Today I had to start climbing the last mountains I will climb on this trip. The highway went south along the east side of the mountains for several miles until crossing into California, then it turned west overt the mountains.
The plan today was to get a little way up the Sierra Nevada mountains and then take a rest day tomorrow before climbing Carson Pass. In Carson City, I had to run a few errands. By the time I was done, it was after 3:00 p.m., so I decided just to stay put.
Today was a fairly easy ride, except that the wind picked up in the afternoon. I wanted to get to Carson City today, but with the wind, I didn’t quite make it. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about today.
The weather started warming up, and the terrain is flattening out. It is making the ride more pleasant and reminding me a bit of crossing the plains earlier this summer. Then again, maybe I just needed to find the right music to go with the ride.
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.
The one thing that I have really enjoyed about highway 50 through Nevada has been the little towns. Most of them were founded in the mid-19h century and don’t look like they have changed much. I took a rest day today and explored Austin a little bit. Austin itself was built up the steep sides of a canyon part the way down the mountain from Austin Summit.
The place where I camped was next to some petroglyphs. Before I left, I decided to take a little hike to see them. They were a little disappointing. Many simply looked like scratched hash marks in the rock. There were also several that resembled horseshoes with thick lines in the middle, like some sort of ancient “Kilroy was here” drawings.
As I was leaving my motel room today, I met Brett Bramble. Brett is walking across the United States from Delaware to San Francisco to raise awareness for drug overdose. Over 47,000 Americans died of drug overdose in 2014, including Brett’s sister. He has been on the road for seven months and plans to be in San Francisco by mid-November. If you want to check out his journey, he has a blog at brettbramblewalks.com.
In 1986, Life magazine called highway 50 through Nevada “the Loneliest Road”.
“It’s totally empty,” says a AAA counselor. “There are no points of interest. We don’t recommend it.” The 287-mile stretch of U.S. 50 running from Ely to Fenley, Nev., passes nine towns, two abandoned mining camps, a few gas pumps and the occasional coyote. “We warn all motorists not to drive there,” says the AAA rep, “unless they’re confident of their survival skills.”
I took an extra rest day in Ely, NV. I spent part of the day at a local museum that featured some mining equipment and railroad equipment, along with other historical items from the area.