I have always liked the drive from Las Vegas north following Nevada’s Highway 95. One of many reasons is the great views it provides of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Usually when Peggy and I visit Las Vegas, I do a complete post on the Strip. Not this time. We went downtown to the Venetian Hotel and discovered that it was the Chinese Year of the Pig. The pig shared a room with a Burning Man sculpture that Peggy and I had admired on one of our many trips to the event.
Front of the pig.
Back of the pig.
Burning Man sculpture.
Having done the Las Vegas thing, it was time to head home. We decided to travel on Nevada 95, which runs up the west side of the state from Las Vegas to Reno. Most people experience the trip as vacant desert to be driven through as fast as possible. We see it as filled with beauty and quirkiness. It is one of our favorite drives.
Vacant desert, right? Unless you know what to look for. A town was built out here in the 50s. It was populated with fake houses and fake cars and fake people and fake pets and then blown up with a real atomic bomb. People drove out 65 miles from Las Vegas to watch the explosion as entertainment. The government promised it was safe. There was even a Miss Atomic Bomb. On a previous trip, Peggy and I had tried to drive out to take photos, A man in black driving a black SUV and wearing dark glasses stopped us and made us leave. Otherwise, we might still be in jail. Possibly you saw the Indiana Jones movie where Jones survived the “town’s explosion” by hiding out in a refrigerator…
Miss Atomic Bomb 1957.
Not interested in atomic bombs? How about cat houses? Or brothels as you might know them. There are several along lonely Route 95. Prostitution is legal in Nevada. You can tell this is a classy place by the Greek column, right? Peggy and I were amused when we drove by the Shady Lady to discover it had been turned into a bed and breakfast. You know what my thought was: Staying there might make an interesting post. Tempting… (grin)
And then there is the Tonopah Station Hotel. It’s packed to the brim with quirkiness. Peggy and I always stay there. Meet James the bear.
Where else can you roll the dice to get a free room? We have yet to succeed, however. Are the dice loaded? (A selfie of my hand.)
Probably not/ Betty Boop oversees the roll. She is looking away, however. Hmmmm.
A lamp post illuminates a British lion..
How’s this for a welcome sign?
Mona Lisa guards a stairwell!
There is plenty of beauty along the way to augment the history and quirkiness.
Including some superb views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that I kicked this post off with.
A more distant view.
North of Reno on California 395 heading into Susanville, we picked up some weather including rain and high winds plus the sun breaking through and lighting everything up. I was driving and Peggy was in charge of photographs. She loves rainbows. I noticed afterwards that most of the photos contained one. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Another rainbow… (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
And another rainbow… (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
And finally, a wet windshield rainbow. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
She did, at my urging, capture a shot of sagebrush being lit up by the sun. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
North of Susanville we caught up with the snow, which was mainly rain. The heavier snow had fallen the previous week. It is hard for me to believe that a few months ago I was backpacking down the PCT not far from this location through 100 degree F weather with very little water!
NEXT POST: Speaking of the PCT, we will journey back to it in my next post.
I’ve been wearing my Coast Guard sweatshirt over the past month honoring my son who is now going into another month without pay. This is a man who has risked his life for America both as a Marine helicopter pilot in Iraq and as a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saving lives and keeping dangerous drugs from entering America. Is this how we thank him and the thousands of other men and women who risk their lives daily to keep our shores safe? But there is more: Coast Guard members, FBI agents, and Homeland Security personnel are the backbone of protecting our nation within its borders. They are now effectively being limited in their jobs, seriously endangering America. It’s time to stop holding 800,000 American hostage. It’s time to end the government shutdown and let democracy work.