After spending 3 days traveling across the Nevada desert and having almost two months left in our journey, Matt and I wonder if we’ll see the elephant! This was a term (see plaque below) to describe the hardships and challenges of the trip across the California Trail in the 1800’s. Plaque describing the phrase “I Saw the Elephant” at the new California Trail Center in Elko, NV:
OK so we’re not quite settlers in covered wagons, but I swore I so an elephant going across the Nevada desert the other day! After two big mileage days, it was a relief to wake up knowing we only had to ride 72 miles today. Never thought I’d say “only 72 miles”. But first a BIG THANKS to our support drivers Danica & Maggie. When we arrived in Battle Mountain yesterday they had checked into the hotel for us and already had all our bags in the room Matt and I are sharing. Talk about service!!! Today the temp was supposed to rise into the high 80’s so Matt and I wanted to get a jump on the day. We went to the local coffee shop where we learned there was no battle but rather the town was named after a miner named Battle. We spent our day riding past mines (gold, silver & cooper) all day.
One question I wanted to answer was about the white sleeves Matt and I are wearing. They’re called sun sleeves and are to help protect us from all the intense sun we’re getting. Our friend Greg Grant recommended them and they have worked well. In the cool of the morning they work as arm warmers and as the day goes on they help protect our skin but are not hot.
We had a great day riding as we went at a slower recovery pace after our big first 5 days. Today we rode 71.6 miles in 3:57 (18.1 mph) and climbed 2,384 feet. It felt like we had hardily started when we had ridden the 50 miles to Carlin where Matt and I indulged in Breakfast Burritos (the word of the day) and milkshakes! Before reaching Carlin we had a pretty good climb over Emigrant Pass. We stopped at the East Beowawe overlook which was where the Donner Party camped before heading out on their fateful trip to the Sierra’s. After leaving Carlin we rode the remaining 22 miles to Elko and were at our hotel by 1p. After showering we then visited the newly opened California Trail Center which is well worth seeing if you’re ever passing through Elko. After that we went to the Northern Nevada Museum where we saw an impressive collection of guns and big game animals that had been hunted. However, for me what I enjoyed most was the story of Crazy Tex the cattle rustler. He invented some rather unique shoes for cattle rustling (see photo below). In the evening we all went to a good local restaurant which served generous portions which Matt and I enjoyed! Also a couple of other items to share. When we rode from Fallon to Lovelock the other day we kept seeing these signs for the Carson Trail and what looked like old worn paths. Today we learned those were the actual trails the covered wagons had taken and even though it was over 150 years ago you can still see the ruts from the wagon wheels. Finally, here was a quote from the California Trail Center that I thought seemed appropriate: “Today we are to leave this place and home and friends and start upon a long journey”
Seeing the Elephant…