US 50 -- Nevada
Copyright 2012 W. Berg Press
Welcome to Nevada - The Silver State.
The capital is Carson City. - State motto is "All for our Country".
The view of the Great Basin from the
National Park is tremendous. The main attractions include the Lehman Caves, Wheeler
Peak and Lexington Arch. Mount Wheeler Peak is in the 13,000 feet range. Pure white Snow
covers the upper third of the mountain. It looks very impressive. There is no pollution in
this area; the air is dry and very clean.
US 50 follows roughly the path of the Pony Express riders. This famed mail route included
places such as Baker, Ely, Eureka, Austin, Fallon, Silver Springs and on to Sacramento.
Brave young men carried mail between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. To
become a rider, the requirement was-'young, skinny, wiry fellow not over eighteen. Must be
expert rider willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.' It took 10 days for a letter
to travel the entire 1,800 miles of the Pony Express route.
In Ely do not miss the opportunity to
stay at Cave Lake State Park. The
park is at an elevation of 7,300 feet and surrounded by snow-peaked mountains. The camp
sites and picnic areas are on a hill among trees adjacent to a small lake.
We'll try to conquer 'The
Loneliest Road in America' from Ely to Carson City. It's approximately 300 miles. The
first city after Ely is Eureka, about 77 miles away. For this reason, we will have a good
breakfast in Ely. Jerry's promises to serve the best pancakes with eggs, sausages and
coffee. We also visit the Nevada Northern Railroad. It's an old railroad company that is
still in existence, but now only serves the tourists. They have an old steam engine, a
depot and all the old equipment. So for the railroad buffs, this might be a winner.
It is time to say good-bye to Route
6. We have shared the road with US 6 from Delta, Utah. US 6 will
continue on to Long Beach , California. US 6 started its journey in
The historic Lincoln
Highway runs from New York to California. In Nevada it followed US 50
from Ely to the beautiful south shore of Lake Tahoe.
*Eureka!* a miner is said to have exclaimed in September of 1864, when the discovery of
rich ore was made here. And so the town was named. Eureka soon developed the first
important lead silver deposits in the nation and during the furious boom of the 80s, had
16 smelters, over 100 saloons, a population of 10,000, and a railroad. By 1878 Eureka was
the state's second largest city. Today, Eureka has
small town on Route 50. It has a colorful past and is proud of its history. If you want to
know more about the history, go across the street to the Eureka Opera House and talk to
Wally Cushin. He's the director, but he is also a historian.
The Colonnade Hotel
has a new owner and is currently being restored. This
historic 10 room hotel was build in the 1880's. Next town along the route is Austin. It is an old
mining town. On Main Street, the International Hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner,
and proclaims to be the Last Chance Saloon before one leaves town on the journey that will
have 110 miles of desert.
The road stretch between Austin and Fallon
is the most isolated of the three we are traveling. Very seldom do we meet an oncoming
vehicle and there is virtually nothing along the road. We stop at the 'Cold Springs Station-Pony Express.' to
cool of and talk. Our next stop is 'Middlegate
Station-Pony Express'. Before we arrive we pass the 'Shoe
Tree'. Ben Radin sent me the picture from his travel through
Nevada. The tree has a cousin in Oregon. Today, Middlegate
Station is a bar, a waterhole. It is
an interesting place to stop a short time for picture taking and talking.
Fallon is called the Oasis of
Nevada. Names in this town point to its rich heritage
which is cattle, stockyards and mining. The road I walk is called Auction Road. I just
parked at the back of a place called the Stockmen's Restaurant and Casino. Fallon is a
booming town; it is not an isolated town as we had seen at Austin, Eureka and Ely.
Those were frontier mining towns which brings with it
the vision of the log
cabins that once stood there. Fallon has farming, cattle, commerce, the Navy Air Base and
Silver Springs is situated at the junction of US Alt50/Alt95 and US 50. It's a small community
consisting mostly of trailer homes with rattan garden
furniture, a gas station, a liquor store and a general store.
is interesting that the junction of these two major arteries is a four-way stop.
traffic arrangement is very common here and works well. For the record, we did not stop at
Break A Heart Saloon.
The next town we reach is Dayton, one of Nevada's oldest communities. Dayton emerged as a
trading post in 1849. We drive up to the Dayton cemetery. It was founded in 1851 and it's
still used today. It is one of the oldest cemeteries that has been continuously used for
such a long period of time. There are a lot of young children under the age of 1-year that
died and are buried here, which testifies to the ruggedness of living in those days. Now,
here is a grave dedicated in 1981, but let me read to you what it says.
'Old Virgini. James Fennimore - 1810-1865. One night when he was dead drunk, some men took
him to the cemetery and dug a shallow grave. They left him there. About daylight, he awoke
and raising up in the grave, looked around and called out, "The resurrection morning,
and I'm the first one up."
Since we are from Virginia, we must visit the city named by James Finney, nicknamed 'Old
Virginny,' in remembrance of his birthplace. From Silver City, we take the old route to Virginia City. It's very curvy and we encounter steep
hills. It's worth the drive if you like to see old mining country.
Next stop is CARSON CITY, Nevada's state
capitol. As the saying goes in Nevada, 'public business is ruled by the two large cities,
Reno and Las Vegas. And Carson City is prospering by the money to run the state. We are
proud, we have completed driving The Loneliest Road in America. We visit the state capitol
with its silver dome. The first thing we notice is the open-door policy. We can view the
office of the lieutenant governor or the secretary of state and can immediately have
contact with the governor's secretary. In the cities out west, crime has not escalated to
the point where every person has to be behind a security fence to assure safety.
As we come down from the Spooner Summit through the tall pine forest, Lake Tahoe emerges
among the trees. The lake lies majestically in this basin. At Logan Shoals Vista Point, we
stopped and looked at the lake. It's a beautiful place to take pictures and see the
magnificent colors in the water. State Line allows gambling and has the casinos.
If you have a
quest for hot springs, many along Nevada Route 50,
I suggest you check out this very interesting website created by Howard Goldbaum
(a) Thanks to Robert Edgar
in Bakersfield, California
for sending us a photo of the Nevada road sign from his collection.