We Survived "The Loneliest Road In America"
04.19.2017 - 05.08.2017
We had mixed feelings about leaving Dayton, NV. We were ready for new surroundings, but still a little sad to leave such a friendly place. We drove to Reno on Wednesday 4/19 to have our generator serviced. We had to wait for a part to be delivered, so we ended up staying in the Atlantis Casino parking lot for 2 nights.
We were headed to Moab, UT to meet up with some PowerParaglidinG friends from Idaho and New Mexico. We could have continued northeast from Reno on Interstate 80 through Salt Lake City, but we chose a more direct backroad to Moab across the middle of Nevada on Route 50.
The Nevada portion of US Route 50 was named "The Loneliest Road in America" by Life magazine in July 1986. The name originates from large desolate areas traversed by the route, with few or no signs of civilization. We found that description to be completely accurate. The route was constructed over an historic corridor, first used for the Pony Express and Central Overland Route. We saw the remnants of several Pony Express way stations along the highway.
The first leg of our journey from Reno was desolate and beautiful. Our first stop would be in the Toiyabe Mountain Range. Thank goodness we were able to cross this range below the snow line!
We rolled into the cute little mining town of Austin, NV on the afternoon of Friday 4/21. It would have been fun to explore Austin for a day or two, but we had people to meet in Moab, so we needed to keep moving. We asked a local where we might be able to stay overnight and he recommended the city park. It was a great place to stop for the night. Mike even threw a couple of horseshoes for fun.
The next night I planned to stay at a BLM campground just east of Ely, NV. The Sacramento Pass Recreation Area is the nicest free campground I've ever seen; with covered picnic tables, bbq grills, pit toilets, trash pickup, even a fishing pond! I couldn't believe we had the campground all to ourselves, especially on a Saturday night! This place must be packed during the summer.
We crossed the Nevada/Utah border on Sunday morning, headed for Salina, UT. It was interesting to see how the landscape changed. The vegetation gradually became different, and so did the terrain. I snapped a few photos of how rocky it was becoming.
I had no idea where we would sleep that night, but I knew we could stay at a truck stop in Salina if we couldn't find anyplace else. Luckily, we came across the Blackhawk Arena. The parking lot was open and mostly deserted. Security drove by and didn't ask us to leave, so we were set for the night. We were sure glad to have the arena as shelter from the windstorm that blew through shortly after we arrived.
The terrain around Interstate 70 from Salina to Moab is some of the most stunning I've ever seen. We just had to stop at a couple of vista points to take in the scenery:
The terrain turned more red as we approached Moab:
Our campsite was located in a BLM dispersed camping area off Highway 313,; the same road that leads to Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park. We arrived on Monday 4/24 in plenty of time to stop at the scenic overlooks on the way to camp:
We saw this type of rock formation everywhere. I found it so interesting that these are calcified ancient sand dunes!
Our friend Steve had sent us the GPS coordinates of the BLM campsite where we were to meet. Mike & I found it easily and it was a beautiful spot! We were the first of our PPG group to arrive, but we weren't alone for long. The campsite was in a beautiful location amidst the red canyons and mesas. We arranged our RVs into a communal circle, much like the wagon trains of old.
Unfortunately it was extremely windy during the first week we were there, so we had to find other things to do besides fly. One day, we all took an ATV ride to a special place for a picnic lunch. One of the couples had an extra ATV and generously loaned it to me & Mike for the day. Ours was the red ATV in this photo.
It was a lot of fun zooming through the countryside in the ATV. I can definitely see the appeal of off-roading. Here's a spot where we took a short break:
We arrived at our lunch destination and had to hike through a short tunnel to get to our picnic spot. The view on the other side made a great backdrop for lunch.
I felt a little like a mountain goat here. The "trail" was really narrow.
Even though Mike wasn't able to fly as much as he wanted to, we thoroughly enjoyed becoming better friends with those we already knew and making good friends with people new to the group. Several people could be with us for only one week. Those of us who stayed an extra day were rewarded with good weather to fly. Here's a short video of Mike's first launch. Thanks for the video, Kirk!
Because there is so much to see around Moab, Mike & I decided to stay another week. After our PPG friends left on Monday 5/1, we moved to a more sheltered campsite in the same area. The first photo shows both our old campsite and where we moved to.
Here we were within just a few miles of Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, petroglyph panels and dinosaur tracks. To see those photos, read my next post, Utah Rocks!
Here's a map showing our route to Moab, UT:
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