June 18, 1999 - Day 13 - Eureka to Ely

(79 miles, 13.2 mph average, 38.2 mph max speed, 750 total miles.
11 roadkill

You know about the day the music died. Well, today was the day the computer died. I was just wrapping up the June 16 and 17 journals and getting them ready to email to Matt, when the machine began making these terribly ominous clicking sounds. To make a long story short, the hard drive fried. Why? We don't ask these questions.
The morning of the 18th was spent trying to figure out just what to do about it. Option 1: that's it, no more journaling. This is a sign from God. Just do the bicycle trip, period. Option 2 just developed as I placed a couple of calls to Matt, to Global Computer and to MaryLou (Route 99's publicity director/my mother-in-law).
I Express Mailed the computer from the Eureka post office to Global Computer. Global had another Toshiba waiting. They would pull the hard drive from it and have it ready to drop in whenever the computer got there. Still under warranty - no questions asked. (This, by the way is a major endorsement for Global Computer, located in Naperville near Fox Valley, in case your're not recognizing it. I had a good feeling about them the very first time I walked into their store and was treated like a valued customer, as opposed to the nuisance most computer stores seem to think their customers are.)
MaryLou made a number of local calls to Global for me and smoothed the whole operation along. Matt picked up the computer from Global, took it home and installed a word processing program, took it to my house where my neighbor let him in to have access to my computer so that he could re-load all the email stuff from my computer (remember, Lois is in Europe). MaryLou then shipped it ahead to me in Grand Junction where I would intercept it when I got there.

And so, it was almost 1:00 before I left Eureka. Four mountain passes and 80 miles ahead of me. Yikes.

The Watts
Darrow and Rosemary Watt, Good Samaritans
I stood by the roadside in Eureka and held out my water jugs. Darrow and Rosemary, of Lomamar, California stopped and agreed to drop the water for me at two intervals. They were really nice and they made those water drops memorable and fun (see later).
While I was talking to them, they said, "Is this a friend of yours?" I turned around to see a touring bicyclist pedaling up the hill behind me.
Well, he turned out to become a friend. His name is John Riesenberg, and you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see a picture of him. John left Merced, California THREE DAYS AGO. He had left Austin this morning (that's the place I left yesterday!!) and was going on to Ely today, which is where I was going. And here I thought I had a long day ahead of me. Psshhhhh!!!! A mere 80 miles. He had already done 80. He was averaging 150-200 miles a day and planned to be home in New Hampshire in 15-20 days.
I asked him "Why???" This is his fourth solo transcon and he just likes doing it that way. Hey, who am I to say he's the odd one?
Prior to Austin, he had bicycled around the clock for one complete day (that's right, 24 hours straight), so he was feeling the need to get a little food in Eureka. I said my farewells to the Watts and joined John at his restaurant. I had just had breakfast, but it was a good excuse for a chocolate milkshake for the road. And a good one it was.

And so, John and I took off. The companionship was good. I didn't think I was capable of carrying on a conversation while working up mountain passes, but it actually helped. I learned some things from John. I learned to keep the bike moving - don't rest when your mind says to take a break. You're not making any miles on the side of the road. I also learned that standing up on the pedals for short periods of time can really help alleviate the butt, hand and neck pains that get consistently worse as the day progresses. I had been told not to do that since when loaded with gear this can make the bike unstable. But for short periods of time it's fine and it really works.

White Pine County Line
White Pine County
Jenn Chellappa, here's your county. Guess what; with four mountain passes, there are an unusual number of white pines, a higher elevation flora.

Arrow to water
Here you can see that the Watts not only dropped the water, but they also built a rock pyramid with a sign pointing to the water. John got a real kick out of this water routine. He said in all his touring, he had never thought of doing it, so that's what he learned from me.

sign to water
More Water!
And here's their other water drop.

Ruth Sign
Ruth is the location of one of the world's largest open pit copper mines. It's located just west of Ely.
Ruth is also my oldest daughter who turns 19 in two days. In 5th grade she did her state report on Nevada and made note of the town of Ruth. So here I am, Ruth, in Ruth.
You can see how dark it is as we are approaching our destination, Ely. The flash made it look darker than it actually was, though, but I couldn't get it turned off. What I really wanted you to see was the passenger steam train that was huffing along in the background from Ruth to Ely. It's called "The Ghost Train of Ely" and it runs along the highway. We passed it a few minutes later and waved to all the people on board.
So Ruth, Happy Birthday from your town in your state, Nevada. I love you.
(Alyce, you'll have to wait until I get to Australia, I think, but I'm keeping my eyes open.)

John and I cruised into Ely just after dusk and got the corporate rate at the Best Western Hotel in town for $29 apiece. How did we get the corporate rate? I represent Route 99.org, of course. I ask for it every time. What do I have to lose?
We ate a fine prime rib dinner for $7.99 at the Nevada Inn, the local old casino in town, where they have a picture shrine to Roy Rogers (got that, Fritz?) and an autographed picture of Gabby Hayes eating dinner there.

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