Exhausted after Tioga Pass and tired of climbing, I didn't want to take an extra day to visit Mammoth Lakes, and just wanted to get the trip over with. This was the low point for me. However the next two days turned out to be much more pleasant than expected. We decided at Lee Vining to try to get to Reno in two days rather than three, and tried to figure out the easiest possible route, but nothing seemed much better than the original one. The first step would be to get to Gardnerville, and possibly even further to Stateline or South Lake Tahoe, this day. This seemed like it would be a dull day with no special scenery, and also very hot. It did turn out to be hot, but not so bad, and the scenery was actually quite nice.
This day covered two different Topo CDs, and the second doesn't have all the elevation data for Nevada, so the second elevation profile (note that the scale is not the same as the first) goes only a little past Holbrook Junction. I seem to recall after that last climb topped out it was pretty much downhill all the way to Gardnerville, though. The first two climbs, just before and after Bridgeport, were done in the morning when it was relatively cool.
We had breakfast in Bridgeport, and at the next table was a motorcycle biker who had seen us the previous day on Tioga Road. He told us taking 182 would be a prettier route than the 395 we were planning on, but as that would be longer we stuck with 395. And it turned out 395 was quite pretty itself, as the picture below shows.
Every now and then you run into somewhat steep grades...too bad we didn't go this way. This is Highway 108, leading to the famous Sonora Pass.
Walker River flowed alongside 395 for a long stretch, and it was really nice to feel like the water was following you along.
Mike has the picture of the "Welcome to Nevada" sign, the first time either of us had bicycled into Nevada. This is the casino and lodge at Topaz Lake, right across the border. We would have stayed here if we'd ended this segment as originally planned. Instead we had a good and very cheap lunch here, and Mike wasted a quarter on a slot machine. Interestingly the address of this place was Gardnerville, even though the center of town, where we were heading, was still 19 miles away!
The ride to Gardnerville was pretty nice. It was hot (the temperature read 93 at some sign in Gardnerville) but there was a somewhat cool headwind and it was comfortable as long as you were moving. Unfortunately the air conditioning in our hotel room seemed to have no effect and it was very hot in the room until after sunset; eventually the temperature went down to the 50s as you'd expect in the desert. Gardnerville was an interesting place with lots of fast food restaurants, three huge supermarkets, and just about nothing else. I wondered where all the other stores were but going in one of the supermarkets found everything was there! They sold books, CDs, sporting goods...just about everything it seemed.
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