Really? Colour me surprised.
Although one can get here from Twin Falls pretty quickly, it means going down boring old US-93 to Wells and then back onto I-80 for the rest of the run. Instead I went for ID-51 / NV-225, which is longer and involves missing a turn and ending up in Mountain Home - where the main street is closed and the "Detour" signs leave something to be desired. But it has Corners and Hills and is practically deserted. Just after crossing the Nevada state line there's a bangin' 14 mile climb up the Owyhee river valley, and an equally good descent into Elko. Though there was a heart-stopping moment when, on charging round a right-hander at sixty, I found a truck carrying one of those enormous mining dump trucks, creeping down the hill at 15 mph. I-80 is a mass of resurfacing work, bringing it down to a single lane each way. You do not want to be behind a truck on the uphill bits.
I rolled into Battle Mountain around 3 pm. Several of the Usual Suspects were in evidence and more competitors and volunteers showed up as the afternoon wore on. At the time of typing, teams on the ground are:
- Varna - Sam Whittingham again absent
- IUT Annecy
- Tetiva 3. US Customs cut a hole in it to check whether Sergei was smuggling vodka or furry hats or something into the country.
- Team Cygnus. On good form early as we try to work out a way of preventing Jan-Marcel from cutting his head open again on their car's tailgate. The preferred solution is a part-inflated inner tube wrapped a couple of times around his head, with the valve stuck in his ear to hold it in place.
- HP Team Delft
- Team Elan, with bikes for Ellen van Vugt and former Delft speed merchant Jan Bos
- Ben "Trisled" Goodall. No Gareth Hanks this year as he's skint.
Ate at the Aguila Real as is customary on the first night. My taco exploded.
On the American Road Haulage Industry: I had two questions to ask of them. The first is why drivers here have not adopted the headlight-flashing codes which are ubiquitous in Europe. I suppose they could be communicating with CB radios but if this is the case it doesn't seem to work very well. Edit: I saw one do so the other day in Missouri (I think). Bugger.
The second is why, for general freight haulage, the trailers used are always box vans. The curtain-sided trailer, again ubiquitous back home - is unknown. I noted this while in Lincoln. On entering I-80 the following morning, the first vehicle I passed was a truck belonging to Wausau Supply of Schofield, Wisconsin. It was a curtain-sider. Bugger.
This is currently occupying two spaces in the Super 8 car park: