It’s hard to find cake in the middle of the Nevada desert. So powdered (Hostess) donuts will have to do. Rebecca woke up in the tent as the sun rose a year older (at least in technical terms).
Today started with a downhill so we both taped our shins and slowly packed up the tent. Being in a designated camp site is nice, we don’t have to rush out. Since we can’t stealth camp until the sun starts setting, sleeping in is a good way to shorten the day (a little). We have been lucky enough to have cool weather too, so cold mornings aren’t as important as they were in California.
As we packed up, a couple who RV camped in the spot next to ours came over to ask about us. They saw we had no car and were wondering how we got there. The excitement other people have when they meet us makes this trip more fun, but in a weird way. We hate to tell people that we ever have bad days (but we definitely do!) and we both get a burst of energy from answering questions about the trip.
The day started off chilly, but the sun came out and we joked on the way down the first hill. We ran out of tape doing Rebecca’s leg so her leg tape peeled off early and she limp-hobbled her way along. As we got through a long valley we saw a rest area with no restrooms but with a few motor homes parked and she resolved to ask one of them for athletic tape when we got there. It’s amazing how far away you can see things in the distance in Nevada. It took us well over an hour to get to the rest area from when we spotted it. Even though it was a little early for first lunch, we decided to stop to eat because picnic tables don’t come around very often.
We asked a trucker if he had any tape, and he didn’t. But he did have some oranges, and he’d seen us walking a few days earlier so he asked some questions about the trip before heading off on the road. Then Rebecca went over to ask the motor home still parked in the rest area if they had any tape. They only had duct tape, so she fashioned a shin splint tape with duct tape and gauze, which worked well enough. When she went to return the tape, the woman in the motor home offered her some oranges! So now we have more oranges than we’d need, but no one can go wrong with oranges, so we ate a couple, cleaned up our lunch, and pushed our way back onto the road. Not too far past the rest area, we reestablished the fact that Highway 50 was the loneliest road in America.
We crested a hill at about 20 miles into the day and headed into a valley. The rain started and we put on our rain gear (aren’t we in a desert!?) and started to discuss our camping options. We could see the trees on the hilltop above us about 3+ miles back and only open field ahead.
The rain stopped and started again and the sun started to set as we began to worry about finding a safe place to camp for the night. But then, behind us in the distance we spotted a small spec, and we decided to continue our decision making after we stopped this cyclist to talk.
It turns out the cyclist is a 19 year old biking from San Francisco to Boston for the summer, Mackenzie. He’d been hearing about us in every town he’s stopped in so far, so he was happy to finally be meeting us (and maybe to be getting ahead of us so he wouldn’t hear about us any more) and see why we were leaving three wheeled marks in the roadside (strollers!!). We discussed the limited camping options with him as we decided we might have to hitch a ride to the camp ground that was about 12 miles up. The valley didn’t look promising for miles ahead and with the rain and the fences by the road, the only options to camp were very visible to the road, or risked being flooded out. Rebecca stuck her thumb up after Kenzie biked off into the wind and threatening rain. You can follow his blog here https://kenziebikesusa.wordpress.com
We didn’t get the first two cars to pull over as we eyed an orange construction fence across the road as a possible hiding place. If we could set up late enough next to that no one would probably notice us.
Luckily the second car (a motorhome) turned around and picked us up. The driver was a local Eurekan who discussed the town with Tim and quickly told us that the RV park we were hoping to stay in didn’t exist (and neither did the one Kenzie was going to stay in) so he offered to leave us at the county fairgrounds, which was significantly closer to town, but safe. We realized quickly that we could have maybe made it to stealth camp sites, but they were close to five miles past where we were and we couldn’t see them. Good thing we didn’t as we only had enough twilight for about two miles! We decided the fairgrounds was still fine and sat inside away from the rain happily. Hitch hiking with strollers is hard, we had to choose which cars we could put our thumbs up for and even then we have to hope they’re empty.
We hovered under the awning of a building to stay dry from the rain and out of the wind until we were too tired and set up the tent also under an awning and tried our hardest to sleep soundly. We’d eaten as much food as possible because we knew we’d be in town early tomorrow and curled in for a loud night. The wind was so strong all night that neither of us slept well, but at least we weren’t wet on the side of the road.
The next morning as we left the gates of the fairgrounds, Tim noticed a big white sign: “No Overnight Camping”. Oh well, it was the next morning so by that point it didn’t matter. We walked the short distance into town (after waking up at 5am) and checked into a motel. Somehow they were insanely nice and let us check in at 6:50am. We showered and headed off to eat breakfast at the Pony Expresso Cafe, where everyone had recommended we eat in Eureka. We loved it so much we ate there for breakfast Saturday morning, and Monday morning. We would’ve ate there Sunday morning too, but they’re closed. We contemplated hanging out in the dining section for a few hours after breakfast for lunch time, but decided that may be overdoing it. We mentioned this to the cashier/server/owner, and he said some people actually do that! No joke, it’s that good!
Then Rebecca’s real birthday present started as we relaxed, wrote a few blog posts, did laundry, watched the Kentucky Derby (this was Tim’s idea) and ate unhealthy food. We took basically two rest days because the walk into town was so short and we were able to rest (our injuries needed it) and call everyone we love (mostly) to catch up on real life. The motel was also cheap, so it was easy deciding to stay an extra night. It was also the first time we got a discount after telling the receptionist we were walking across the country!
After dinner we ate ice cream to celebrate Rebecca’s birthday. The waitress was so nice (or maybe just forgot) that she didn’t even charge us for the bowl of ice cream! We hung out for a while to see if we (Tim) could watch some of the Pacquiao vs Mayweather fight. Luckily the (only) bar (in town) attached to the restaurant was showing the fight, so we happily watched it with the locals. It was great because all of them knew each other and none of them knew us. Except the four or five people we recognized from breakfast, the cashier from the convenience store, the check-out lady from the grocery store we’d been to three times that day, and the only worker in the history museum! It really felt like a one-day reunion.
We slept more than we ever thought we could over a two day period. We didn’t take any photos on our day of rest (Sunday), and we were content eating cold-in-the-middle microwave burritos for dinner. Rest days are a blessing, even in a small town where we now are basically best friends with the grocery store cashier.
Today(s) we walked through:
Rebecca: 61,600 steps and n/a steps
Tim: 57,138 steps and n/a steps
547 miles finished