Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Yo-Yo Road

I started my trek across Nevada with a traveling companion I'll call T.C. It can be difficult traveling with an RV friend when the two of you have very different RVs, travel styles, interests and concerns.

T.C. and I left OR heading toward Gerlach, Nevada. It took a bit of explaining to T.C. why I chose Gerlach for an over night stop. Luckily we weren't there the Saturday before as that have put us right in the middle of the Burning Man Festival. T.C. had never heard of it. Not having actually experienced it myself made it a bit difficult to explain.

Check it out here:,_Nevada

I pulled into the vacant lot I'd heard about for an overnight in Gerlach. T.C. had to drive around town looking for something more appealing. Not finding anything, he returned and resigned himself to spending the night in that unappealing spot.

The next morning we continued south down Hwy. 447. We were heading to Hwy 50, known as the Loneliest Rd. in America, but I couldn't help wondering how in the world there could be any road lonelier than the 142 miles of Hwy 447 from Cedarville, CA to Nixon, NV!!

We reached Hwy 50 just west of Fallon, NV. We stopped at the Fallon Wal-Mart and picked up a few provisions. And I started hearing about T.C.'s affection for McDonald's senior coffee. Since I was elected to lead our little caravan, I unknowingly passed up a McDonald's. T.C. insisted that I lead because he didn't know what kind of places I liked to stop at. Well, the truth is, I don't stop much. I was supposed to keep an eye on T.C.'s headlights and if he flashed, then I was supposed to look for a place to pull over. One of us didn't have a CB so we were relying on cell phones to communicate while caravanning. Back to the headlights: I couldn't see T.C.'s headlights unless I swerved to the right, then to the left, to get a glimpse of his headlights. I never seemed to swerve at the right time. I never saw the headlights on, but I did see T.C. pull over a few time. Apparently he wanted to stop at every one of the 100 or so Points of Interest stops. T.C.'s RV is about 33' shorter than mine which made it much easier for him to find convenient pull over spots.
We finally made it to our first destination - Spenser Hot Springs. The hot spring was the main reason I was taking this route. I'd heard wonderful things about it and that it's one of the best soaks in the west. I'm not real fond of dirty, dusty, washboard roads, so the 5.5 miles of such was a bit unnerving to me. But we arrived, found parking spots, then I cleaned out and refilled one of the livestock watering troughs. The water comes out of the pipe at 124 degrees so it took a while for the tub full of hot water to cool down to a comfortable temp. T.C. isn't the hot spring fan that I am, but he decided to take the plunge. We had a pleasant soak, then I retreated to my trailer before darkness made it too difficult to navigate the trail. During the night I was serenaded by several, it sounded like, irate burros. I figured they were upset that my trailer was blocking their path.

My rig parked at Spenser's Hot Spring

The livestock trough being filled with clean, hot, spring water

The next morning I soaked again while chatting with Madison and Amy, a couple visiting the Spring after their week at Burning Man. They were from New York and were fun to talk with. T.C. wasn't into the whole hot spring scene or the barren Nevada desert. He mentioned often how he missed the trees and cooler temps of Oregon. I originally was going to spend 2-3 days at Spenser Hot Springs, but less than 24 hours after arriving we packed up and headed back out to Hwy. 50.

T.C. kept talking about finding a campground up in the trees, by water and with showers. After a little research I suggested we check out Illipah Reservior. It didn't have showers, but.... It was free!!!!

Our view of Illipah Reservoir from our rigs

We had a nice B-B-Q steak dinner then retired to our rigs as the temp dropped with the sun. The next morning T.C.'s thermometer registered a low of 34 degrees for the night. BRRRRRR

I was beginning to have Internet withdrawals. And T.C.s need for trees, water, showers and coffee was mounting. We stopped in the town of Eureka despite the fact there was no McD's. We made our own coffee and shared a huge Ooga Nooga cookie.

The Eureka Museum, complete with a Eureka Bell!!

We finally made it to Ely. There we found a McDonald's and a much needed car wash. And great Verizon Wireless Internet access!! I kept thinking I should stay in Ely to catch up on my emails, forums and my Blog. But T.C. was drawn to a NV State Campground up in the Juniper trees, with a lake and showers. I stayed on the highway while T.C. checked it out. He called me and said he had 7 bars and the roads were good!!! We decided that 7 bars probably meant there would be Internet service up there. I decided paying $14/night in a pretty setting with Internet service might be worth it. So, I ventured up the hill to the campground. T.C. and I have different cell phone providers. I had 5 bars of Analog. Not good enough for Internet. I left T.C. reveling in his great discovery and I made my way farther along on Hwy 50. I was supposed to call T.C. when I got to Baker to tell him where I'd be parked when he arrived the next day. Well, there was NO cell phone service at all in Baker. I spent the night at the only gas station in town. It consisted of a few pumps, a few vending machines, an RV dump station, a few RV spaces and a few motel rooms. I parked in the gravel lot and had a good nights sleep, for free!! The next morning I retrieved my mail from the tiny Baker Post Office, toured the Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park, then went on my way. When I finally reached Milford, UT I had phone service, and Internet service. I continued on to Beaver, UT, at the intersection of Hwy 21 and Interstate 15. I spent the night next to a Subway, near the freeway. I Internetted to my hearts content that evening and the next morning. T.C. called and said he'd be staying back at the State Park or maybe venture up to the 9886' Wheeler Peak campground in Great Basin National Park. I tried to fight back the nagging thought that I should have stayed at the Hot Springs a day or two longer. Oh well.

Looking East from the Great Basin National Park Visitors Center

Hwy 50 from Fernley, NV to Baker, NV is 347 miles with 16 summits to climb, the highest being Connors Pass at 7723. You climb to the top, then descend into a valley, then you climb another summit, then into another valley, 16 times!! LIKE A YO-YO!!!!


At 7:00 PM, Blogger Randy & Diana said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. You write well. I've crossed hwy 50 5 times. It's my cup of tea.
did you know that my legal address for television prposes is Austin. Nv.


At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Donna said...

It's difficult traveling with other people. You want to go right, they want to go left. Hope it gets worked out! Be safe.

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous roamingbarbara said...

Venting a bit, are we? It can be hard traveling with somebody - sort of like a marriage - requires lots of communication and compromise.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger sally said...

Hi Randy and diana,
No, I didn't know about your connection with Austin. Qyite an interesting town!! Thanks for the compliment. It makes up for my less than fabulous pictures.

At 4:56 PM, Blogger sally said...

Hi Donna,
It got worked out. I'm here in a rest stop and he's probably in a campground somewhere with trees, water, showers, near a McD's.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger sally said...

Hi Barbara,
Luckily it wasn't a marriage, just a week of traveling together. It turned out to be 3 days. It seemed like 30!! I would not recommend anyone marrying if they are that different!!
I'm having fun now!!!


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