Posted by: rustymccain | June 20, 2011

The Longest Day

Yes, we did it! Today was one of the big concerns for me on this trip. There was nothing between Hanksville and Blanding, Utah except 129 miles of gorgeous desert and one store. The store is located at a marina where the Colorado River empties into Lake Powell. We were really concerned because the store was 50 miles from our starting point, which meant we had to take enough fluid for the final 79 miles with us from the store.

Happy in the Canyon near Lake Powell

Our ride started with a gentle 20 mile climb out of Hanksville. We were feeling a little anxious, so we kept the pace very reasonable. We were blessed today with a beautiful day for riding. Temperatures here can easily rise above 100 degrees and I have already talked about the wind. However, due to the cold front that beat us to a pulp yesterday, we were left with a sunny day and crisp, cool air. We even had a gentle tailwind for the first part of the ride. At about mile 20, we started a long downhill of about 20 miles. Not only was it fun, the canyon was unbelievable to see. At about mile 45, the road started up and down until the final climb up from the Colorado river to the marina store.

Colorado River near Lake Powell

We got as much fluid as we could carry for the final leg. We didn’t know if we had enough because we were in the desert and when we left the marina, we had a 50 mile climb. While it was not completely uphill, there was about a 4000 feet elevation gain and it seemed it was uphill about 98% of the time.

Though uphill, the 50 miles was really pretty. I think we picked the right year to do this trip. Like Nevada, they have had an abnormal amount of snow and rain over the winter and spring and as a result, the desert here is very green as well.

The only excitement was when Ray almost ran over a rattlesnake. I saw it and yelled at him but he did not see it until he was right on it. It was dead, at least I think it was, but Ray didn’t know that. As a result, he almost tore his cleat off his shoe. I think he almost did a lot of things.

We hit mile 110 and thought we had hit the jackpot with a long downhill. Life was getting good! The problem was, we hit another wall about 10 miles out of town. We had three killer climbs going up to the finish. I set another speed record as I found out you can stay upright on a bike at 2.8 mph. I wish I was joking.

Near Blanding, Utah

We finally cruised into town, content with the fact that we made it through what we hope is the toughest day on this ride. Tomorrow is rest day!! I will try to post some more pics. We are still hanging in and still having a blast. Day after tomorrow, we will be in Colorado! Thanks for checking in.

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Posted by: rustymccain | June 19, 2011

I HAVE to get off this mountain!

Sometimes the struggle and discomfort of trying to reach a goal can be both difficult, but still, for lack of a better word, “fun.” Today was one of those days. I was going to title today’s post, “Today, I suffered”. However Ray thought a comment I made during the day was a better title. And I have no pictures to post because I just didn’t take any. It was a tough day.

We started the day with a 13 mile climb up to about 9600 feet out of Boulder, Utah. An unusual cold front was moving through Utah today. The weather at the start was cold and gray, though not unbearable. There was no coffee and I was suffering from caffeine withdrawal for the first couple of hours. As we gained altitude, the weather kept getting colder and colder. Then the wind started swirling. Near the top of the mountain, Ray got a little gap on me and was eating a Powerbar when I pulled up to the summit. I must have had the look of a frozen corpse as I came up and said, “I HAVE to get off this mountain!”. I wanted no rest, no food, no photo ops. He felt that was the statement of the day.

We started down the mountain. I was right in the middle of a nice little pity party for the wind and cold and Mother Nature said, “What the heck, let’s try a little freezing rain and sleet.” There was really no place for shelter. I was afraid to stop and try to put on more clothes because I thought I would create even more problems by stopping. I finally saw a sign that said a store was 6 miles away. That was the longest 6 miles! The rain and sleet was pelting me, the wind, which we later found out to be gusting at 35-45 mph ,was literally almost blowing me off my bike. I believe it is the coldest I have ever been in my life. But, I finally made it to the little village.

A stroke of good fortune awaited at the village…. A coffee shop! I walked in and immediately drew the attention of everyone there. I was shivering uncontrollably and dripping wet and I am sure I looked pretty pitiful. A couple of cups of coffee and I was getting back to normal. We became concerned about Becky and Carly, the two girls we met yesterday. We knew they were out there somewhere. A really nice couple in the coffee shop, J.R. and Lucinda, had overheard my whining, crying and pouting. J.R. spoke up and offered to take me back up the mountain in his truck to find the girls and get them out of the storm. We decided to do that…and my decision had NOTHING to do with the fact that J.R.’s truck had heated seats! We drove all the way back to the summit, but never found the girls. As it turned out, they found a ride and were safe and sound in the coffee shop. Regardless, the kindness of J.R. and Lucinda was life-affirming for me. Total strangers, they became good friends through their act of generosity. They are a big part of what this trip is all about for us. Thanks J.R. and Lucinda!

We sat in the coffee shop for a couple of hours to let the storm pass over, but still had 48 miles to ride. When it was clear enough to ride, we cranked up the motivation and headed out to Hanksville. Along the way, we passed the 1,000 mile mark!

On a personal note, Ray wanted to wish a “Happy Father’s Day” to his Father-in-Law John Vaughn. I want to send Father’s Day wishes to Clint and Lucas. I will save my mushy stuff for private conversation, but I want to say publicly that those two guys have always made me a very proud father!

Tomorrow is the ride I have the most concern about on this trip. It is 130 miles with undulating terrain and only one store. We will probably be in the saddle for 12-14 hours. I may have to save my post until our day off the next day. We are tired, but we are still hanging in there and having a great adventure. Wish us luck tomorrow!!

Posted by: rustymccain | June 19, 2011

Bryce is Nice!

This post is for yesterday’s ride.  We had no internet access last night. I will post about today’s adventure a little later.

Just when I thought our ride could not get more beautiful, it does. Yesterday was a good day, we got a good night’s sleep and today we braced ourselves for the second of our toughest four days. I really don’t know if it is the toughest four days, but for now, it looks like it. Today’s route was to take us from Panguitch, a quaint little town in the middle of about 5 national parks, to Boulder, a town of less than 200 people. Because of all the national park land here and the ruggedness of the terrain, towns are few and far between. Our ride today we figured to be between 92 and 98 miles.

Near Bryce Canyon, Utah

When we started our ride, the temperature was 39 degrees. We had prepared for cool summer weather but didn’t prepare for that cold. By the time we got out of town, we started losing the feeling in our toes and our fingers. It was not the most pleasant of feelings, but it was really nice to have something hurt more than my butt.

We got about 7 miles our of town and started a climb toward Bryce Canyon National Park. Amazingly, in the space of about 2 minutes, it seemed to warm up 20 degrees. I know it probably was not that profound, but Ray and I both noticed it at the same time. We soon got pretty comfortable and again enjoyed perfect weather. The rest of our ride today would be nothing but a panorama of some of the most beautiful rock formations I have ever seen. And you have a lot more time to see them on a bike!

The Boys Near Bryce Canyon

While the route was beautiful it was also tough. Lots of climbing and lots of scary downhills. Toward the end of the ride, we were on a three-mile stretch of road called the “Hog’sback”. It ran along a ridge and had up to 1500 foot drop-offs on each side. There were not guard rails. The wind was swirling. I am not saying I was scared, but at the end of the ride, we had to go by the local fire station and get the “jaws of life” to get my hands off my handlebars.

Our maps state that some of our climbs reach 14% grade in Utah. We think we found them today. On one particularly hard climb, we ran into two ladies, Becky and Carly, who turned out to be riding a similar route to us. We were able to talk to them at a rest break at the summit. There they instantly gained my total respect. Not only were they doing our same route, they are pulling the B.O.B trailers that we had decided would be too difficult! They are doing a fantastic job and are very determined, so I will be pulling for them to make it all the way to the Atlantic.

Canyon Riding Near Boulder, Utah

Our ride ended up being 94 miles. Despite being very difficult, it didn’t kill us and we are currently looking for stuff that isn’t moving. If it isn’t, we will eat it.

We are still on target and tomorrow start with a 15 mile climb. If we can get through tomorrow and the next day, we get a rest day!

 

Posted by: rustymccain | June 17, 2011

Ventoux, Deux

For those who keep up with the Tour de France, you probably know about Mont Ventoux. It is called the Giant of Provence and is the site of many great tour moments. It is feared as a climb because it is 13 miles straight up. Ray and I have had the opportunity to ride Ventoux so we have an idea of how tough it is. As we studied today’s route, we decided to compare the climb we have to Ventoux. The climb we had today looked longer. Also, while the elevation gains were equivalent, Ventoux tops out at about 6200 feet while our climb topped out at over 10,000 feet. Not much oxygen there. We both cried ourselves to sleep.

We started out the morning with coffee and power bars and our morning motivational talks with our wives. We left town and within ¼ mile we saw a sign that said, “Next 15 miles, 8% grade.” This delayed our ride as I had to go back to the motel and change out of the shorts I had just peed in. As we began the climb, we noticed that there was a 10K race going on and runners were streaming down the mountain. Most of the first three miles was spent cheering the 10K runners. That made us forget about the effort a bit and helped us get cranking.

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah

We spent the better part of the next three hours climbing. The weather was cold and gray, but there was no wind, so the climb was comfortable. We had heard that the road we were to turn onto near the top of the climb had not been opened yet due to the high snow pack. We didn’t want to do the detour as it was 11 miles longer. As luck would have it, the road was opened for the first time today. As we made our turn, we ran into Phil again. We had seen the rest of the guys earlier on the mountain. Phil told us that we had at least 4 more miles of climbing. Yippee.

Ray and Gene

We started our climbing again and then we saw a truck with a flat tire. I wanted to help, but knew we had a lot more riding to do. I thought I would ask Ray, hoping he felt the same way I did, but almost before I could finish my sentence, he started pulling over. There was never a question for him. We went over to the truck and found Gene, a new friend. Gene had a new truck and had been fighting with his spare. He didn’t know how to release it. Ray, who has owned about a zillion vehicles, knew exactly what to do and started doing it. He helped Gene release the spare while I watched for traffic. Then Ray and I grabbed the spare and put it on the truck to make sure Gene was good to go. With 3000 miles to go on our quest, and a lot of things to consider, it would have been easy for Ray move on. But he never had one thought except that he saw a chance to help someone and did it. And Gene seemed like the kind of guy that, if he has the chance, he will pass the good deed on. For those of you who don’t know Ray, this is the kind of guy with whom I have the opportunity to ride.

Near Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah

We began to ride again and soon the snow was deep on both sides of the road, sometimes as high as 6-8 feet. The temperatures we rode in yesterday were approaching 100 degrees. At the top of the mountain today, it was close to 40 degrees. The climb finally ended at about 28 miles. We topped out at 10,614 feet after starting right at 6000 feet. We were rewarded by having an absolutely beautiful view of Cedar Breaks National Monument and a screaming downhill off the mountain. We kept losing altitude all the way into the town of Panguitch, Utah.

I had the opportunity today to see some beautiful country. We are at 891 miles and are both still hanging in there. Tomorrow is a tough 98 miler, but there is service along the way, so we’ll take it one mile at a time and see what adventure awaits!

Posted by: rustymccain | June 16, 2011

Contentment in Cedar City

Contentment is a pretty elusive thing for most of us. It is easy to look at circumstances and lose the basis for our contentment. We stayed in a very small town last night. Only Ray had phone service. The town appeared to be dying. It was sad because there were some very beautiful buildings downtown, most of which were closed and/or boarded up. We stopped at a Subway store for a meal as it was about the only place in town at which we could eat. I spoke with the young lady who worked there and discovered she had grown up in the town. I suspected that if I asked, she would tell me she couldn’t wait to get out a town that appeared to be dying. When I asked if she liked it there, she said she loved it. I asked her what they did for fun and she said, “We make our own fun.” You could tell by her response that she was totally sincere with her answer. She was content.

Ray making fun outside of Cedar City, UT

 

It hammered home a lesson that I have a hard time learning. Contentment is not necessarily based upon what surrounds you. It is more based on how you view the world and how you handle what may come your way.

Our ride today was planned as a slow rest day. The ride was to be only about 54 miles with only one pass over 6,000 feet. While we generally are riding west to east, today we were riding south. And as luck would have it, we rode directly into a headwind. The forecast this morning was for sustained winds out of the south at 20-30 mph with gusts of 40. They were right. For those of you who ride, imagine riding on a flat surface, pushing as hard as you can push and riding 7 mph! That was us today. And it turned a planned “easy” day into a hard one.

Rusty making fun outside of Cedar City, UT

I would like to complain about the wind. I would like to complain about the length of the one climb, I would like to complain ONE MORE TIME about my sore butt. However, I am fulfilling a life-long dream. I have the ability to ride. I have been so fortunate to be able to do this. So why should I complain about anything?

You never know when you can teach a lesson or where you can learn one. The young lady at Subway was not aware that she was teaching me with her cheerful approach to life. Today we are in Cedar City, Utah and have completed 790 miles of our journey. We enter the hardest four days of our trip tomorrow, starting with a 15 mile climb up to over 10,000 feet. I hope we can make it. I plan to take it one day at a time. But, even if we don’t, we are making our own fun. I am content. Thanks, Subway girl, for helping me with that.

Posted by: rustymccain | June 15, 2011

Two States and One Time Zone

Who would think that one of the coolest places we have stayed would be in a town in the middle of nowhere. The Silver Jack Inn, in Baker, NV was really a memorable place to stay. We had a wonderful chef-prepared meal last night and this morning had homemade oatmeal that was fantastic. Other than Great Basin National Park, I don’t know if anyone would have any reason to go to Baker, but we definitely found a diamond in the desert.

Did we make a wrong turn?

However, that find didn’t help us much today. I am still not on speaking terms with my legs and my butt. I am not sure the issue will be resolved, at least not in the next 6 ½ weeks. We started our ride and I could tell that Ray felt good. I wanted to save my energy because our hardest days are coming up in the next five days or so. So, for the first time on the trip, we rode most of the day’s ride alone. We are still traversing desert lands. There were no stores for 83 miles. While technically desert, I still think it is absolutely beautiful out here.

At least you know where you are going

As for riding, you climb a mountain, cross a long sweeping valley, then climb again. Today the early chill of the morning and the pleasantly cool temperatures of our earlier rides had left us. We started warm and the day turned hot. I didn’t realize it until I looked in the mirror after our ride, but I lost a lot of salt. My face looked liked someone had coated a pretzel in super glue and double-dipped it in the salt bowl.

The winds that have been kind to us on some days worked against us today. The ride started with about a 25 mile slow climb. Then we crossed our first pass and down into the valley. The early part of the ride was not all that bad, but then came part two. The last half of the ride included two very tough passes in the heat of the day.

We have been playing hopscotch with the four guys from Michigan that we met early on in this trip. Dave, Gary, Pete and Phil are headed to Virginia as well. Though we all ride different speeds, we all end up together at the end of the day. They are all really solid guys and it has been good to have them on the way with us. We have become a bit of a team trying to help each other where we can.

Rush Hour

Nothing outstanding happened today except that we got to ride our bikes again, passed through our second state and our first time zone. I have stuck in a couple of pictures to show you what we saw today.

All else is well, except for my shorts. I don’t see how I could have possibly done it, but I have lost not one, but two pair of shorts on this trip. And that is all I had besides my cycling shorts. We have not been in a town big enough to have store in it for the last couple of nights, so I either have to wear bike shorts or go naked in the hotel room. Obviously, I don’t want to wear bikes shorts after riding. For some reason, Ray quickly offered one pair of his shorts until we get to a larger town tomorrow. Go figure.

If I don’t have time to update the gallery tomorrow, I will have to wait until our rest day next Tuesday, but I will do it then, I promise. I hope everyone who reads this is having a GREAT day. Thanks.

Posted by: rustymccain | June 15, 2011

Mutiny

Today there was a mutiny!  My legs and my butt turned on me decided to rebel. I don’t know exactly what caused it. Maybe is was the fact that Ray introduced something crazy into my diet last night. We finally stayed in a town big  enough to have a grocery store. Ray went into the store and found some exotic foods for us to try. I think they were called “fruits” and “vegetables” generally, but had specific names like “apples”, “carrots”, “broccoli” and “tomatoes”. I was a little unsure of adding new stuff in on a trip like this, but he told me I had to eat them before I had my 12th Snickers of the day. Being the trooper I am, I tried them, but I just don’t think they are going to work long-term for me if today was any indication.

We started with another perfect day today. It was sunny and a bit cool. I felt pretty good because, despite two climbs that went over 7,000 feet, the relatively low distance of 61 miles made me confident I would be o.k. However, unbeknownst to me, the mutiny had already started. The route took us gradually uphill for about 15 or so miles then sharply up for about 5 to the Conner’s Pass. I was feeling pretty good as we made that first climb. I remember taking note of a sign aimed at illegal hunting. It said something like “Report any shooting from vehicles” As I passed the sign, I noticed that it was riddled with bullet holes. Apparently, they hunt elk, bighorn sheep and signs out here.

We got to the top of Conner’s Pass and started the descent. Ray got in his aero bars and within just a couple of minutes he was already a good half mile ahead of me. He was flying down the hill. When we finally got to the bottom several miles later, that’s when the mutiny turned ugly. As I tried to catch up with him, my legs started screaming. They had to have talked to one another, because they both started rebelling at the same time. They would not work, they would not cooperate in any way. They just quit. I tried to reason with them, I tried to bribe them with another snickers bar, I even lied to them and said there was no more climbing today. They would hear none of it. They were on strike. Apparently, my butt heard all the commotion down in the lower extremities and it gave him the confidence he needed to join the fray. He started sending out pain in such a way that, combined with my legs, he must have been sure it would overcome me. If I stood to pedal my legs would scream, if I sat to spin, my butt would scream. The only thing I could think of was my old standby. I went deep into my bike bag and pulled out a snickers. Though the next climb seemed to take forever, it is probably because it did. Ray felt good today and climbed well, finishing the second climb a bit ahead of me and waited at the top. Luckily, the Snickers did the trick, the mutiny was not successful and we were able to head on in to the town of Baker.

Baker is ISOLATED! There are two hotels, one store and a national park. There is no cell service. There is no television or phone in the room, but the place we are staying is quaint and served a killer meal of pasta and salad that the owner/chef made for us. I will have to post pics of today later, as internet access here is pretty spotty.

Ray keeps getting stronger every day. I actually feel pretty good. Tomorrow is a pretty tough 83 miler with a few tough climbs and no services. I hope the ship stays on course. The mutiny has been quieted for now. I think I’ll stay away from those “fruits and vegetables” things until more research is done on them.

Posted by: rustymccain | June 13, 2011

Breaking Wind and Stereotypes

We have discovered that breaking wind is really important! It has become very clear that in such wide open spaces, wind is a key to riding speed. We can be riding on what appears to be flat ground, going into the wind and go 7 mph. On the same surface, with the same effort, if the wind changes you can go 26 mph. We heard at one stop the other day that they had 90 mph winds the week before we were there. While that may be exaggerated, the wind here is a big factor. That is why we are headed east to west. While not always cooperative, the wind tends to be westerly. That is our hope.

 

Ray at Pinto Summit, NV

Today was a good day. It rained right before we left, so we started on wet roads. But the sun was out and we thought the roads would dry before we hit our first downhill. And, we got lucky with the wind. While not a tailwind, it was not directly in our face. We started with a five-mile climb out of Eureka. What a way to wake up! It was the first of four passes of the day. Three of the passes were over 7,000 feet. We have not gotten completely acclimated to the altitude yet so even at a relatively low altitude of 7,000 feet, when you have a 5 mile climb, it can feel like you are breathing with a ziplock bag on your head. But each summit today rewarded us with a sweeping downhill and yet more beautiful vistas of this wide open high desert country. We had a 77 mile route today. After staying in Austin (pop. <400), and Eureka (pop. around 400), we headed into the metropolis of Ely (pop. 1500).

The highest peak we crossed was Robinson Peak at 7588 ft. From there we basically rode a 15 mile downhill into the town of Ely. We did meet one guy in one of the big valleys we crossed who was traversing the U.S. also. The only difference was that he was walking! We stopped and chatted with him for a while, gave him some water and headed on out, thinking how much we loved what we were doing but how much we would NOT want to be doing what he was doing. Gotta give him kudos though. What a quest.

View from Little Antelope Summit, NV

We had a funny thing happen to us in Austin a couple of nights ago that I have to relate. We were sitting at dinner and asked about how far it was from Austin to Eureka. The waitress said it was about 70 miles and said, “You can make it there in a little over an hour.” Ray said, “I don’t think so, we are on our bicycles”. The young waitress then looked at both of us incredulously and said, “No offense, but you guys are old, are you sure you can make it?!?” We made the requisite jokes and had fun with her comment, but I think the stereotype of us being “over the hill” is taking a little hit. It seems more and more people are setting and reaching goals at a later time in life than in times past. I don’t know whether we will make our goal. Our bodies may give in to time and one of the two dreaded “I’s” may pop up…Injury or Illness. But, I feel pretty good about at least giving it a shot. I have already counted it as a success, because we are doing our best. And if Ray and I can be any inspiration to anyone to try to go for a “Bucket List” goal, then this trip will be especially rewarding.

It’s hard to believe we are on day 9! Thanks to all who are checking in. I know we have a lot of people pulling for us to make it to Virginia. For that, we will keep breaking wind and stereotypes!

Posted by: rustymccain | June 12, 2011

Eureka!

Today was amazing! Have I said that before?? I am just really taken with the beauty of the country here. While it is supposed to be desert, it remains to be green. We have heard that they had snow here as late as last week, so that might be part of the reason.

View from Austin Pass

Today the weather was perfect. We woke up to temps in the 50s and both thought about wearing shirts and jackets. By the time we started at 7:30 the temperature had risen such that we only needed our jerseys. The town of Austin is about halfway up Austin Pass. It was certainly a good wake-up call to start by going uphill for the first hour. For those who have cycled on the Natchez Trace, we started this morning by climbing an incline very similar to the first hill on the Trace. The only difference was that our climb was 3 miles long, followed by a 2 mile fast downhill, then back up for two more miles in a similar climb. Those were two of four summits we had today. The rest of the route gave us broad valleys where you could see for miles in any direction. Ray commented once that he wished he could take a 360 degree picture, for any way we turned, all you could see was one ribbon of highway and nature.

Somewhere in the Middle of Nevada

The route was 70 miles with no services. We had plenty of Gatorade, but were fortunate in that we ran into two different riding groups, one riding our route and another doing their own route that will turn north from here in Eureka. Both groups are riding with a support van. We had run into one of the groups on Carson Pass and learned that Phil was the driver of the support van. They all have become road friends and Phil always offers us support when he passes us! We also rode with members of the other group for a while. Robert is a fit 66-year-old, crossing the country with his daughter Kim and her friend Sarah. Alex was driving the support van for them. Kim had crashed earlier and had some bad road rash, so she was in the support van for a while, though she popped out to ride the last 20 or so miles. She and Alex were very nice to us, offering water and the miracle food….chocolate. We ended up with four new friends. That made the day even better. With basically nothing between Austin and Eureka, all we could do was pedal and enjoy the beauty of nature. It was a good day.

We arrived in Eureka a little after 1:00 and have enjoyed another quaint little Nevada town that also has a past that is filled with silver and gold, complete with a few restaurants, a couple of motels, a gambling casino, and a store that has Gatorade. What else do you need?

Downtown Eureka, NV

By the way, before I forget this, a quick word of thanks Jim at UPS for helping me with getting my bike shipped safely and timely to San Francisco. He took a big load off me as I was preparing to leave and I really appreciate it. Also a huge thanks to Scott and Michelle at Trace Bikes. Scott helped me pick out the bike I wanted for this trip and fit me on it. He also was invaluable with little tips and hints about what I should do to prepare the bike and how to equip it. He then expertly packed the bike for shipment west. That’s why local bike shops are so important and why we need them. So far, the bike and setup have been perfect. The engine is shot, but the bike is holding up!

Tomorrow, probably just another amazing day 🙂

 

Posted by: rustymccain | June 11, 2011

The REST of the story

Today, the only climbing we did was climbing in and out of bed! We took a much-needed rest in the town of Austin. There is very little to do here, so it was a perfect place to rest. We both talked about posting a few items about lessons learned. However, we have just been having fun and since neither of us are that smart, we haven’t learned a whole lot….yet.

Looking West from Austin, NV

We have met some interesting folks on our trip and today was no exception. We met the owner of a turquoise mine nearby and had an interesting conversation with him. We have also been treated to some really good meals and great hospitality by Xanthia at the International Cafe here in Austin. We have had two dinners and breakfast there in a building built in the silver rush days of the 1800’s. The building was built as the International Hotel in Carson City that was moved, piece by piece, to Austin. The bar is one of the most beautiful pieces of furniture I have ever seen. I can only imagine the history in that bar. Seeing these are the kinds of things is making this trip so memorable for us.

Downtown Austin, NV

While I said we did no climbing, that is not entirely true. Ray has been climbing the walls today. Though he does speak English, the word “rest” is not in his vocabulary. On the other hand, I am a pro at resting. While I was curled up in bed with a bag of Cheetos watching cartoons, Ray walked to a castle right outside of town. It was built in the late 1800’s by a wealthy man for a summer home, mainly for his sons. They lived there for 2 months in 1867 and it has sat vacant ever since. It makes a peculiar site on the side of the mountain in such an out-of-the-way place.

Speaking of Ray, he has so many friends who want to know what he is thinking. Besides thinking, “Rusty is really slow.”, I am not sure what is on his mind. That being said, we are going to create “Ray’s Page”, so he can write some of his thoughts when the spirit moves him.

Tomorrow, 70 miles to Eureka, with nothing in between. We start out climbing from 6600 feet to 7400 feet in the first couple of miles. The rest of the route seems manageable, so we’ll see.

 

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