Touring - More on US 50 Across Nevada
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09-09-12, 01:45 PM
For those who have crossed Nevada to Utah via US 50, does the following seem reasonable? 1. Susanville, CA to Washoe City, NV (just south of Reno), 106 miles; 2. Washoe City to Fallon, 73 miles; 3. Fallon to Austin (Bob Scott Summit Campground), 119 miles; 4. Bob Scott Summit to Eureka, 63 miles; 5. Eureka to Ely, 92 miles; 6. Ely to Great Basin National Park (Baker) 67 miles.
I'm camping all the way and these seem to be the only camping spots with water available. I'm accustomed to doing 115-140 mile days, but that's here in the Southeast; not sure that 119 from Fallon to Bob Scott is realistic with the climbs involved. Thoughts?
09-09-12, 02:30 PM
I've biked US 50 three times and US 6 twice (US 6 is actually emptier and nicer).
First, there's a great route into Nevada from northeast Calif.
From Alturas, take Hwy 299 over to Cedarville -
Then take Surprise Valley Rd / NV 447 to Eagleville, Gerlach, and Fernley.
Way better than US 395 - less traffic and don't have to negotiate Reno.
Services at Cedarville, Eagleville, Gerlach, Nixon(?), Fernley.
Small park on reservoir south of Granite Peak - no H20 but can beg from campers.
Mileage is iffy in Nevada - if conditions are nice, you can easily do 100 miles.
But if the wind is against you there is little reprieve, same with heat.
You do know that you can camp practically anywhere on public land in Nevada.
Stock up on water - but don't overdo it. Top off if possible in remote stretches.
Even in rest areas without water, you can beg water from vehicles that stop.
Most of the time you usually get soda/beer/food as well.
Most riders go from town to town never experiencing the remoteness overnight.
You may want to consider one night in the bush which allows you more flexibility.
120 miles is pushing it - why not enjoy the stops, eh?
Most people stop at Middlegate - and it is really worth it. 60 miles.
The old road to Austin is way nicer but extremely remote.
If you continue all the way to Bob Scott then you have two climbs at the end.
(Make sure in Austin that the water is on at Bob Scott) 67 miles
Bob Scott to Eureka - 63 miles - cakewalk.
Eureka to Ely is actually 77 miles and doable.
Ely to Baker - 67 miles with cafe/bar at US 93 junction. (Ask if open)
You should always ask about what is open ahead.
Making a living from remote bars/stores in Nevada ain't easy.
Unfortunately, quite a few have closed down over the years.
Also, they may take Sundays off or take two weeks for vacation.
Highway construction workers are a good backup source for water.
Gives you a chance to chat and you can ask if they have extra water in the truck.
Of course, you don't know if and when you will encounter them.
Also, in Nevada there are usually pullouts at the top of passes -
Often they have a few trees and shade.
If you take a moderate break, cars stop, too.
You can then ask if they have water.
I have never had any trouble with water in Nevada.
2 large bottles on downtube - 4 in the pannier.
09-09-12, 03:04 PM
Fallon to Austin (Bob Scott Summit Campground), 119 miles;
That day will depend on the ***wind***, heat and how fit you are for the climbs. The climb up and out of Austin will be brutal at the end of the day.
09-09-12, 06:06 PM
PS - There's another route into Nevada directly from Susanville that has a chunk of dirt road.
Head due east from S'ville on US 395 thru Litchfield (store) - paved road continues to border.
Dirt road continues to Pyramid Lake (about 20 miles) - services, food, water
Store in Sutcliffe - need Rez permit to random camp along shore of lake.
Pyramid Lake is really gorgeous in late spring / early summer during runoff.
Some pix - http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=40739&v=1j
09-09-12, 06:55 PM
jamawani, thanks for the info. I was planning to take 36 across CA, based on the replies I had to a question about a crossing route. I looked at 299 on the map. I like the looks of the route and didn't really have any desire to go thru Reno, except to get to 50. What is it like? Traffic, shoulders, drunks, other road conditions, etc?
I don't see Middlegate on my map. Where is it located? I see only Cold Springs, couldn't find anything online about camping there, that's why I thought about pushing on to Austin/Bob Scott. I will be in no hurry, would gladly pull in half way and add another day. Thanks again.
As others have mentioned, that day from Fallon to Austin can be tough depending on weather. It was also toughest day in my ride (http://www.mvermeulen.com/nevada/index.htm). I'd leave myself an option to refill water at Cold Spring and camp overnight, e.g. bring a collapsable water bag. If the day is going well, make it a 120 mile day. If not, fill up on water, cycle a mile or two and camp beside the road.
09-09-12, 08:21 PM
Middlegate is where Hwy 361 intersects US 50 - about 15 miles west of Cold Springs.
It's just a funky bar/motel - long-ago pony express stop - very cyclist friendly.
Check it out over at Crazy Guy on a Bike. (You HAVE visited there, right?)
If you stop/stay at Middlegate, you have no need to take the new road via Cold Springs.
The old highway is one of the finest rides inthe West.
About riding east from the coast - -
Hwy 299 has heavy traffic and iffy shoulders.
Hwy 36 has light traffic, but is beyond brutal.
(50 miles of Hwy 36 and you will be certifiable.)
Another option is Hwy 96 -
it follows the Klamath River after a big hump on Hwy 299.
You can take paved forest roads on the Shasta-Trinity
And come out at Mount Shasta.
Go to the Caltrans Highway website - Traffic Counts
Using that and Google Streetview, you can decide which.
Rural stretches of:
Hwy 299 - 3500-4500 Average Annual Daily Traffic
Hwy 36 - 500-1500 AADT
Hwy 96 - 500-1500 AADT
09-10-12, 07:16 PM
thanks, that helps. I don't do bars any more, but I'll rest anywhere. I have been looking at Crazy Guy on a Bike, but thus far have been looking at equipment people are carrying, so I can decide what I do and don't want to carry, trying to be a minimalist. I saw your comments on another post about Rte 20, will re-think that, it was my first impulse after looking at the map but several said it was not cyclist friendly so I looked elsewhere. I appreciate your suggestions.
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