I planned the trip around IHG hotels because of a quadruple-points offer that (if I'm doing my sums right, and including some other travel later this year) should get me to a point where I can get at least four IHG hotel nights post-Worldcon in Australia. As it happens, Elko, where we stopped for tonight, is almost exactly halfway to Layton (via I-80 and I-15). We had the choice of Layton or Ogden for what we're planning to do this weekend, and picked Layton. More about our tourism choices later.
The front desk clerk at the HIX Elko was charmed by Kuma Bear. We told him all the places he has visited and what his Twitter account was. She sounded very impressed.
I was able to get done with work early enough today to get on the road by 11 AM, giving us plenty of time to make the 250 miles to Elko and to make stops or side trips along the way. I do admit to a sigh of relief as we passed the place east of Battle Mountain where we broke down on the trip to SpikeCon last July.
Approaching the North Valmy exit, I suggested we stop to view the historical marker. For some reason, the marker is located such that it's difficult to view it except from the eastbound offramp. On our last trip west, we'd stopped coming the other way and realized we'd have to wait for an eastbound trip to satisfy our curiosity.
A railroad line branches off of the UP mainline here, and we decided to follow it.
The rail line connects the former Southern Pacific and former Western Pacific railroad lines (operated as paired directional track between Winnemucca and Wells even when they are several miles apart in an arrangement that dates well before the two railroads merged into the Union Pacific) to serve the coal-fired Valmy Power Plant. As we neared the plant, we came upon a long line of empty coal hoppers backed up out of the plant.
This is about as far as we could go, as just around the corner is where the No Trespassing signs are located. Lisa pointed out that you actually have to drive past those signs to the first place you can easily turn around; however, we had no problems. I suspect that they do get the occasional lost driver off I-80 who gets this far and has to turn around.
We continued on to Elko, arriving at the hotel just after sundown. While it's not quite as new as the hotel where we stayed in Hamburg on the way to Worldcon 75 (we were among the hotel's first few guests and were the first people who had stayed in the room in that hotel that opened the day we arrived), it's still a pretty new location, having opened only a bit over a month ago.
Today's weather was great for traveling. Tomorrow may not be quite so good, as the weather forecast is for 2-3 cm of snow here in Elko. We're hoping that when it turns to rain tomorrow morning the roads will clear and we can continue on to Layton-Ogden. If the conditions look safe to do so, we're considering taking the long way around, going north around the Great Salt Lake rather than the shorter, faster route via Salt Lake City.