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.

Loneliest highway and the 40-mile desert

By Stuart Lowe on

Following the previous day's uncertainty over freeways, I asked a traffic cop who I saw in a gas station how I should get to Lovelock. He said I couldn't go the direct way on the I-80 but would have to take the 50 then 95. This was another big triangular diversion. I was starting to think Nevada wanted me to visit all of it.

The US50 is the "loneliest highway" and that sounded strangely attractive so I wasn't adverse to cycling a bit of it to Fallon. At Fallon I got another 40 oz drink. I'm not sure why anyone other than a thirsty cyclist needs that volume of liquid and sugar but it seemed to be popular with the drivers too. Fallon had a strip, and this being Nevada, it was lined with casinos. Actually, the gas stations all had rows of one-armed bandits in them too just in case you needed to gamble whilst filling your tank.

A short distance north of Fallon, up the Nevada-95, takes you back into the desert. This is the 40-mile desert that Stevens mentions. In his day it was strewn with the decaying remains of animals who'd died pulling the wagon trains west. Now it was empty.

The 40-mile desert

40-mile desert panorama

The traffic dropped to a truck/SUV every few minutes. The road was straight, well-surfaced, and the riding was good. As the road drew closer to the railroad I tried riding on the salt flats but, the crisp surface was a thin layer with less solid stuff undernearth so it almost impossible to ride with a laden bike. Stevens must have pushed his penny farthing through this or walked on the railroad line.

Following in Stevens' footsteps

The railroad disappearing off into the distance