Day 20: Into Nevada!

Rick Hammersley crosses into the 2nd State on his cross-country walk.

Rick Hammersley crosses into the 2nd State on his cross-country walk.

Today was a half day walking in Nevada and a half day off to do laundry and other things that slide by during the week. It is also a time to catch up on our website and emails. Maybe if we’re lucky, we might get a nap in ¬†ūüėČ

Nevada lies in front of us and it is surely a welcome change from the mountains of CA. We will be in and around Carson City for two or three days and then it is on to Fallon. After Fallon, it is 350 miles on US 50, the Loneliest Road in America. It will be a challenge and certainly lonely, but CA was a challenge too, and if I remember right, I was out there walking by myself every day but one!

Miles Covered: 8.25
Total Miles: 264.5
Money Found: $0.02
Total Found: $15.20

Day 21: Rock of Ages

The Loneliest RoadWhat a day. We started out at the intersection of US 395 & NV 88. I had a great flat walk toward Carson City, with the Sierra snow-capped mountains on my left and lesser mountains far away on my right. The sun was shining, the wind was fairly calm and I tooled along and even found some money every now and then. We got to Carson City and started around the east side of town, skirting the downtown area and all its stop lights. By dinner time, l had walked nearly 17 miles with twenty in sight. I had a call from a local newspaper, the Nevada Appeal and met with the photographer/reporter Amy who did a nice interview. After that was over, I had dinner and set out for another few miles.

Rock of AgesI was walking pretty smoothly, enjoying the fact that l had a path to walk on when, lo and behold, Valda drives by and yells out the window that something is wrong, which I already knew because I could hear the racket it was making. I thought she had a flat tire on one of the rear duals, but it turned out to be a baseball size rock stuck between the two tires. Well, my next few minutes were spent on my back with hammer and stick in hand trying to get the large boulder out of its perch. It was wedged in there pretty good, but after about ten minutes and some nifty hammering, out it popped. No harm, no foul. However, I stopped after that and called it a day at 18.5 miles. Maybe tomorrow I’ll hit twenty.

Miles Covered: 18.5
Total Miles: 283
Money Found: $0.40
Total Found: $15.60

Day 22: Mountains all around

Walking the Loneliest RoadCarson City, NV. It is a neat little city surrounded by mountains on all four sides. It sets nestled in a valley and is surprisingly small seeing that it is Nevada’s capital. Still, you can’t beat the view in any direction! We made 20 miles today! I started out in Carson City and ended up about 9 miles east of Dayton, NV – a Carson City suburb. Most of the walking today was flat after I initially climbed a large hill east of town. The road is wide and straight and the wind was at my back. A through¬†true hiker’s dream. We are headed toward Fallon and hopefully will be there either Thursday night or Friday morning.

I heard from my two grandsons today, Nic & Jude. It was really good to hear their voices and a real shot in the arm.

Personal to Jeff of Dayton, NV: Thanks so much for reading our article In the Nevada Appeal and tracking down Valda and giving her a donation for Gateway. It is much appreciated.

Miles Covered: 20
Total Miles: 303
Money Found: $1.02
Total Found: $16.62

Day 23: Odds & Ends

Well today was very similar to yesterday – the road was wide, the terrain was flat, the wind was blowing and 20 miles passed under my Etonics. That’s two days in a row! Tomorrow we should be either¬†in or very close to Fallon.¬†Okay, enough about today. I want to catch up on a lot of things that I’ve been letting slide.

I had an email about my walking stick from Mark. The stick was made by Morris Verkest of the Syracuse, NY area. He made the stick about seven years ago from a piece¬†of New York hickory. He carved it, stained it a sort of red and varnished it. I bought it from him In Homosassa, FL in 2001 for $15.00. It has been a constant companion on my Walk, sometimes I carry it, and sometimes it carries¬†me. It Is 48″ long and may have¬†been longer in 2001 ūüėČ ¬†My wife¬†talked to Morris about a week¬†ago and he said he no longer makes the sticks. However, you can buy one in just about any large campground office/store. They are usually made locally by someone who needs¬†extra money.

In Seattle, I met a man named John Wallace. John & I met via emails. He RAN across the USA a couple of years ago, pushing a baby jogger that held his provisions. He averaged¬†31 miles a day during the run. John now works in Seattle and has a website dedicated¬†to all of the people¬†running/walking across the country. We are a part of that website. l think you’ll find it interesting!

Jackson, CA was a really neat little mining town that I walked through about ten days ago. It is just three or four miles away from Sutter’s Creek and Sutter’s Mill, where the California Gold Rush started in 1849. Sutter’s Creek is located on CA Hwy 49 of course. It is an area you wouldn’t think the gold¬†rush would have started in. It is rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and not mountainous, hard to reach areas that I always thought the¬†gold came from. There are still several gold mines in the area, but mostly there are antique stores and trendy shops. If you get a chance to visit area, it’s worth it.

Miles Covered: 20
Total Miles: 323
Money Found: $0.29
Total Found: $16.91

Day 24: Fallon in 3 Days

Walking in Nevada US 50Carson City, NV to Fallon, NV is about 60 miles of relatively flat desert along US 50. It is fairly straight to the junction of Alt. Hwy 50 and then it takes a southeast turn and goes straight into Fallon. There is not much traffic once you get out of the Carson City influence, but there is some semi traffic along the two lane highway and you always have to watch out for that. I left Carson City on Tuesday morning and arrived in Fallon on Thursday afternoon. I did three 20 miles days in a row, and it paid off by letting me get to a stopping point for a couple of days It’s amazing how much further 20 miles is than say, 17 or 18. It wants to make you strive for that extra mile or two!

Nevada Mountains Looking BackOnce again, we had a great day of weather. It was about sixty degrees or so, sunny and little or no wind. Yesterday the wind was constant at about 30¬†mph. It was good at my back, but you really had to watch it or it would blow you into the road. It was a tough day of walking. At the risk of jinxing everything, I’ll just mention that so far, l haven’t seen a drop of rain or a flake of snow. The TV said yesterday morning that Hwy 88 in CA was snowed in and you had to have tire chains to travel across it. We got through just in time!

Thanks to Sage Valley RV Park of Fallon, NV for comping us an RV site for the night. Valda & l are taking Friday off. We have a TV phone-in interview at 5:30 am tomorrow morning, an 11:00 am radio interview and a newspaper interview sometime in the afternoon. So, tomorrow is an off, but busy, day at that. Saturday is our 39th anniversary and l promised Valda a glorious romantic day in the desert. It’s probably not going to turn out exactly the way she’s expecting. Oh well.

Above is another picture of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. By the way, I can no longer see those mountains!

Miles Covered: 20
Total Miles: 343
Money Found: $0.53
Total Found: $17.44

Day 25: TV’s, Radios & Newspapers

Worn OutToday was interesting. I started at 5:30 am with a phone call from Fox 59 TV in Indianapolis. Angela Ganote did a live phone interview on her morning show and by all accounts it went pretty well. I haven’t been on their website to see it yet, but will check it out shortly. It will be on my Media Page in a day or two. Since this was a day off, after the interview I went back to bed. Valda & I got up and went out to an anniversary breakfast (39th tomorrow). On the way out of the restaurant I had to pass through a room full of slot machines and, of course, I played a little. I actually walked away with about twelve dollars of their money, something that rarely happens to me!

At 11:00 am, I went to radio station KHWG, 750 AM and had an in-studio interview with Dee Gregory. Dee is quite a character. He himself walked from Carson City to Fallon last year in three days, covering 75 miles. I just did the same thing, but¬†60 miles three days. The only difference – Dee had never walked more than around the block since his military days. He said on the last day he was hoping one of the large semi’s carrying hay would run over him, he felt so bad. But he made it and because of that, he is quite receptive to people like me doing a similar thing. We had a great 30-minute interview and hopefully we spread the word about Gateway for Cancer Research in this area!

After that interview I went to the Lahontan Valley News and had a good interview with Christy Lattin. That article should be in the paper sometime next week. So, it was quite a day.

Yesterday as I walked my final two miles in Fallon, l was on the phone with my brother Don. He had the satellite image (Google Earth) pulled up and as I walked, he told me what was coming up on my right and left. It was really amazing to hear him say there was a gas station on my left with a canopy the pumps or a house on my right with a red roof. It was a lot of fun and made the 45 minutes fly by! It was very interesting and frankly a little scary to think he could follow right where I was walking from his office in Indianapolis. The picture of the house below is one that he said looked like it had trees the front yard. I told him they were some kind of strange looking tree and took this picture so he could see what I was seeing. This is the picture Don, and it ls for you.

Tomorrow we head out of Fallon. We get Into the desert for real and the next little area of civilization is about 26 miles away, with another after that about 45 miles further. I may be out of broadband and cell phone coverage, so be patient and as soon as I can, l’Il catch up. Till then.

Day 26: Desert Everywhere You Look

Rick Hammersley in Nevada Desert

Rick Hammersley in Nevada Desert

I was told that as soon as I got out of Fallon that the desert would be my constant companion. How right they were. I’m about 15 miles east of Fallon and except for about five miles of irrigated farm fields and pastures, it has been all sand and scrub. It’s pretty though, in its own way, and it takes me closer each day to Coney Island. The next town of any size that l’Il be walking through is Austin, which is about 95 miles away. If you look at a Nevada map, Austin is just about smack dab in the middle of the state. So, it’s a goal and hopefully we’ll be there by Thursday.

Personal to Robert & Mary Kate B of Miami: Thanks so much for matching my “money found” up to 100%. This “Happy Hiker” says a big thank you! Also personal to Jim &¬†Teri T¬†of Everywhere, USA (full time RV’ers): Thank you also for matching my “money found” up to $500.00. Your support is also much appreciated. Personal to Dave & Susie S of Indianapolis: Thank you for your recent contribution to Gateway For Cancer Research. It too is much appreciated!

Again we had a perfect weather day here in Nevada.¬†They have been having a lot of earthquakes in the Reno area, but so far, I haven’t felt any of them. We are about sixty or seventy miles away, but you’d think we would feel at least one of them. As I was walking past this place the other day,¬† I swear l saw Garth Brooks looking through the window.

I have broadband today, but who knows about tomorrow. We’ll see.

Miles Covered: 20.25
Total Miles: 363.25
Money Found: $0.37
Total Found: $17.81

Day 27: Salt Flats

Rick & Val Hammersley Posing for a Picture Wearing Hwy 50 Shirts

Rick & Val Hammersley Posing for a Picture Wearing Hwy 50 Shirts

We are about 35 miles east of Fallon. It is a hot and dry day and l have just hiked through a large salt flats area which made the walking quite miserable. Am bothered from time to time by large flies that try to land on my ears. Quite annoying. Valda went on up ahead to the Sand Mountain Recreational Area and watched the people ride their dune buggies all around the two mile long hills of sand. I saw them from a distance and even through binoculars – they looked like ants crawling around the hill. After the salt flats, l started climbing and went over Sand Creek Pass at 4644′ elevation. We are heading to Austin, about half way through Nevada. I have entered and exited the Fallon Naval Air Station Target Range and saw no signs of it being closed to pedestrians (as l was told earlier). It’s funny seeing a Naval Air Station sign in the middle of Nevada.

Miles Covered: 200
Total Miles: 383.25
Money Found: $0.39
Total Found: $18.20

Day 28: The Shoe Tree

2015-04-02 15 08 27 Closeup of the new Middlegate Shoe Trees along U.S. Route 50 near Middlegate, NevadaMy string of five 20 mile days came to an end today. I felt sluggish all day and just couldn’t seem to get It together. We stopped for the night about a mile east of the “shoe tree“, a large Cottonwood tree that is full of shoes. Legend has it that a long time ago a newlywed couple got into an argument and the wife threw her husband’s shoes up into the tree. Later they reconciled and he threw her shoes into the tree. The tradition continues today and the tree is full of at least a thousand shoes with that many more lying around the bottom of the tree. Those wacky Nevadans. Do they know how to have fun or what? ūüėČ

Met John of Colorado Springs, CO. John is 66 and bicycling from San Francisco to his hometown “because I wanted to”. Works for me, John – keep up the good work.

Once again the weather is clear and dry. It started clouding over in the afternoon and the evening had a breeze and was very pleasant. The terrain was flat and wound around the mountain ranges. If you look at a map of Nevada you’ll see how Hwy 50 snakes its way across the state. It adds a lot of miles, but avoids a lot of climbing. Good for people like me. Tomorrow I’m going to try and start at 7:30 am. We’ll see how that goes ūüôā

Miles Covered: 18
Total Miles: 401.25
Money Found: $0.02
Total Found: $18.22

Day 29: Rattlesnakes and Tumbleweeds

Rattlesnakes and tumbleweeds! I really don’t think it was a rattlesnake, but l didn’t get close enough to find out for sure. He was about 4-5′ and slithered away from near the road into the tumbleweeds. He went in a straight line, not a side-winding way that you think rattlesnakes go. Anyway, I fumbled with the camera (on my) phone and by the time I got it out and ready, the snake was gone. I wasn’t going to follow it into weeds. My first snake and he got away. ūüė¶

(similar to what Rick saw!)

(similar to what Rick saw!)

The tumbleweeds were another story. At about 11:00am a strong and steady wind started blowing at my back. The tumbleweeds started crossing the road in front of me and behind me. I almost got hit a couple of times, but didn’t. Some were small, but several were the size of beachballs! Pretty cool, but no pictures of them either.

Again the walk was mostly on flat terrain. It was a cool day and in the afternoon it looked like a fog was descending. It was dust l guess, and hopefully tomorrow will be better. By the evening, l couldn’t see any mountains, and I know they are there. It’s like being in a cloud.

The whole walk has been devoid of wild animals. I’ve seen a lot of birds, hawks, magpies, smaller birds, ducks and one wild turkey. I haven’t seen any deer, elk, bear or cougars. I did see one dead coyote. I thought surely I’d see a deer by now, but no. Oh yeah, and one snake ūüôā

Miles Covered: 22.25
Total Miles: 423.5
Money Found: $0.00
Total Found: $18.22