I met two gentleman on the road today who were walking in the opposite direction. They were travelling the historic California Trail. They had completed one section from Independance, Missourri on a previous trip and were now walking from where the Oregon Trail split from the California Trail near Pocotello, Idaho. They mentioned a section called the Forty Mile Desert. There were no services at all, had to carry all their water and they told me they walked most of it in one day.
The early settlers of the west had similar trials and many of them died along the way. The two gents were expecting to make Sacramento in about five days hence. The older of the two goes by tge name, Nimblewill Nomad. He was 77 years old and had completed the coveted Triple Crown (Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail. When I asked him if he'd ever consider the Way of Saint James he said, "I don't know darlin' there's more I want to do here and I don't know how many days I got left. The Good Lord gave me this one and I'm thankful for that."
Check out his web site: nimblewillnomad.com
It was about 92 or 93 degrees when I pulled into Fallon, Nevada on my bike today. By my standards, at 3 in the afternoon it was a little early to quit riding but I drank all but one of my six water bottles and still felt parched. That's a good indicator that I need to be done. When I saw the pink lemonade on ice in the lobby of the motel where I decided to stay tonight, I abandoned my credit card and license with the front desk and went straight to the cooler full of said liquid and chugged about a quart. Then I could actually carry on a conversation as my mouth no longer felt like it was full of sand.
In my quest to discuss and be honest about safety on the road, there is another consideration.
Even I can't control that. As much as I'd like to believe I'm the All Powerful Oz, I am not. I have no say what so ever in the daily conditions. With the ambient air temperature hovering in the 90s and the heat radiating off black pavement jacking up the heat on my face to about 100, I need to be careful and stay "safe". I'm well aware of "Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke". Leg cramps are somewhat inevitable toward the end of the day but Exhaustion and certainly Heat Stroke would ruin a lovely day of riding.
I guided for two summers in some lower elevations in the Utah desert before the company I worked for was able to secure permits in higher elevations in Colorado. Needless to say, it sucked and it was miserable!
We tried as guides to structure the day so we were up and moving by 6:00 AM. Then we could siesta at noon and hike again at 5:00 PM or so but it just never really happened. As a result we didn't move much and by 2:00 in the afternoon, I was ready to pass out but it was too hot even for that. But I digress.
In the upcoming sections I plan on riding, "services" are non existent. Those would be mostly convenience stores and gas stations. THEY have water if nothing else. How did those early settlers do it? It's no wonder they were such God fearing people. I don't fear God but I have much respect for the weather and the brutal heat that can come with a Nevada summer.
I considered cycling at night or from 3:00 AM on. It's still a consideration but the road is narrow in spots and today I had about 20 miles with a narrow shoulder of rumble strips. I was riding the white line for the most part. The good folks of Nevada do give a wide birth as it's a popular route with cyclists. However, it only takes one knucklehead in an RV or some sot out for their fourth or fifth DUI. Seems to be alot of that here.
As such, I'm putting the bike in a truck and transporting me and her about 200 miles up the road. But don't worry, I still have another thousand or so across the rest of Nevada, Utah and part of Colorado.
So, If there are any purists out there who want to poo, poo this idea, I say, "Step right up and come cycle this with me." What, No takers? Shocking.
Thanks for reading.