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  008 06/11/06 Middlegate Station Austin Solitude DavidGene  

Sunday June 11, 2006 64 miles - Total so far: 432

We left Middlegate Station at the crack of dawn and stopped a few miles later at the "shoe tree", the first large tree that we had seen in over 100 miles on highway 50. This cottonwood is unique in that is adorned with thousands of pairs of shoes tossed onto the branches by passing travellers. Unfortunately we made no contribution as we had no shoes to spare.

We experienced the solitude of Highway 50...it was over an hour before we were passed by the first car! Todays route was interesting in that it traverses the historic pony express route, the Overland Stage Company route, and the pioneer transcontinental telegraph line...all in operation for a brief period during the 1860's untill made obsolete by the completion of the transcontinental railroad and it's parallel telegraph line. In contrast, today this route is marked by highway 50 and a major fiber-optic cable highspeed communication line. We wondered what does the future hold for this route in another 150 years?

Today was highlighted by the completion of the first 400 miles (10%) of our estimated 4,000 mile trip. We marked this occurence with a photo at the exact spot where we reached this milestone...Edwards Creek Valley, favored by Shoshone indians for its springs, abundant grass seeds, and small game. To commemorate future milestones for mankind we will endeavor to document the precise locations of each deci-cyclo-transcontinental-point. Notice in the photo that we have used a ragged piece of cardboard to record the mileage. Future events will also be immortalized on roadside debris found near the exact location.

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