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Desert deserter's dessert

The Plan

We set out on a wonder in the desert. We will cross the burning hot sandy Nevada and Utah planes in search of enlightenment and enrichment. In Utah we seek the fellowship of the oracle of Park City where much wine will be drunk and happiness will abound. Then we return across the scorched earths of Utah and Nevada seeking the pleasures of the deep black skies, starry nights, and quirkiness of these foreign lands. Wish us well as we go forth into the unknown. See a Map of our route

Truckee

We have forsooth, arrived in Truckee and the amazing Sierra Nevada granite mountains. As we traveled the great highway 80 we came upon Auburn a little village once a center for precious metals. It is surely lucky for us that these days are past as we neither had gold nor silver to exchange. We left the hamlet and were soon in the high granite mountains. Here we donned our walking boots and went on a 7 mile hike through magnificent conifer forests. We rested for the night in the little town of Truckee where we partook of sushi for dinner. Our way lays before us tomorrow.

Elko

Day two. After spending the night, at what was once Coburn Station, we left the Washoe tribe's traditional mountain lands and the mighty Truckee River to venture into the high desert plains of Nevada. What we hadn"t expected was rain in the Nevada desert in August! Yep, it drizzled and rained on and off all day as we traversed the vast salt flats and sagebrush covered plains of this great State.

It was eerie to hear the distant sounds of rolling thunder as we ate our cheese sandwiches in Winnemucca. To watch the rain showers blow across the enormous prairies was certainly a sight to behold. Elko is our resting spot for tonight.

And I can assure you we need to rest after speeding across this unending countryside at 75 miles per hour all the live long day. But then give a thought to how tried the first settlers must have felt as they dragged their oxen and covered wagons over the emigrant trails. No matter how bad you think something is for you; there's always something much worse for someone else.

Utah

Day three. Elko is a nice place, but I wouldn"t want to live there. For me this is true of all the towns we"ve visited in Nevada. Don"t get me wrong, it is a beautiful landscape, in its own rugged way, but everywhere is so isolated from everywhere else, everything so distant. I couldn"t deal with that kind of separation. When we left Nevada and entered Utah we were presented with the awesome spectacle of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Looking out into the vast unbroken fields of white leaves you with an impression of a snow-covered landscape, but it's not snow, it's salt that covers everything to the distant horizon. Amazing.

After a quick stop at the side of the Great Salt Lake we arrived at our destination: the shi shi little alpine village of Park City. Here we spend time with the sage of the city, Uncle Rick.

Park City

Day four and five. The Oracle of Park City was at home and what a grand home it is. His Magnificence has been hard at work over the last few years building and repairing his abode. The result is something to behold.

Even as the Mighty One fought the malevolent one, in a life and death struggle against good and evil, my Liege found time to create his castle in the sky. The next day Julia and I left his Highness in Valhalla and ascended the lofty heights of one of Deer Valley's many tall peaks. As we climbed the 1,000 feet into the stormy abyss we seemed to move closer to the mighty Thor as he filled the sky with rain and wind. But our struggles paid off as the views from the top were astounding.

Ely

Day six. The roads in Utah and Nevada are very long and very straight. To traverse these massive and arid States requires hour after hour of mindless concentration behind the wheel. Highway 6 and 50 are particularly mind and butt numbing as there isn"t even much traffic to add some slight diversion. But our hours of gliding through these big-sky country scenes at 70 miles per hour paid off when we arrived at the Great Basin National Park.

It's Nevada's only National Park and it is truly stupendous. Besides from the magnificent 13,000 foot Mount Wheeler peak and its surrounding high desert forests there are the caves.

The caves here are just brilliant; well in a dark and moody way. I"ve visited many a cave around the world, but this cave system is by far the most interesting and beautiful. We bid the National Park farewell and continued our mind and butt numbing journey to Ely Nevada where; we called it a very long, but in the end enjoyable day.

Bob Scots Campground

Day seven. Many towns in the good old US of A have the same name. Take Springfield for example it has 52 namesakes spread across the republic. Another popular name for US towns is Eureka; we came across two on this trip, one in Utah and the other in Nevada. By far the most interesting of the two is Eureka, UT. There we came across many old eighteen-hundreds buildings all open for public viewing. They were well preserved and endlessly fascinating. One really interesting building was a log cabin supposedly lived in by the infamous LDS Averaging Angle (assassin) Orin Porter Rockwell. He was the personal bodyguard to Brigham Young and Joseph Smith and was wanted for murder outside of his home State.

The entire collection of period buildings is owned and managed by a local gent. He is a real character and his stories added extra flavor to the place. A must see destination if you ever find yourself in this part of the country.

Not too far west from our final landing place for today, at Bob Scots campground, we discovered a terrific petroglyphs site. It's not far from the main and so our visit added little to our journey.

Pony Express

Day eight. As Mark Twain left the east coast for the Nevada Territory, to assist his brother in a job that never eventuated, he traversed the same desert plains Julia and I have been experiencing. He crossed these harsh lands in a stagecoach that followed closely the route of the famous Pony Express.

Our stagecoach was more speedy and luxurious than Mr. Twain's and it took us to one of the last remains of a Pony Express station. Julia and I walked three miles in 95 degree heat across the sagebrush covered landscape to the old building and discovered not much more than a few stone walls that once housed many a foolhardy young man.

The walk itself was more rewarding than the ruin as it gave us a true sense of what it was like for the pioneering men and women who crossed these badlands on, houses, by foot, in stagecoaches, and covered wagons. I have only some small idea how they could achieve such a thing.


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