Wednesday, January 12, 2000

Hello from Ely, Nevada.

I had a very eventful day!  I made it as far as Ely, Nevada (pronounced E-Lee, as in Robert E. Lee) which is near the Utah border on Route 50.  Sunrise is at 6:58am, so I am planning for an early departure.  Also, I will be changing time zones tomorrow.  

After participating in the continental breakfast provided by the Best Western in Fallon, I headed east on Route 50.  About ten miles outside of town is an area called Grimes Point (360 degree panoramic view) (another Grimes Point site) which contains a grouping of petroglyphs.  I took a self guiding trail that passed by hundreds of images etched into the rocks. Across the highway is the Fallon Naval Air Station, home of the Top Gun school.  I was able to watch several pairs of what appeared to be F-18s take off.  

I continued east on Route 50 and over the next few hours, stopped at Sand Mountain, a very large sand dune that sometimes resonates (it was quiet while I was there.) I also passed by a bordello.  As for a tourist thing, I called my sister from the "Loneliest Phone."  To explain...Route 50 is nicknamed "The Loneliest Road" since most people take Interstate 80 across the west and Route 50 is quiet.  Nevada plays up this title in several ways including sign posts, stamped Route 50 passports, referring to things as being the loneliest, including the telephone I used this morning.  It sits on the side of the road with nothing around, is solar powered, and is connected to the phone system by antenna, as no wires are around!   As for the name "Loneliest Road,"  I understand, as there were many times that I saw no cars for many miles.

There is a lot of history along this road, and I stopped by many roadside displays located at Pony Express stations, old towns, and mining locations.  Further down the road, I turned onto a gravel road to drive to the Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area.  I drove slowly down the road as it was a bit rough, but then suddenly, I came across an intense washboard section.  The car bounced around as I continued to slow down, and then it stalled.  I attempted to restart the car, but it would not run.  Ouch, I thought, as I looked back for a half mile towards the "Loneliest Road!"  I had my ham radio two meter rig and my cel phone, and at worst, I could hike up one of the hills there to try to communicate.  However, as I looked under the hood, I noticed my coil cable had come off and one spark plug cable came off the distributor cap.  Very nice that this was the only problem!  After putting things in their place, I continued down road and did a little hiking.

My next stop was in the town of Eureka, Nevada.  This town had many mining sites nearby, and around 1880, there were up to 10,000 inhabitants.  Today, there are approximately 600.  The local industry is still mining, and the most productive gold mine in the country is here.  

I visited the Eureka Museum and met a wonderful lady and we spoke of the town.  She had much information, as she has lived in the area her whole life.  She has relatives that live in other parts of the country that continually ask her to move, but she does not want to leave.  She told a story of her own family, about her son Cory, getting hit by a car and almost losing his life, and how the community got together to help with the recovery and finances to assist him.  I got to meet her son Cory while I was there.  Quite a recovery, and he is winning the battle.  She also mentioned that if I happened to stay in town for the night, not to be startled at 9:00pm when a siren goes off.  It is the curfew alarm, and all children under  age 18 are to be off the streets!  Everybody agrees to it, and respects it!  Thank you for the great conversation, Narline.

Eureka has a walking tour that I took with a provided flyer in hand.  My favorite building was the courthouse, built in the late 1800s.  One of the staff saw me walking around and directed me upstairs to the main courtroom.  She said the light switches were behind the door to right, and to make sure I turned them on as it would help view the room.  Quite an incredible room!  

Here are three links to panoramic views of Eureka: 

Eureka Opera House
Eureka Sentinel Museum
Eureka County Courthouse (Link may be bad)

Finally, I continued east on Route 50 and stopped in Ely to stay for the night.  I had dinner in the Hotel Nevada Casino restaurant.  I am still not used to sharing the dining room with smokers!  ;-)

Route traveled today: 50

It was a very educational drive today...Thanks for reading the page...Igor

Hotel: Bristlecone Motel, Ely

Gas: $1.76

Click on picture to get enlarged view:

At the Grimes Point petroglyph site.

A view west towards the Fallon Navel Air Station and Fallon, with beautiful sun rays on the mountains in the distance.

Petroglyphs

The next three pictures were damaged when I had to open my camera to free the film jam.

The petroglyphs were very interesting, so I wanted to include these pictures.

Amazing rock indentations!

Sand Mountain approach looking northeast

Entrance sign

Beautiful sand mountains

Sand Mountain access road looking southeast at an interesting sky.  Much four wheel driving in the area.

The sign!

This is it!  It will probably not make it on any top ten tourist lists!

Stage coach and Pony Express station.

Walls still visible at the station.

Austin, Nevada, an old mining town, with people very interested in Burning Man, including a regional burn!

The view opposite the Austin sign, looking west.  I was constantly surrounded with incredible long distance views!

Entrance to the Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area, where I stalled the car.  Not much civilization around!

Trail through the area, along rock faces with ancient petroglyphs.

More interesting petroglyphs!

Another set of petroglyphs

Amazing artwork!

Entrance sign to Eureka, Nevada, with the "Lonliest" theme!  

The Eureka Courthouse, looking southeast.

The Courthouse, looking Southwest.  Between the two trucks is the Lincoln Highway marker pictured below.

Looking west along route 50.

The Eureka Opera House, where many shows were performed, as depicted in westerns!

The Lincoln Highway marker.

Heading east on route 50 out of Eureka, past Luigi's.  Sorry, I did not get a chance to eat there!

Nevada historical marker for Eureka.

A view from the car.

Along route 50, and yes. I will be travelling on the pass you see ahead!

Another historical marker for a mining town.  Many interesting stories can be read along the road.

   

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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