The Loneliest Road Continued – 8000 FT. Elevation: Days 10 &11

As the light faded behind the snow capped mountains I saw a shiny jet on the horizon beaming through the sky. Tears nearly fell to my cheeks as I imagined all the comfortable people inside peeking out their window to the earth below or napping away on their way to their comfortable home or hotel room. I imagined warm dinners with friends and family around an oak dining table. Laughter, hugs, love and friendship in the air. A table full of delicious things like mashed potatoes, warm bread, steamed vegetables, and glasses of red wine. And here I am on this freezing cold snow capped mountain all by myself with the light fading on me fast.

04/29/2013 (Day 10) Continued

More pedaling on “The Loneliest Road in America” and the road was starting to become true to its name. Big vasts of brush land surrounded by mountains from every side. The road was smooth, wind was minimal, and there was a bit of cloud coverage keeping me cool. All those ingredients made for a good day of cranking out the miles. We passed some navy basis and I thought to myself, it sure makes sense for them to be way out here using this land that wouldn’t get used otherwise. It must be a crazy life living out here in this harsh conditions on some sort of government base. A few trucks flew by today in the opposite direction and blasted their horn at me while flipping me the bird. I don’t understand why some drivers hate people on bikes so much. I can only conclude that it is ignorance. To judge someone based on the type of vehicle they are riding down the highway just makes no sense to me. Sadly this has been a daily occurrence and the honking definitely gets to me. Sometimes it’s friendly honking and other times it nearly scares me right off the road. Regardless of that the road was beautiful and it was nice to be out here. For miles and miles people had written their names and love messages and the like in stones right along the highway. I’m guessing it must have been years of people seeing someone else’s and then deciding to do it themselves. It was a very interesting sight. We also saw a sign to an earthquake fault which was six miles off the road. I can only imagine what that would have looked like. Earlier in the ride their were some giant white sand dunes to the north that looked like a scene from Aladdin. It would have been fun to visit both of those spots but I have other lands on my mind. You might thing that riding through the Nevada desert would be boring but it is all but that. You just never know what you are going to say and today was a unique day in my life. Around 7:00 I still had energy to bike for a few more hours and had every intention to. I saw a concrete structure on the side of the road and got the idea it might be a well. Sure enough it was! And it was powered by a windmill that appears to pump water into it when it’s spinning. I was dehydrated a bit and had been rationing my water so it was a very exciting find. I guzzled the rest of my water down and filled up my bottles. As I was in the well I decided it would make the most sense to stay here for the night. That way I’d have unlimited water all night and in the morning and then start with a full load of water. So we set up camp while it was still light out and now it’s 9:30 and I’m off to bed. It ended up being a 71 mile day and I’m satisfied with that. Maybe tomorrow will be 100 mile day!

 

04/30/2013 (Day 11)

Nevada answered my call from yesterday with force. I had a good morning start. Woke up at 6:30 and over the next two hours cooked myself up a huge pot of beans and rice, took down camp, and purified water for the day. A fair amount of work just to eat, drink water and sleep but that’s the way it is on the road when you’re cooking your own meals, drinking from natural sources, and pitching tent. By 9:00 I was on the bike and had a slight tail wind. Things were looking good and I had that 100 mile day in mind. And then Nevada said no, over and over again. She blew cold wind nearly straight at me all morning long. I was still managing 10 mph but it was hard fought and draining. On top of that she put hills in front of me for miles and miles. She wasn’t going to take it easy on me it was obvious. We hovered at around 5,000 feet of elevation for most of the morning and the wind was chilly enough to keep me fully clothed. One beautiful stop was the shoe true. One tree with 100’s of pairs of shoes in it. Apparantly people have been loading it up for years. The day kept passing on and in the distance dust tornadoes kept appearing, always providing entertainment for me. The scenes did change through out the day but it mostly consisted of rolling shrub land surrounded by tall mountains many of which were partly covered in snow. The afternoon brought cooler temperatures and one 10 mile downhill slope that I was in desperate need of. The hills and the wind were keeping me at a slow pace all day and my body was feeling it. From there though Nevada gave me 6 or 8 mile climb up to Austin a small town of about 150 people at 7,500 feet. I had no idea that Nevada had peaks this high and that I would be climbing them. Absolutely no idea. That’s close to a mile and a half above sea level. The gas station in town provided me warmth for a short time and although their was nothing there I could eat the owner went back to his house and got me a pound of venison from a deer he killed this year. It’s frozen so I’ll have to wait a day for it to thaw out. It was 7:00 now and it was getting colder by the minute. I contemplated getting a hotel in town but decided to climb on to the campground that Champy, the gas station owner, said was 8 miles east of town.

As the light faded behind the snow capped mountains I saw a shiny jet on the horizon beaming through the sky. Tears nearly fell to my cheeks as I imagined all the comfortable people inside peeking out their window to the earth below or napping away on their way to their comfortable home or hotel room. I imagined warm dinners with friends and family around an oak dining table. Laughter, hugs, love and friendship in the air. A table full of delicious things like mashed potatoes, warm bread, steamed vegetables, and glasses of red wine. And here I am on this freezing cold snow capped mountain all by myself with the light fading on me fast.

It was another 1,000 feet in elevation and when I reached the campsite after dark it was below 40 degrees already at 8,000+ feet in elevation. I sat at the fire for a while and listened to the coyotes that made a kill not to far away and now I am in bed around 10:00. It’s forecasted to get down to 26 degrees tonight and I’m sure I’ll make it through the night but it could be a miserable one. My bag is only rated for 40 but I’ve got warm clothes on and I wrapped a blanket around my feet and legs. Plus I filled a pan full of hot clothes and brought it in the tent with me which is warming the air and my hands up as I type. I’ve got a good feeling about sleeping tight tonight though.

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This adventure is now a book! Dude Making a Difference is the exciting and inspirational story of my bike ride across the USA on a bamboo bike. Go to www.RobGreenfield.tv/Dude to get a copy or learn more about it. 100% of my proceeds are donated to environmental grassroots nonprofits!