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.

Snow and a hill

By Stuart Lowe on

Just before I left the RV park the owner said to me:

"Has anyone told you about the hill? No? Oh well, you'll find it."

With that ominous warning I packed my tent and headed to the nearby grocery store to get some vaseline to address some chaffing I'd been getting. As I traversed the outskirts of Wells it started to snow. By the entrance to the freeway I decided to stop in the McDonalds to contemplate my options. I used my international call time to ring my dad and get his advice. He was all for me having a rest day in Wells. After I finished my call a young guy came over to offer me a lift into Utah due to the "inclement weather". I offered my thanks but told him that it would be cheating. He smiled and went back to his coffee.

By now there was a break in the weather and it looked more cheery. Being loathe to head backwards, I decided to head onwards. A few miles of freeway later I saw a front of snow heading towards me from the left. I got off the freeway at a junction and sheltered in the underpass. I put plastic carrier bags over my shoes to stop my feet getting wet. I put my rear light on for visibility.

A little later the interstate passed through the Wells Conservation Camp - a prison work camp. The signs next to the freeway advised against stopping for hitchhikers. All very well for motorists but I was pretty sure an escaped convict would have no trouble getting my bike from me.

It was tough going and then the road started to go upwards. In the US the upward inclines seem to keep going up from far longer than I'd expect. A few miles of continuous incline later I finally reached Pequop summit at 6946 feet where there was a very handy toilet block. I'd nearly climbed back up to the altitude of Donner Pass. The positive aspect of this was that I had a very long downhill run on the other side. Twenty-five miles or so from Wells I approached Oasis. Although I could see service station buildings, as I got closer they turned out to be abandoned and derelict. It felt like a modern day mirage as my hope of refreshment and warmth vanished in the high desert.

Unfortunately the amount of snow and the coldness don't quite come out on camera

Selfie on a snowy day

At Oasis I took a 90 degree turn to the north onto NV233. I had a long 23 miles with occasional snow showers back to meet the railroad. At this point I got my first glimpse of the Pilot Peak range and, far to the left, Montello.

Looking down towards the Pilot Peak range

I knew Montello was about 10 miles away even if it looked only three; I was now getting used to judging distances in the big country. Beyond Montello I could see a bank of rain heading my way. Could I reach Montello before it? No. Just under 5 miles from Montello the little settlement was engulfed. Not long later I was too. I finally reached the gas station/motel more than a little wet. I'd done just over 800 miles since Oakland. I checked in and had a nice warm bath.