Day 17 and 18: Bryce UT to Ely NV to Carson City NV. Hwy 50 The Loneliest Road in America
Long stretches of desolation abound, be sure to watch your fuel and know you can make it to the next known stop. Take snacks and lots of water.-Sister’s Centennial Ride Guide Book
This is the first sentence, or I guess I should say the gentle warning in our guide books. Highway 50 in Nevada has it’s claim to fame written on the signs you see along the way. “The Loneliest Road in America” So that is what we are up against for two days. Our guide book even says: Get gas wherever it is available. Stations are far apart. Very Straight Stretches interrupted by mountain passes. There were multiple sections where we would crest a mountain pass or go around a curve to see what seemed like an endless line that disappeared at the horizon, like someone had painted it on the ground in front of us, just to taunt us. “Look how much farther you have to go, then when you get there, you have to go even farther”
It was very lonely. It was very desolate. There was a good 400 miles of hwy 50 in Nevada, that make Nebraska and Kansas look like they are overpopulated metropolitans. We would drive for an hour and see nothing. Then there would be a dirt road with a sign noting a town in that direction, 68 miles. What? Who lives out here? I often wonder what drives someone to live so far away from the rest of civilization. Maybe it’s because it is not so civil…who knows. Either way that is one hell of a commute to get to the grocery store. Nevada did a smart touristy/marketing thing and they have this cute little booklet they call the HWY 50 Survival Guide, and you collect stamps like a passport, to the locations along Hwy 50. then you mail in the card and get a certificate and prize. Makayla was all over that.
Near the Nevada Utah border, we made a stop at Great Basin National Park, and they have a separate area and visitor center for the Lehman Caves. We were going to take a cave tour but all the tours were sold out for the day. Apparently there was a cave convention staying in Ely, NV. I admit I wasn’t expecting that. I guess there is a convention for everything. So no luck on the cave tour, but we got our first stamp in the passport book.
Every now and then you will see small signs indicating that this road used to be the Pony Express. I learned that it only around for 18 months. Other notable stops along the way included the famous shoe tree near Middlegate, NV. The fact that there is a huge tree out in the middle of nowhere is isn’t odd enough, people hang shoes on the tree. apparently it is a well known tree. I only heard about it that morning, but no one could tell me why the shoes. Stopping for lunch in Middleton is also a must. Mainly because there is nowhere else to eat, and also because it is a really cool stop. Carson City was our stop for the night. Suddenly there was the reality that we would be entering California the next day. Did we really just cross the country? Was it almost over??
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