A tale of diversions which, somehow, were meant to be
06.05.2016 - 07.05.2016 42 °C
Room 403, Quinta Inn, Ely, Nevada
15.10 PST, Sunday 8th May
(Stop Press: Tornado warnings are in force in many states. Luckily for us, to the east of here, where we were in the early part of last week)
Yes we gained an hour crossing into Nevada which is on Pacific time. That came as a nice surprise! As of today (Sunday) we have driven 1,464 miles. John has to pay tribute to Bob who, on this trip, has done much of the driving. We could not have covered those magical miles without his driving contribution.
Just to brighten your day: we talked earlier on our first day of drivin', that we'd seen cattle trucks going in the opposite direction, presumably to Dodge City, KS, where there are huge meat processing plants. Well, that may not have been the case. As, after Encampment (see previous blog) we saw a couple of said cattle trucks parked out on the range and lines of contented cattle strolling away from the trucks to settle into their new home on the Wyoming Range! Mooray for them!
Meanwhile, back in Green River, Wyoming. Not such an early start thinking that Friday's drive was not such a long one. Wrong! We were looking at the wrong figure and it was 330 miles to Nephi, NV, and some of it on fairly slow roads.
Hampton Inn breakfast before we set out
Also, I thought the road was out of Green River but the map seemed to show we had to go back on I-80 to Rock Springs. Which is what we did. We stopped to check there, and found, after all, that the road we'd planned to take did indeed start from Green River. These things are meant to happen. We took the route from where we were and this proved to be the better road as it was the Flaming Gorge Scenic Route. Great views of the gorge, lots of snow and some rain too.
Through Vernal, Utah, where we had stayed on a previous tour, and where Arthur was disappointed that the pink begonias had not yet been planted out. Not!
We continued on busy and rather boring US40. Our TomTom was still showing over 5 hours to our destination so we kept changing our mind about taking the easier route by heading back in the direction of Salt Lake then taking I-15 down to Nephi. Then John spotted an alternative which Madam TomTom had not come up with. This was on various State Routes, over the top, through Scofield and on to Fremont. Wow, we were so lucky as this was one of the highlights of the week. Stunning scenery, lots of snow and no other cars, bar one or two trucks from local mines or natural gas depots. (Lots of oil and gas in these parts).
From Fremont, we were back on the original route, to Nephi. Somehow we'd been expecting to be going over Mountain passes but it was an easy and flat drive to our stop for the night in Nephi, Utah.
Here we used a Best Western. A traditional-style motel where the rooms are bigger and you can park your car right outside the front door. Much more convenient.
We had dinner at Lisa's Country Kitchen, as recommended by the receptionist, where we got 10% off. The place had seen better days, as had the "hostess". The food was not great either. We are not doing that well this trip food-wise!
Nice salad starters for both, tough ole pork shops for John, liver 'n onions for Bob which was OK
Looking forward to this drive into Nevada and it's one and only National Park, the Great Basin National Park.
We start with the "free" breakfast in the motel. Not enough seats for all the elderly people (like us) wandering around in a daze looking for the milk, or spoon, or the sugar. We settled down in two armchairs to eat our cereal and a surprisingly nice omelette. We do oatmeal but not grits. It's one or other in these places and this one was a "grits" house. Indeed, in our hotel here in Ely, NV, it was biscuits 'n gravy, not grits, not oatmeal. We don't do biscuits 'n gravy either at that time of the morning. We have not yet developed a cowboy's cast iron skillet-lined stomach for that stuff!
We had periods of rain, landing as snow on the peaks. But the skies turned blue, or most of them did, with whirling peaks of spectacular cloud over many of the mountain ranges.
It was a relatively easy drive to the Nevada border where, as mentioned, we gained an hour. We chatted there to 2 guys and a girl who were cycling. Two of them had started in the Bay area (San Francisco) and are cycling to New York (taking around 4 months). The other guy, who they had met up with on the road, had started near Reno, NV and was having an easy ride to Salt Lake City. Three very nice young people. Good luck guys! (I promised to send them a link to this Blog).
The guy in the middle is the one just going as far as Salt Lake. Either side it's Emme and Isaias off to New York
We learned in the excellent exhibit in the Visitors Centre of the National Park, that the Great Basin (out of which no water escapes - the rivers, streams and springs all feed into the basin where the water either evaporates or goes into the ground) stretches from Utah to the Sierra Nevada in the west, and from south Idaho to Mexico in the south. Well, we never knew that.
We were also able to buy, at last, our National Parks pass. For $80 we can have unlimited access to National facilities, like Parks and Monuments for a year. We'd better get weaving as we only have 4 weeks left.
The very top of the drive up to Wheeler's Mountain was closed due to snow, but we were able to get pretty close to the top for great views of the basin and the mountains. And we chatted to a couple of ladies from California. We were able to recommend the film Pride to them, as well as The Lady in the Van!
A member of the original Fremont tribe (they later merged in with the Shoshones) doing some illustration work.
Arthur had to do some of the driving
This is the Holgrem's buckwheat found only here. You won't see this anywhere else.
It was then a relatively easy drive to our stop for two nights.
On the edge of Ely we found our very nice La Quinta Inn. A new motel chain to us. But very nice indeed. Slightly bigger rooms and lots of room to potter around in a daze looking for spoons etc in the breakfast room.
Once again we took the advice of the receptionist and ate at the Silver State Restaurant. Not very good..... again!
Bob: grilled chicken salad. John: chicken thins which were... OK
Bob is currently doing the laundry and we have a table booked for a steak at the Cellblock steakhouse in the Jailhouse motel and casino. We have never met so many friendly Americans as on this trip. We popped into the Jail House just now to check it out and the barman (who are notoriously grumpy, especially in down-at-heel casinos, came out from behind his bar and escorted us to the steakhouse). Good job we went in as they are nearly fully booked, it being Mothers Day here (as TV constantly reminds us).
We had a smashing day today on the Northern Nevada Railway, and tomorrow drive to Las Vegas. Yippeee!!