The Loneliest Road

We awoke early this morning. Mel was desperate for coffee so we drove into Truckee and found a lovely restaurant for breakfast. It was the kind of place that's been around forever—rustic, western style with wagon-wheel chandeliers.

Desert Road

Desert Road

After breakfast, we toured the Donner museum and then continued east. We were heading to Great Basin National Park, which required us to drive straight across Nevada on US Route 50, dubbed The Loneliest Road.

After passing through Reno and Sparks, we began a journey through one of the most desolate parts of the U.S. Between Fallon and Ely, Nevada, a distance of 260 miles, there are two towns that contain a total of about 1,000 people.

The view is similar for much of the drive. Wide, flat valleys with gently-sloping mountains. It is mostly desert or arid land with low-lying brush.

The Loneliest Road

The Loneliest Road

In the mountain passes, the air is cooler and plants have a better chance for survival. Animals do as well; at many of the higher-elevation passes the road was littered with thousands of large, black grasshoppers hopping across the road. It was hopeless to avoid them.

As we continued east, we drifted in and out of rain showers. One pass after another opened up to a wide, shallow valley. For hundreds of miles, the landscape looked like this photo.

Between mountain passes, the road often stretches for 20 miles before disappearing from sight on the horizon. The novelty of this expanse wears off after the first hundred miles, believe me.