Day 71: Not Lonely on The Loneliest Road
Wednesday, August 10
Ely, NV --> Eureka, NV. 78 miles. +3830 ft. +3888 ft.
After a wonderful rest and a delicious hotel breakfast (thank you so much to La Quinta in Ely for comping our rooms!), we hit The Road. Yep the only one - highway 50 aka the Loneliest Road in America.
Having consumed 1.25 waffles soaked in boysenberry syrup, eggs, and sausage, I stuffed a leftover bagel in my biking shirt pocket (there are 3 and have held items ranging from CLIF bars to tiny squashes found on eastern Colorado roads) which proved to be very useful during our 28mi stretch between meeting the car for water/snack stops.
So back in June, we were taking breaks every 5 miles or so. Now, we go for 18 sometimes 20 miles before stopping (!!) to get off our bikes and walk around a bit. I personally find that these long days go by faster if we take less breaks. I've learned not only to drink water as I bike but also fully unwrap a granola bar and devour a whole apple on the go. Two other favorite snacks for me have been the Snyder's honey mustard pretzel pieces and Oreos (calling out my sister who first got me into eating Oreos when we ran half-marathons together back in 2018) all of which fit in my biking shirt pockets!
One of the fun things about biking in Nevada are the little green summit signs. You'll see something like "Pancake Pass" (actually a thing!) and then the elevation usually like 6000 ft or so. What does this mean?? It's time for a downhill!! It's time to let loose and let gravity. WOOOHH.
The 2 hr 45 min stretch between water stop and lunch was pushing it a little bit. And just to make things more interesting - yes, that's what happened. THUNDER. We didn't see any lightning, but soon it started POURING. I had foolishly discarded my rain jacket in the car during our first water stop, but you know when you get wet, you can't get any more wet. Except when it's also colder than the Nevada summers you expected. Cold and wet = not a fun time.
At first, we decided to stop and try to flag a car down because once again, we didn't have service to contact Franklin who was driving (notice a recurring trend?). There weren't many cars to start with, and those that passed didn't stop :( Eventually, we decided to keep biking, and it turns out that we biked right out of that storm (though we did hear the ominous thunder rumble now and then behind the rocks on our right)!
We climbed one last hill in the sunshine and found our dear Franklin making fried rice with spam (spiced ham) and pineapples!! Such a joy to see (and smell!). Whenever we've had these picnic lunches in Nevada, the lack of civilization and nothingness melts away in good food and good vibes. Have yet to feel lonely on the loneliest road :) We crashed onto our foam pads and devoured plate after plate of rice.
Maybe because we heard more thunder in the distance and/or maybe because our tired brains weren't making the best decisions, we decided to end our Strava/Gaia GPS routes for the day and shuttle the last bit of the ride to Eureka. Mariela, Maxwell and I stretched out on our foam pads and read books/signed postcards while Simone and Franklin drove down to unload stuff. I successfully fell asleep. Some cars passing the three of us on the side of the road honked probably in amusement. What a sight we must have been to behold. And it didn't end up raining after all. Oh well.
Once we all got to Eureka, the first order of business was of course ice cream. The malt shakes at this little shop were excellent (we tried caramel, cookies&cream, and classic vanilla!).
Also look at our cute space buns. I don't know how Mariela managed to scrape up my unruly threads into something other than what they are, but when you have such skills, anything is possible.
We also got our Eureka stamps! (So we got stamp books from the general store back in Baker, and if you get stamps from all the towns along highway 50 and mail them to TravelNevada I believe, you can get some official "I survived the loneliest road" souvenirs and certificate!). Mine was almost entirely drenched from the sudden downpour earlier in the day, so the kind shop owner attempted to dry it on one of her hot plates. It kinda worked!
Delicious giant-portioned sandwich and burger dinner. Franklin and I prefer tater tots over fries. We discussed a potential 110 mile sunrise ride from Austin to Fallon in two days, and planned to wake up at 5:30am the following day in hopes to prepare.
Also this is where we stayed. Not sure why it's apologizing.