Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Loneliest Highway in America!

Nevada is to me a spectacular state...this section I traveled on this trip is through some Flat looking country with views as far as your eye can see...yet you are up over 7,000 ft a lot of the time..and one of the first things I saw was a mirage!

that gleam and glitter that may convince you water is there waiting for you to have a drink...but nope there is no water...I am writing a fiction novel been working on it since I lived in may never get completed...but I chose NV as the backdrop to my book! Its the perfect spot for a budding geologist who has to strip her way through the title of the book is
 Montana Briscoe Diaries Book One: The Desert Stalker  what a thrill I had to be there and get the real feel of this land...I have been through this state before way back in the 90's and it impressed me then too..

SO the Loneliest Highway In America, Hwy 50, is rightly named. its a 380 mile section between Carson City to the Great Basin and the Utah Border....some stretches have nothing for over a hundred miles...make sure you have gas, food and water before you head out.  I had plenty of all that so had no worries...and the small towns you will encounter are priceless! The first one I stopped in was Eureka!  They did what my small town did, they created a Historical self guided walking tour phamplet and they numbered each stop...this is the old Opera House and Jackson House Saloon & Hotel..1877

I hear you can still get rooms there! It has that old west feel this sweet town...and here is the 1879 Court house. 

Geologically speaking it has so much variation...just this photo shows how diverse the terrain is..

A mostly arid climate keeps it a bit barren of vegetation, but there are trees!  I got this blurb  from the UVNV website..." Working its way through Congress right now is a bill that will create Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument along the northern edge of Las Vegas Valley. This unit of the National Park Service will be dedicated to the study and interpretation of Ice Age animals, providing an opportunity for all of us to learn about one of the most recent dramatic events that shaped the Nevada landscape."

SO be on the lookout for that!! Between the towns you can see some ghost towns...mostly due to mines that went boom then bust..I didnt catch the name od this settlement but here's some cool things I saw there...

Mining is still a really big deal there with the one of the largest copper mines in the world!!

The small town of Ely is an historic mining town...

check out the hours on this thrift thats small town life! 

The Pony Express went right along this same way from 1860-61 I stopped at the location marker and this kiosk of the old Coldsprings Station...

Where one rider, Pony Bob  rode up to find the station burned to the ground the support staff murdered and the horses stolen by he made an epic ride of 380 miles in 36 hrs! Can you imagine that??

Pronghorn herd

I found a great camp in Bob Scott has about 10 primitive sites and a flush toilet, water, and trash cans. Its $5 with your senior card. 

And then I continued on toward the Great Basin NP.  Long stretches of the highway were completely  barren...this shot shows that diverse landscape in one shot...

As I got closer to the state line I found this interesting side trip...7 miles down a gravel road, the Ward Charcoal Ovens! 

The sign says it takes 13 days and 32 cords of wood to make a load of charcoal...

This was a pay site $7 and there is camping nearby for $14.  I didnt stay but it was very cool to see these beautifully made ovens!

Not long after this side trip I was climbing one of the many steep grades when suddenly a bell went off on my dashboard and it said "check gauges" I did and saw my oil pressure was at zero!  HOLY COW...I couldnt pull over that moment but my turn off for Great Basin was right there so I turned and pulled to the engine was clunking loudly!! In the middle of nowhere!!

I didn't panic I drove slowly 5 miles an hr and limped to where I saw 2 buildings one was the US Post Office of Baker, NV. it is directly across the turn off for the VC of the Great Basin NP a man was on his way in and I asked if he knew of any GARAGES IN THE AREA...yeah 75 miles west of here..YIKES.
Then he asked why... I told him what happened.  The weird thing is I had my oil changed the day before in CA. I wondered if the guy didn't fill my oil pan, it takes 10 qts of oil! So we check it and I added a Qt of oil.  I had no phone service and no net service but the Post office had a phone if I needed to use it...SO after putting the oil in I cranked the pressure went to normal and the engine sounded okay...but I was shaken for sure.  I asked him how far to the Great Basin camp ground he said its at least 5 miles and its a steep grade ..He suggested I go to the Bordertown nearby and get a room, there was a restaurant,  rooms, phones. and the only civilization for a LONG ways..and it was getting into late afternoon.  So I followed his car it was about 2 miles away...I got a room and in the morning I made the decision to make a ditch effort and drive the 450 miles to my sisters home in Silt, CO.  I did call her from the motel and I left early I took it easy and didnt push the van, it never happened again tho, SO I was mad that I made the decision to go ahead and leave MY thinking was I could at least get close enough to her house if I broke down she could come get me!! Of course I have Coachnet coverage but NO phone service so I told her I may be able to text her and she could call them for me if need be.  So sadly I left the was 86 miles to the first  town of Delta Utah and the nada in between!! I said a prayer, checked my oil, and left!

But I sure wanted to stay.....

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.


  1. What an adventure! Nothing like having mechanical problems on the loneliest highway. Sorry you missed great basin. Now you'll have to go back some day.

    1. For has to move to the top of my BL! at least its only a 6 hr drive from my sisters home. I want to move slower on my next journey and be able to do more hiking and more exploring! Its a learning curve!

  2. That's always the trouble with those nowhere places, it bound to cause car problems. But sure glad you just needed to add more oil and all was OK. Yep you will have to return.

    1. How true Jo, I had 35 uneventful days so was very glad about that!

  3. Well pooh. But oh boy did you see some beautiful stuff ( just in this area/this post , not to mention the rest of the trip)... But sure reminds me to tell you again how very brave I think you are to have done this trip alone. I have such deep admiration !


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