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.

Seeing the elephant, pasties and the largest sandwich

By Stuart Lowe on

Today was to be a short one. I left Carlin and re-joined the I-80. A few miles out it approached a tunnel. I stopped to put my lights on but it turned out that wasn't necessary as it was lit and quite short. It was also narrow due to roadworks so I was glad that there happened to be no traffic behind me through it.

California Trail

After the tunnel I saw a sign for the California Trail Interpretive Centre. Not being in any rush I popped in and spent a couple of hours looking at the exhibits. It turned out quite a bit of my route was following the California Trail, albeit in reverse. The inscription outside the centre said:

"Eastward I go only by force. Westward I go free."

Eastward I go only by force. Westward I go free.

I chatted with the guy at the front desk. He turned out to be from Iowa. It seems to be very difficult to find people who actually come from the state they are working in. I bought a California Trail t-shirt to give me an option for rest days and then got chatting to Sonya and her friend/relative who actually were from Nevada.

Genuine Nevadans

Part of the exhibition was about "seeing the elephant"; a phrase the emigrants used to describe the difficulties they encountered. It may have derived from the difficulty people had of describing elephants for the first time at travelling fairs. I think I may well have seen at least part of the elephant on this trip.

The history of the West sometimes seems to be presented as if nothing existed until the pioneers came through so it was good to see that the exhibition also included a bit about the local Piute and Shoshone tribes.

After my educational break, I headed on to Elko. I stopped at a sign that advertised pasties and ginger beer. I had both. It turned out the lady in the shop was from Canada. She didn't know why Elko had a shop selling English food either. She only worked there.

Tonight I was the guest of Michelle, Paul and family and they made me feel very much at home. Michelle was an engineer and Paul was a plumber and worked in the mines. Between them they'd built a beautiful home. Michelle was an avid cyclist and had lots of detailed maps of Nevada and Utah. She had plenty of useful advice about my route and was happy that I was taking the road to Montello rather than another road that she described as incredibly dangerous. She made me the largest sandwich I've ever seen in my life and I found out about her incredible plans to cycle the 17,000 miles from Alaska to the tip of South America with Paul driving along in a support vehicle. Truely awesome.