Monday, May 28, 2012

Armpit of the Southwest

Las Vegas may be the ONLY redeeming quality of Nevada.

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.

In making my correction, I had to take the infamous Extraterrestrial Highway.   The Extraterrestrial Highway was named for the many UFO sightings along this lonely stretch of road. The highway is close to the mysterious 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.

There were desert storms brewing during my drive--athough you don't really need a storm to experience odd weather phenomena.  To Wit:  Dust Devils.  They are actually kind of "cute" from a distance; they whirl and swirl and kick up some dust and debris, and **poof** just as quickly as they show up, they are gone!  One passed over me on the road; I could see we were going to intersect and white-knuckled the steering wheel in anticipation of the turbulence.  I figured that it couldn't be worse than a couple semis passing but dreaded what crap was swirling in the vortex.   Sure enough, I was buffeted and bitch-slapped in several directions at once!   No damage, but what a ride!

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!

The morning ride was beautiful; the wind had died down and the mountains were pastel-pretty.

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)

 " ARE the Armpit of the Southwest!"

Then, I approached Hawthorne-- place with a history.  The first thing I noted were large mounds in the desert with sharp cuts vertically in each mound and a sign that identified the area as a Navy Warfare Detachment.   This photo is from online as I could not get a decent photo from the road.  There were hundreds of these structures as far as the eye could see.

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!

I departed to a delight to the eyes--Walker Lake Recreational Area.

Here is a the best I could do to get into the shot with my camera self-timer.   Usually, there is someone around who will take a photo...but not in Hawthorne.

And, then it happened.

Can you guess what the flying $72 means?

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...

1 comment:

  1. What was your other Non-Moving Violation?
    Also, do you have an ETA?