Neil and Mel's Big Adventure

Adventure Tunes

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

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