Monday, May 28, 2012
Armpit of the Southwest
MovinSue made her First Ever Big Mistake leaving Las Vegas. For some reason, US 93 and US 95 ran together in her mind. Not so--and the mistake cost me about 40 miles and a trip into .....the GREAT BASIN!
The GREAT BASIN is a No-Man's Land where neither man nor beast should enter without serious survival gear. The basin is guarded by the Great Basin National Park, which gets about 43 visitors per year. I guess few people are interested in visiting a place inhabited primarily by bacteria, bats and bobcats.
This is what the inhospitable landscape looks like; even the elevated road is hostile with a very small shoulder sloping down to sand and rumble strips on both the edge and in the center. There is nothing out here and one needs to keep a full tank of gas, a sidearm and her wits about her.
Area 51, a super-secret Air Force test facility, and in the 1980's and 1990's there were many sightings of unidentified objects near the base.
But, the most disturbing phenom of all was Tonopah, NV--one of the most wretched towns I have ever seen. The participating member RV park was so run down and ugly that I refused to stop. So, I pulled into the only business that was open--McDonalds! Great, a Wifi signal and some comfort food! I could look for another place to squat for the night, grab some fries and surf.
Tonopah NV was declared, by the pimply, baby-faced cashier, to be the ONLY McD's in the system to have NO Wifi. Additionally, they had NO ketchup for the fries, and the fries were cold. So, I headed for town where there were 2 casinos and plopped in the Truck/RV Parking lot at the Banc Club for the night.
Woke up to 43 degrees! Yikes, Vegas was 93!
Gas was horrendous; $3.89 in Vegas and $4.49 in Tonopah. Tonopah is obviously gouging travellers' anxiety about driving 200 miles to the next gas station.
(In the style of Donald Trumph)
"Tonopah....you ARE the Armpit of the Southwest!"
Huh? The Navy has business in the desert?
So, I went online and looked up Hawthorne. Very interesting. There is also an Army Depot housing mines and ammunition but the interesting thing is a theory that this is a submarine test site. It is theorized that Nevada and California sit on a continental shelf in this region and that the government has tunnelled underneath the shelf from Monterey CA, through Nevada and all the way to Missouri!
And, then it happened.
I think I have gotten 2 tickets in my lifetime; prior to the last two months, when I was in my 30's. In the last two months, I have booked almost $300 in fines for non-moving violations. My violation in Hawthorne was "Failure to Follow Rules" because my license plate was obscured by my container on my hitchhauler. It seems as though my Life Lessons follow me as I travel. These guys really need my money and the officer was quite handsome, so I just consider it a mostly-pleasant exchange and a public donation.
And she moved on...