Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Westercon 2017 Road Trip Day 9: Tonopah to Fernley via Hawthorne

We set no alarms last night and I got almost a full eight hours of sleep. After a nice breakfast in the Tonopah Station Hotel restaurant, we set off for home about 10:45 AM. With only 200 miles to go, we knew we didn't have to rush. We congratulated ourselves for not making the mistake we made on the trip back from San Antonio, where an attempt to drive Las Vegas-Fernley in one day at the end of the trip nearly killed us.

Mine Pool

Hawthorne is approximately halfway between Tonopah and Fernley. We made a rest stop here. Across the street from the El Capitan casino are these pool-ball sculptures crafted from old naval mines. Hawthorne's primary industry is a military weapons depot.


Aside from watching for abandoned right-of-way of the Tonopah & Goldfield and Carson & Colorado Railroads and the active tracks of the US Military Railroad (ex-Southern Pacific, ex-Carson & Colorado) and the Union Pacific Mina Subdivision that parallels US-95/95A in places, having a look at this historical marker on the Elks Lodge in Hawthorne (former C&C freight depot) was all of the rail tourism we did today.

Crescent Dunes

Earlier in the day, just after leaving Tonopah and before making a short break at Miller's rest area on US-95, we passed Crescent Dunes solar thermal plant. About this time, we had an unexpected rain fall on us for a few minutes. We didn't mind. It cooled things down. We were fortunate in that much of today we had some cloud cover. The temperatures were still in the mid-30s C, but it was far easier for the minivan's air conditioning (and engine) to cope with this. In addition, we are delighted that the can't-start-when-warm issue that bedeviled us on the Kansas City trip is gone, and the work that my regular mechanic in Fremont did appears to have fixed it.

Walker Lake

North of Hawthorne, we passed Walker Lake, which we are happy to see has a lot more water in it than it did last year. Later, as we went through Yerrington, we saw why there have been flood warnings there, as the Walker River was running very high. Similarly, the Carson River appeared to be full to its banks as we crossed it at Fort Churchill.

About 3:45, we arrived home. The house was in one piece. The various wildfires (and a fire at the asphalt plant across the tracks from us) did not affect our home, thank goodness.

After nearly 1,700 miles driving over the past nine days, we were happy to be home. We unpacked some of the stuff from the minivan, restarted the house (I remembered to turn the water heater on this time) and got the swamp cooler and air conditioning systems running, and tried to relax. I do have to run out and get a few groceries for tonight and for tomorrow morning, which is an ordinary work day for me, but otherwise we're going to try and wind down.

While I'm sorry we couldn't also attend NASFiC this year, I can see that such a trip would have wiped us out. With nearly three weeks planned for the Worldcon trip (for which we set out in just under three weeks), we need some time to recover and prepare for Helsinki. We won't have the luxury of traveling with a minivan-load full of our gear, so we need to think carefully about how to pack.
Tags: astro, minivan, nevada, railroad, travel, westercon

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