Finding a place to land is the hardest part of moving across country. Landing can be rough after spending hours on the highway. It takes us a while to settle down and relax again. We have been on the road for over a month now. Every place we have found to camp has a story. We arrive crazy and covered in grit then begin to melt into the earth and claim the landscape as our own. Even huddled in the Argosy at a rest stop while the earth shakes from the giants of the highway, we find some comfort and serenity in lunch before doing battle again on the road.
Great Basin National Park
The road to Wheeler Peak is a steep long vertigo experience. We took the dogs up to the top including our friend’s Jack Russell, Jewel. Jewel wanted to get on my lap to look out the window but my driving skills needed to be full attention. I wondered how many inattentive drivers ran off that steep road. Imagine someone eating a chicken leg driving off into space. The campgrounds get full quickly there partly because of the minimal $12 a night fee and the fact that there is not much out there on Highway 50 but alkaline flats and desert.
We met fellow Airstreamer’s John and Susanne in Green River then spent some time at Great Basin with them. It is wonderful to meet people out here.
The Ruby Mountains
It looked like a paved road on the map. I should have recognized the omen. My friend Jude called just before we turned off into nowhere. Somewhere where Jude and I had gone previously-on roads that went nowhere even one that was buried in the lake. It was paved for a while, then 25 miles of white limestone dust and dirt through the Long Valley on 767. We saw the Pony Express route and gained a new respect for the courage and stamina of those days. Further on we saw a miner wearing a hard hat near the road. Yes this was the right road to Ruby Lake. When we landed finally at South Ruby Campground, the inside of the Argosy looked like it had exploded. White dust was everywhere. We spent the next several hours cleaning our lives and then a shower to get off the dust. It was chilly at night in this strange wetland. We were in one of the wildest chain of mountains in Nevada, The Ruby Mountains
The following day we left the Ruby Lake NWR. We saw White Faced Ibis, Yellow headed blackbirds, multitudes of ducks, Night Crowned Herons and others. The road over the mountains to Lamoille Canyon looked as bad as a road could be. Of course there was no signage except a marker that said: “Hastings Cutoff”. Having read the saga of the Donner Party, I knew that it was the ill fated route that took them into the Sierras. We decided to stay on the semi paved road all the way into Elko.
We arrived in Lamoille Canyon late in the afternoon. This is a spectacular canyon with Glaciers feeding waterfalls that cascade down the sides of the canyon. We stayed an extra day to hike the trails into the backcountry.
Rio the Wonder Dog
Loaded for the Adventure
You can’t hide
Its hot out here in the Nevada Desert.
We took Highway 140 into Oregon through what we thought was a town, Denio. We were obviously in denio when we past the Store, Biker Bar and Gas Station combination thinking there was something else more glamorous. Nada. Up on the high passes through the Pronghorn Reserve the wind did howl with a fierceness never experienced before. Coming off the high pass into Oregon was like landing a plane. We tried not to look over the edge of the twisty two lane road descending into a sea of green. As we entered into Oregon, it rained. A good sign that we were finally out of the desert. Through the mountains we drove till we came to Juniper RV Park. They were setting up for a big cowboy wedding later the next day. It was cold and rainy that night. Gatefully the showers were hot. The following night we camped at another cold high country lake. The water in the dog’s bowl had frozen over and we found ourselves sleeping in stocking hats and woolies. We headed out of the scary one lane campground road hoping not to meet another car and headed to Lake of the Woods. It was beautiful with Mt. McLoughlin’s snow covered profile in the background.
The temperature had started to warm up. We kept the campfire that we found smoldering alive until darkness and mosquitos finally drove us indoors.
More tails from Oregon to come.