Saturday, May 17, 2014

Crossing Nevada Part I: Ely

Our next stop after leaving Baker, NV was Ely, NV for two nights. Ely started out as a stagecoach stop along the Pony Express, then morphed into a copper mining town with a strong railroad industry. Today Ely has a lot of empty businesses that made a walk through downtown a bit depressing, though the helpful man at the visitors center said the town is doing pretty well these days.

The classic Hotel Nevada in downtown Ely.

There are several beautiful murals around town depicting Ely's heritage.
These are the Ward Charcoal Ovens, which are located a few miles South of town.

Friday morning we drove a few miles South West of town to the Ward Mountain Recreation Area. Ward Mountain is the high point, at 10,941 feet, of the Egan Range and the recreation area offers camping, hiking, biking, and snow sports. BLM managed trails take off from the North Trail head and Forest Service managed trails take off from the South trail head.

We chose to hike from the South side because it was closest to Ward Mountain and looked like it would offer the best views. Though most of my photos did not turn out so well, it was a nice hike in solitude with many fresh elk and deer tracks to keep us occupied looking for those beasts (we never saw any though).

Hiking through thick pine and juniper forest with a view of Ward Mountain.

We also visited the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. We happened to arrive on a Friday at noon, paid our $6/each, and followed instructions to the Engine House two blocks away. Upon arriving at the engine house, a giant building housing dilapidated railroad cars and engines and equipment, we walked throughout the building inspecting everything...but there were virtually no descriptive plaques nor any people around to tell us about what we were seeing. We felt the lack of information available to visitors made the entry fee a little steep.

Old railroad cars in various states of decay and repair were housed in the Engine House.

A few old cars were rotting away on the tracks outside.

We happened to arrive in Ely during the long weekend of the Nevada Open Road Challenge.  In this event the State of Nevada closes down 90 miles of highway 318 and more than 200 drivers enter to race flat out on the closed highway. Here's the full description in case you're itching to race your own car! Seriously, ANYONE can race! Hans spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with his brother, Norm, for whom this event would be perfect since he has a 2008 Z06 Corvette.

We were able to attend the Friday night car parade down main street, and the Saturday morning car show before we moved on down the road. The variety of cars was amazing: Corvettes were the most plentiful, but there were also Mustangs, Camaros and other old and new muscle cars, several Lamborghinis, Z cars, Teslas, Porsches, get the idea!

Car parade down highway 50 through downtown Ely.

There were several car clubs here, this was my favorite!



Eye candy for the racing enthusiast!

There were some great license plates...
My favorite sexy race car: the McLaren MP4.

And for the serious racer: haul your Lamborghini in your garage/RV rig!

We stayed at the Prospector Hotel Casino and RV Park for $15/night for full hookups. There was a fair amount of traffic on the road during the day but it quieted down at night. It was a decent and inexpensive place to stay for just two nights. RV sites are first come, first serve, nothing fancy at all...though you get a coupon for a free margarita when you check in!

This junk yard behind our RV park/hotel is a good example of the old, dilapidated, funky feel of Ely, NV!
A little tall grass outside our home and Rosie is a happy jungle kitty!


  1. Purdy cars!! Looks like fun checking them all out! Kinda like BAD MP4 myself;)

  2. My first thought was "How many people die each year?", followed immediately by "When did you become your mother?" Reading their site, it looks like they cover all the bases so it's probably safer than most Interstates :-). What a great place to get those beauties up to top speed. The cars are sweet but my favorite vehicle is the bathtub on wheels - a class all by itself.

    1. We have ran the main race twice a year for 27 years. We also ran a third race in Eureka, Nevada for a few years. Additionally, we run 1/2 mile and 1 mile "Shootout" speed races.

      Speeds in this race often exceed 200 this years one mile race the top speed was 233MPH

      To answer the question "How many people die each year"? In the first couple of years two people died. The Silver State Classic Challenge (Nevada Open Road Challenge) began the sport of Open Road Racing. So in the beginning there were no safety rules and very little in the way of a emergency response infrastructure. Our first fatality occurred when a lady navigator unfastened her belt to adjust a video camera at the exact time that they had a tire blow, she was ejected from the vehicle.

      Owing to the development of rigid inspections and safety standards, we went more than 20 years with only a few minor injuries.

      There was a double fatality a couple of years ago, again due to a blown tire at 200MPH. Despite these unfortunate events, among motorsport activities the Silver State Classic safety record ranks at the top. Many thousands of racers and rally car drivers have safely competed in the SSCC events.

      So the answer to "How many people die each year?" In the first years we had two fatalities

  3. Interesting stop with the lucky visit to see all those fancy cars! Rosie thinks she is really buried in the deep:)

  4. I'm so sorry we missed each other in Ely. I had no idea you guys were there either until I read this great post a day late. I had just finished going through all my own race car pics when I saw you had a new post up -- and then I saw the "same" pics here. How cool is that? But by then you had left on Rte 50 and we were leaving due north. Would have been great to connect... Are you coming to Oregon? We're in Bend and will be here a while (I'm always about 2 weeks behind with my blog posts… just can't catch up!!).