Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yellowstone Road Trip - Day 22

“'Can you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?' asked Alice. 'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the cat.”  ~Lewis Carroll

The old buzzards and Fannie Mae slept in until 7:00 this morning, then decided to delay leaving to do some buzzard nest keeping since today's journey was not a long one. John processed photos and videos while Linda took Fannie for a walk and did a load of laundry and “defrosted” the ice chest. By 9:45 the crew was on I-80 headed west, using John's phone GPS (Margie) and Linda's atlas for navigation. When we got off I-80 there was a sign directing us to go either to Winnemucca or Eureka. We headed toward Eureka. At Carlin we headed south on Hwy 276 for a nanosecond then onto Hwy 278 for Eureka, Nevada.

The road followed along Pine Creek for a while. It had some water but the area looks pretty dry – mostly sagebrush and rabbit bush. We were on an open plains (Sulphur Springs Range) with mostly bare mountains on each side – interspersed with signs of volcanic activity. Once we reached Eureka we turned right (to the west) on Hwy 50 which took us to Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area. Shortly after the turnoff it became a very rough gravel road. Having no idea how far to the Petroglyphs, we made a u-turn and got back onto Hwy 50, but only after Linda found a rock that needed relocating. Some turn offs are golden and some are gravel.

By this time we had been looking for any business still operating where we could get some soft drinks to go with our picnic lunch (leftovers from Pizza Barn). It is 99.44% wide open spaces out there and none of the 3 or 4 itty bitty towns we passed by even had a gas station. We finally found a small store at an RV park near Austin, Nevada. Linda almost took a photo of a dusty display of Fuji film. You just don't see much film for sale these days and it didn't look as if it would be flying off their shelves anytime this century.

Leaving the store we turned south onto Hwy 376. At the turn there was a sign that showed we were headed toward the loneliest golf course in America. How could anyone resist? The two old buzzards are no longer terrorizing others on the greens but still have lots of friends who are. So, they kept a lookout on that barren landscape for more signs to the golf course. The sign was definitely worn so they thought it might not still even be around ("loneliest" is usually a bad word for a business, except for a dating service). Finally they came upon a community, Hadley Subdivision, that is for employees of the Round Mountain Mining Company. A small two-foot sign said “Golf Course”, so Eureka, they had found it. There were actually several golfers on the course and it looked like a pretty well-tended course. Photos in today's photo gallery. We drove around the town – mostly small residences laid out in an odd grid of streets. There was also a nice looking community center, a park and a school. The whole area has a speed limit of 15 mph. Round Mountain is mined for gold as an open pit mining operation.

You mileage madness contestants can add about 5 miles for our loneliest golf course in America exploration. By the way, if you have not been keeping up with the mileage for the trip you can just enter by taking a wild guess if you don't want to wade through all the posts again. There are going to be first, second and third place prizes this time.

We were back onto for Hwy 376 for a short time and turned right (west) onto Hwy 6 and Hwy 96 for a six-mile drive to Tonapah to our lodging at the Clown Motel. We had seen it from the road when we stayed at the Tonopah Station Ramada Inn two years ago (on Fannie Mae's first Road Trip). We thought it looked interesting and since we would never consider staying at that Ramada again, we decided to try the Clown Motel. The photos in today's gallery will tell the tale of the lobby, the motel sign and the doors to the rooms. Our room is very nice. The clowns got it very clean. The only clown décor in our room were a couple of clown drawings, one is of Emmett Kelly and the other is a white-faced clown with a flowerpot hat.

When it was almost time for sunset, the old buzzards went next door to the cemetery to set up a camera on a tripod. Aren't all Clown Motels next door to a quite (and quiet) rustic cemetery? This is the first cemetery in Tonopah and was preserved by the Central Nevada Historical Society. Buried here are many of Tonopah's pioneer residents including the victims of the Tonopah-Belmont mine fire of February 23, 1911, as well as the victims of the 1902 Tonopah Plague. The names are mostly of men and their young ages are sobering. Look for our sunset pics in today's photo gallery which you can view by clicking here.

For dinner we returned to El Marques for Mexican Food. We had been here two years ago during another road trip (to Utah and the Grand Canyon). We both had beef tostados. John also had a chili rellano and rice and beans. Same song, second verse. The food was great but the service was not great. Would we eat there again? Probably. We love Mexican food and there aren't many other restaurant choices in Tonopah.

Hasta la vista!

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