On the Road, Again! Eastward, Ho! Tuesday, 10/14/14

A friend of ours said to us last Saturday, "You guys only go home to change your clothes."  We nodded.  We love our home, but that darned nomadic gypsy has infected us good!  We'd planned on leaving home in Tergel not long after getting home from Hawaii (Oct 8th).  Since NorCal had a 60% chance of rain on Wednesday, we picked Tues (Oct 14th) to take off.  During that six days, we were busy, busy, busy, but never overwhelmed.  Tergel got packed and whatever we forgot, we either didn't need or could buy somewhere. Our home was winterized -- we will be gone till early December.  And with that, and our great friends and neighbors across the street keeping "an eye on the place," we were gone.

 The Truckee River is so shallow that you might be able to walk across without getting your shoes wet.

River's Edge RV Park on the Truckee River in Reno/Sparks is an easy place for us to park our first nite; up and over Donner Pass, it's only 90 miles away.  Kind of like a shakedown cruise, and it gave us that extra margin of miles for the next day's long haul.  

Red sky at nite, sailor's delight?  Not necessarily.  We watched the gathering clouds over the Sierras and listened to the wind pick up.  After dinner, SW winds were gusting to 40 mph.  By 10 pm, those winds were howling at 60 mph!  We were glad our rig wasn't broadside!  The durned flapping bedroom slide canopy kept me awake, so we brought in the slide.  One of many distractions that didn't make for a decent, solid sleep.

We rose early Wed morning because we wanted to be in Great Basin National Park that afternoon, and that's a fairly long drive -- Google sez 383 miles.  Dark clouds hid the Sierras, spilling into the Reno basin, but no rain fell on us  Those dust-laden winds had subsided somewhat, but we soon realized they were as gusty as ever on I-80, blowing real estate, tumbleweeds, and Tergel.  Kinda scary!  We divided the day's driving into three stints. Jimmy first, 3 hrs; me next, 3 hrs; and Jimmy took the final hour.

Blowing dust/sand, hundreds of feet high.

I guess a subtitle to this post could be:  50 Shades of Gray, no, er ... brown!  Gray-brown.  We are once again on Hwy 50, heading east this time, across Nevada (the Loneliest Road in America), where no primary colors exist in the landscape.  I don't remember how many shades of brown came in the Crayola box (the big one), but I do remember colors from my paint box, such as raw umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, and those are mostly what you see out here.  Little vehicular traffic.  Few towns.  Raw landscape.  Dun-colored hills, peppered with gray-green sage and pale tufts of bunch grass.  Dust devils.  But, it's a spacious land, and therein might be the lure. Harsh and unfriendly as it may seem, a certain beauty exists in its openness; the eyes can see across wide valleys that stretch from one ragged mountain range to the hazy mountain range in the distance.  The desert is a land of many contrasts -- brutal summer heat succumbs to frosty winter temps, parched ground gives way to dangerous flash floods, and yet, on a clear night the Milky Way beams back at you; it's close enough to touch.  And that feels magical.  I like the desert.

No critters.  I do wish we could see bison or kangaroos or bobcats or burros or something jumping around out here!  Nada.  Everyday in Hawaii we saw mongooses (mongeese?). Nobody liked 'em, but even they'd be cool to see along Hwy 50!  Best of all?  Herds of roaming, wild ass-kickin' mustangs! 

Gray skies were replaced by high stratus or thin cirrus clouds, and as we drove further east, the gusty winds were mostly a tail wind (hallelujah).  Piñon pine and juniper spotted the higher elevation hillsides, and "real" trees grew near the high passes.  Hwy 50 has so many summits that we lost count, but at least two are over 7,000', and Tergel does NOT favor them -- she wheezes up to those summits.  We like the hurtling down part, tho!  Around Noon, we stopped at a "flat" place next to the highway in Austin to eat sandwiches, and then kept rolling, rolling, rolling.

 Six miles west of Ely is the Town of Ruth, home to Robinson Copper Mine, one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world, with monstrous tailings to match.

 Cute little train on it's way to the copper mine.

 Tailings?  OMG, yes!

 Jimmy's lost his thumb!!!  Yikes, it broke right off!  Gives new meaning to "finger cookies," Fran!
Must be close to Halloween!

Diving for gold or goodies in the Truckee River!
The End!

Next up?  Splendiferous Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada.

1 comment:

  1. Love that drive on 50! you described the lure of the harsh high desert extremely well. It can be haunting, and gives you eyeballs a chance to stretch.


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