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.

Bad roads to Lovelock

By Stuart Lowe on

As I neared the I-80 again, I tried to see if there were any frontage roads. My OSM maps showed little alternative but Google Maps claimed some roads. Trusting Google Maps out here turned out to be a big mistake. The "road" was nothing more than a rough sandy terrain that a 4x4 may have been over a couple of times. I just can't steer in more than a centimetre or so of sand. Two hours of pushing my bike under the hot desert sun wasn't much fun. The ridable parts were very bumpy and my IKEA top bag split. The extra bunjee cords from Oakland proved useful after all. At some point I also lost the battery pack for my solar panel making it utterly useless.

Finally I found shelter from the sun in a tunnel under the I-80. I couldn't get on the freeway as it was protected by barbed wire. In my tunnel I enjoyed some mandarins (from Walmart in Fernley and that last I saw for thousands of miles) and pondered a plan of attack.

I-80 underpass

I decided to try the other side of the freeway and that seemed promising until the rough "track" that included parts of old Lincoln Highway petered out into a barbed wire fence. Back I went to the tunnel and to the east side of the freeway. Within a mile a road suddenly emerged and the going improved. I spotted a car broken down at the side of the freeway so should over teh barbed wire fence to offer my help. The confused lady looked left and right trying to find the location of the voice. Eventually she turned around and did a double take. She probably didn't expect it to be someone on a bicycle in the desert. They didn't need my help so I pushed on the 18-20 miles to Lovelock.

The Lazy-K campground lived up to its name as the office was permanently closed with a sign asking you to call a number. Over the phone I was told to fill in a registration card and deposit it with my money in a box.

Although US railroads are mostly empty, it seems to be the law that trains (nearly always goods trains) must honk their horns long and loud as they approach civilization. They do this at all hours of the day and night. It doesn't make sleeping easy when you only have a tent wall to stop the sound. Together with the ever-present I-80, sleeping was difficult.