We are starting our voyage across Nevada on Highway 50, dubbed the loneliest road in America. So far, we love it! Did you know that Nevada has more mountain ranges than any other state in the lower 48? Neither did we!
The weather has been perfect and there are herds of wild horses roaming the area – the highway signs even warn for them! We saw a couple of herds – one not far from our campground and one in the middle of Virginia City.
We traveled through Donner Pass to get to Dayton, NV where we spent the last three nights. It was a nice (State Park) campground,
but the bugs were insane and we couldn’t spend any time outdoors there, so we’re moving on now. We are a little leery of traveling a “lonely” highway on Memorial Day weekend with no advance reservations, but here we go!
The area offered a lot for us to do and I enjoyed our time in Dayton. We found what could be the worlds best Won Tons in a local restaurant – Gold Canyon Cafe (included in upcoming youtube) – and to-die-for sugar-fee caramels (at $24/lb!) at the Chocolate Nugget – both places right off of 50. Gee, maybe it’s better for the waistline that we’re leaving!
One whole day was spent exploring Virginia City,
and the next was spent driving around Lake Tahoe. Great weather for both! The last time (and first time) we were in Virginia City was on a motorcycle trip. That’s the last time we were in Tahoe as well. But those were just drive-by’s. We travel at a slower pace these days, and were able to read every placard and sign at every stop.
In Virginia City, we toured the Mackay Mansion
and heard ghost voices recorded by local paranormal investigators. We toured the beautiful St. Mary’s of the Mountains Catholic church
and learned that the original church had been blown down by strong winds (twice!) and that the current one was built in 1876 after the great fire in 1875 burned down two-thousand structures (including the 3rd building of St. Mary’s).
While there, we met a wonderful woman who had spent eight years full-timing with her husband before “making” him settle down (in Dayton) so she could regain her community. I wish we had that on tape – she had an interesting perspective on being mobile for so long. This full-timing is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for us – so far so good!
In Virginia City, Tom had one of “The Best Bloody Mary’s In Town” (that he said was just “alright”) in one of the many original saloons in town. We walked up and down the side streets looking at old homes and back alleys. We took a short jeep trip near a working mine and had a picnic lunch at the town park. All in all, a really nice day there.
The next day (Friday on Memorial Day weekend) we got an earlier start and headed to Lake Tahoe for the day. Not as crowded as I anticipated (maybe it was because it was early in the day) which was nice, but unfortunately everywhere we wanted to pull over and see the lake was a state park and you can’t even cruise through without paying a fee. So anywhere there was a public site with no-fee parking we pulled over to check it out.
We spent some time at the Gatekeepers house, they controlled the flood gates from Lake Tahoe out to the Truckee River. It was interesting to see how high the lake was compared to the past few drought years. I’m so happy we are able to hit this place at the right year/time of year!
We continued around the north end of the lake to Emerald Bay. It used to be called Eagle Bay and I saw my first golden eagle flying above it! So appropriate!
I remembered the lookout point from our last trip, but this time there was an enormous waterfall! We hiked around Eagle Falls and took lots of pictures, then found out there was an upper fall hike across the road.
So up we went – five-hundred-feet-in-elevation-change up! We hiked to the source of the falls: Eagle Lake. Water was streaming down everywhere, including down parts of the trail. There was even snow still across parts of the trail! You can see a video of the hike here.
The lake was very picturesque, but what caught my attention was a lone duck that swam up while we were sitting by the lake. He got out of the water in front of us and wouldn’t go away. I think he was just waiting to get his picture taken!
So, for the first little portion of highway 50 at least, we’re thoroughly enjoying it! Now we continue on across Nevada.
Peace & Love, joy