Day Eleven: Near Mile Marker 95 Along US-6 to Preston, Nevada - "Vibes" - CycleBlaze

From "Vibes"

By Jeff Lee

June 25, 2024

Day Eleven: Near Mile Marker 95 Along US-6 to Preston, Nevada

I woke up before first light. My throat was as dry as I could ever remember it, so I sipped water from the bottle I'd brought into the tent last night. I was afraid of running out of water, so I'd been very careful not to drink too much of my supply yesterday.  I might have been  too careful, though:  I was clearly pretty dehydrated.

I can think of perhaps one or two times that I've enjoyed lying in a tent in the morning on a bike tour. This was not one of those mornings. I wanted to get up and get going quickly.

Mosquitoes were out this morning, which made me even faster. I had some trouble getting my contact lenses in without a bathroom mirror. I grimaced as I put them in. My eyes were dry and my hands were not their cleanest.

Finally, though, I got everything on the bike and rode out. My phone said it was 5:30 AM as I rode out, but then it briefly changed to 6:30. I must be getting close to the Mountain time zone, and my phone had picked up a cell tower there for a  minute.

It was nice this early in the morning in the desert.

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I've seen very little wildlife the last few days, but this morning I saw a long-eared rabbit loping away from me, and then, an animal I did not recognize. It seemed angry at me as I rode past, and kicked up dirt with its rear paws as it stared at me? What was it?

What is this thing? It was not pleased by my presence.
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George HallLooks like a badger - and they are aggressive little guys.
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3 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltBad, bad badger! :-)
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3 weeks ago
Kathleen JonesWow, a badger!
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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo Kathleen JonesI'd never seen one before!
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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo Bill ShaneyfeltHe was not happy with my presence there, hahaha.
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3 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Jeff LeeI think maybe the stinkers are never happy... A guy in my mammalogy class back in the late 60s tried to capture one by throwing his leather jacket over it... Shredded. They are solitary and interact with others very sparingly.

https://arizonadailyindependent.com/2015/10/25/the-american-badger-a-very-tenacious-animal/
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3 weeks ago

The other day John Egan had told me that I would pass some  sort of industrial business eight or ten miles from where I camped, and that they might have a soda pop machine.

I passed the place, but there were stern "No Trespassing" signs. I didn't see anyone outside the place to ask, so after a while I continued on.

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Mark BinghamWas there actually a building anywhere near this? Or for a few miles down a side road? It looks so barren.
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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo Mark BinghamI think there was a dirt road leading off to somewhere or other.
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3 weeks ago

I reached the sad little ghosttown of Currant. Nothing there but abandoned  buildings.

Coming into Currant.
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It was hot now. It felt much hotter than yesterday at this time.

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I stopped a couple of times to get under some of the minimal shade provided by scrubby trees next to the road. I began to fantasize about the ice cold lemon/lime Gatorade that the man and his grandson had given me yesterday.

More hot, dry miles. I saw some shade trees in the distance, and they looked close to the road.

It was a ranch, with a house very close to the road. I pulled off the road in the shade and stood, leaning over the handlebars. A woman came out of the house, but she didn't  initially notice me. I didn't want to startle her, so I said, quietly, "Hello  there." Despite my best efforts, she was was, understandably, startled. I apologized, and asked her if it was alright if I stood under the shade for a while. We talked for a while. She asked if I wanted any cold water, I answered yes, obviously, and then she mentioned Gatorade, went into the house, and emerged with three small, ice cold bottles of the lemon lime Gatorade!

Just like yesterday, chugging this after riding for hours in the hot, dry desert was practically a religious experience.

We talked some more. The woman's name was Tracy, and she and her husband owned 6,000 acres of ranchland, and leased an incredible 300,000 acres more from the BLM. I couldn't imagine how two people could keep track of all that. She told me they had 700 cows, but they were all "up in the mountains" now that it was hot. 700 seemed like a small number of cattle - that's all 306,000  acres could support? Apparently so.

I asked her about the lack of development along US-6. Specifically, I wondered why something like the Warm Springs bar and café had closed years ago. "Oh, the people that own it are wealthy ranchers, and it's not worth the trouble to them."

I must have looked pretty hot and tired, because Tracy asked if I'd like to stop for the day and stay in the house we were standing near. Apparently that was just one of the homes on the ranch. I thanked her, but told her I needed to move on.

She gave me some very accurate information about the upcoming road conditions, including the 2,000 foot climb I would start soon. She also told me that the scenery would become much more attractive starting now.

With some difficulty I rode away from the shade.

Tracy.
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As Tracy had predicted, the scenery became much more attractive. I started a gentle ascent that lasted for miles.

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Another stop in the shade. There was much more shade along US-6 than yesterday.
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The climb became much less gentle as I approached the Currant summit.

I was slowly pedaling up the hill, when a pilot car slowed beside me, and the woman driving it said "Sir, there's a very big oversize load coming up behind you soon."

I immediately got several feet onto the gravel shoulder and watched the enormous think slowly labor up the hill:

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That's a lot of axles!
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I soon reached Currant Summit, which is one foot shy of 7,000  feet.

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Mark BinghamMaybe you should've pedaled up that embankment a foot or so. :-)
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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo Mark BinghamHaha.

No.
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3 weeks ago

It was a long coast down.

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Eventually it flattened out, though, and I had to pedal again. 

An SUV passed, then pulled off the road in front of me.

A friendly woman emerged. "What do you need?" Her name was Gretchen. She was based out of Big Pine, California, where I'd stayed a few days ago, and worked as a guide of some sort. She told  me she'd done some "bikepacking" herself. She filled up my water bottles with ice and cold water, and then emptied some electrolyte powder into it. She also handed me some salt tablets.

The electrolyte powder tasted like nothing I'd tried before - a very tart apple vinegar taste. I wish now I'd kept the packet so I could remember the brand, and get it again.

I thanked  her as I rode off, and she called out "Keep being an awesome human!"

Gretchen.
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It was still 26 miles to Ely. I didn't think I could make it, given how tired I was now. And there was a big climb before Ely.

Back in Tonopah I'd looked at the map and had seen a combination truck stop / motel / store / restaurant seven miles off US-6 in a community called Preston. I'd called them, and it sounded like they would definitely have a room available.

I didn't like the idea of going off my route for seven miles, and backtracking the same seven miles to US-6 tomorrow, but I was ready to get off the bike, and I needed a bed, an air conditioner, and cold drinks.

The state highway to Preston was not great. Fairly busy with big truck traffic, and a minimal shoulder. But it was all downhill, at least.

I reached the "All in One" truck stop/motel/store/restaurant and immediately purchased and drank a large fountain Diet Coke and two 32 oz. Gatorades. Then I arranged for a room at the motel.

This entry is already too long, so I will describe the curious workings of the "All in One" operation in tomorrow's entry.

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Today's ride: 56 miles (90 km)
Total: 697 miles (1,122 km)

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Babs NashGreat stories Jeff! You are guided by angels. That’s amazing! Now I’m thirsty for a lemon lime Gatorade!! You are doing great!!
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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo Babs NashThanks, Babs. I'm actually slightly obsessed with the lemon lime Gatorade now. I don't think I'd ever had that flavor before, somehow!
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3 weeks ago