Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Across Northern Nevada

Thanks in no small part to the extensive pre-packing job that Lisa did on the Astro, we got away from Fernley House at 8 AM Tuesday and set off east on I-80. The speed limit here is 75 MPH, and aside from spots of road construction, we were able to maintain that speed much of the day, so our progress was good, and that meant we had time to stop and do things that we don't always have time to do on these road trips.

Lisa drove the first stint to Winnemucca, where we stopped for Second Breakfast at the Winners Casino, telling them that their periodic billboards along I-80 worked. There's also a Big R there and after breakfast we went there and got a replacement bulb for Lisa's Maglite. (Although there are places in Fernley that sell that brand of flaslight, none of them sell replacement bulbs for it.)

I drove to Battle Mountain, where we traded drivers again so I could read from the latest issue of RAIL magazine to Lisa as we traversed some of the less interesting scenery. Later, as we approached Elko, Lisa suggested that we stop at the California Trail Center, where we spent an interesting hour revisiting the story of the California Trail.
California Trail Museum

Just as we were leaving I was finally able to raise online radio coverage of the USA-Belgium World Cup match — there wasn't enough bandwidth out on the long stretches between the cities of Northern Nevada to do so earlier — and thus was able to listen to the final frantic five minutes of the game. Pity the USA wasn't able to advance.

We continued on the few miles to Elko, where we diverted onto the business route (old US-40) to see about lunch prospects. Going through downtown, Lisa suggested we stop at a grocery store she spied there, and while turning around the block to get to it, we spotted trains.
WP Locomotive in Elko
In a park in downtown Elko there is on display this Western Pacific locomotive...
WP Caboose in Elko
...and caboose. Elko is the division point for this portion of the now-combined ex-Western Pacific and ex-Southern Pacific (ex-Central Pacific) lines. Between Winnemucca and Wells, the Western Pacific built their single-track line roughly parallel to the SP (CP) single-track original transcontinental route, and the two railroads had a paired track arrangement where they used each others' rails in directional running long before Union Pacific swallowed up both of them.

Speaking of Wells, we stopped there (after having a late lunch at the Red Lion Inn Elko, the first time I've been in a Coffee Garden restaurant in years) to get fuel at the Flying J truck stop, only to discover that they were all-but-out of regular gas. After fifteen minutes, less than four gallons of fuel had trickled into the gas tank. I gave up and we went to the Sinclair across the freeway instead. It turns out that we could have waited until Wendover anyway because there is a Pilot that has the same prices as the stations in Wells. That erases the only reason we ever had to stop in Wells anyway for future trips, and further reinforces our dislike of the city. There is still the Tire Factory store there that ripped us off for excessively-expensive front-end repairs on our trip to Denvention. Now we know we can simply skip the city entirely.

We lost an hour east of Wells, but that's because we entered the Mountain Time Zone. A small strip of eastern Nevada keeps MT due to its ties to Utah. About 9 PM local time, twelve subjective hours after we left Fernley, we rolled into Winnemucca Wendover and checked into the Peppermill Hotel. Yes, that's the same brand as one of Renovation's hotels. Unfortunately, the Reno Peppermill's slot club cards are not cross-compatible with their Wendover casino.

After a late dinner, we turned in for the night, vowing to sleep in on Wednesday because it's only about 150 miles to Salt Lake City and there is not much point in arriving too early to check in. We could have made the trip in a single day, but we've been trying to keep from over-taxing ourselves and also trying to give ourselves a chance to see things when we're traveling.
Tags: lisa, nevada, trains, travel, westercon

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