Day 49 | July 14, 2011. Genoa, NV. Pronounced Gen-o-ah, not Gen-o-wah. We're staying at the lovely and surprisingly affordable Genoa Country Inn. All was quite and peaceful last night. Morning reminded me how noisy such settings can be, with lawnmowers, weed wackers, and straight piped motorcycles. Tonight: Genoa Parlor, dating back to 1853 and marketed as the oldest "thirst parlor" in Nevada.
Day 48 | July 13, 2011. Fallon, NV to Genoa, NV and the California border! - 91 miles, including a few miles of backtracking outside of Carson City. 4,000 miles behind me, ~200 to go!
Day 47 | July 12, 2011. Austin, NV to Fallon, NV - ~110 miles. So this is what I expected NV to look like: desert seemingly devoid of life. Hard baked soil. Sand dunes. "Dust hazard" warning signs every so many miles. A harsh and uninviting landscape along Route 50, which Life Magazine characterized as the Loneliest Road in America, requiring "survival skills" to drive it. Needless to say, I was grateful for sag support; more so for the warm companionship than for food and water, though.
Day 46 | July 11, 2011. Outside of Eureka, NV to Austin, NV - ~95 miles. So Ely is seedy, and Eureka, quaint. Austin too. All three are solidly within a large mining region. Ely did indeed have more services than Eureka, but the older portion of town consists of 3rd rate casinos, cheap motels, and empty storefronts. The newer area was largely the same, plus fast food chains, minus the empty shops. There are many mobile home parks in these parts, with one in Ely boasting views of a magnificent valley.
With a restored "opera house" and other interesting historic buildings, Eureka seemed worthy of stopping to explore, but not at 6 AM. Outside of Eureka the temperature dropped into what felt like the 30s. I took shelter in the car for about an hour until the sun rose and warmed things up. The difference between high and low temperatures in this part of NV routinely spans 40+ degrees. I knew low temperatures would be in the 40s, but somehow I just couldn't bring myself to pack gloves for a July cycling trip through the desert. Mistake.
Austin's peak of economic activity is a distant memory; the silver ran out more than 125 years ago. The town is charming, though. We stayed in a kitchy motel, the Cozy Mountain Inn. It seemed to me a cross between a trailer park and a Four Seasons Hotel. It had the look of the former, but the bed was reminiscent of the latter. The town is filled with lovely old, weathered buildings, and boasts at least five bars. The most interesting is the International, dripping with history, its walls witness to countless stories of interesting, and not so interesting, characters. Not bad for a town of about 340 people.
Day 45 | July 10, 2011. Baker, NV to somewhere outside of Eureka, NV - ~109 miles. We chose to stay in Ely, a substantially larger town than tiny Eureka, with more restaurant options, and a grocery store. Mexican food for dinner...again. We were both pleased that La Fiesta offered cholesterol free refried beans, and disturbed to learn they're typically prepared in lard.
Day 44 | July 9, 2011. Baker, NV. No cycling today. Instead, we set up camp within the Great Basin National Park and went for a hike. We suspected we may have become lost, but then came across the high mountain valley we were searching for, a bucolic stream running through it. We followed the small stream down the mountain as it joined with others until we reached our camp site, completing a trail loop, and within earshot of what had become the more substantial and vigorously flowing Baker Creek.
Day 43 | July 8, 2011. Delta, UT to Baker, NV - 97 miles. We left early to beat the heat, as usual, around 2:00 AM. Check out this image from Google Street View, capturing a huge dump truck being passed. One of the few engines of economic vitality in the areas through which we've been traveling is mining: gold, silver, copper, & molybdenum. There are lithium deposits here too, though they are not yet, I believe, being extracted. The Google image doesn't do justice to the beauty of Snake Valley, where Baker lies at the foot of Wheeler Mountain. The view from the eastern entry to the valley, just beyond Kings Canyon, is awesome: a seemingly endless road, disappearing into a blue-green valley carpeted in sage and nestled against green, snow capped mountains.
Catherine and I checked into the Silver Jack Inn, a reasonably charming, shabby little hotel. It's cafe featured excellent beer, good food, and sometimes friendly service. We explored Lehman Cave, which was interesting enough somewhat unremarkable in part due to extensive destruction by humans, and a recent National Geographic article on a gargantuan cave in Vietnam. The discovery of the Lehman cave sold tickets and promised spelunkers, "If you can break it, you can take it." As a consequence, thousands of stalactites were taken home as souvenirs. We ended the days activities with a short hike. While I rested atop a sprigs of pine, Catherine discovered beautiful Teresa Lake; she retrieved me so we could both enjoy its beauty.
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