Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Vacation from Vacation

So, I haven't updated because I have been taking a vacation. How is this possible? I am in Elko, Mike G. and Jesse are in Eureka and Mike P. is in Louisville, KY. See? A vacation.

Basically what has happened is this:

Mike German's Achilles tendon was acting up just outside of Fallon (Day 5). Consequentially he wrapped up his ankle and took the day off while the other two biked to Austin, NV. We were supposed to go to a campground between Fallon and Austin, but we sped up the time line. Instead of biking from Fallon to Eureka in 4 days we did it in two. This was so that Mike P. could fly out of Elko (about 100 miles away from Eureka) and return without missing any days of biking; we would only be about one day behind schedule instead of 3, which actually makes us right on schedule. Mike built in rest days, bless him.

During Mike's day of not biking we found a place to stay in Eureka with the local church. We also went to see the much talked about and recommended Berlin-Ichthyosaur state park, which I was super excited about and Mike was being tolerant about. Basically Berlin and the surrounding area used to be covered by water... sooooo they have water dinosaurs. Super exciting, right? Not to mention I'm trying to hit every dinosaur and quirky thing from here to Baltimore. Sooooo we get there and the little place with the fossils in it is closed, but you can look through the window. Mike was, um... well. It'll be good when he can start cycling again. It's hard to switch from cyclist mode to road trip mode. One is about exercise and going going going. The other is about seeing every quirky thing from here to Baltimore.

So we get there and turn right back around and go back. Keep in mind that to get there it took about 59 miles on a dirt road. The bikes got very dirty. This was OK because later on that night we camped off a dirt road making all the bikes even dirtier.

So, we roll into Austin, which has the International Cafe. A place where you can apparently get homemade pie. All the motels in town were booked, and Mike wouldn't consent to stay in one even if they weren't. So, we set off to find some hot springs that we had been hearing about. We didn't find them and it was getting progressively darker, so up a hill on a road we should never have been driving on we pitched our tents and got some sleep. Luckily it did not rain. Really this was a pretty amazing experience because there were actually no sounds. Normally when you camp you hear the people in the campground next to yours, or some animal rustling through your campground or something. This had nothing. It's the desert, there are no large predators. There are barely lizards. There was a bee that was particularly annoying in it's buzzing come 4 am. Other than that and a donkey off in the distance, nothing.

This Dunalk girl is entirely not used to no noise. You mean to tell me there are no trains going by? No sirens? No loud party next door or an argument on the street? No nothing? This exists?

The next day in Austin we got going late because the boys had to clean off their bikes having gotten them entirely dirty from all the dirt road driving that had been going on the night before.

Mike P. and Jesse got going before the parade started. Did I mention there was a parade in Austin? Someone who had a lot to do with the city, well it was his day. So they had the people who were running for sheriff go by. They had a little kid in a stroller made to look like a buggy. They had a girl on a horse that was labeled the pony express. They had a guy carrying an American flag, a guy next to him firing off his gun and finally the LDS sang a song about something that I'm imagining has to do with being from Nevada and a pioneer westward type. Mike G. was thrilled.

We got going and I dropped Mike G. on the flat part of the trail so that he could bike and I could drive and everyone could be happy. He wanted to try to work out his tendon without killing it.

So we arrived at the church about 12 miles from the town of Eureka. The people there are so so nice. We showed up and there was a casserole, bread, butter, coleslaw, and desert cake just waiting for us. So after catching up on some stuff, I went back to make sure the boys weren't dead in the desert. By the time I got back Mike P. had already arrived and we dug into the casserole. Delicious. Oh man.

Jesse rolled in not too long afterwards. We ate, I napped and Mike P. and I rolled out for Elko.

Oh man oh man oh man. Elko. The town, I don't like so much. I've never been much of a city girl anyway. But the house I am staying in. Oh my goodness oh my goodness.

The walls are straw bale with clay on top. The house is facing such a way that they get heat from the sun in the winter and shade in the summer. They have solar panels and a back up system powered by a kerosene tank. They designed and built it themselves. It is beautiful. Last year when I was ranting about cob houses and building and the like, this is what I was talking about.

They have a shower outside!!! This is the sort of thing you get arrested over in Baltimore. You can shower and look at the mountains and smell the flowers and it's amazing. You can shower outside because they're on top of a foothill, away from the city and have 40 acres. This means that even if someone did come up the road, they won't be coming up the driveway, so people are too far away to see you. Not that many people live over here to begin with. Like I said, it's an amazing place.

So I dropped Mike P. off in the morning and off he went. He is presenting at a conference about his research from his time as a TA. Something to do with teaching more sustainability in classes I think? He said his presentation went great and he met lots of people in the industry and the trip was completely worth it.

While here I finished reading 1984 and am appropriately devastated by the ending. I also picked up a new sleeping bag. I got cold in the other one while camping in the Desert of Austin, so I was a little concerned about the Rockies. This new one is ridiculous and had better keep me warm.

I pick Pacella up tonight and we drive back to Eureka so that the boys can get going in the morning. I feel this blog is even more uninteresting than the last, but that can't be helped because I'm on vacation and have stopped thinking. Perhaps the next one will be better. (The next one potentially being in Colorado because I'm not entirely sure we're going to be doing anything but camping in Utah.

Signed most wholeheartedly,
Shelly Kessler, solo adventurer

I am looking forward to the next week because we will be in the middle of nowhere Utah.


  1. Nope this one was pretty interesting, even tho I am commenting later on it! Also. i saw the video of mike reacting to the closed dinosaur thing. so. hilarious.

    also. i do not think i understand the extent to which this shower is outside...like. no walls outside?! coz in the outer banks there are showers outside, but in like a little wooden stall. so its still breezy but you could only see sky. i can see you lovin the entirely naked one haha.

    alsoalso freaky that there was no noise. i would be definitely freaked out. and that parade 1-made me think of dundalk and the 4th of july parade haha. 2-made me stare in wonder at small town america. i mean. i think this stuff only exists in story books! i need to get out more. i never thought i was raised as a city girl growing up, but i keep finding out that i am, more and more. who knew. looove,

  2. No walls outside. Just the wind and the flowers and the bees and the mountains.