By Neal Johns
All alone we were, starting in the Northwest part of Nevada and drifting toward the Southeast. We stopped to see Marian’s son and daughter-in-law (who just became parents of a baby boy, May 7) in the Bay area and then crossed the Nevada border and headed for Whoop-Whoop (Strine for Boonies). We found a nice grove of trees near Sparks and soon discovered why we were alone when the nearby trains started whistling. Occasionally, it’s nice to be deaf.
Later, we found an old railroad grade converted to a road alongside the Truckee River and followed it for a while. The river was down below in a nice gorge. The shoreline of the old (10 to 25 Thousand years) former Lahontan Lake was evident on many of the hills and mountain sides and the rocks were rough from wave action and the water dissolving the minerals.
Stopping at Gerlach to find if the playa around Double Hot Springs was dry, we got a “maybe” from the gas station attendant. Good enough! It turned out to be completely dry. A good thing, it is a lonesome place to be stuck. We hiked around trying to find wagon ruts leaving there headed for the former town of Hardin City with no luck. We did find a couple of old roads but they looked more like auto roads.
As we traveled the back country, several herds of pronghorn antelope zoomed along; wild horses and a group of a dozen deer were also seen. Mining ruins were just about everywhere as were the associated ghost towns.
We stopped in Austin for dinner and spent too much on an expensive dinner.
Girrrls have to wash their hair now and then so we stopped by Potts Hot Spring for that peculiar ritual and a nap. Old folks gotta have their naps.
Checking out the canyons leading into the mountains bordering Monitor Valley, we camped in one of the canyons and Marian said “I’m going to check out that small cave in the cliff.” So, afraid to be left alone, I followed. Surprise! The cave had been professionally excavated and then backfilled with sterile dirt. There were pictographs in this cave we stumbled on.
Time for gas; we headed south to Tonopah and had dinner in the big Mizpah Hotel. After leaving Tonopah, we passed an unusual tinaja alongside the road. It was a deep round hole in a rock outcrop, with tracks (bighorn sheep, no doubt) leading to it.
The last thing we were going to do was visit a rock art site north of Alamo. We got a block off the highway and somewhere in the driveline a bad noise appeared. Troubleshooting failed to find the problem so we headed for Alamo. The mechanic wanted $80 just to show up on Sunday and finally after an hour, said he was not coming! Off to Las Vegas we drove; Dan’s Driveline said it was a driveshaft and it proved to be so after four hours of waiting while they worked it in Monday. The drive home was uneventful. Whoo!