Tuesday 10th November – Wednesday 11th November
Preston, NV to Eureka, NV
Although it’d stopped snowing, it was overcast with snow still on the ground, and there was a bitter cold wind. I couldn’t face another day riding in the cold and snow, so we decided to stay another night. We were more than happy hanging out in our warm room watching TV, especially when we were reminded just how cold it was when we went over to the diner to get some food.
The following day was a vast improvement, with the snow having melted and the sun having some warmth to it. After breakfast we hit the road, but after a mile or so I noticed that Ed had acquired yet another flat tyre. He whipped the tube out and tried to find the puncture, but unable to find it, a friendly local kindly took him in his van to the local pond, so he could check for bubbles. With the hole located and the tube fixed and fitted, we eventually headed out of town and up in to the hills, on an easy graded gravel road.
It wasn’t long before snow started appearing along the edges, and the trail became narrower and tree lined, winding through the hills and past rocky outcrops.
Still surrounded by hills but out of the trees, we gradually climbed up higher, with the snow getting gradually deeper.
With the climbs getting steeper and the snow getting deeper, it soon started to become a real challenge getting the bike and trike up them. The snow had got really deep where it had drifted, and it got worse as we got higher up. Even the trike’s tyres were spinning and sliding, as the snow had filled in the tread.
No-one else had been through in a vehicle, so we had to struggle our way through deep fresh snow, often getting stuck and having to push, or in Ed’s case coming to a stop and falling off.
We thought we’d got through the worst of it when we’d managed to get through one long stretch of deep uphill snow, but then we turned a corner and there was another even longer climb, with even more snow.
This time it was really deep, and it took ages to get the bike and trike up. They had to be pushed up as we didn’t have the power or the traction with us sat on them, and as I had to be careful with my back, poor Ed had to do most of the work.
We quickly discovered that we needed to clear a path in the snow to have any chance of getting them up, so we both went around stomping down the snow, and I gave him a push when I was able to keep up.
He was absolutely shattered and sweating his nadgers off by the time he’d got both vehicles up to the top, and saying it was a mission was most definitely an understatement.
Although it was essentially downhill after that, it wasn’t exactly easy, especially not for Ed. The trail was fairly narrow, winding through the hills, and a decent layer of snow continued to cover the ground. It was pretty slippery, and Ed was struggling to stay in a straight line, constantly correcting to stay upright. He commented that I didn’t know how lucky I was to have three wheels, and it was only when he went in front of me that I realised just what he meant. His bike snaked and slithered all over the place, and he couldn’t let his concentration slide for a second. I still had problems with hidden cambers and rocks though, not to mention drag in deep snow and sliding out, but I just kept the power on and slid on through. I certainly had it easier than Ed did.
We’d both unfortunately managed to get wet feet from stomping down the snow, and as we continued, my feet felt like blocks of ice, and my hands were painfully cold. It seemed like the trail was going on forever, and after looking at the map and seeing that we still had a very long way to go, not to mention very little daylight, we decided to cut across on to what looked like an easier route, which thankfully turned out to be a proper road.
Darkness fell, and as I could no longer feel my fingers, I had to stop several times to warm my hands up on the engine, convinced that I was going to get frost nip. We had to go up and over another pass, much to my chilled body’s dismay, before finally making it to Eureka around 7pm.
We checked in to a relatively cheap motel, and I couldn’t stop shivering for over half an hour. I curled up on the bed in a blanket but my freezing cold legs just sucked the heat out of the space, leaving me wrapped up in a cold bubble. Even sitting in the bathroom while Ed had a shower didn’t do the trick. I would have had a hot shower myself, but know from previous experience not to put hot water on freezing cold skin. My legs looked like they had sunburn they were so red, it was ridiculous.
I think I’d actually been warmer up in Canada when it was -20C and I’d been wearing the same gear, although to be fair my legs looked like they had sunburn then too.
The most annoying thing was that Ed had been wearing his summer gear with the liners in, and his legs were warm! This was a prime example of how different our bodies are under extreme conditions. Well I say extreme, I soon discovered that it was only -4C. Ed had previously given me a shock when he’d told me that it was actually only +1C, which really had me worried, but then we discovered that the thermometer was slightly out, and it would have been colder at elevation too.
We decided that the best course of action was to get some hot food and drink inside me, so we went over the road to the Owl restaurant. I guzzled down a hot chocolate first, gripping the mug like my life depended on it, and then we ordered some food. It was OK and did the trick, but they forgot to bring our starters out and we had to send the mains back as they were cold, but I didn’t mind as we managed to get a free dessert out of them; if ever there was a time to stock up on calories, now was most definitely it.