Day 62: an All-Cricket road
Saturday, August 05, 2023 Eureka, NV → Austin, NV 129.61 km && 917 m elevation [80.54 mi && 3009 ft elevation]
🇧🇷 Song for today: Garganta — Ana Carolina 🇧🇷
Mormon crickets invade Nevada
On the Day 34 post, I made a joke about an apocalypse-evoking plague of locusts in Kansas. Turns out I was partially right. No, not locusts, and no, not in Kansas. But there is definitely an apocalypse-evoking infestation going on right now in the western states (mainly Nevada): Mormon crickets. If you haven't seen anything, I added some videos at the end about the epicenter in Elko, Nevada.
According to the original news cycle on the first week of June, people thought they'd be gone in 3-5 days. Two months later, we can confirm they are still very much here. Here's the POV two miles into our ride today:
They were there for most of the ride today, most in the shoulder and some on the road. While they don't necessarily cover the entire 80-mile stretch we did today (yet, at least), the crickets tend to concentrate on the road, as they eat the bodies of their fallen buddies – bonus points if you noticed this in the beginning of the video. Squished ones do smell bad, and their insides taint the pavement red and make it slippery. But, it makes for a fun choose-your-own-adventure distraction for today:
a. Look down all the time and swerve like crazy to minimize the squishing and the smell/sound
b. Ignore them entirely and live on with the eventual popcorn sound / dead fish smell
c. Look down all the time and swerve like crazy to maximize squishing and feel like the Terminator
So far, I've been able to avoid all of them. Let's see if I can carry that streak going forward though...
Austin: a town gone downhill
The ride today was basically entirely flat for the first three quarters. Then came the climb to Austin, about 620 m / 2034 ft in one go. Without any hard data to back this up whatsoever, I'd suggest this is the highest single-climb elevation change we've had (and will have) on the trip! After a short descent after the summit, we got to Austin – a town sloping down the hill right in front of us.
At first, it looks like your typical has-been mining town – a "living ghost town" if you would:
Stop and look closer, though, and you'll find that going into town means not only going downhill physically, but also in basic human rights and decency:
(the mask sign was put up in May 2020, in case you were curious)
Trump signs were also just about everywhere. What a strange coincidence...
Assorted photos from today's ride
No, Nevada is indeed not particularly scenic.
Cricket vids (you know you'll regret it immediately – but you just can't help it, can you?)
TikToks for visuals:
Youtube news pieces for more info: