Monday, September 3, 2012

Only the Loneliest

August 31
In 1986 Life magazine Spoke of U.S. 50 in Nevada as the "Loneliest Road in America." The publication also pointed out that a driver should have "survival skills" to even attempt the passage. AAA agreed, saying there were no points of interest on the route and recommending travelers avoid the road like the plague if possible.
Five miles into today's journey my trajectory intersected that of the notorious highway. I will be on 50 on and off, mostly on, for the next three hundred miles. My first impressions? Nowhere near as lonely as Utah 21, where I saw an average of a car per hour. The average on U.S. 50 is closer to ten. Hardly New York rush hour gridlock, but a definite increase.
Traffic means more danger for me, so eight miles in I turned onto White Pine County Road 38. The dirt road cuts across a mountain pass, which 50 skirts to the north, meaning I could save some mileage as well. I had the trail to myself for the rest of the jaunt, passing a couple of properties and the abandoned mining town of Osceola. Tiny slabs of marble and slate marking the graves of children are the only evidence the town of 1500 ever existed. I've seen this movie before on many occasions in Colorado and western Utah. Although I know little about Nevada I have no doubt the boom and bust story will be airing again in the near future.
U.S. 50 came into sight shortly after Osceola, a thin line splitting Spring Valley below. Five rows of giant windmills whirled in unison to the north, lightning flashed in the Western sky, and an eerie wind began to blow. The storm appeared to be gathering on both sides of me so I wisely called a halt two miles from the highway. A red light atop the windmills blanked in approval. I flicked them the bird. What do these ignorant windmills know about the decision-making process?
22 miles/3400 total miles

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