We spent the morning poking around Cathedral Gorge State Park. We explored the Moon Caves, formed by erosion before heading out. Out of the sun, they were extremely cool with a gentle breeze.
On the bikes, the day was all about climbing. Our lunch stop was in Pioche, Nevada. It is an old mining town, off the main highway. On the way into town we saw old wooden structures from abandoned mines and evidence that some claims were still active.
The old Aerial Tramway used to ferry ore was an incredible piece of engineering.
The rest of the day was a long slow grind, uphill, into a headwind. We were heavy with water as we were uncertain when we would be able to find it on the long lonely Great Basin Highway.
We had hoped to get water at the BLM (Bureau of Land) Pony Springs Fire Station, which we had learned about the day before while buying groceries at a local market.
We arrived at the facility with no way to contact the person or persons inside. The place was encircled by razor-wire topped, double fence with a padlocked front gate. We walked around for a bit, hoping to catch a glimpse of a living soul, but with no luck. We were extremely glad we had not relied on this as a water refilling location.
Discouraged, we decided to push on with a few hours of daylight left. Towards sunset, we began looking for a place to camp.
The first location was a nice fixer-upper. The old log cabin structure had me fantasizing about an evening spent out of the wind with a possible fireplace. I was looking forward to some old-timey whittling while Ma fixed up some vittles. Unfortunately, the roof had collapsed which did not leave many options for placing a tent inside the remaining walls.
Shortly up the road, we found a less aesthetically appealing structure but extremely practical. A dry water tank was the perfect site for multiple reasons (our second most interesting sleeping location). The concrete floor was flat, the walls of the trough kept out the wind and offered some protection from foraging critters. Better yet, the walls would buy us about twenty minutes of extra sleep before the morning sun could hit us (sunrise is about 5:30 am).
We left the rain fly off the tend and had a glorious 360 degree view of the night sky. We enjoyed a movie drive-in type experience by watching a poor remake of the 1980’s “Red Dawn” on the laptop.
Afterwards, we picked out constellations in some of the darkest skies we’ve slept under since west Texas. In our location, we were nowhere close to any towns or cities. The mountain ranges on both sides offered light pollution-free viewing.