Monday, June 11, 2007

Beauty in the Desert-Day 9

Our route today took us from Battle Mountain to the much larger town of Elko, Nevada. We rode much of the time along Route 80--sometimes the berm was smooth, and at other times it was so rough that all the riders felt it after 9 consecutive days in the saddle. Discussions re: cortisone cream, vaseline vs. A & D ointment vs. "bag balm" can be heard at mealtimes, SAG stops, and while riding. Non-cyclists who "listen in" must wonder why riders talk so much about their bottoms!

BTW, SAG stands for "Support and Gear". Our four AbB staff members (Andy, Michelle, Gerard and Tom) take turns riding their bikes with us and driving the two vans (one with a trailer) along our route. They set up at about 25 to 40 mile interals at predetermined places, where riders can eat (fruit, snacks,..) and get water. On hot days they also ride back and forth offering us cold water. They're a great group, and we riders really like and appreciate them.

Today's highlights included a 12 mile climb in the middle of our 75 mile day, and a beautiful ride through Carlin Canyon. Andrew, the detective from England, and I are climbing buddies. We get up the big hills at a reasonable pace, and encourage each other if one of us is tired.
Carlin Canyon was formed by the Humboldt river, which flows east to west. The emigrants followed the river through this canyon (fording it up to 4 times in this narrow canyon alone!) en route to California. The Central Pacific Railroad then added some "fill" along the northern side of the river upon which they laid their tracks in the 1860's. In 1903 a railroad tunnel was made through the small mountain on the southern side of the river, and a road now runs where the old RR tracks were. Luckily for us, the road is now closed to cars (who go through an adjacent tunnel as well), and we had this incredible canyon to ourselves!

Pictured today are Andrew and Bob, riding on what was the old RR bed. The Humboldt river is flowing toward them one the right. It's a small river, but Nevada isn't known for its rainfall! Unfortunately, pictures tend to "flatten out" hills, so it's hard to see how steep the canyon walls really are. We are so lucky to be able to enjoy this beauty!

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Anonymous said...

Everyday must be an experience for everyone. It is such beautiful country out there in the west.
Have yet another safe day.....your rest day is getting closer.

Dave's Cross Country Bike Ride said...

Thanks, Missy