Tour04 Day 15 - Austin to Eureka, NV

Looking down on Austin on the way up to Austin Summit

Today's ride, like yesterday's ride, started early to take advantage of the cooler weather and lighter winds. If I had realized how much climbing I had to do just to get out of Austin, I would have started even sooner. Austin Summit is 1000 feet above Austin, and the climb up was hot, even at 8 AM.

Austin Summit

Bob Scott Summit

After the long climb up to the summit, there is a long downhill. Curiously, it is marked at 6%, but I started braking when I hit 43 mph. I'd say it is at least an 8% grade. The road goes down 1000 feet or so into a lovely mountain valley. Oops! It immediately climbs out of that valley to Bob Scott Summit which is a few hundred feet lower than Austin Summit.

A flat spot near the bottom of the descent, with some bugs

From Bob Scott summit there is another descent marked at 6% which really is a 6% grade. It is also one of the longest descents I've done, certainly the longest of this trip. It was made more interesting by the large number of crickets who sometimes almost covered the road. It seems they like to eat each other, so when one gets squashed on the road, others come out to eat him and end up joining him. This descent, at 25 mph or so went through literally miles of bug covered road. There weren't enough of them to make the road slippery, but there were enough to make me thankful I had fenders!

Looking ahead in the first valley

Looking back in the first valley

After that great descent, the road wends its way through yet another desert valley. The best thing about this valley is the view of the mountains separating this valley from the valley we started in. The worst thing is a long slow climb back up to Hickson Summit. This is one of those deceptive climbs where you don't realize how much you are climbing until you are worn out from the climbing. I was having a hard time climbing out of the valley, even though I'd stopped to rest and eat, and was thinking that it was caused by fatigue from yesterday. Then I got to the summit and saw that I had climbed about a thousand feet. That was the last big climb of the day.

The downhill from Hickson Summit was short and not very steep, but the second valley of the day offered excellent riding conditions with a flat road and a good tailwind. I cruised down that valley at 17 to 20 mph, for what seemed like close to an hour before stopping for lunch. Lunch was a ham sandwich with potatoe chips that I bought from a restaurant (Toiyabe) in town. I had a good supper there the night before with an excellent milkshake for desert. It was little overpriced at $6, but worth it after some 38 miles of riding. There was a reststop - trash cans and two picnic tables with sun shelter - about two miles later, the only one I've seen on US 50.

30 miles to Eureka - cruising in the second valley

The end of the second valley

A pretty entrance, and no climbing, to go into the Eureka valley

I stopped at a side road - there weren't very many of them - that had a cattle guard. I used the cattle as a support for my bike and as a place to sit. That worked well enough that I did it again when I stopped for my final food/rest break some 15 miles later. Cattle guards aren't ideal as bike supports or as sitting places, but they are better than anything else I've found out here.

The tailwind became confused and my riding speed decreased after lunch. I also became really bored with cruising in this big valley. I stopped to eat the rest of my supplies with about 20 miles to go to Eureka. I really wanted to get a good rest, but there was no way to do that on the cattle guard <grin>, so I rode on. The road finally got more interesting as it approached the end of the big canyon. It got downright pretty as it went through a canyon into the next valley.

One more hill...


All I had to do was ride across that relatively small valley and then climb a relatively small hill. It wasn't as bad as the climb into Austin yesterday, but I was tired and it was hard. I was very happy to get to Eureka.

I cruised through Eureka looking for a place to stay. There was a very low grade motel, a medium grade motel, and a Best Western. I tried the medium grade, but, their phone system wouldn't let me call a 1-888 number, so I'm at the Best Western. It is very nice, the room is large and well equipped and, most importantly, I can upload my ride reports!

There is a very good food/general merchandise store in the middle of town, as well as several restaurants, none of which looked good. I needed to get supplies for tomorrow - Sunday so I better get them today! - from that store, so I got supper there as well. A nice place with a good variety of things and a nice staff.

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