Saturday, May 8, 2010

The "Loneliest Road in America" challenge

A night in Reno precedes U.S. 50 adventure

My wife Linda knows I like adventure, to an extent, and going off the beaten path.

On a trip out West, the opportunity arose to take a highway that, on the map, always seemed rather interesting and it met my criteria.

That road is what Nevada Department of Transportation officials term "The Loneliest Road in America" --- U.S. Highway 50.

I read they adopted the name for the highway following an article in Life magazine in 1986. Time tagged the road with such a moniker because of the desolate landscape through which the road traversed.

Highway 50 may be the loneliest road but one does not have to be lonely. If so, it is just for a short period of time.

We did not travel on the entire section of the road in Nevada. We arrived in the "Silver State" on Interstate 80 having visited California. A night in Reno and then it was eastward bound, taking Alternate 50 that ran into the official road.

From the California border to Utah, the former pony express trail covers some 400 miles, with elevations of up to 7,000 feet, climbing through numerous mountain passes.

Interesting tidbits include:

-- The "Shoe Tree" located near Middlegate where a cottonwood tree is host to hundreds of pairs of shoes;

-- A burro ( my wife thinks it was one) that quickly spit out the carrot we offered as a snack;

-- Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area and Interpretive Site;

-- Eureka, Nev, which bills itself as "The "Friendliest Town" on "The Loneliest Road in America:"

-- Cave Creek campground where we spent the night;

-- The city of Ely;

-- And the Great Basin National Park.

Another interesting sidebar on the way to the Great Basin park was a roadside area sponsored by the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition. Adjacent to it was an old rusted jalopy in which someone had managed to position behind the steering wheel, the bleached bones of an animal.

Our trip across Nevada, from Reno to the campground, encompassed a good day. Then it was on to Great Basin and Utah.

"The Loneliest Road" -- a challenge met and conquered.

Hundreds of pairs of shoes on tree

Travelers take time to look, contribute

Shoes -- they're hanging everywhere

Carrot was quickly spit out by desert denizen

Drawings adorn wall at Hickison Petroglyphs recreation area

Town takes advantage of "loneliest road" designation

Vehicles on U.S. 50 are few and far between

Ely offers another oasis in the middle of the desert

Some creatures find the desert debilitating

Next: Savannah and the "Moon River" connection to be posted Sunday, May 16

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