Today we are going across Nevada. From edge to edge. In one day. We are booking it west to California and we haven’t been messing around!
Because we are so self-contained and self-sufficient (thanks to our solar panels and large water tanks), we are able to dry-camp our way west.
Monday evening we picked up our motorhome from Eddie’s Truck Repair (another BIG shout out to them for being so great) and spent the night a few miles from there at Rapid City Cabela’s (parking lot).
Tuesday morning we left South Dakota and went down through Nebraska Panhandle and into Cheyenne, Wyoming where we spent the night at Sierra Trading Post (parking lot). Then we went across Wyoming and overnighted at a Walmart (parking lot) in Rock Springs. Then we went across Utah landing in the first town across the Nevada border which was West Wendover. (Wendover is on the Utah side). There we stayed at Rainbow Palace Casino (parking lot). So there you go: Five states in three days. And lots of blacktop camping!
Not that we didn’t enjoy ourselves along the way. At least I did (because I wasn’t driving!). We had some scenic picnics along the way.
We took a tour in Scotts Bluff (Nebraska) of the bluffs and the wagon train passage.
It was in the middle of the day and it was too hot to hike, plus part of the trail up the bluff was closed due to a rock slide. We watched the movie inside the air-conditioned visitor center. We’ve seen a lot of these video presentations in museums or display centers and they are usually really well done.
After getting some literature at the border crossing into Wyoming, we were stoked to explore downtown Cheyenne.
What a disappointment. I was reading a brochure that said Cheyenne was the richest city (per capita) in the WORLD in the 1880’s. It showed pictures of the brick and stone mansions and actual palaces built by the cattle barons. However, in the early 1970’s many of them were torn down and turned into parking lots. Can you believe it? The struggling downtown with all it’s empty storefronts reminded us a lot of Fresno (California). We didn’t like the feel of that city at all and were glad to leave it.
On the eastern side of Wyoming we left I-80 at Rock Springs to take a scenic drive through Flaming Gorge.
They have tours of the Dam there but the elevator wasn’t working when we were there. But we had a lovely breakfast at the reservoir and an idea that this would be a nice place to return to for some boating/fishing/hiking/exploring.
When we crossed the border for good into Utah, we stopped at the first visitor center for information. I asked the nice lady at the counter what interesting things there were to do in Northern Utah. Her answer? “Shopping in Park City.”
“What about around the Salt Lake area?” I tried again.
“Oh, the shopping is great in Salt Lake City too!” she offered. Okie Dokie.
It didn’t really matter. Because of our traveling speed there isn’t much opportunity for exploration, but I was amused that someone working for the Visitor Center of a state would know so little about what that state had to offer!
So we drove past Salt Lake City stopping only at one roadside marker that talked about what a thriving tourist spot it used to be. Well, whatever was there was there no longer and it was kind of a dumb spot. So we drove on only seeing the great lake from the windows of the RV.
However, when I saw how close we’d be to the Bonneville Salt Flats, and found out there was a paved road out to see it, I convinced Tom to stop.
All along the freeway there were tire tracks of people just driving out there, many of the tracks showed that people drove right back to the freeway in order to avoid getting stuck. It’s pretty amazing. There is a crusty layer of salt that is concrete strong in places, and in other areas my foot broke the crust and sunk into a clay-like mud. There were places where people dug down eight inches and hit water level. We unhitched the Jeep and drove out on the salt flats to where they do the timed “racing” in the spring and fall. It was pretty cool, but we had to make sure to wash the Jeep thoroughly right after that.
When we hit the Nevada border shortly after that we called it quits for the night (about 6pm).
We “camped” at one of the casinos but it was too hot to cook, so we went inside for their buffet dinner. Then a band started and we stayed for a few drinks. Had a blast watching the Voodoo Cowboys play and making friends with their lead singer, Dez Hoston. What great guys!
So all in all, even though we’re moving on a fast timeline, we are not skimping on fun!
Peace & Love, Joy