Thursday, June 4, 2015

Highway 50 "The Loneliest Road in America" (Baker, Nevada to Carson City, Nevada)

Many years ago, someone from AAA wrote an article about Highway 50 in Nevada from Baker to Fernley. They labeled it the worst, most boring, loneliest road in America and advised people to NEVER travel on it.  And, if they did, they needed to be a survivalist.

Well!  The challenge was on.  I needed to see what that was all about, because I have never met a desolate road I didn't love.  Highway 50 is now no exception.

The good folks of the lovely state of Nevada didn't like Highway 50 being named, "The Loneliest Road in America."  So, they put it on their tourism map.  They handed out survival guides, and brag that this is one of the state's most scenic and historic corridors (I agree).

I picked up a "Survival Guide" from my hotel in Ely, and began my journey.  Along the way, I stopped in 5 very small towns and checked them out, and had my "Survival Guide" stamped.  I met nice people, saw some old buildings, and was enlightened about how other people live.  Along the way, I took a lot of photos, that, indeed, some may find boring and uninteresting.  I found the drive beautiful, and fun, and interesting, and long, and I enjoyed it so much.  I went through several passes in the mountains, saw a coyote, a tree with shoes on it, some dried-up lakes, some cool petroglyphs, some sand mountains, and occasionally another car or motorcycle.

Here is my 5-hour journey from Ely, Nevada, to Fernley, Nevada. With my survival guide in hand, I was ready!

Just outside of Ely, the road begins!

A cute family of deer in the bushes (the others hid!)

Is this guy in the Batmobile??

I passed through several passes

Another pass

This is the wonderful town of Eureka, Nevada.  It was a nice, small town that was clean and charming.  I stopped at the courthouse and had my survival guide stamped.  The lady in the courthouse was so nice and friendly and seemed happy to have a visitor.  They have a beautiful opera house in this town, but it was closed so I didn't get to go inside.  I left there and continued on.

They love their Highway 50!

Beautiful Opera House

A dad, mom, and triplets!

I knew I was following near the Pony Express route and kept seeing this sign.  Later on in my journey, the exact Pony Express route crossed Hwy 50.

As I was continuing west, I saw a sign for the "Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area."  NOTHING brings my car to a screeching halt like the promise of seeing a petroglyph or two.  I pulled into the dirt road and went down a little way to some petroglyphs that were very easy to hike to (I use the term "hike" lightly; I strolled a couple of yards to them!).  I am so glad I saw that sign; I would have never known they were there.  

The time frame of these ancient writings is unknown.  

I saw this little fatty in the desert.
(I am sure she said the same about me!)

After the petroglyphs, I continued on . . . 

Another pass.

Nevada places historical markers all along the roads.  They are creative and very interesting to stop and read.  It gives you insight into the history of the area you are travelling through.

Long road continues.

I can't imagine that this guy will EVER get to where he's going!  (I'm in a car and it's doubtful I'll ever get where I'm going.)  But, I admire his determination!  

My next stop was Austin, Nevada; an even SMALLER town than Eureka.  Again, I chose the local courthouse to have my survival guide stamped.  That lady was also so nice and friendly.  She invited us to go upstairs and see their courtroom, which was quite beautiful.  It was an old, historic building with a lot of character.   I loved this small town!

Having worked in the criminal justice system for 37 years, I wanted to see the courtroom.  This is the one and only courtroom in this historic courthouse.  It was so pretty.

Don't know what this was, but it was unique!

I loved these stairs in the courthouse.  The lady there was SO nice!

Very old cemetery

ONWARD to the next town!

More Pony Express!

And, about the Pony Express.  It operated from April, 1860 to October, 1861  and went from Missouri to California.  I can see why it only lasted a year - this terrain seems impossible to ride a horse across, not to mention it would take FOREVER!  As we were travelling along Hwy 50, it was the same route the Pony Express took through Nevada.  The Pony Express route crossed Hwy 50 three times.  This is one of those spots.

The route is even historically marked on maps!  I know, I know, NOBODY uses paper maps anymore (except me!) - they are glued to their GPS devices.  Well, GPS can be wrong, and a good ole paper map is never wrong.  (I put big red dots on 2 of the spots where the Pony Express route crossed Hwy 50).

Below are the ruins of a telegraph repeater and maintenance station (how, you ask, would I know that?). No, I did NOT just make that up - I read it on the sign in front of the ruins!  It sounds SO important!

A coyote ran across the street then hid from us!  The picture is terrible because it was so quick.  But, at least you can see him.

These were some beautiful wild horses.  Something spooked them (not me), and they started running.  It was in the same place as the coyote, but I don't think a coyote would spook a horse; my money would be on the horse. 

Another pass

The helicopter has nothing to do with my journey, it was just flying over me and I thought it was pretty.

The long road continues.  On the map, this is described as a "dried up lake".  I saw that a lot in Nevada.

This dried up lake, however, doesn't appear to be all that dried up!

Bull Fighting Ahead???

Sand Mountain.  It was startling to come upon this in the middle of the desert.  I mean, there's plenty of sand in the desert, but this was a mountain.  It was so pretty! 


There's an Air Force base out here somewhere because I kept seeing fighter jets flying overhead.  Either that, or they were looking for aliens landing their spaceships in the desert.  (Can you say Area 51?!)

"Shoe Tree"
I saw my first Shoe Tree a couple days ago in Utah.  I had no idea what this was or represented.  But, now I have seen 3.  There is one along Hwy 50 before the town of Fallon.  It was time to look it up and see what it was all about.  Read about it:

I am near the end of my journey.  The 4th town I went through was Fallon, Nevada.  Fallon was a nice enough town, but it was much larger and more congested that the other 3 little towns I had been through.  I got my survival guide stamped, and continued on to the final town.

Nice train track in Fallon

Yay!  I have reached the final town on my drive, Fernley.  It, too, was a large town and not nearly as charming as the little towns (nothing against Fernley, I just preferred the small towns).

Some interesting art.

The Loneliest Road in America!

My stamped Survival Guide:

I'd like to know who said, "There are no points of interest."  
HA!  I saw nothing but interesting things! And, loved the drive! To each his own!