On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

Emigrant Trail

By Stuart Lowe on

I had a very late start today and headed to the CowPoke Cafe for brunch. It wasn't busy but by 11.30 am it started to fill up. I chatted to some people and it seemed Nevadans were unimpressed by my trip. They kept telling me I'd only just got started (I'd been on the road for 10 days) and they all knew someone who'd cycled across America. Perhaps they all knew the same person.

I left Lovelock via the backroads which eventually turned into unpaved tracks. A brief stop at an I-80 underpass for some shade meant I disturbed a flock of small birds who obviously used it for nesting and were not keen on the idea of an upstart person on a bike sharing it. I apologised to them and joined the Emigrant Trail. It wasn't just a name, it was the actual trail the emigrants had used and you could still see the ruts from the wagon wheels. Here I was being a pioneer in the wild west (albeit going in entirely the wrong direction) if you ignored the I-80 several miles away to the east.

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Emigrant Trail

panorama
Emigrant Trail

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Emigrant Trail

I reached Rye Patch reservoir where there was a State park and a campground. I'm pretty sure I got undercharged for my camping as their "vehicle" prices didn't include the concept of a bicycle so I wasn't charged for it. I pitched my little tent and went for a walk. As I stood admiring the view, a young guy in a car pulled up and asked if I could fish. Obviously a standard greeting around these parts. His name was Skylar and he turned out to be really friendly. He insisted that he show me how to fish with a rod. Although the fish were literally jumping out of the water at us, we didn't get a bite. They were obviously taunting the tourist. We even went into the water to try catching them by hand but no luck there either. Skylar was ex-military and had served in Afghanistan. I got the feeling that going back to his civilian life was proving tough and that is a shame because he was really easy to get on with. He lived in Winnemucca and kindly offered me a place to stay there if I needed one. He left me with a warning about Winnemucca. He was now the third person to specifially warn me about Winnemucca on my trip and he was from it. What was this dangerous town I was heading towards?

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Brewing some tea at Rye Patch Reservoir