What a difference a day makes! This morning at breakfast Dawn and Lora told us the group would support us regarding yesterday's "lost" mileage. They offered to take us back to where they picked us up, allowing us to ride the last 8.5 miles into Austin and then continuing on today's ride, or we could ride down and back up again (big climb we missed at the end of the day), or we could get over it and move on to today's ride. I decided we should ride from Austin down to where they picked us up, and then start today's ride. And that is what we did! Now we have cycled every mile thus far from Stateline to Eureka, NV. (We don't want a gap in our US map of bike routes we have done!)
Every leg of this adventure a rider carries this bag--to commemorate the old Pony Express route that this road roughly follows. This morning Laura asked me to carry it. I have never been on a bike tour that had such great staff and volunteers!
So Dianne and I biked back to where they picked us up yesterday, were shuttled back to Austin, and started our day's ride an hour late, but very happy with our decision. The ride started at 6,575 feet in altitude and went up sharply from there. Rene (Dawn's husband) rode down the mountain to where we were picked up (8.4 miles out of town) and rode back up, overtaking us before we reached Austin Summit (7484').
Once we reached the summit we had a nice long descent and then started the climb to Bob Scott Summit (7,267'). After that it was a curvy fast 4.5 mile descent. At that point we found our first rest stop, in the middle of nowhere. I was having some trouble breathing, so I spent some time there, took an inhaler and a benadryl, and got out my bandito bandana to cover my face. Allergies? Altitude? Both? Whatever... I recovered and went on. Phil and Trevor were helpful and a lot of fun besides!
Now we were in the Big Smoky Valley, a flat stretch of basin between ranges of mountains. It was a smooth ride on new pavement. After 7 miles of relatively flat land we started the climb to Hickison Summit and our next rest stop.
We descended Hickison, crossed another flat valley and reached the lunch stop just as the last rider was leaving. We enjoyed sandwiches, chips, fruit, and good company at the stop, then remounted our bikes and got back on the road.
We had another rest stop where we refilled our water and ate some pretzels--you do get very tired of eating all the time on bike tours, but it is necessary... I am getting to like the views here--although it is mostly brown it has its own special beauty.
A couple of miles before Eureka we started a steep climb, and just as I was getting to the end of my energy stores we had an unexpected little descent right into Eureka. I find it interesting that Dianne and I have done cycling tours that overnighted in 3 different Eurekas--California, Montana, and Nevada. I wonder how many more Eurekas there are?
We were the last 2 riders to finish: 78 miles today, on what was supposed to be a 70 mile day (2600 feet vertical climb). But we are still pleased with ourselves for not moving on without finishing yesterday's route. Dinner tonight was at the Eureka Senior Citizen building, put on by Eureka High School Cheerleaders. It was great fun--they served up a delicious home cooked dinner (and dessert!) and entertained us with OATBRAN-themed cheers. Here they are with Curtis in their midst, all wearing their OATBRAN headbands.