Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

To the Land of Instant Death

Yesterday, with the weather not too bad, Lisa and I went for a ride out to the Hot Springs area about fifteen miles east of Fernley off Interstate 80.

Boiling Springs

This California Immigrant Trail marker tells the tale of hot springs here. This is part of the area known as the "40 Mile Desert" that was one of the most difficult parts of the overland crossing. Although the water is apparently more or less potable (unlike the heavily alkaline water that is commonly found in the area), these hot springs led to settlers' oxen getting scalded to death as they smelled the water and ran to drink the deadly-hot springs.

Steam Vents

It's not as spectacular as Old Faithful, but there are numerous steam vents in the area. There apparently was an attempt to create a hot spring resort in this area, but no sign of it remains. The area is not particularly friendly-looking. We reckon all of the workers had better bring their own lunch, because they won't be able to run down to the corner store here, not with 15 miles or more between freeway exits and no services between Fernley and Lovelock.

No Second Chances

This vent is pretty close to the road and is fenced off. Signs warn you to stay on the road and don't go wandering off to get a closer look, because it's not impossible that the ground could give way under you and dump you into a boiling pool.

Mad Scientist's Lair

This is a geothermal plant that produces around 5 MW of power for the local utility. Located next door is an agricultural processing plant that produces dried onions using the available geothermal power.

There are a number of geothermal plants in the area, including a large set south of Reno. It's likely that most of the the electricity we use here in Fernley is from geothermal sources, although there is also a large natural-gas plant between here and Sparks.
Tags: fernley, lisa

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