Day 73: High mileage, high dollar bills
Friday August 12, 2022
Austin, NV to Fallon, NV
112mi, 2615ft elevation drop
We did the longest ride of our trip today, at 112mi! One pedal stroke at a time, one mile at a time, the trip passed by smoothly.
You might wonder, how do we stay entertained while biking long distances? For me, sometimes I enjoy watching the scenery unfold in front of my eyes. Pedaling your way by bicycle really changes my perception of the vast landscapes of Nevada. Biking through mile after mile of desert prairie, there's a sense of grandeur that gets lost when in a car doing 70mph.
My photographs don't show how big these prairies are
Sometimes the landscape gets old, and we might want to tune into some music. Cue Spotify and play all of your liked songs on shuffle, getting a new surprise with each song. Or, play the podcast that's popular among us (Midnight Burger, This American Life, Freakonomics), and each one-hour episode transports into another world.
Oh wait... wild horses! We saw several groups of wild horses, and one group ran alongside us for a bit! Nevada is famous for its wild horses, descendants of the Spanish conquistador's escaped steeds. Pause the Spotify, look at the horses.
Short clip of horses running with us, shot on smartphone
The miles passed, and we ate lunch at Middlegate Station, at the one combination burger joint/motel/gas station that formed the entire town. Middlegate is in the middle of nowhere, halfway between Austin and Fallon. We initially planned to stay in Middlegate but decided to ride the full 112mi to Fallon, not wanting to stay the night in the middle of nowhere. We heard that people drive/motorcycle out to Middlegate specifically for the burgers, so we had high hopes. All of us coincidentally ordered the same burger, the Western Burger, and it was a quite delicious.
Yep, those are dollar bills stapled to the ceiling
We participated in a bar tradition: sharpie'ing a message on a $1 bill and stapling it to the roof of the building. Simone wrote bike-themed messages and stuck the bill to the ceiling above our table.
With our bellies full of burger, we rode out of the air-conditioned restaurant into the desert. The landscape changed to a vast expanse of salt flats, the road seemingly rising out of the flats on a raised plateau. Surprisingly, there was a lot of car traffic on US-50 that we had to navigate around -- how was this road the "loneliest road in the US?"
Evening water break with the car
After some evening biking with the sun in our eyes, we arrived at the Fallon Youth Center. We had been in the wilderness for the past week, living in small towns' RV parks and motels, so Fallon, NV seemed like a bustling metropolis to our worn eyes. The youth center itself was a bright, newly constructed space, where we'd be staying for the next few days and teaching a Learning Festival. Finally, giving our hardworking legs a rest, we went to sleep.