Getting Lost on Route 50

Today started off pretty slow, but we weren’t rushing anywhere in the heat. Instead the day started off with awesome renditions of a couple of songs from the resident guitarist Paul Smith. This was a great way to start the day and put us all in a great mood for the ride.

Thankfully once we got going (at about midday) the heat had stabilised and was teetering on the right side of bearable. Today was going to be pretty tough, but then again, I expected nothing less from the harsh Nevada desert.

Middlegate had been a fantastic host, I would undoubtedly recommend anyone to stop there just to get a feel for small town life. With a population of 17, you felt like part of their community as soon as you stepped into the bar.

Middlegate, population 17

Route 50 presented itself with a few more summits today. No major climbs, but coupled with the heat they were definitely harder than usual. We idled through open expanses of nothingness. We were surrounded by sand and dust as far as our eyes could see. Before we left Middlegate we had been informed of the sand mountains and the rocks in the sand, we kept our eyes peeled and after a few hours we were riding alongside messages carefully created with stones.

Rocks in the sand

This went on for a good few miles, sometimes it was difficult to keep the bike in a straight line whilst reading all the messages. Luckily for us the lonely road is as busy as you would expect. Just after the final messages in the sand we could see the beginnings of a town in the distance. Fallon was where we would stop to stock up with further supplies before we looked for a place to settle.

Open road

Joe, being Joe, managed to scoff a whole 2 litres of ice cream while the rest of us opted for more traditional foods such as sandwiches and fruit. Strawberries were a delectable, juicy treat and disappeared pretty quickly once I cracked them open. As we set off for the last 20 miles guess what happened. Another fucking puncture. I thought I had got off lightly today, obviously not. By the time the puncture was fixed the sun had set and we lit ourselves up for some more night riding.

Four riders in a row

I blame my puncture for us then missing our turning. Route 50 splits into two, but none of us saw the turn off until we were already miles past it and things didn’t seem quite right. A quick committee meeting at a gas station determined that we would ride onwards to a place called Fernley. I also took this opportunity to pick up a 24 pack of Budweiser to share, I felt partially to blame for holding the gang up after my flat. Fernley was 15 miles off our intended route, but from the map it looked like there were some playing fields which would make a nice camp for the night.

Fucking punctures

Another hours riding and we were more than relieved to find that there was water, a grass field and dugouts. I shotgunned one of the dugouts to sleep in. That meant I didn’t have to bother putting my tent up, I could just wrap up in my sleeping bag and hope the hungry insects didn’t eat me alive. We cooked our meals, drank the Budweiser, giggled a lot (thanks Paul for your leaving present), and we were only mildly worried that we’d have any trouble when we noticed a camera that kept flashing every 15 minutes or so. What’s the worst that could happen?

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