Google Maps naturally suggested the shortest route south in I-15 and then west on I-80, but we took the longer one: North on I-15, west on I-84 to Snowville, then UT-30 southwest to the Nevada border and NV-233 through Montello to Oasis, then on to Elko.
The fog was not too bad on I-15/84.
The freeway was dry, with foggy sections but also nice clear ones like this. Traffic was light.
Snowville, Utah was to be our last chance for a restroom break before jumping off into what was described as the "Utah Outback."
Snowville seemed to live up to its name.
We headed west on UT-30, passed a sign warning "Next services 102 miles," and the fog closed in. Lisa was unhappy about this, which is no surprise. Fortunately, we either met or were passed by only about one other vehicle every thirty minutes. It's amazing how many people will drive in such low-visibility conditions without turning on their headlights!
Around Park Valley the fog lifted, as did Lisa's spirits and our ability to travel at higher speeds. At the Nevada border, the highway changed to NV-233, the speed limit went up to 70, and our ability to make such speed was greatly improved by the higher-quality road.
There were, however, some striking views as for most of the rest of the day we were either above or below the fog, not in it.
Montello, Nevada is the only settlement with services on the entire run between Snowville and Oasis, although there were several other small settlements, even some with post offices, but no services. Just to the east of here is Lucin, where the original Central Pacific railroad route through the Promontory Mountains was cut off by the Southern Pacific (now Union Pacific) line across the Great Salt Lake.
NV-233 crosses the modern Union Pacific (ex-SP/CP) route just beyond Montello. There would be one more railroad crossing ahead, but the tracks aren't there anymore.
It's quite difficult to see, but there are rails in both of these photos of the inactive Nevada Northern Railroad right of way at what was once a grade crossing on NV-233. We stopped briefly here where the rails were lifted from the road crossing and took pictures facing south toward the ex-Western Pacific crossing at Shafter and north toward the ex-Southern Pacific junction at Cobre. Both junctions were primarily to bring copper out of Ely. While the line still exists, the junctions and crossings have been removed, and it has been many years since a train rolled over the NN except in the immediately vicinity of Ely, where the railroad is preserved and a tourist operation exists (we've ridden it and hope to do so again).
At Oasis, we rejoined I-80 west. Although it was initially dry, cold rain soon started to fall
There is a very minimal rest area at Pequop Summit. Normally we would skip this, but it had been hours since we left Snowville and we needed the break, despite the cold and wet.
We stopped to refuel in Wells because the gas prices were the lowest we'd observed on the eastbound trip, and because we wanted to be sure not to repeat my mistake from our trip home from SpikeCon, where we ran out of fuel just before Fernley and were very fortunate to be able to actually coast down the last hill outside of town and into the Flying J on the edge of town at exit 48.
Cold rain continued to fall, but no snow, and we made good time into Elko. Lisa hit the jackpot with our parking space at the Holiday Inn Express. While it's not actually under cover, it sits in a way that you can mostly unload out of the rain.
We got the same room upgrade we got going the other way three nights ago (from a standard room to an "executive" or oversized room), albeit the adjacent, mirror-imaged version of the room from Thursday night. Both have excellent views of the Elko railroad yard, and for us, that's a good thing.
Our swimsuits had not completely dried overnight after we used the hot tub in Layton, so we were able to hang them up on the hooks in our room here. Unlike the Holiday Inn Expresses in which we've stayed in Dublin, Hamburg, and London, there is actually a reasonable amount of places where we can store things, hang clothes, and otherwise use the room for something other than simply sleeping.
After considering various options once we were moved into our hotel room, and taking into account the generous amount of space we had in which to spread out, we decided to mostly stay in. First though, we put on our raincoats and walked to the convenience store a block away to get some drinks. (I did, however, spot some Evil Dill Pickle Pringles and bought all four of them.) We then ordered pizza for delivery to the hotel. I went to the front desk to get some plates and tableware. They were swamped with a large group registering. I patiently waited my turn. It took so long that just as I got my plates, the pizza arrived.
Lisa and I were happy to chow down on pizza after our day traversing the "Utah Outback," which I found interesting, but a little stressful on Lisa due to the sections of heavy fog.
Tomorrow we have only 250 miles to drive home. I probably could save a half-day of time off by working in the morning, but both Lisa and I are tired. For some reason, neither of us were able to sleep much at all last night in Layton. So tomorrow we hope to take it easy in the morning before the final 250 miles home. The storm passing over us now is supposed to be gone by tomorrow, so we don't expect to have to implement one of the standby plans (we spend an extra night in Elko and I work tomorrow from the hotel, shifting my PTO day forward one day).
travelswithkuma was disappointed. There was no place to take a picture of him today. He made up for this by building a mountain of pillows on the bed and playing King of the Hill while we ate dinner.