T – I was up just moments before the sun popped up over the horizon this morning. So I sat outside in my chair, typed up yesterdays blog entry and enjoyed welcoming a new day. Out here in the desert I always find the sunsets and sunrises are just spectacular. Maybe it is because of the dust that lingers in the air or the fact that there is no pollution around, or maybe I am just a soppy weirdo!
C – I vaguely remember Totti suggesting coffee at some point. All I could muster was a half hearted wave. I couldn’t even open my eyes, so I just rolled over and drifted back into blissful sleep. Some point later I awoke to a stunning morning. The sun was beaming through the tent and warming it up nicely.
T – Eventually Chantelle joined me and we had a nice coffee and some breakfast. We only had about 85 km’s to go before we hit the major town of Ely where we could refuel the bikes and work out a plan for todays jaunt.
We zoomed down the smooth hard dirt road, both of us resembling ghosts such was the thickness of the white dust that now covered us and the bikes. Then just like that the dirt ended and the bitumen began.
What a ride what a road! All the trepidations we had about it amounted to naught. As I suspect these things often do. I would highly encourage people to ride this road. Just make sure you carry enough fuel and water as there really is nothing much out there.
C – It was such an amazing thing to ride that section of the Pony Express and part of the old Lincoln Highway, both being important trails in American history. This section is maintained gravel and dirt roads and was definitely worth the trip for both the history and the views. Sensational!
T – As we rode along the GPS decided to route us through a mountain range to join us across to Highway 93. Now we haven’t had much luck with the mapping on this thing as of late, but decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and follow its directions. So glad we did too!
The new track took us away from our nice smooth bitumen and onto a single lane, rutted, rocky, sandy dirt track. We wound through some sensational national forest, through a small canyon, across a small stream and then started to climb a very steep hill. So steep in fact that we were back to first gear and the switch backs were packed in so tightly against one another that they were almost on top of each other on the GPS screen back and forth we went always climbing. The valley below us opening up the higher we went. The views seemingly going on forever.
C – The Kalamazoo Road (which we admit we mostly agreed to follow the GPS because of the road name) was a great ride and suitable for even beginner off road riders. Its always good to practice slow speed control riding and this track was not at all challenging, but super fun with the switchbacks and the views. The GPS promised us the road would emerge on US93 at McGill and when we turned onto the road, the National Forest made the same promise, in 26 miles. So, we went for it!
T – Then we popped over the top and had the same insane switchbacks heading down hill. So much fun! The road finally running out of turns and zipping off along narrow ridges between hills before depositing us out onto Highway 93 just 25 km out of Ely.
We went into town and wandered into the library to update the blog and let Jude know we had made it safely. We must have looked a right state. Covered head to toe in white dust, smelly and sweaty, Chantelles jeans stained in oil and grease from her tyre change. We didn’t care though! You stop caring about things like that when you’re on the road.
Blog updated we sat in the park and had some lunch before we fuelled up and headed for our next camp. We were only travelling about 150km’s further up the road to a place called Lunar Crater. There is some free camps there and we want to bag one!
The GPS took us out of town about 10 km and directly into a closed road through an active mine. Sigh. So back we went to Ely and took another route out the back of town.
We were basically stuck on the bitumen highway now, no back roads existing out there for us. Trucks and cars flew by us constantly until we hit the turn for Las Vegas. Then we had the road to ourselves.
We meandered along, crossing a huge flat prairie. The road just stretched straight out in front of us, disappearing into a haze miles and miles distant. It felt like an age before we reached that haze, only to see the road stretch on again into another haze. Wow. This was a straight bit of road!
C – We passed a large oil field and processing plant along the way. It was a bit stinky I have to say!!!
T – Eventually our turn off came up and we followed a hard fast dirt road into Lunar Crater. It was a gorgeous place too. Just a thumping great hole in the ground! We rode around the crater rim and just pitched our tent right on the edge of it at the end of the road. What a place to camp! We were the only ones here! The views around us were staggering. Photos do it no justice.
We climbed a nearby hill to get a better view of our camp and the canyon. The rolling hills stretching away forever in every direction. So beautiful it hurt.
We sat on the crater rim and watched the sun set over the crater, as the sun went down the temperature dropped. And so soon we were crawling into the tent wrapped up into our sleeping bags and watching an episode of Raymond.
Tomorrow we head for the little town of Rachel and the Little A’Le’inn. Plus we are going to visit a very famous mail box for our friend Jax.