Up around 6:30am here in Ely, NV and feeling a bit of a hangover from our time at Steve’s last night. Wow, that Belgian sour was so good, and then Steve shared (I guess because he was feeling festive and generous) a shot of 1974 single malt scotch. I’m not really a scotch drinker, but that stuff had a nice wood/oaky flavor and went down SO well. So I got up, walked straight (pretty close) to the sink and drank a few cups of water (always good for clearing one’s head).
I began gathering my things and packing for the drive to Denver, where I would stay with my nephew Josh and begin recruiting for a new videographer. Already I had eight replies, and about three of them looked really promising. Matt and I got into a squabble about money, namely how I felt I should be reimbursed for some of what I had already advanced to him and how he disagreed to reimburse anything. Then Matt left with Hurley and went for a walk. Upon returning Matt said, “Hey, I didn’t want to say anything about this last night because we were a little tipsy after hanging at Steve’s, but if I can get some more funding, I think I can pull this off.” My head was spinning as I had already let go of the fact that Matt would be my videographer. Two days ago he said, “I am done,” and he had never wavered on that position since. So I was looking forward to seeing Josh, and meeting these potential candidates in Denver. I also had friends who were asking around after I had alerted about 50 people to please check for any possible videographers. So this was really messing with my head, and I began to feel frustrated that Matt was offering this now… after I had in my mind already moved forward.
To me, our working relationship had ended two days ago after Matt announced he didn’t want to do this anymore. But after taking a few deep breaths and listening to Matt’s offer, I said with some trepidation, “OK”. I feel like I might be setting myself up for a good ol’ foot shooting, but Matt seemed really confident that he would be able to finish this project. I contacted my lawyer to add an addendum to our existing contract, based on the terms and conditions that we had agreed on moving forward. All of the sudden, we will not be driving to Denver… I will get on my bike and go to our next destination. Wow! My head is totally spinning. I do feel this will work out… and I’m glad to continue from this point and not have to go through the logistical and organizational crap of re-tracking my steps after finding a new videographer in Denver.
So I replied to all the Craigslist folks who had replied to Josh’s ad for a videographer to let them know that I appreciated their replies, but that I’m all set now. Then I notified all my friends who had begun their own searches to let them know that Matt and I were going to continue on. I felt guilty about having bothered them to look around, send emails, make phone calls, write ads — and all for nothing. I’m sorry my friends! All I can say is, thanks so much for your support. That’s one thing I am taking from this experience: I have some very supportive, totally freaking cool friends. I’m a lucky guy.
I hopped on my bike at 12pm (much later than normal, but given the circumstances of this morning, that was the departure time; it was a nice, sunny day, as have been all the others. I’ve been lucky thus far with the weather, and it’s been dry and in the 70’s — very ride-able weather). So I’m off… my head still spinning… to Baker, NV, about 65 miles and two mountain passes away, located in Great Basin National Park. Matt and I would be camping there tonight, and I was looking forward to putting up the tent in the beautiful outdoors again.
The ride itself was challenging as the two mountain passes were steep, although the second one, Sacramento Pass, was steeper *and* longer (6 mile climb). It was kicking my ass. At each bend that I came around, I would think that it would begin to level off, but I came upon yet another climb. I kept my head down, just looking at the ground at times, so as not to feel overwhelmed looking up and seeing the sheer length of the climb. It can become disheartening. But I trudged on… and finally, I made it over the pass, and essentially zoomed (despite the hard wind into Great Basin National Park) to where the small town of Baker (pop. 80) was located.
I slowly rode down the main street peering every which way for Matt’s car, and then came upon a small rustic restaurant and bar. As I approached, all of the sudden I heard people yelling, “Mike! Mike! Hey!!!!” It was the group of MIT students that I had met in Fallon! They were sitting on the porch of this restaurant, relaxing and celebrating one of their own, whose birthday was today. It was Evan, who had turned 21, so of course a beer was in order! Fortunately the restaurant had a multitude of craft beers and we all drank, laughed, and caught each other up on the stories along the way to Baker. It turns out that we are taking the exact same route through the Adventure Cycling Association’s route across the U.S. They will actually be ending in Washington D.C. while I continue north to N.Y. So it was great to see them — a fun, energetic, positive group (smart as hell, too).
Matt had found a truly nice camping spot up the road to a trailhead that led up into the mountains. We camped among spruce trees, and roughly 10 feet from a flowing creek. The sound of which put me to sleep quickly. I needed the sleep, especially after the mental roller coaster ride over the past two days!