On my way out of Austin, I visited Stokes Castle. It was built in 1897 by a mine developer and railroad magnate as a summer home for his sons. It was modeled after a medieval tower near Rome. The family only used it for a couple of months and it hasn’t been lived in since.
Today was a very pleasant ride. There was one long, gentle climb and a couple of little bumps. The rest of the ride was basically downhill and I was able to put in some good miles.
Highway 50 follows the route taken by the Pony Express, at least in parts. The Pony Express only lasted for a few months. Operating costs were too high to make a profit. It was bought out by the Overland Stage, which used the route and some of stations. While the Pony Express stations, made of wood, are long gone, some ruins of the stone Overland Stage stations still exist. The trans-continental railroad made the Overland Stage obsolete a few years after it started.
A couple of the old stations still have restaurants and campgrounds. From Cold Springs Station, I entered the last valley before Middle Gate, my goal for the night. I tried to imagine what the Pony Express riders must have seen as they rode through that same valley.
Before I left, while looking at routes across Nevada, I noticed Middlegate. It fascinated me. It is basically just a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. The owners let cyclists camp behind the building. I have been looking forward to it since I left Brooklyn, so I pushed myself a little tonight to make it there before sunset. I’m glad I did. It is as interesting a place as I expected, with many friendly people, both the owners and customers.