others. Maybe the unique part of our trip was the late departure. Not many people start a transcontinental trip after Labor Day. The chances of facing bad weather are greater--and that indeed happened to us. But thanks to a rescue from the wives, difficult times were made bearable and the journey more joyful with their visits. Now for an update on the journey's final two days:Following a hard, windy day that saw us reach Vacaville, we set out for our final destination. At Vacaville, we bedded down in a motel near the freeway. It was one of many places where we couldn't find anything but a motel--no nearby public or private camping. I've had a checkered past of sleeping in people's boats on Balboa Island, in bushes outside the entry to the Santa Barbara police station, and in ditches en route hitchhiking to Zion, but Neil was averse to that kind of behavior. Come on, Neil--Bob Dylan could have written a song about us had we done that. Instead we bedded down in a flea-bag place like you may have seen in Chevy Chase's "Vacation" movie--scum and ducks in the swimming pool, etc. Well, maybe not that bad, but it's a good thing I had my glasses off when I took a shower. I saw the mold the next morning when I put my specks on. But who cares? Showers after a day in the saddle always felt so good. I also think I forgot to mention how we blew into Vacaville on the heels of a young lady on her racing bike. She caught us (easy to do) while out training and volunteered to show us how to get into town and find the library, a motel, etc. I told her we'd have a hard time keeping up with her pace, but she said that any guys who could cross the country could keep up with her. And then it was off to the races.Well, back to getting out of Vacaville: We followed a nifty bike trail to get back to our map's route in the foothills. Along the way, I smelled licorice. Fennel was growing wild along the road and it smelled so good. Along the way, we met some ladies out for an early-morning walk while going up a hill. Neil told them he might need a boost. When they learned where we had come from and where we were headed, they said, "Well, you won't get to San Francisco unless you can get up this d__n hill." That's one of the fun things about biking. You're not isolated in the cocoon of a car. You can have interactions with others all the time. I loved hollering out for directions to people on sidewalks, in cars, on bikes. Loved it. We met up with our map's route near Fairfield. At that place, we followed little traveled roads through suburban neighborhoods hugging the hills. At one intersection, I pulled up next to a motorcycle cop and hollared over to him about how far it was to our next road. He told me and, realizing we were heading for a San Francisco ending, said, it looked like I could go another 200 miles. Probably, but the water might be a bit too deep. After leaving the suburbs, we entered another area of orchards and vineyards. At one corner, we passed a large farm produce market surrounded by many cars. After a quarter mile, Neil pulled over and said he had a feeling we needed to go back and check it out. Such feelings need to be followed on the journey. It may have been no more than Neil's mid-morning need for a Diet Coke or a pastry, but it could also be something cool we needed to experience. It was. People were doing their fruit and vegetable shopping at Larry's Produce with wheelbarrows, not shopping carts. Huge bins were laden with pomegranates, grapes, squash, apples, walnuts--every variety of locally-grown produce. The grapes tasted like they were picked that morning. Larry's Produce had it all. It was one of those moments. But this was a day when we had a date to meet our wives in San Francisco. It was like that all day--a mix between wanting to linger and lengthen out our final day on the road and wanting to reunite with our wives. It was such a fine riding day, too. No wind or only a tail wind. Easy hills (until nearing the end). Our wives missed seeing us paralleling the freeway by only about fifteen minutes as they barreled towards S.F. after spending the night at some tawdry place in Reno. As we crested a hill, we got our first view of what looked like San Francisco Bay and fleet of moth-balled Navy ships. Then it was back behind some coastal foothills and more rollers and serious hill work. How could we end this journey properly except with some more heavy-duty hill climbing? Neil's maps mentioned that the transcontinental route we took climbs a total of 140,000 plus feet in elevation. Most of that elevation gain is undoubtedly in the western half that we took with all its mountains, so I might not be amiss in guessing that we probably climbed over 100,000 feet in elevation during our half-country journey. We exited the foothills on some nice downhill runs into Vallejo--the town where we would pick up the ferry to cross the bay to the Summer of Love city. The ferry was an open-hulled speedster that cranked up to over thirty knots when we got into more open water. Our bikes on the rear deck were covered with salt spray residue from the rooster tail the ferry kicked up. We slowed as we neared Fisherman's Warf and I craned my neck to see if I could spot our wives. I went from one side of the ferry to the other looking for them. Finally I spotted them and, waving joyously, hollered out to Neil, "Here's the ladies!" They had first seen, not us, but Neil's yellow bob trailer flag waving in the breeze on the back deck of the ferry. I can't speak for Neil, but I felt like a sailor returning to port after an engagement and a joyful reunion with his wife after a lengthy absence. My brother asked me if I saw any cruise ships tied up along the wharf, but I can't recall anything but the happiness of seeing Karen and the barking of some nearby seals. Although we had deferred the actual ending of our journey to the next day when we would dip our wheels in the Pacific Ocean, that moment of reaching San Francisco and seeing Karen really felt like the end of the 6-week journey for me. We walked with them to their parked car and unloaded all our heavy gear--our panniers, the bob trailer--all that necessary gear we had hauled for almost two thousand miles. They gave us directions to find the motel where we would stay on Nob Hill. A bike with no gear! Just a bike! What a novel concept! Seventy plus pounds that we had hauled up and down mountain passes--now free from us. San Francisco has hills, some of which are very steep. It's like we had been in training for this moment. I felt like a bird set free. San Francisco's hills were nothing. We had crossed the Rockies (twice) and the Sierras. San Francisco's hills were just a blip. Bring it on. It felt like I could just bop up those bumps, passing cars at will. Maybe they were parked waiting for a red light to change, but the sensation was like I was Steve McQueen in the movie "Bullit." I pulled into the motel right behind the ladies. They were impressed. I know my brother-in-law and nephew will want to test out my hill climbing ability in Salt Lake's canyons next. First give this old man a little rest.After cleaning up, we walked to a nearby Italian restaurant. Everyone working and eating in the little cafe sounded like they had just gotten off the boat. It was the best Italian food all of us had ever eaten (at least in America--as Neil and Becky are world travelers). Becky proposed a wonderful trip-ending toast to "the two graybeards who are really white beards." We all clinked glasses. How nice. How fitting. We were and had come a long way from Ness City, Kansas. Our wives were such a help--from beginning to end, and in between. But as my wife, jabbing her finger at me, said, "Don't do it again!"The next morning, we put on our bike togs for the final trip-ending ride to dip our wheels into the Pacific Ocean. Neil and I rode down the succession of hills to the water front with brakes squealing--but in our minds picturing ourselves as Steve McQueen. After a little practice, we can do a pretty good "California stop" at stop signs--that is, a light touch to the brake (not) and through the intersection we go. Hey, we're laid back, we're cool. Yeah, I know, we're two old geezers caught up in a mid- to late-life crisis. At least that's what some people think. I'm not sure we know ourselves. We met the wives at Fort Point underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. The morning was warm and delightful--no fog and not a cloud in the sky. The people of San Francisco are so joyfully physically active. Young and old walk, run, and bike along the beautiful bay waterfront. Some old fools even swim out in the bay for their exercise. This beautiful city has that effect on you. It makes you goofy and you do whacky things. Like riding from the point (remember that place in a scene in a Dirty Harry movie? Inspector Callahan) around to Baker Beach to haul our bikes across the sand, take off our bike shoes/socks, and walk our bikes into the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean. We did it. We finished the journey properly. How did I feel? A bit reflective, but the emotions at the end were more muted. Unlike the feelings I had been waking up with for the final few weeks as I remembered so many moments along the way. I had logged them in the vault and they seemed to spill out in the hours before the sun arose and Neil's blackberry alarm sounded. It was lunch time and as we wanted to do a celebratory bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, we told the ladies we'd meet them on the Sausalito side for lunch. A bike ride (or walk) across the bridge is the best way to experience that iconic structure. It gets you out of the car cocoon. We had trouble linking up and the ladies made three trips across the bridge before finally meeting us for lunch. After lunch, we decided to drive to the Muir Woods. It was a wonderful, almost reverential, contrast to the hub-bub of the city. None of us had ever been there--to see the world's tallest trees--thousand year old coast redwoods preserved from logging. Then it was back to the city, another bike ride across the bridge, and another bop up S.F.'s hills. In the parking lot of the motel, Neil then felt it was safe to say, "Well, we cheated death again." He always says that at a conclusion of one of our snowshoe hikes, but must not have wanted to say that until this bike journey officially ended. Neil likes fish and wanted to go to a seafood restaurant. He had thought that a restaurant down on the wharf would be great, but the motel manager convinced him to try a nearby place on Hyde Street. We walked to it and Neil had the best mahi mahi he'd ever had. All had wonderful fish dinners, but me. I had pork chops and, yes, they were good. Thanks for asking. The next morning, we stuffed the trunk with all our gear and racked up the bikes for the two-day drive back to Utah. We arrived home unscathed and nothing fell off the back of the car.We're a bit banged up. Neil's right foot is numb. My left toes are numb, my knee tendonitis is a bit flared up, a few bruises here and there, the wrist is tender, and we don't need to talk about my saddle sores. I'm going to take few days off before returning to work. I may have lost the work ethic.I've been asked, will we finish the eastern half of the transcontinental trip next year? I can only answer for myself at this moment. I think not. What we did was a hard journey--harder than I could have imagined just sitting here in Salt Lake thinking about doing it. I still am imbued with that spirit of adventure, but I like my adventures closer to home. I like to be able to have a hiking, snowshoe, or backcountry skiing adventure and come home to a hot shower at night. I have such adventures every single week as I rarely let a Saturday go by without going up into the mountains (so close) to do those kind of things. Pete, the generous biking guy who hosted us at his house in Carson City, said that I must have learned something about myself when I verbalized those thoughts to him. I guess I did. I still would like to do a bike ride up to and around Yellowstone, but that isn't so far from home. I can see me doing little jaunts for a few days here and there in our beautiful state. We live in a wonderful place. Bikers we met pronounced it one of the most beautiful they traveled through. And so it is. Pete from Carson City told me that we did the most interesting part of the transcontinental journey--the western half. I'm not ready for the rocking chair yet. In fact, it feels quite a bit strange to have not ridden my bike the past two days. Quite a bit strange. It feels like I'm doing something wrong not to be on it. Weird.We are each wired differently. Surfer Joe, the two guys from Wales, Will from Chico, the two old men--you. We are happy to have shared our journey with each of you--from reports there are over a hundred of you who have followed us on our daily grind. Amazing. Becky has done a wonderful job posting photos and a chronology of our travels on her blog. She was able to retrieve some of the photos we thought were lost into the ether including the whacky shoe tree. She will probably put up those photos and others of our trail ending exploits in S.F. in the next few days. You don't know how knowing your interest, support, e-mails, etc., strengthened us and buoyed us up on lonely days out in the middle of nowhere. I echo what that transcontinental lady walker said when we met that couple in the Wah Wah Mountains in the empty wastes of western Utah: "This is a BIG country!" Amen.P.S.: For those of you who might want to get in touch with me in the future, it's best to now use my home e-mail ( and not the hotmail account (which I just set up to use on the road).

Home Stretch

Hi again, We are in the home stretch. One day away from San Francisco and we are feeling the love. Yesterday was like a love fest. I couldn't keep the smile off my face. We biked from Placerville in the foothills of the Sierras and began entering an area of California that is mecca for bikers. Davis is the biking capital of California, but biking is really big as far east as Folsom. It was in Folsom where Neil and I stopped to look at a flock of wild turkeys on the lawn of their city hall. Three bike guys heading the other way whipped around on a busy street to hear our story and give us the commendable pats on the back. That was the start of the same treatment by bikers all day long. None of the bikers had ever done what we are doing, but they knew what an accomplishment we have done (almost) and just wanted to talk to us for inspiration to maybe do it, too, and to congratulate us. You can't imagine how we felt. Neil and I stopped at a quiet place along the American River bike trail to reflect and to let it all sink in. He said he doesn't want it to end. He just wants time to slow down so we can lengthen out this whole thing. I'm ready for it to end, but it's winding down in such a wonderful way. You can't imagine the thoughts about this whole journey that go through my head. I woke up about 4 AM this morning and replayed so many memories. But as each day is different, so was today. I hoped it would be more of the same going through Davis on their bike trail, but we had some really stiff winds battering us without letup from the north for most of the day. It was a battle to just keep moving ahead with such a strong side wind. We have all that luggage with our panniers and bob trailer that other bikers don't have to contend with. We really have to lean into the wind to keep our bikes upright and that takes a big toll on us for thirty miles. But then we started heading south through some very pretty coastal hills and the winds weren't a factor from our lunch stop in Winters to Vacaville where we are bedded down tonight. Our wives are in Reno tonight and will drive to San Francisco tomorrow. Plans are for them to drive to the Nob Hill Hotel near Fisherman's Warf where we will stay for two nights. They will then take the ferry across the bay to meet us tomorrow afternoon to cross the bay with us on that ferry from Vallejo. Vallejo is only a thirty mile ride from here so we should be there by early afternoon if we have favorable winds. We will then finish the ride on the next day by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and back (for fun) and then dipping our wheels over in the Pacific Ocean. But that is the future and I have a bit of catching up to do from when I last wrote. We have been out of civilization quite a bit with no computer access. I think I last wrote when we were in Fallon, Nevada. At Fallon, we had an interesting thing happen. We were eating dinner in a Mexican restaurant that a lady crossing the street told Neil was pretty good in response to a question from him. He was pedaling his bike and just asked her if it would be a good place to eat. He noticed she was eating in the back with her family. On their way out about fifteen minutes before we finished, she asked him if he enjoyed the meal. He said he did. When the waitress came over to us after our meal, she said that couple had paid for our meals. I've seen that in movies, but have never been the recipient. We got their last name from the waitress and I hope to locate them and thank them for their kindness. We have a warm spot in our hearts now for Fallon. I also fell down again in Fallon. I skinned up my knee a little and strained my old broken wrist. I've been wearing an ace bandage on it and that give it a pretty good cushion while riding. Neil said, "Now no more." He's been giving me point scores on each fall (two official falls and two half falls so far). A half fall is where I fall and land on him or his bob. So we don't give that any points. But my other fall was somewhere in Utah (I think) and I got a 9 on that because there was no ill effects, but the one in Fallon I only got an 8 because I got roughed up a bit. But I still love my clip in pedals. They are just more of a hazard to one whose mind isn't always apparently on the task at hand. Just got to keep thinking, unclip, unclip, unclip. I'll have to send this now or lose it, so I'll finish this in a second e-mail.Mel

Mel's Insight

Picutres are "Smelly Mel's" outhouse near Placerville, Hostel in Sacramento, and Chuck and Linda in Sacramento. "We had a phenomenal ride from Fallon. After about twenty miles of our good old riding through the sagebrush lands of Nevada, the good stuff began happening at Silver Springs. We started on a road with good pavement and a nice wide shoulder and the wind shifted to a tail wind. We learned later that bikers don't get a tail wind on that stretch from there into Carson City only about 1 out of every hundred days. It probably was a result of the Santa Ana winds they are also experiencing in So Cal. We just flew, not only downhill, but uphill. Usually bikers fight a head wind all the way into Carson City. With our luck, maybe we should have played the slot machines. But what also happened was something really wonderful. We stopped at a bike ship in the center of Carson and met some great guys running that shop. While Neil was getting a new mirror and a tire replaced on his recumbent, I talked with Mickey at the counter. I asked him where guys going cross country usually camp in town. He said there were a couple of people who liked to host people like us gratis. My kind of talk. He called a couple and left a message that I would be calling in a bit to see if they would like to put up two old geezers at their place for a night. I called after a bit and they said come on over. So we spent a most delightful night with this great couple, Barbara and Pete. I've got on tape what Pete said about why they do this. A number of years ago, he sold a business before they were married and spent five years traveling on his bike on four continents. Many people hosted him (sometimes for months at a time). What a story! He is returning the favor, plus it enriches their lives to hear the stories of our journey. They served us a gourmet dinner and a great pancake breakfast before sending us on our way. Unforgettable. Pete and Barbara seemed to think we could just pop over Carson Pass (they call it a bump) the next day. Neil and I knew better. We now watch out for the expectations about our riding strength by any fellow bike rider who refers to big passes as bumps. We got as far that day as Hope Valley. There were some dangerous no-shoulder stretches for about two miles prior to Hope Valley where we just walked our bikes (not because it was steep), but for safety. I don't know how the Carson riders can safely ride that stretch. But we didn't see any others doing it, but plenty sure told us they did. We had a nice rest in the old town of Genoa (Mormon Station) before heading up toward the pass. In Hope Valley, we got off on a short dirt road and found a spot to bed down in the forest before darkness set in. It got down close to freezing that night, but it could have been worse as there was a slight cloud cover. The next morning we climbed up to Carson Pass. It's only 8,500 feet high, but we had a 4,000 foot climb up that east side from Carson City. That's why it was nice for us to only go up to Hope Valley from which we were able to start that next morning for the 11-mile ride the rest of the way over the top. Only it wasn't really the top because on the west side of the descent are a couple more "bumps" including one that took us back up to 8,000 feet. So we renamed it "False Carson Pass." Our definition of a pass is something that you only go up once and then down once--not up, then down, then up up up, then down. Carson Pass redefined our definition of what a pass should be. So we worked our tails off that day. We only got as far as about 32 miles short of Placerville. So once again we found a place to bed down in the forest. All the official forest service camps up there are closed already so we just look around for a likely spot and bed down. We found a nice one that was in a logging area and overlooked San Joaquin Valley. A beautiful sunset finished that day. The next day was Sunday and the woods in El Dorado NF were very quiet. It was almost church-like. Neil said, "Feels almost like church." My thoughts indeed. We moved from woods into the wine-tasting country of the Sierra foothills. It was mostly meandering through back country roads with big oaks shading the road on either side. There were a couple of quick drops down to the Consumnes River and then the mandatory difficult climbs back up, but then we moved into some beautiful rides through shady glens in a mostly downhill run to Placerville where we shacked up in a motel on the east end of that historic town. And I think that takes us to where I finished (or started the earlier e-mail). Now it's time to head back to our digs about a mile from this library to rest up for the ride to San Francisco tomorrow. That will be quite something for this old whitebeard to ponder for years to come. There has been so much that has happened that I think I forgot to also mention another event of yesterday. As we neared Sacramento, on that magical ride on that wonderful American River bike trail, I called Chuck and Linda Boice, who live there, and who had invited us to stay with them on our journey. It was a sixty mile day for us and we just couldn't do the added journey down to where they live--ten miles south of the city. Ten miles is easy in a car (almost nothing), but to two old men at the end of the day, ten extra miles is very hard. I did want to see them, as Linda is my old neighbor from my childhood in Claremont and Chuck and I became good friends during their year of missionary service where I work in the LDS Church History Library. So they graciously said they would come to where we were bedding down (in an 1885 Victorian Italianate 3-story mansion hostel) just next to the city hall in downtown Sacramento. That is a story in itself. We got to make our own beds with sheets they gave us at registration. I have slept in hostels before (once in an unconverted horse barn) so I knew the drill, but this was new to Neil. He thought the other guys would murder us in our sleep when we set up our world-class snoring, so he finagled us a dorm room for ourselves. That prevented a mass murder last night in Sacramento. Anyway, Linda and Chuck treated us to a wonderful night out with them and dinner at Fat City on the historic old Sacramento river front. It was just a beautiful day. So many memories. So many wonderful people. Tomorrow we'll be heading for the city of love and we're feeling the love big time."Mel

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Up and over after Carson City

Pictures are road near Omo Ranch and camp (somewhere in the National Forest near the Carson pass). The log building was right at the pass (one of the many passes), a sort of visitor's center. Greybeards had a good day on Friday, up and down and up and down to the pass above Carson City until dark. The resorts, state parks, camps, etc were are closed, being this late in the season. They found a little road into the woods and rough camped with no facilities, but were prepared. Saturday morning was pretty cold, and they continued through the mountains. The dark came before they came to city, so they again camped in the rough, in much warmer weather. Mel finished his 2 lb jar of peanut butter. Sunday morning they went 30 or so miles to Placerville, where they finally got a motel and shower and most of the day to rest. The next 3 days are 60 mile days, and will bring them into San Francisco. Karen and Becky are planning their trip to San Francisco, too. They expect to meet up on Wednesday afternoon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Carson City, NV, Hospitality

Thursday's ride was 66 miles, a full day. They rolled into Carson City at 5 p.m. decided to visit a bike shop, since both had broken mirrors. While there, Neil decided to have them mount his new back tire. In talking with employees, they found that a lot of locals take bikers in and contacted one, Barbara and Pete, who they stayed with. They have a 2 bedroom home, one bathroom and a yard filled with organic plants. Pete has ridden his bike all over the world. Since they've been together, Barbara also tours with him. They visited late into the evening. This morning brought whole wheat pancakes and eggs, sunny side up. After a thankful farewell they are on their way over the next and last mountain, 4500 feet elevation up from Carson City. They may be over it tonight or maybe not until the next day. They are looking forward to San Francisco and wrapping this adventure up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Onward" from Mel

Picture is of Pony Express Station west of Austin. "From Fallon, Nevada: On Monday, we started from Eureka, where Karen dropped us off during that bitter snow storm on Sunday. It was 12 degrees when we woke up (in a plush motel) and by the time we started off, it had probably warmed up into the low 20s. My beard was frosted within 15 minutes. I had put on multiple layers so I was warm enough once we began pedaling. We went through some great country and once we went over a couple of passes, we were in a flat basin area for about 40 miles. We made good time because the winds were with us for most of the day. Generally we find that we have a tail wind in the morning and a head or side-head wind in the afternoon. The common knowledge that we are bucking a headwind in Nevada because the prevailing winds blow east has not been our experience. The prevailing winds are way up in the sky, not down on ground level. We had to make good time today because we needed to travel 70 miles to make the next town--Austin. This was a long stretch with no places to get water or food, but the cool weather was in our favor and we didn't expend a lot of sweat (if any) in the cold air. We had a 1400 foot climb at the end and then a 3-mile quick descent to get to the old historic mining town (1863) of Austin. There were only ramshuckle motels to choose from, so at this cold time, beggars could not be choosy. My room had a classic orange shag carpet, but it was warm enough to be home for the night. We left Austin on Tuesday morning facing a 65 mile ride to Middlegate where we hoped to find a place to stay. On the outskirts of Austin was a nifty cemetery (or cemeteries). They were bisected by Highway 50 and there were separate cemeteries for IOOF, citizens, and different religious denominations and Indians. A rather category conscious way to be buried. We did all of our climbing in the morning after crossing the Reese River Valley. Then we had a long haul through a slightly-downhill but flat valley for a long way. We stopped at a Pony Express station site that had a Joe Nardone stainless steel marker (for those of you who know Joe) at Cold Springs. There were other Pony and Overland Stage sites along the way--very historic. Also the Lincoln Highway was ever present with remnants visible along the road. As we neared Middlegate, we saw a strange large tree with shiny things dangling from it in the distance. When we got even with it, we saw hundreds (400-500) shoes dangling from its branches. This was better than the world's largest ball of twine or house of mud (Chevy Chase's Vacation). There were about a hundred shoes at its base that had fallen. It was a head scratcher. That was only the beginning of a very wonderful time at the motel/bar/cafe at Middlegate. We have been looking for this kind of place in half the country--and Middlegate is it. The ambience. The character. It had it all. The photos won't do it justice. It was unforgettable. We left Middlegate this morning with only about fifty miles to go to Fallon. It was an easy day and we blew into Fallon about 2:30 after a leisurely ride. There were some ups at the beginning but the rest of the day was mostly flat. We are connoisseurs of roads. I recall riding a semi-rough road until about 15 miles from Middlegate when we chanced upon a first class road--very smooth. As Neil said, "Wake me up when we get to Fallon. This is as smooth as a baby's bottom." We love the good roads and times when the inclines are absent or minimal. During the day we had some good riding when we rounded a mountain corner and up ahead we spotted a rise. As he usually says, Neil blurted "Holy Moly! What's that about?" Today I took the opportunity to ride my bike on a stretch of the historic Lincoln Highway just to see what it would have been like. It was really rough. But as Neil said, "Well, they haven't maintained it in about 100 years." We are camped tonight in the Churchhill County Fairgrounds campgrounds. Pretty nice that they have a campground here at $5 for us tent people (with showers). Tomorrow we go to Carson City on an easy jaunt where I hope to link up with my neice, Aubrey. By Friday we should be in California, trying to position ourselves for a launch to get over Carson Pass which will be a 4000 foot climb". Mel

Easy Rider to Fallon, NV

Mel is at the Pony Express Station at Cold Springs. The camp tonight is at an RV park in Fallon; $2.50 each for a total of $5 for the camp spot. Mel is ecstatic. Showers are okay. The ride today was good -- easy. About 50 miles. They passed Sand Mountain, a sand-dunes kind of place with lots of people and RVs and stuff. They have seen a couple of Pony express historical sights and have been on "Lincoln Highway" some, which was the first road coast to coast in the 1920's. They've probably missed the couple-pushing-a-stroller. They were in Fallon, but were going to Reno from there, said the RV park guy. The Greybeards are going to Carson City, a different route, tomorrow and maybe beyond. Hopefully we can get pictures to post of the past few days. They don't seem to be making it here.