Pony Express to the middle of nowhere

Day 9: Fallon to Middlegate
48 miles

With our now regular 6AM departure, our lightened loads and mild desert tailwinds, we reached our destination before 11AM today.

Middlegate should be called “Middle-of-nowhere”. Between Fallon and Middlegate is 40 miles of desert salt flats. It looks like the moon. The next town is 64 miles.

Middlegate consists of:
– a bar/restaurant/mini-market/gas station
– one pool table
– a Motel created from portable units
– four maybe five dogs
– an assortment of mobile homes where the owner and some others live
– a very nice patch of shady trees (quite rare around here)
It is actually a pretty decent place to stay. The beer is cold and the burgers are OK too.

We got a treat while we were there, a sunset summer rainstorm complete with lightening and rainbows. We have photos.

Day 10: Middlegate to Austin
64 miles 

The rainstorm from the night before brought the desert colors out. The sage, creosote, desert grasses and other plants that I can’t name all looked brighter, greener and more alive this morning. The ride was beautiful.

The space here is so vast and the visibility is so great that the distances are deceiving. Riding, you will see a pass off in the distance that appears to be 2 maybe 3 miles away. But you notice that the road, which is straight as an arrow just seems to disappear somewhere before the pass. Which way does the road take through the pass? Who knows? Ten or fifteen miles later, you are finally close enough to tell. The pass follows a canyon and begins to climb in two miles.

The highway (ha) follows the old Pony Express route most of the way. People seem to be quite proud of this and it gives you pause to think of horsemen riding across such wide-open country. Along the way today we saw a very large group of horsemen riding along a section of the old trail. There must have been over 100 horses and riders spread out over a five-mile section of the trail. You could see the dust from riders in the distance way before you could make out the shape of the horse and rider.

Just like in the Westerns.

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