The day we took off to stabilize my water poisining setback was a very productive one for me. At long last, I was able to get in to my on line banking! Now I know exactly how low my funds are but I did also get into my Pay Pal account for the first time on the road as well. And Don Loomis, our 2004 TransCon scout was there waiting for me with the gift of a one hundred dollar day on the road. As was Ed Cox, the man who, as the Sacramento bike coordinator, wears a plethora of other hats in turning his city into a qaulity of life jewel. He bought two days!!
Buoyed by those two shows of support, I kept stacking up the off the road successes. Also of note is the fact that I finally got my iPhone data offloaded and saved! Toward that end, you may soon be seeing more photos the limits of my connection speed have kept my iPhone from letting you see...
Manny and I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Elko. And going to and from the eatery, we saw a town that looked vibrant and alive. Elko has its own airport, TV station, college (Great Basin), and every big box store and restaurant chain one can name. A town that stakes it fortune on the mining of gold, the forboding Mt Ruby, snowcapped at 12,000 feet looks down upon the 20,000 people who call Elko their home.
We even met a happy road construction worker named John, who at 63 remembers when it ws less than 5,000 inhabitants. His grandfather, he recalled, owned the first electric skil saw for miles around.
Our hotel room was across the parking lot from a Raleys supermarket where after a few trips there we also got to know some of the workers there. At out hotel, we were the star guests because of my bike and everyone wanted to talk to us. Elko was fun.
It was good that it was because after we left it at 8AM for what was supposed to be an easy 50 mile day to Wells, NV, I almost wished I had listended to my doctor friend and stayed another day.
We were loving life as we rolled along at an easy ten miles an hour (Many was carrying all but my sleeping bag. with gear myrod speed is 7mph) in the cool 50 degree morning. However, as we would 20 miles later find out, we were being cruelly teased. In factit never warmed up and the lightning strikes we could see far off in the distance became a part of our reality as we thought we were out racing the wet clouds behind us.
At twenty miles from our destiantion, lightning strikes danced on the mountain tops on both sides of us when soon it was our turn to incur their wrath. The wind grew and the skies opened up with 1/2 inch sized hail pellets. With nowhere to duck for cover, all we could do was ride. After about two miles, Manny found a bridge. Used by local farmers, it did not rise above the freeway, but stayed at its level so it was hard for me to see when I saw him disapear around the guard rail that also shielded it from view.
I ran across dirt qucikly becoming mud to find him signaling for me how to get over the barbed wire fence. All I had on was a t-shirt as I leaned my bike against the guard rail and pulled the sleeping bag off of my bike as I ran for cover.
The spot Manny had staked out looked like a swallow's den As the storm raged outside, the little birds were flying all around and in and out of the little mud homes they had built under the freeway's road bed.
The storm lasted another 20 or 30 minutes before we got back on our bikes and started to head for Wells once again. To add insult to injury, the rumble divots began again. What could be worse, I wondered. It almost seemed par for today's course that it would soon get so cold that I couldn't feel my hands. This meant no eating or drinking, photos or notes recorded until we reached the first hotel closest to 80. the Rest Inn Suites, where according to the manager, 50 degrees below zero was once a winter time reality and it rained every day there last May.
He also told us that at 6300 feet, they are higher than Denver. We climb to over 7500 feet tomorrow. I feel grateful to all of you who have made this warm room possible.
THX 4 all of U!!