Marissa, I'm sorry, but I had to bypass Fallon and most of Churchill County. So I'm saying up front, check out Marissa's website(in the Informational Maps section) about Churchill County; it's excellent. But I saved 25 miles by going this way.
Today's trip followed Rte. 95 east out of Hawthorne to Luning for 25 miles, then Rte. 361 north for about 35 miles to Gabbs.
But the day was really three trips:
Rte 95, a pretty busy road with little shoulder, flat, a lot of headwind.
Rte. 361 north, a virtually deserted road, about 10 miles uphill with tailwind over the Gabbs Valley Range, a real grind, especially because I was carrying about two gallons of extra water with me for most of it.
From the summit to Gabbs, a beautiful downhill or flat ride to Gabbs.
When you travel for 25 miles into headwind in hot sun with not a stick of shade, a site like this looks REALLY good. A picnic table, shade trees, a water pump, rest rooms. I soaked my shoes, ate two chocolate puddings and a banana, and conversed with some travelers. It was a true oasis. I left refreshed.
When I left the Luning oasis, I turned north on 361, thinking I would just flag down a car and ask them to drop water for me. First, there WERE no cars. So I just began to grind my way uphill, carrying two extra gallons worth of water.
One nice thing out here; you can hear a vehicle coming behind you for, oh, about 3 miles. So when I heard one, I waited and pulled over, then did the "flag down" thing. Zzzzooooomm, like I didn't even exist. This hppened twice more, until about 3 miles from the summit, Nathan Stansell pulled over.
First, in a weird little twist, I recognized him. He had eaten dinner at the same place I had eaten the night before in Hawthorne (he was in the smoking section).
Nathan took the water and said I'd see his car right at the summit by the side of the road; he'd be there. I wondered what kind of work he did that started at 4:00 p.m. on a mountain summit.
I soon found out.
Nathan is a junior at University of Idaho, majoring in geology. He is working this summer for the department chair, Dr. John Oldow, on his project called the Walker Lane GPS Campaign.
That gizmo on top of the tripod is positioned exactly over a National Geodesic marker
These markers are all over the United States. I've seen them on the tops of almost every mountain I've climbed.
When I first asked, Nathan told me he was contacting the Mother Ship. YES! Nevada!
But what the project really does is position these devices which make contact with satellites and fix that position to within a millimeter. Dr. Oldow has other devices measuring the same thing in other locations in western Nevada and California. By comparing readings over the years, he can tell how much that particular marker has moved.
This has obvious import for a few million people in California on the wrong side of fault lines, and the government supports this study with your tax dollars.
Nathan will "turn on" this device by 5 p.m. and then set his tent up in the brush next to the road and he will just sit there for 24 hours, making sure nobody messes with it.
Nathan was a nice guy. He said he'd check in on the web site when he got back to Moscow (Idaho, that is) in about a week. Good luck in your studies, Nathan, and thanks again for your help on that hill.
I think it's misspelled. What do you think?
By the way, that sign in the background is the sign every bicyclist loves to see.
I think this is a basin
Good Samaritans II
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