May 1st, 2021

SMOF License

Another Nevada Road Trip

We have been anxious to get out and about and traveling again, but we're not fully vaccinated yet, and even then there is the behavior of other people around us to consider. However, we did come up with a trip that took us over roads we've never traveled and to see places we've never seen before, and still allowed us to get home the same day, albeit a rather long day.

Collapse )

After our stop at the military boneyard, we continued east on US-50, bound for the road even lonelier that the "loneliest road."

Collapse )

Next stop was Austin, the former county seat of Lander County. The town's icon is of a stone tower built by a mining magnate who barely ever used it.

Collapse )

After visiting the tower, we stopped in Austin, bought some lunch at a mini-mart, and found a place to park where we could eat our lunch and admire the town. It was while eating lunch that we decided to go ahead and head north to Battle Mountain on NV-305. Lisa says that she did once drive over that road, but it was at night, so she never got to see anything.

Collapse )

We ran out of power for the camera while on the way to Battle Mountain, but we've taken pictures of most of the rest of this route before. Our original idea had been to stop at a large convenience store at which we've stopped many times before in Battle Mountain, but it was too full of maskless wonders for our comfort. We tried also a grocery store downtown, but it also was full of people who thought nothing of taking off their masks to cough and also had the (false) claim posted saying that if you claim that you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, it's a violation of federal law and the Fourth Amendment for the store to ask you for proof of this. We moved on.

If we had been fully vaccinated, we might have stopped at the Winner's casino in Winnemucca for their spaghetti dinner, as we've done many times before, but it's going to be a little while before we feel comfortable going out to dinner yet. As gas prices in Winnemucca are comparable to Fallon (and thus cheaper than Fernley), we stopped at the Pilot truck stop west of town and refueled. This truck stop was much less crowded (and the staff and clientele significantly better behaved) than Battle Mountain, so we bought some drinks and headed for home.

Except for some stretches of road construction, the speed limit on this portion of I-80 is a whopping 80 miles/hour. But the speedometer on the Astro only goes up to 85 mph, and with the significant winds, I not only couldn't get up to that speed, but I would not have felt comfortable doing so. Thus I kept my speed down to "only" 60-70 mph and tried to stay out of everyone else's way, which I mostly managed to do.

We made it home after a pretty long day of traveling by our standards, and about ten hours on the road. (Google maps never accounts for realistic road speeds and stopping to sightsee.) On our road trips, we try not to go more than about 400 miles/day, and the longer a trip goes, the shorter we make our trip segments. For example, if we were at the start of a trip, we could probably drive from Fernley to Las Vegas in one day, but at the end of a two- or three-week trip, we would never attempt Las Vegas to Fernley. The one time we tried it, we nearly drove off the road north of Tonopah and barely made it to Hawthorne, where we made an emergency overnight stop while I left a message to my manager saying I would be reporting in late the next morning, but I would still be alive when I did so. (My manager agreed with my decision.) All subsequent trips have included an overnight stop at Tonopah both going and coming.

Despite some of the wear and tear of a 400-mile trip, I'm glad we made this Nevada Loop Trip. As we were only going from home-to-home rather than needing to be at some destination as part of a multi-day trip, we had a fair bit of freedom to stop and look at things, and we got to see places we've never seen before.