Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 30

Lazy days pass quickly...we slept until 7 and got a light breakfast here at the hotel. Around 9, Seth, Josh, and I walked to the other side of town to get second breakfast at a local cafe.  I've had some stomach cramps yesterday and today, and stuffing myself with food didn't help! I wonder if it's something I ate but I can't think of anything I ate that was out of the ordinary...hopefully this feeling will pass quickly!

George did laundry this afternoon while Josh, Seth, and I resupplied at the grocery store. Then I rode with Seth to the hardware store to get a new bolt for his rack. They fixed him up and we (mostly Seth) cleaned the bikes when we got back to the motel using rags and gloves that we got from the hotel staff.

I can't believe that we will be in Colorado tomorrow! It feels like we have come such a long way but looking at the map, we have an even longer way to go! I am excited for the Rockies but I am sure they will be challenging. After a day of rest I am ready for what lies ahead!

Seth has the best (worst) tan lines!

June 29

Every night when I lay down to write about the day, I never know where to begin. We do basically the same thing every day, but there are so many emotions and landscapes that pass that it's difficult to accurately describe how the day has been.

In an effort to avoid the 100 degree temperatures, we woke at 1 a.m. this morning (after 4 hours of fitful sleep in 90 degree temperatures) and left the recreation area at 2 with our headlights, taillights, and headlamps illuminating the way. As with any nighttime setting, the sounds of our rotating chains and our tires on the pavement were amplified by the stillness of the darkness. The moon was a few days from full so the mountains and canyons were shadows in the faint light.

We had 78 miles to ride, with no services or water for 75 miles. The first 44 miles were gradually uphill and, just our luck, we were greeted with a headwind right off the bat. It wasn't terribly strong but it was enough to wear us out and slow us down to 5-6mph! I was so sleepy that I was nodding off on my bike! My eyes were heavy and I had to make a conscious effort to keep them open. We took a break a little before 5--a perfect spot with a rock slab backrest--and closed our eyes for a few minutes of rest. Then it was back to work, and as dawn unfolded it became clear that this would be a very long day. We had discussions about whether we would make it to town, or if we would have to ride off route to get water and camp with the little food that we had left.

The climb took us 10 hours and we stopped for lunch a couple of miles from the top, at the road that leads to the Natural Bridges National Monument visitor center. It was the perfect opportunity for "yogi-ing" (a term used on the Appalachian Trail for strategically getting food, drink, or a ride from a stranger) from the tourists leaving the park. Seth stopped two cars and scored 2 bottles of cold water and a little bag of ice. If you have ever drank hot water while exercising, you can understand that there is no shame in asking strangers for a cold drink!

We had about 12 miles of downhill after we reached the summit, the only down for the day, and it was so relaxing that again I thought that I would fall asleep on my bicycle! Seth was ahead of me and had stopped to talk to a cyclist heading the opposite direction, so I used the opportunity to take a break to wake myself up! We lost about 3000 feet of elevation and it was scorching hot when we reached the bottom, but thankfully the wind had subsided. On the first of three steep climbs, I passed George who had stopped to talk to a couple of motorcyclists from the Czech Republic. They were impressed by our adventure and took pictures of Seth and me as we rode by.

The next climb was longer and I was feeling the direct heat of the afternoon sun. I was sipping my hot (and foul-tasting) water from the bathroom sink at the recreation area when I noticed some clouds in the distance and heard a few rumbles of thunder. I silently prayed for the sun to slip behind those clouds. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, I stopped to take a break with Josh and Seth and the clouds enveloped the sun and dropped a few sprinkles. It felt like the temperature had dropped 20 degrees! I had hope that I would be able to finish the climb, and if that wasn't enough, here came the two Czech motorcyclists riding back toward us. They stopped and pulled out 4 ice cold Gatorades and a gallon of cold water!! It was incredible! I cannot describe how appreciative we were of their kindness! I drank so much I felt sick but I knew that I would make the next 14 miles.

We all arrived at the gas station 3 miles from town and stopped for a quick snack and cold drinks, and then finished our ride into Blanding, Utah for a total of 17 hours on our bikes! We checked into a hotel and unanimously agreed to take a day of rest tomorrow. We devoured pizza and ice cream for dinner and are ready to crash after this long, long day!

June 28

I slept hard last night and snoozed for 15 minutes after my alarm rang at 5:30. We packed up and headed to the diner next to the motel, where they had free breakfast. The entire time I was thinking about how hot it would be today!

We left town around 7:30 for what we expected would be an easy 48 mile day. It was smooth sailing for the first few miles and suddenly the wind was upon us! We were heading south and it was a direct headwind for the rest of our 16-mile climb. The heat wasn't yet oppressive and I was feeling pretty good considering the conditions.

After about 15 miles Seth pulled over because he felt some wobbling on his rack. Come to find he lost another bolt from the rack, and it was a load bearing bolt fastened to the wheel hub. He zip tied it together at various angles and it still wobbled some but seemed to hold.

We finished the climb and headed downhill, still peddling in the wind. The terrain was beautiful cliffs and rocks but as the day grew hotter I wasn't able to appreciate it! We had plenty of water but it was all hot! Seth and I were ahead of Josh and George and we stopped to take a break at a picnic area with shade. As we approached the pull-out, I said to Seth, "If there are people here, we're asking them for cold water." The area was empty but just as we were debating whether to filter water from the creek, an RV pulled in! Seth struck up a conversation with the man and asked for cold water. He disappeared into the back and came out with two bottles!  I guzzled mine down as it is impossible to sip cold water!

We kept peddling, refreshed from the cold drink, and the day got hotter still, up to 109!! We had a few short climbs that stole my energy and I was starting to feel extremely fatigued in the heat. We were heading to Hite Recreation Area and stopped a car to ask if the area was open (it had been rumored to be closed). The guy was actually a ranger and assured us that it was open and that we were only a few miles away!

We crossed the Colorado River and I saw Seth ahead of me at another RV. He had asked them for water and they delivered! I pulled in and chugged two bottles. We continued up the climb from the river, and just a few minutes later, the ranger came back in the other direction and handed us two bottles of cold water! I drank it so quickly that my stomach hurt.

We finally made it to the turn-off for the recreation area and coasted the mile down to the small grocery store. We bought Gatorade and candy bars and reveled in the air conditioning. The recreation area used to be a popular place for boating on Lake Powell, but the lake is so low now that the tourism is almost extinct! It's a very sad place and the visitor center is closed; there is supposedly a campground at the bottom but since the place is so deserted, we are going to camp in front of the visitor center! The employees at the store (the only people who live here) agreed to leave the restrooms unlocked, and even unlocked an outdoor refrigerator for us to keep our water in! We are planning to get up extremely early, probably 1 a.m., to beat the heat since tomorrow is going to be almost all uphill, 74 miles with no services! After this stretch through the desert I am ready for the higher altitude of Colorado!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 27

It was cold on top of the mountain and we slept until almost 7 this morning! We left camp around 8 for what appeared to be an "easy" day of mostly downhill terrain. We flew down the mountain feeling giddy and excited for the day ahead. There was an open range on the mountain, so we had to stop several times as there were cattle in the road!

After 17 miles we reached the town of Torrey, where we stopped to have an early lunch at Subway. There were two other bikers there, young men from Taiwan who are doing a loop ride from Los Angeles around the western U.S. They told us they met a young woman who is doing the same route as we are...maybe we will run into her!

Shortly after town we entered Capitol Reef National Park. I had never heard of the park but it was amazing!  We rode through giant rock formations for 15 miles and stopped a few times to check out some caves. George and Josh decided to go swimming in the river, so Seth and I continued on for 30 more miles to get to town. I started to feel the heat as soon as we left the park...it was midday and the sun seemed to reflect off of all the rock. We had a few downhill sections where we would hit pockets of hot air that were warmer than the air temperature! There was a slight breeze too but with all of the rock the breeze was also hotter than the air. The heat was sucking the energy out of me and the 25 remaining miles were daunting.

We came across an empty campground and Seth found a water spigot that worked, so we filled up our bottles. It wasn't very cold but it was better than what we had! About 10 miles later we passed a motel, and the man at the desk let us fill up water and use the ice machine. Such a treat!

I felt slightly rejuvenated after quenching my thirst, but we still had 18 miles to town. The heat was unbearable but somehow we made it to town just before 5. The motel in town was full, but the lady at the desk offered us a deal: they just finished filming the remake of Point Break here in Hanksville and still have the actor's trailers set up in the RV park, so she rented us a trailer for the price of a room! We had pizza and wings from the grocery store and now I am writing as I wait for the laundry. We only have 50 miles tomorrow so hopefully we can get them done before the heat of the day!

One more thing...we crossed 1000 miles today!!

June 26

Quote of the day from Josh: "I think I want my next adventure to be a little more effortless."

This morning was cool and beautiful as we rolled out of camp just before the sun came over the mountains. George left first and Josh, Seth, and I were a few minutes behind him. We had a quick and easy climb to the edge of a canyon and then we had our most epic descent to date...a steep and curvy road that switchbacked right down the side of the canyon. It was amazing to see the rocky valley open up in front of our eyes as we flew down the road! We coasted to the Escalante River, our lowest point for the day, and then started up.

I realize now that I had no clue what it meant to climb a mountain on a bicycle until I rode through Utah. The climb was painfully steep, 14% grades in some sections, and it took us probably 3 hours to ride 10 miles. We met up with George at the Hog's Back, a ridgeline that dropped steeply on both sides down into the canyon. It was beautiful but I was tired and I needed calories. Boulder wasn't far so we pushed on and arrived into town at 11:30. The restaurant didn't open until noon, so George ordered a breakfast burrito from the cafe next door, and Josh, Seth, and I decided to wait. George left town just as the three of us were ordering.

We devoured our burgers and sandwiches and mutually decided it would be a good idea to digest a bit before starting the next section of the climb. Sometimes towns are hard to leave :)

Two hours later, at the hottest point during the day, we finally pulled out of town for 14 more miles of climbing 3000 feet. It was miserable and I was exhausted, but thankfully we had some cloud cover that kept the heat slightly at bay. Josh went ahead of Seth and me as he is a much stronger climber. This second section wasn't nearly as steep as the first, but it still took us 3.5 hours to climb. It was amazing to see the alpine forests at the top, and look down to see the rocky canyon from where we had ridden!

A local at the restaurant had told us about a spring at the top of the mountain and Seth and I stopped on our way past. We guzzled the ice cold water (I'm usually very paranoid about treating my water so I hope we don't get sick!) and continued down. George and Josh had left a rock cairn at the entrance to a campground a few miles from the summit so we would know they had stopped. We pulled in right around 6 and are camped next to a stream. Seth and I had teriyaki noodles (my favorite trail dinner) with chicken for dinner and he is already sleeping as I type this...we are both exhausted!

We did 48 miles today and will hopefully have an easy day tomorrow...the next 64 miles are mostly downhill!

June 25

Today was full of geographic and mental ups and downs. It was 49 degrees this morning so we slept in a bit and then Josh mentioned "diner" and the race was on to pack up and be the first at the diner. We said goodbye to the ACA folks as this is probably the last time we will see them (they were doing a short day today and are taking tomorrow off). Josh, Seth, and I were the first to the diner and George met us a little later. I had three cups of coffee, eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast, and then I finished Seth's toast. I am thoroughly enjoying the biker appetite!

I felt pretty good as we rode out of Panguitch at 9, but after a few miles I felt like I had no energy...the big breakfast and the big day yesterday were slowing me down. We rode through beautiful Red Canyon, with red rock spires and tunnels, but I struggled as we made our first climb for the day. Downhill does wonders for my attitude and I felt great as we descended into Bryce Canyon National Park amidst the red, tan, and white rock formations.

We stopped and ate lunch in a park in Tropic, the town at the bottom. Then it was back uphill for a 1500 foot climb through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It was incredibly beautiful (I am loving the scenery in Utah) but as I neared the top I felt like my legs were in mud! We had a 12% grade for the last mile or so and I was pushing and pulling my pedals, feeling like I was going nowhere. Somehow I made it to the top and was rewarded with an amazing view of the "upper staircase" of the monument and the valley below. George was ahead of me but Josh and Seth showed up a few minutes later and we began the 16 mile downhill after taking some pictures at the summit.

We are staying in Escalante tonight at the outfitter's campground. George and Josh are splitting a cabin but Seth and I are tenting...they give cyclists a deal: showers, rest rooms, trash cans, a tent site, and water access for $5!

Today was unexpectedly hard for me and I am exhausted tonight! I need a good night's sleep to get me up the mountain tomorrow!

June 24

Awesome day today! It may have been my best day yet. It started at 4:30 when my alarm rang (not the awesome part). George and Josh left a little after 5 but Seth and I didn't start until about 6. We had one monster 4500 foot climb today over 28 miles and we started going up as soon as we left town. I felt very strong this morning from our day of rest and the first 8 miles went quickly. We took a break to eat some leftover pizza from last night and continued up the road. The climb was gorgeous...the ride took us right up the canyon, around cliffs, and next to a river. I saw several deer throughout the morning. There were a few steep sections but I was mentally prepared to climb uphill all day and the miles seemed to steadily progress. My bike felt good and my body felt strong. It's amazing how much stronger I've gotten in just 2 weeks!

Seth and I have both lost screws from our peddle cages and we had to make a stop on the roadside to fix them. We didn't have zip ties but Seth was able to cut a few off of his rack (since the bike shop fixed the rack they weren't needed anymore) and re-use them. Problem solved and we were back on the road.

I've said this about every state so far, but Utah has surprised me as well! We rode through alpine forests with magnificent mountain and cliff views, up to our highest point thus far at 10,500 feet. At the top was Cedar Breaks National Monument, a "mini Grand Canyon" as Seth called it, exposed rock ranging from orange to pink to white. It was beautiful! Not to mention the weather at the high altitude was much cooler, in fact I was chilled as we started downhill! The last 30 miles were mostly downhill and Seth and I made it down the mountain in about 2 hours.

As soon as we got into town, we headed straight to Arby's before backtracking to the KOA where we are camping tonight with George and Josh. The ACA caught back up to us since we took a day off, and are also camping here. Second dinner was mashed potatoes and chicken and I am still hungry!

I am so encouraged that the climb today was actually enjoyable. Hopefully tomorrow will be a great day too, as we ride through Bryce Canyon National Park!

June 21

Where do I begin? I had an alarm set for 4 but didn't get up until closer to 4:30. We set out around 6 and were immediately fighting a crosswind coming from the west. It wasn't bad and I didnt think much of it when we stopped 6 miles later at the Utah border. It felt great to cross into our 3rd state!
We took a turn a few miles later and that's when I realized how much the wind was affecting us. We had a direct headwind for several miles and were peddling downhill at 7 mph! We were also on a very rural road...in the first two hours of riding I saw 7 dead jackrabbits and only 5 cars!
Through Nevada there have been long stretches with absolutely nothing between towns. This 84 miles stretch was our longest and we packed our full capacity of water...4 liters for myself and 6 for Seth. Still, struggling in the wind we were sipping constantly and I worried that we didn't have enough. Just as I was thinking such, a truck and van pulled up behind us and asked if we needed water! Frank and Cleda hopped out and gave each of the four of us a bottle of water and topped off our others with a big jug. Incredible! They said they always stop when they see bikers in the desert!
We had a long climb this morning for about 25 miles and we made another turn that put the wind blowing at us from a diagonal facing our right sides for about 20 of those miles. I never realized until I started biking how much the wind affects you. We were getting blown around and were struggling to make the miles...when we stopped for lunch after 35 miles, our pace had been 7 mph! As we were stopped, a motorcyclist pulled over and gave us each another bottle of water! He said a couple with a camper (Frank and Cleda) gave him the bottles to deliver to us! I guzzled mine down as part of my lunch was peanut butter and it's really hard to swallow peanut butter in the dry desert.
On the way down the first pass, the wind was so strong that I thought my bike would get blown out from under me. When a gust came I would literally be riding on the edge of my tires...there were several times I had to turn and swerve into the other lane to follow the path of the wind so I wouldn't get blown over!
We stopped at an abandoned cabin for a break in the shade and George wasn't feeling well. He thought he would be okay but as we started up the second pass, he was quickly running out of energy. He was barely able to walk with his bike and we were all very worried about him. He decided to hitch a ride into town to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. It took about 30 minutes for the next vehicle to pass; we flagged it down and the couple inside agreed to take George to town. They also offered us cold bottles of water!
Josh, Seth, and I continued up and finally the wind repaid us for all of the struggle it gave us this morning! We had a near perfect tailwind and flew up the pass. Again the ride down was precarious as our change of direction created another crosswind. We were so drained as we began the next climb, 12 miles to the pass. It took us 2.5 hours to finish! I rode past a rattle snake on my way up...it was only 2 or 3 feet but my foot came within about a foot of its tail and it shook its rattle at me as it slithered away. First (live) and hopefully last rattle snake I see on this trip! 
I thought the climb would never end, but just before we reached the top, a lady pulled over and offered us each a cold bottle of water! I cannot put into words the glory that is cold water in the desert. After fighting the wind for 13 hours and 70 miles in 100 degree heat, it was the perfect antidote to our fatigue!
We coasted down to Milford, UT and rolled into town just before 9 to make our day 14 hours! (We crossed into MD
T this morning.) The longest day of the year and we rode from dawn to dusk!
We headed straight to the diner after meeting up with George in our hotel room. He is feeling a little better now but said he started cramping badly on his way to town. He checked the weather and told us the temperature today was 102 and the wind was a sustained 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph!
I'm exhausted!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23

Zero day! I slept until close to 7 and Seth and I enjoyed the free breakfast in the lobby. It was so nice to not be rushed and I savored my morning coffee. I was able to use the lobby computer to finally upload some videos to YouTube...check them out at http://www.youtube.com/lindsey8095

Seth's back wheel has been causing him problems (he's had to true it several times over the last few days) so we took it to a bike shop down the street and then bought supplies at the grocery store nearby. George and Josh visited the other bike shop in town while Seth and I had lunch at a frozen yogurt shop...$5 burger, chips, drink, and cone. George learned that the bearings on his rear wheel were going bad, causing extra friction with each rotation (similar to riding while squeezing the rear brake)...no wonder he has been worn out!

We picked Seth's bike up on the way back to the hotel. The mechanic fixed the spoke problem, cleaned the rear cassette, and fixed the broken rack all for a very reasonable price. Seth was like a kid on Christmas morning. :)

We lounged around this afternoon, ate pizza for dinner, and studied the map for this next section through Utah. It's intimidating to see the elevation profile! We have a 4500 foot climb tomorrow out of Cedar City over 24 miles, as well as 4000 and 3500 foot climbs in the coming days. I'm hoping that after this day of rest we will all have the energy to conquer them, and that the wind will be in our favor!

June 22

A late night led to a lazy morning and we had a delicious breakfast of eggs, pancakes, bacon, hash browns, toast, and coffee at the diner. Then it was back on the road around 9.

The breeze this morning wasn't bad as we made our way out of Milford. We passed through beautiful farm country and it seemed that everyone who passed us gave us a wave...Utah folks are friendly! We made a quick stop in Minersville 16 miles later at the base of the mountains and then we started up our one and only pass for the day. The wind strengthened as the day passed but it wasn't nearly as bad as yesterday...probably only 15-20 mph sustained. Still, on the backside of the pass we had to peddle to move downhill.

On our way down, we passed a van on the side of the road; Josh was in the lead and I saw him and Seth head toward the van. I pulled in behind them and was offered ice and water from the occupants! The group of young men are riding their long board skateboards across the country to raise money for a charity! We chatted with them for a few minutes and enjoyed the cold refreshment of the water.

We had about 15 miles to town and they were all directly into the wind. We crawled along through the valley while Cedar City taunted us in the distance. Seth, Josh, and I caught up to George and we stopped at a Family Dollar on the edge of town to take a break as George wasn't feeling well again. He got a ride into town and the three of us continued 7 more miles to the Knights Inn where we are staying. I was dragging by the end, wishing so badly for cold water!

Showers, Mexican food, lots of water, and ice cream were on the menu tonight and we are all feeling much better! We spent 10 hours on the bikes today and it has been a long couple of days. We are taking our first day off tomorrow as we prepare to conquer the huge mountains of Utah. Hopefully the wind will subside before we leave town on Wednesday!

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 20

George left early this morning but Josh, Seth, and I took our time and enjoyed our morning coffee at the KOA. Then it was 61 miles to Baker, NV. The day started great and I felt strong on the first climb. It actually felt much shorter than I expected!  We flew downhill and caught a tailwind through a valley next to a wind mill plant. The only bad thing about a tailwind  (dare I say this?) is that there is no breeze across your body and it is HOT. Thankfully there were a few clouds today but they didn't do much to suppress the heat.

Our second climb was rough in the heat of the day, but we had a nice 16-mile down into town. Great Basin National Park is a few miles from town and we stopped at the visitor center on our way in. We made a stop at a convenience store for cold Gatorade and then Seth and I split a pizza at the local restaurant...yes, THE restaurant...the population of Baker is 68!

Our spirits are a little low tonight as we are camping in the dirt next to the motel and we have a huge 84 mile day tomorrow to the next town that feels very daunting! On a positive note, we cross into Utah tomorrow morning!

Friday, June 19, 2015

June 19

Longest day record again today at 80 miles!

We knew today would be a long day so we got up early and left camp a little before 6. It was chilly! Eureka is at about 6500 feet and it was probably around 50 degrees this morning.  We had 5 miles to go up to Pinto Summit, and it took me a good 30 minutes to warm up, even peddling uphill! The sun is a double-edged sword; it's so chilly in the morning that I wish for the sun, but as soon as it comes I wish for the cold! There is only about an hour of moderate temperature in the morning before the sun becomes unbearable.

We had four climbs overall today, including four descents. The downhills are such a great reward for the climbs! The only exception was our final downhill into Ely. We had about 18 miles to coast to the town, but only about 6 were coasting. The farther we descended, the stronger the wind became. It was chanelling straight up the canyon into our faces and I was peddling in a low gear to go downhill! It was miserable. I don't think I ate enough today either because I had a serious lack of energy for the last few hours. I dragged myself into town a few minutes behind the guys and I felt better almost immediately after eating a proper meal at McDonald's. :)

We stopped by the grocery store for supplies and are camping at the KOA outside of town. Laundry is the real treat here as it's been 5 days! My clothes were slathered in sunscreen and dirt.

Seth's rear tire has been out of alignment so he has been working to true it this evening. A guy who camped next to us at the RV park in Austin is here tonight too and he is helping with the tricky process. The joys of bicycle travel!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 18

Longest day so far at 71 miles! We were efficient this morning and left camp at 6:30. We had 3 more miles of the climb to Austin Pass, and it wasn't too terrible with fresh legs! A short down and we were climbing again for about 2 miles, and were rewarded with a 5 mile coast down into yet another valley. One more climb and then we descended into a huge valley for 40 miles. We knew our destination was into the next mountain range 40 miles away and they slowly got closer as we peddled on.

We passed a man from Germany heading west this morning who has ridden his bike  from New York! We have seen a few people riding west over the last few days, but so far the ACA tour members are the only ones we have met riding east.

Today was the first day I really felt the heat! My water was unbearably hot but Seth was able to snag a bottle of cold water on the edge of town. Of course we had a climb coming into Eureka and are camping in the city park tonight along with the ACA group. We will pass them tomorrow as we are doing 78 miles to Ely, and they are stopping to camp about halfway.

The four of us boiled hot dogs again for dinner and split a half gallon of ice cream. Seth, Josh, and I went with the ACA tour members to the bar next door and are planning an early start tomorrow to try to beat the heat!

(No pictures today as Nevada looks the same as it did yesterday :) )

June 17

Only 50 miles on the schedule today. The desert continued in the mountain-valley-mountain-valley pattern as we rode further onto the lonely highway. There is still a moderate amount of traffic, mostly semis, RVs, and motorcycles. We passed a herd of antelope and two small herds of wild horses this morning as we rode out of Smith Creek Valley...so awesome!

The weather was actually moderate today, with some cloud cover that came in late morning, but still very hot! We had three climbs, two that were relatively easy and one steep one up to Austin where we are staying tonight in the RV park. We got in at 1:30 so Josh, Seth, and I got lunch at a local cafe.

The ACA tour is camping next door at a church, and we were able to take showers inside. At the end of every day I have sunscreen, salt, dirt, and grease caked all over me; it is so nice to be able to shower! The group invited us for dinner and we enjoyed their company along with the salad and macaroni and cheese. The tour they are doing is supported; a van carries all of their gear and they ride each day to a set meeting point.

The sunset was gorgeous tonight with the cloud cover and it makes me so thankful to be out here on this trip. It's exciting to see new places every day as we ride through this awesome landscape.

June 16

Apparently we all needed extra rest as none of us woke until 5:30. We had breakfast and were packing up when Seth noticed a loose bolt on his rack. He went to tighten it and the head sheared off! He used an array of zip ties to hold it together; hopefully it will hold until we can find a place to get it fixed!

We rode out of town and stopped at a convenience store for a quick break when a guide from the Adventure Cycling Association passed us! The tour is supported and they are following the same route as us. We knew they were starting  two days ahead of us so we figured we would pass them at some point.  They are following the same schedule through Nevada (there's really no choice due to the lack of services) so we will probably run into them over the next few days.

We rode past Fallon Naval Base and saw a few fighter jets flying...very cool! We also passed an old sea bed that is now a salt flat for miles and miles...Such a contrast to the tan color of the sand.

Our intended destination was Middlegate Station, and we arrived there around 1:30. It was an interesting collection of old buildings as it lies along the Pony Express and stagecoach routes. After delicious burgers and fries, we were all feeling good and decided to ride 14 more miles to Cold Springs Station and camp for the night.

I mentioned before how surprised I was by the Sierras, and the same goes for Nevada! The mountains are much larger than I thought they would be. We have been riding through desert passes and down into huge green valleys that stretch at least 15 miles, giving us incredible expansive views of what lies ahead. As I ride I think about what it must have been like to be a Pony Express rider, or to have taken a stagecoach through this desolate landscape. What courage those people had!

Cold Springs is in the middle of nowhere  and as Seth said when we arrived, it is truly an oasis in the desert! We had hot showers and are sleeping on the grassy lawn behind the restaurant/motel. I am enjoying this cool evening as tomorrow is sure to be another scorcher!