What a day this was! It started out rather flat for a change. Now we are in the great basin, between mountain ranges where the water (when there is any) does not flow to the ocean. Since it was such a long day we left early, about 6:40 AM. The road was newly paved and smooth, but they misplaced the rumble strips again.... Here is Dianne in front of me just outside Fallon.
We passed the Fallon Naval Air Station (Top Gun Training School), but it was so far off the road that we did not see anything. The desert is all around us... there was a sign pointing to petroglyphs but again, too far off the road, and you don't do side trips on 100 + mile days. There were salt flats off to the right.
The first rest stop was at 24 miles, and it was next to Sand Mountain, a 600 foot high pile of white sand in the middle of the desert! Local folks on this ride said it used to be much larger. We took a nice break there, knowing that we were heading back into the mountains.
Right after the rest stop we started the climb to Sand Springs Pass. After climbing for 4 miles it leveled out and we were told to watch for planes overhead--we could see the bomb targets on the side of Fairview Mountain. Alas there was no practice today. At the rest stop I teased Curtis about telling us to look at the "loneliest phone" (no longer there) the Joy Ranch (burned down) and Pony Express stations (gone).... interesting landmarks....
The rest of the day we climbed and then descended increasingly higher passes as we cycled through the Shoshone Mountains and into the Toiyabe Range where Austin is located. We stopped at the Middlegate station, on the old Pony Express route.
Lunch was at Cold Springs. We were told to watch for wild mustangs in that area, but Dianne and I did not see any. We heard the next day that several people saw them! We were sorry to have missed them...
After lunch we climbed 6 miles up to New Pass Summit. (That's me, above.) There was a rest stop there, where Dawn (in the red truck) took special care of me--my neck has been very sore from riding with a headwind, and she massaged it until it loosened up and I got back on the bike to hurt it again. Right after the rest stop there was a descent and then another climb up to Mt. Airy Summit. Total vertical climb on this day was 5,200 feet.
We enjoyed a 9 mile descent from Mt. Airy to the Reece River Valley. But all of a sudden it was not fun any more.... The SAG drivers were sent out to retrieve the rest of the riders because it was 5:30 PM and dinner was at 6. Dianne and I had cycled 104.2 miles by that time and were totally set on finishing the day's scheduled ride of 113 miles. When Mike told us we had to get in the truck because we would not make it into Austin before dark and we would miss dinner besides, we got in the truck. He picked us up at the point where the Pony Express Trail crosses Hwy 50.
I was so depressed that I could not talk about today's ride. I ate dinner and went to my room to sulk. And what a room it was! Take a look below. We really stayed here.