Thursday, September 20, 2007

Highway 50: Finding Adventure on Americas Loneliest Road

In July of 1986 Life Magazine wrote a negative article about Highway 50 in Nevada, a road that stretches from Ely(on the Utah border) to Fernly (close to Reno), entitled, “The Loneliest Road” warning motorists to not even bother going there. In response, Nevada tourism decided to make lemonade out of lemons, and coined the phrase “The Loneliest Road in America”. They also created “The Hwy 50 Survival Guide”, a 16-page document taking you from Fernley to Great Basin, Nevada.

So, to test ourselves in the face of loneliness, we decided take the tour in our VW Vanagan. The 287 miles making up the loneliest part of Highway 50, is composed of a two lane road that cuts right through the center of Nevada. And it's true, you can drive for hours without seeing another car or even any sign of civilization. Here’s what we did find:

An isolated hot spring (Spencer) inhabited only by a nomadic man named Karl known for traveling the country in his housecar (like a houseboat). A strangely beautiful spot with free camping.

A lonely town called Ely

The living ghost town of Austin, NV

Empty stretches of sky and highway

A lonely group of Bristlecone Pines, at Great Basin National Park

A lonely tour of Lehman Caves at Great Basin National Park (actually,
not that lonely but instead, rather crowded but we were trying to keep the theme going).

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