Sunday, November 02, 2008

Highway 50, Nevada

A few years ago, the Nevada State government got given some dollars by the Federal government, I guess, to "improve tourist facilities". They didn't really have any, because after all, people never actually *visit* Nevada, they just go to Las Vegas, right?

So Highway 50 (travelling west to east) got dubbed "Loneliest Highway in America", and you can get a dinky little passport, and get it stamped in each of the 5 counties that you travel through, and then at the *end* you can get some little souvenir. I didn't.

There is a distinct lack of signage, or even 'confirmation', that you are indeed travelling on the correct road, and in the correct direction. On one north-south road up to Interstate-80, we went 20miles from missing one sign, to being able to read the next one.

Every now and then there is a "Historic Marker coming up" sign, with no distance, and no indication if it is on the left or the right of the road. Only after having driven past it at 70mph, do you go "oh, that was the turnoff I was supposed to have turned off on".

We drove from Carson City to Fort Churchill. This posting was seen as a 'good one' for the officers during the Indian Wars, because you were about a day's ride from the towns of either Fallon or Carson City, and you got one day off per month. Plus you got someone else to do your washing. It wasn't so good for the infantrymen, but the signs didn't tell us why.

From Fort Churchill, we drove up to Fallon via "Ragtown", so named because of the plethora of washing that was draped all over the bushes to dry near the river. After Fallon, we visited Grimes Point Archaeological area, ooohed over the peteroglyphs, and ahhed over the sunset. Missed seeing the "Hidden Cave", I will have to call up and arrange a tour next time.

I remember seeing "Sand Mountain", this out-of-place looking enormous sand dune in the middle of high salt desert. Apparently the local Indians thought it was a snake god, because the ridge resembled the changing shape of a snake. Also, there used to be a pony express station at the base of the mountain. One day *...slurpe..* the sand mountain covered it over, and then 150 years or so later *...slurpe..*, it uncovered it again. I would be hesitant to slide down that thing on a cardboard box or 'sand surf' down the slope. Now it is being used for ATV or dune buggy shenanigans.

From there, it was a couple of hours drive into Austin, and the very strange Serbian International bar.

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