Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nevada's Road to Nowhere - and Why You Need to Drive It

 While Traveling From Michigan to Lake Tahoe, One Road Tripping Fanatic Recounts Why US 50 is One of the Greatest Roads He's Ever Traveled 

I first became aware of the Loneliest Road (US 50) when I was planning a trip to Lake Tahoe to attend my niece's wedding.  I found out that in 1968 Life magazine had dubbed US 50 in Nevada the "Loneliest Road in America" and that the State of Nevada would provide travelers of US 50 with a certificate and pin once they had had traversed it.  Well that did it for me, I was going to travel US 50 to Lake Tahoe.  When I traced the route on the map I also found that US 50 would be the shortest route to my destination as it passes right through South Lake Tahoe on it's way into California.  Coming down out of the Rocky Mountains on I-70 you pick up US 50 in Utah at Salinas.  It then passes  I-15 through Delta, Utah before you enter Nevada. 

It was a marvelous experience to get off the interstate on to US 50 and have this marvelous 2 lane blacktop road all to yourself.  I made it to Ely the first day and spent the night and the next day I made it all the way to Carson City. 

What was amazing to me was the 17 mountain ranges I crossed and the spacious valleys between them.  It's like the mountains ripple across Nevada like the waves out on the sea. In December they are mostly show capped and you can see them looming in front of you for many miles before you ascend the pass that crosses them.   The road slithers like a reptile, snaking between mountains like an ancient river bed before disappearing behind the next mountain range you must cross.

The vistas along US 50 are breathtaking. Coming down the Austin Summit pass in the Toiyabe Range was amazing, in my humble opinion. Here, you can see for miles and miles. As I told many a friend and family member, I felt the horizon was 360 degrees and looked like I could see the natural curvature of the Earth. The land seemed to envelope me and I felt naked and exposed as if gravity would fail me and I would float up into the great American west. 

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