Day Twelve: Preston, Nevada to Ely, Nevada - "Vibes" - CycleBlaze

From "Vibes"

By Jeff Lee

June 26, 2024

Day Twelve: Preston, Nevada to Ely, Nevada

THE AFTERNOON BEFORE:

The "All In One" of Preston, Nevada immediately revealed itself to be run on a shoestring budget. There appeared to be only three employees running the truck stop fuel pumps, the store, the restaurant, and the motel: 

1. The harried, hapless Bruce, who appeared to be a nervous wreck trying to keep track of things, and who told me, multiple times, that "I've quit this place twice already!"

2. Joe, a short man with an unusual gait, who apparently had no job title, but told me later that "I do whatever."

3. The surly cook at the restaurant. A man of few words.

The operation had apparently been purchased in the last year or so by immigrants from either India or Pakistan, who had then drastically reduced headcount, and eliminated non-essential services, such as the guest laundry, waitstaff at the restaurant, working WiFi, working cable/satellite television, and probably some other things I've already forgotten.

I'm willing to put up with a lot when staying at motels in the middle of nowhere on bike tours, but I hadn't done a proper clothes washing in eleven days, and the motel had advertised that they had a guest laundry. When Bruce told me the guest laundry was no longer available, I said: "You're washing the sheets, right? Then you must have  a washer and dryer, right? I really need to do a load of laundry." I was as insistent about  this as I've been about anything in recent years.

Bruce instructed Joe to get me a garbage bag to put my clothes in, and wash them for me. A few minutes later I met Joe at the motel laundry with a bag containing almost every article of clothing I had with me on this trip. I wasn't sure if Joe was even an official employees or was just a guy that lived in one of the motel units, and did handyman work in exchange for a reduced rent.

I decided it would be prudent to tip him, so I handed him a ten dollar bill, thanked him for helping me with this, and went back to my room, to find that the laboring air conditioner could only cool an approximately ten foot square area. Fortunately that's where the bed and the chair and desk were. As soon as I walked to the second queen bed and the bathroom, I entered the Hot Zone.

I did some work, worked on this journal, and then reviewed my finances in Quicken. YIKES. I have spent a lot of money on this trip. Like, twice as much per day as I did on my 24-day tour in the fall of 2022. That's in large part because California was so expensive, but even Nevada has been pricey.

I decided that I needed some hot food, regardless of the price, so I walked over to the restaurant. There I found that the new owners had instituted a curious procedure. There were no servers. Instead, a sign instructed me to go to the adjacent store, the domain of Bruce, who instructed me to fill  out an order form for my food. Bruce would  then carry it to the surly cook.

This is the point where my opinion of the hapless, harried Bruce soured, as he mentioned, yet again, that he'd quit the job multiple times, and then referred to his employers using a racial/religious slur that was popular during the Iraq War.

I filled out my order for French fries and mozzarella sticks, and walked to the restaurant, where the cook eventually brought them to my table himself. They were salty, good, and greasy.

After that I went back to my room, and, still feeling dehydrated, drank cup after cup of water from the sink. I was relieved when Joe returned my laundry. I was starting to get worried. 

I went to bed around 7:30, after drinking Nyquil directly from the bottle, as is my habit lately.

IN THE MORNING:

It was cloudy, and had apparently rained a little  in the night, although I never heard it. It was pleasantly cool. I'd decided last night that I was only going to go to Ely today; the next place with any services was Baker, 60+ miles beyond that, and I just wasn't up for  a long day.

I left the motel and immediately made a wrong turn, riding 1.2 miles the wrong direction. I was, surprisingly, not that bothered by this, even though when I turned around it was uphill and into a headwind.

This morning the busy crappy-shouldered state highway was nowhere near as bad as yesterday afternoon. The seven miles passed quickly.

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I turned back onto US-6. Traffic was much heavier than on the last two days' remote section, but there was now a decent shoulder. 

Scenery was nothing special now, compared to the last few days on US-6.

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It had rained more here. The rumble strips were full of water.

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I'd been warned there was big climb before Ely, but I found it fairly easy to get to Murry Summit.

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I did NOT  like the descent though. For long sections, the usable width of the shoulder was reduced by the presence of a guard rail. I hate riding next to guard  rails.

I was happy to reach the outskirts of Ely at the bottom of the long descent.

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I entered the town on residential streets. This was the first town in a long time on this trip with neat green lawns.

The downtown was also nice.

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I was photographing a mural when a barefoot young man walked up. "Can I be in the picture?" I laughed and assented:

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There were many cheap motels in town. Yesterday I'd  looked at some reviews, and chosen The Rustic Inn. The price was reasonable, and there were several mentions of friendly manager Angela.

Sure enough, Angela was extremely friendly, and I enjoyed engaging in some banter with her. Example: She was listing the various amenities of the rooms, mentioned "hair dryer", then noticed my buzzed head, and said something along the lines of "well, that probably doesn't interest you so much." Haha.

I walked around town for a while after checking in my room, which was nice in an old-motel-room way. I didn't find a restaurant that looked interesting, so I just went back to my room and ordered a large cheese pizza, while a surprisingly hard rain came down.

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Today's ride: 33 miles (53 km)
Total: 730 miles (1,175 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 4
John EganWhat did I say? About people stopping to offer you all kinds of goodies along the 170 empty miles of US 6. Sounds like you had quite a few great encounters.
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3 weeks ago
George HallI've ridden Ely to Baker, it can be an enjoyable ride. Kerouac restaurant in Baker was good. https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/heartattack/day-15-ely-to-baker-another-no-service-day/
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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo George HallHey George. I did the ride when I did the Western Express east to west in 2013.

Today I did it in the opposite direction, although I went all the way to the border, not Baker.

The ride seemed easier today than in 2013, for some reason. Maybe the climbing is easier west to east?
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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo John EganYeah, I was fortunate those people helped me.

I have to say, that section of US-6 was tough. Like literally twice as hard as that 84 mile day between Milford and Baker on the Western Express. That was my previous benchmark for hard paved road touring.
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3 weeks ago