After two days on the road in the truck and two long days in the saddle we were pretty tired and slept a little longer that we should have. The Kiwi crew were done with breakfast as we walked in to get some, so they were off a bit earlier. Todayís route includes a big bike bypass for those not wanting to partake of the 5 mile deep sand/ rocky single track buffet. We were beat and were strongly considering it. We packed back up and hit the trail again figuring we would push some miles out the back and decide when we got to the cut off for the bypass. Just a few miles of Nevada so far, but I could tell I was going to like it.
It took a little while to get on the right track, but eventually we were underway and on the purple line again. Sometimes it was as if someone snapped a chalk line to lay out the roads, straight out to the horizon.
Another mountain reeled in and soon to be in the mirror.
Hey, we are close to Atlanta! Sure doesnít seem like it.
Somewhere along this fence line a gate leads to the bypass. We ride past it. What the hell, letís give it a try. We can always turn aroundÖ
We hit a few patches of pretty deep sand at the end of the fence line and come to an arroyo that cannot be crossed. Tracks everywhere. Finally we realize we missed a turn a few hundred yards back and we are back on the trail. The trail narrows and our bark busters start earning their keep. The sand isnít too bad and the section proves to be one of the most fun stretches yet. Not quite single track, but not double either.
As we climb an off camber rise my stomach starts growling and for the first time that day we are in an area with a little shade here and there. Time for a break and a protein bar. Todd doesnít argue. We discuss how much fun the last few miles have been and are both happy we chose to bypass the bypass.
Time for some more mountain fishing, so we start reeling this one in.
The big guy checking the gps on patterson pass
More hills and valleys await us.
We havenít seen anyone for about 6 hours, not even a dust cloud.
Another one to reel in.
And then climb it.
And go down the other side. Good stuff in here.
And another target comes in to view. Ride, climb, ride, climb, repeatÖ
I wondered how close we were to anything. Hmm, letís ask Emily in the box where the nearest fuel is! Guess I best not puncture my tank.
The shadows are growing again and the gps keeps saying we have a long long way to go.
It was near here that I swear someone shot a pronghorn antelope out of a cannon right in front of me. Good god those things are fast. It ran across the road about 50 yards in front of me full speed.
I started trying to wick it up a little. We had miles to go and the sun was sinking fast. The trail was getting harder to follow and Emily was telling me it would be close to 11pm by the time we got to Eureka. Sheís been wrong out here a lot, but the temps and the sun are both dropping. I started looking for ways on the gps to get out of the desert and on to a more significant road, but there just didnít seem to be any.
We eventually ended up on a more traveled road and encountered some sort of DOT or power company service trucks. However, the road was much worse than the trail and included deep silt beds up to about 2í deep where the big trucks had beaten the earth in to talcum powder. Oh yeah, and it was now dark. A beautiful time to be camping in the desert, but not riding in it. We had no camping gear anyway. The sky was full of stars as the last wisps of sunlight disappeared. Emily showed about 8 miles of silt bed to the next road, and maybe another 15 or so to Eureka. Man that shower is going to feel good!
Finally we hit the highway and ride in to Eureka. Itís a small town with a main drag that is under construction. There are two hotel signs, both with that hateful No Vacancy sign illuminated. DAMNIT!
I noticed some big license plates on some bikes on the side of the road in the middle of town and 3 blokes standing by them. It is Dave, Tim and String, so we pull in to see where they are staying. Apparently they were behind the guy that got the last room at the last hotel. Ms Garmin informs me that the nearest lodging is about 50 miles away!
I started thinking about last years trip and the begging I did to get a hotel manager to let us sleep on lawn chairs by the indoor pool. She ended up letting us stay on rollaways in a conference room.
Big T whips out his Ipad and starts looking for some wifi we can leach and finds it, so a web search ensues. There is a b&b in town but no ones cell phone seems to work. I got mine out and turned it on and had a signal. I dialed the Eureka Bed and Breakfast, just a couple of blocks away.
Mary: Hello, Eureka B&B.
Me: Do you have any room tonight?
Mary: Yes, how many do you have, we have two beds?
Me: Five guys.
Mary: You have the house to yourselves, so some could sleep on the floor.
Me: Weíll take it.
Mary: Give me a few minutes to change clothes, Iíve been working in the yard and Iím filthy.
Me: Lady, you have no idea what filthy looks like, but you will in a few minutes.
We arrived to find a quite charming old house on a hill overlooking downtown Eureka and what turned out to be one of the best lodging experiences of the trip. The Kiwis graciously let me and Todd have the beds since they had sleep pads and bags. They took the large living room. I walked to town and got some cold refreshment while everyone showered and we settled in, ecstatic to not be sleeping on the desert floor. The lodging gods had smiled upon us again. By the way, breakfast the next morning was superb too!
If you find yourself in Eureka NV looking for lodging, give Mary a call.
Here we are on the steps the next morning, wishing we could stay there again but anxious to see what would unfurl before us this day. The front row is Dave, String, and Tim.