As I mentioned in an earlier post, the air has been too unhealthy to scout the last part of the route in California (from Lover's Leap to Echo Summit). So I drove out to Austin to scout a part of the route there. You can read that report here. I spent two nights in Austin, and on the second afternoon, wandered up and down the main street.
Austin was never part of the Pony Express—it wasn't founded until 1862, a year after the Pony Express ended. The XP Trail runs a few miles north of town, though the Pony Express Bikepacking Route does run through town. You'll need to stop here to resupply, though curently the only place to do that is the gas station mini-market.
This is a small mining town perched on the edge of a canyon leading down into the Reese River Valley (with some spectacular views of the valley and the Desatoya Mountains on the other side). When I was there, the entire main street, which is US 50, was torn up for repair. I mean the entire stretch through town. You had to wait for the pilot car 24 hours per day. The town was a mess.
It was also a little depressed. There are few businesses to start with, and many (most?) of those seemed to be out of business. I later learned that many of these had actually failed before COVID-19. There is currently only one restaurant, and service there sounds a little scary (you can see some reviews here and here).
All that being said, I enjoyed my stay there. I slept at the Cozy Mountain Motel, one of three small motels in a row toward the west end of Austin. It seemed like it might be a nice place to lie over for a day on the XP Trail before tackling the rest of the Nevada desert.
Below are a few pictures I took, just for fun.