I resumed plodding in yet another endless valley while the Kiwis of New Zealand lay down to slumber, dreams of orcs and hobbits dancing in their heads. More grinding was on the menu. The best I could do was to make the mid-point between Eureka and Austin. Not a target likely to generate enough excitement to keep me awake.
My slumber did not last long. Only an hour in I was flagged down by a British motorist. He jumped out of his blue 50s Ford and warned of cattle loose on the highway ahead. You would have thought the apocalypse was nigh from his wild gesticulation.
As soon as I returned to my zombie-like shuffle, two bicyclists snapped me from out of the stupor. Matt and Sally are a Brit and Aussie couple nearly finished riding across the United States. They started in Yorktown, Virginia and plan to complete the crossing in San Francisco. A bonus ride to Los Angeles will follow and from there they will fly to Sydney to begin life anew down under.
|Sally and Matt|
Matt and Sally had seen the article on my walk in Ely and wanted to meet me. I was equally happy to hear their stories - I I have run into a couple of long distance cyclists, but they are the first headed coast to coast. They planned to stay in Austin tonight, as did we, so we made plans to meet up in the evening there.
My fifteen minutes of fame in Nevada were not yet up. Less than an hour later a SUV pulled over a couple of hundred yards up the road. Six people popped out and came over to introduce themselves. Megan Schlegel, Rick Davis, Mary Becherer, Bridget Webster, Marcel Vasquez, and Dara Lillis had just completed a week long bike ride across the ADT in Nevada. On their way back to Reno they had seen the Ely article and decided to look out for me. The group made sure there was nothing I needed (I gratefully took a banana) and Megan made a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.
I had one last run-in toward the end of the walk. Two Shoshone Indians from the Duckwater Reservation shopped to say hello and deliver a couple of bottles of cold water, donated by Jim at the turquoise jewelry store in Austin. What a nice welcome into town! Especially since technically I finished the day's work forty miles shy of the place.
Even though we were still far off and Eureka closer, we moved our base to Austin tonight. The townsfolk are celebrating the Austin's 150th anniversary and holding a series of events to mark the occasion. We were set to attend a Wine Walk, followed by dinner at Stokes Castle.
The Wine Walk consisted of a traipse down Main Street, where we dropped in at various businesses. Each establishment served us a glass of vino and some threw in a snack as well. We were able to meet a good chunk of Austin's population along the way, including Dee, Bob, the aforementioned Jim, and an older woman who called herself Alice in Wonderland. Alice was kind enough to inform us of her plan to hang all politicians, then proceeded to rant incoherently about a number of other subjects. She certainly had original ideas at least, which is more than I can say for the automotons glued to Fox and MSNBC.
Properly lubricated, we arrived at the Chevron Station for the hay ride to the Castle. We were joined by Matt and Sally, who had reached town a little later.
Stokes Castle is a Norman-style keep built by Anson Stokes, a New York money man who had a large interest in the local mines. He wanted to live stylishly while also keeping a close eye on his investment.
The massive block of stone has long laid empty, but the property still enjoys a fantastic view of the Reese River Valley to the west. Dad and I dined along side Matt and Sally, savoring our pork tenderloin, potato salad, and wine almost as much as the gorgeous purple, red, and pink of the spectacular sunset. I have to say, Anson chose wisely.
19 miles/3544 total miles