In reality it feels as though we are crossing an ocean. Each valley is a huge expanse of sage-green, long and wide, slowing rising to a mountain pass topped by frothy snow capped mountain "waves". At each crest we can see our tiny ribbon of highway flowing through the next green valley and climbing the next wave of mountains.
We search for signs of life as we drive, seeing few cattle and sheep, one lone pronghorn. Water sources are well hidden here, keeping only the hardiest of men and beasts away.
My practical, city-born brain wonders how people manage to live in the small towns dotting the highway, so spread out from each other and any large towns. There are no grocery stores, no hospitals or even medical clinics for hundreds of miles. Imagine, no fresh produce in the middle of winter! How are the young people making a living?
Most of today's small towns were thriving cities in the 1800's. Prospectors struck a pocket of something glittery and the next thing you knew thousands of people had flocked to the area, looking to build their own fortune. Today these small towns seem to be hanging on by a thread, with a few historic buildings reminiscent of what used to be, but only a handful of tourists passing through, and maybe stopping, each day on this Loneliest Road.
|We stopped briefly in Eureka and walked around admiring their beautifully restored historic buildings.|
|Imagine the grand events held in these buildings 130 years ago...|
We stopped for the night in Austin, NV, smack dab in the middle of the state. Originally a silver rush town founded in 1862, today there are about 200 inhabitants, many old, decrepit buildings, a brand new visitor center (not yet open for business), a handful of open businesses, and many, many empty stores. We walked from our camp site into the hills surrounding the town to immerse ourselves in this beautiful, remote area.
|Lots of interesting old buildings along the main drag, few were refurbished, many were empty.|
All of these cars belonged to attendees of a meeting at the Masonic Hall (the red brick building).
|This catholic church, built in 1866, is the oldest church in Nevada.|
|Many of the walls around town were built using locally sourced, hand-hewn stone.|
|We took a walk in the hills overlooking town. That's our RV right, front.|
Austin RV Park is run by the local baptist church, $20/night, full hookups, excellent 4G Verizon signal.
|We shared the trail with a local...|
|I was entranced by this small cabin nestled in solitude in the hills well outside of town.|
|Stokes Castle and a mining relic.|