Friday, October 11, 2019

US95: Northern Great Basin

Tonopah, NV, was once a robust silver mining town, but today seems to basically be a travel plaza. It is so remotely located in the middle of the Great Basin desert, that many travelers make a stop for fuel and/or overnight like me. This photo speaks volumes about that reality and my day on the road.

Heading north out of Tonopah, US95 is co-signed with US6 for about 40 miles. The road is good, traffic is light and the desert is immense. Even at high speeds, the mountains seem unreachable.

Turing north away from US6, it's still 60 miles of nothing but desert and distant mountains before reaching Hawthorne, NV. I don't think I saw so much as an historical marker on the way.

Approaching Hawthorne, I saw thousands of low structures in the desert, which a quick search indicated are ammunition storage bunkers for the US Army. There's a huge military installation in Hawthorne – covering some 226 square miles – that you can easily research if you are interested.

Leaving Hawthorne, I got stuck in a very long line of vehicles following a slow moving, immensely oversized vehicle. The 80 miles north to Fallon, NV, were a mind-numbing two hour stint!

Fallon, NV, is rightly called "The oasis of Nevada" due to it being at least partially green with a little bit of agriculture. I have stayed there before and found it hospitable.

It's also the point where US95 crosses my old friend US50. I took a moment to reflect on my first time crossing the Great Basin, grabbed a bite to eat and hit the road again.

Within a mile north of Fallon, you are fully back in the desert, only glad that you are making progress toward the end of it. Today was my third day-long stint, hopefully with only one more to go!

About 35 miles north of Fallon, US95 joins I-80 for a very high speed 100 miles to Winnemucca, NV, where I have stopped for the night. If all goes well, I will cross the border into Oregon tomorrow and finally make my way out of the Northern Great Basin... Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Russ said...

Tonopah is mentioned in Little Feat's song 'Willin' about a dope smoking western states truck driver.