Screaming. Roaring. Whistling. Squeaking. Singing. All can be used to describe the sounds of Sand Mountain’s sands. I travel to experience this puzzling, impressive, natural phenomenon, some 30 miles east of Fallon, along Highway 50, where the expansive mountain is located.
My friend Adam Stone and I finished the 13-mile, 2,500-foot climb to Virginia City just after 7 p.m. It was the biggest hill I had ever ridden, and my bike was loaded with camping gear, food, and supplies for a six-day trip. I had feared not making it up Geiger Grade at all, but now, heading for our campsite outside the former boomtown, I was cautiously optimistic I could ride all the way across Nevada.
I've traveled stretches of dirt road nearly untouched since the early days of the last century, and yet they're still perfectly drivable. I've camped where folks crossing the country in their overloaded Model T Fords once spent the night. I've seen ranches and stage stops that have been here for 150 years. Away from the pavement, at times I've felt like I've returned to the early 1900s and am seeing the country for the first time.