The driving was a balancing act. If we drove at full speed, we couldn't run the air conditioning, but if we drove too slowly, it also caused overheating. So Lisa kept our speeds down (but not too far down) and balanced that against running the AC. Even on full Max AC, it was hard to hold out the 45°C temperatures with which Las Vegas and Beatty were cursed. Beatty was our last fuel stop before we get home. I did not buy more sugar-free chocolate raisins, but I did get some very nice (but also very expensive) wild boar jerky.
Today's trip was only about 200 miles, but on occasions, both Lisa and I got really tired and had to swap drivers to try and keep us fresh. One of the stops was the Area 51 Travel Center, where Kuma Bear had an Alien Experience.
Our inability to do long stretches (particularly on a hot desert highway like US-95 in Nevada) at the end of a long road trip is one of the reasons we planned to stop at Tonopah tonight. The other reason was so we could stop in Goldfield.
The Goldfield Gift Shop and Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad Museum was open, and wonder of wonders, there was shaded parking available across the street outside the Goldfield Hotel (which apparently once again is in the process of being cleaned up with the goal of reopening it). Inside the Goldfield Gift Shop is the T&T Museum (relocated from its former home at Death Valley Junction). The museum is mostly a large model train layout representing the T&T RR. This section represents Death Valley Junction, which was the road's headquarters for many years. Click through to see more photos of the layout.
As we entered Goldfield, we had stopped by the Goldfield Radio Museum, but it was closed because the owner was off on an errand. However, as luck would have it (Goldfield isn't very big!), the owner dropped in at the Gift Shop/RR Museum as we were getting ready to leave. He told us that he'd be back up at the Radio Museum shortly and set off to the deliver the donkey feed he had collected and was towing on a small trailer. After making our purchases from the T&T (and donating money and getting a postcard for my sister), we backtracked to the Radio Museum.
Lisa had an entertaining chat with the museum's owner, and we made a donation there as well. The weather had cooled slightly, and as long as we were out of the sun it was actually pretty comfortable.
While Lisa was talking radios, I took this photo of the Goldfield Mining District from the Radio Museum's front porch. We overall spent a couple of hours in Goldfield, and enjoyed it.
Heading north from Goldfield, it started to cloud up, which was wonderful. The van's air conditioning started working better, and we only had to turn it off for the last heavy climb into Tonopah, and during that climb we even started getting bits of rain. Although it was still in the mid-30s C, it was still 10°C cooler than Las Vegas, which was really very nice.
We got to the Tonopah Station Hotel at about 5:45, roughly seven hours and 225 miles after we left Las Vegas. After checking in (they gave us the same room as the last time we stayed here) and getting me some milk from Scolari's grocery next door, we had dinner in the restaurant. The restaurant had a nice rib-eye steak special that we both ordered for dinner, and we remarked as how much nicer we find these smaller places than the over-pressured places in Vegas. Reno/Sparks is the "big city" for us. Vegas is too frenetic and loud.
After dinner, Lisa and I had a pleasant evening walk — something we couldn't do in Tempe or Vegas because of the heat &mdahs; and we went back to the hotel. Tomorrow we have the last 200 miles to go before we get home, regroup, and begin planning for the Worldcon trip.