Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 12th : Day 5

We left Salt Lake sometime around 10 or 11, and headed out to Wendover. Nothing too exciting there, it was the usual I-80 drive, except I did find out that they had fenced in the "Tree of Utah" so you couldn't get to ti to pee on it anymore. Another tradition bites the dust.
At Wendover, which is directly over the Nevada/Utah border, we got off the freeway and headed down SR93, a 2 lane highway typical of American travel before the advent of the divided freeway. Thanks to the freeway, these types of roads are free of idiots and quite enjoyable to drive. We headed down 93 to Ely then took 6 all the way to Tonopah. [I was reading it right off the map Alex, that's the only reason I got it right]. One thing we discovered on our drive across Nevada is that it consists of several rows of mountains, or hills, seperated by logn, long, long stretches of incredible flat lands. Hence, the roads are long, long, long stretches of perfectly straight road broken up by the occasional 2 mile curvy ride through the hills.
About 12 miles before Ely, we hit the town of McGill, NV. Not a very big town, and it looked like it was on it's way to becoming a ghost town, or maybe was recovering from being one. Either way, they had a bunch of cool stores for sale, with the old time look to them. Alex and I decided we could probably get one for a song, so our latest plan is to buy a store and set up shop. We haven't decided what we're going to sell, Alex thought of T-Shirts that say "I bought this store in McGill and all I got was this stupid T-Shirt". I pictured the episode of "Dharma & Greg" where she opens up a shop but doesn't sell anything. The store is full of people just sitting, chatting and drinking coffee, and when people come in and ask what she's selling and her response is "What do you need?" When they answer she'd just yell out to the crowd "Anyone got ...?" Guess you had to be there. But I just pictured us fixing up the place and then spending my summers sitting on the front stoop, watching people go by and chatting. {Keep in mind we were driving through Nevada at the time. You thought there was a whole lot of nothing in my picture of Southern Utah, Nevada's got 2 or 3 times as much nothing.}
Anyway, after that there was Ely, which seems to get an amazing amount of press for such a small town. After Ely we got onto route 6 and headed down toward route 95 which would bring us to Death Valley. We had planned on staying at a campground between Saulsbury and McKinney summits down by the town of Tonopah. On the way down we saw a few dust devils (see picture), a huge lava flow, and smoke from a big fire (see picture). Now, at first the smoke didn’t look too ominous, but after a few minutes took on a very mushroom cloud look to it. Which made me think that the last thing I want to see is a mushroom cloud when I’m driving through the Nevada desert. Well, it wasn’t nuclear (or is that nucular?), but it did seem oddly surrealistic to me.
Oh, and then there was the sand flats. Called “Lunar Crater” on the map, it was what seems to be the bottom of a dry lake bed. In class I told someone that I thought it was about 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, but I checked it out on Google Maps and found I was just a tad off. By like a factor of 10. It really is only about 3 ½ miles long and a mile and a half wide, but driving on it it seemed to go on forever. We got the car going up to about 100 MPH, and did some really cool sideways slides, at a much lower speed of course. We got a ton of good pictures, that I put into a sort of video. As Alex brought the car back from the first round of dust running, I was taking the pictures, the first thing we said was “Danny’s gonna love this” (that’s our little brother, the 3 of us have been hanging around together for, well, most of our lives). So, we’re hoping to get together a long weekend with all of us out there for some playing. No speed limit, nobody to bug us, and as long as we don’t blow anything up or harass the cattle we’ll be left alone. After we decided we were wasting too much gas (forgot to fill up in Ely) we headed out to the camp ground. Which was totally underwhelming (see picture). Nothing but gravel and a couple little trees, right off the highway. Uh, thanks, but no. We headed down to Tonopah, got a hotel room, had some dinner, checked out the town and bunkered down for the night.

Oh, and Alex, feel free to comment on anything I miss. I want to get everything on here, and I'm bound to forget something.....

4 comments:

A Paperback Writer said...

I'm enjoying the travelogue. nice pics.
Now, it's obvious at this point that you've prewritten these posts and have used the little blogger timer thing (I haven't tried it yet -- all mine are written in real time.) to post them one a day. But my question is: when did you sit down and write this novel? 'Cause this is looooong. You must've sat quite a while if you typed this all out at once. So when? Just curious.

Max said...

Writer, you're absolutely right, I have been using Blogger's scheduling function, although I rerally did post that one right after midnight last night. I've been writing a little here and a little there, and setting them up to post every day so I wouldn't post too much at once. I just happened to finish that one right around midnight on the day I wanted to post it, so I adjusted the scheduler to post it right away.

A Paperback Writer said...

Oh, so you didn't write the whole thing in one sitting. Okay, that makes more sense.
I mean, hey, I love writing, but that'd be a mighty long session to describe your whole trip.
And I think you're right about posting it in chunks. Even I, your most dedicated fan (or at least the most verbal), probably wouldn't read a 50, 000 word post.

Max said...

Yeah, I'm more of a columnist than a novelist - if I tried writing them all at once I'd just never get done. And it's a lot easier to get people, even the most loyal ones, to read one 15 minute essay every day for a week than one hour and a half long essay in one sitting.