A Living Ghost Town – Austin, Nevada – Road Trip Day 8 Ep.18

Lex sez:

Driving along the expansive landscape of Highway 50, it’s hard not to imagine what it must have been like to be riding along the Pony Express over 150 years ago through the same desert terrain.  Fittingly, the legend of the next stop we visited, Austin, is that the town arose in 1862 when a Pony Express horse kicked over a rock that opened up to a cavern full of silver.  The Pony Express agent riding that horse, William Talcott, made the discovery that within one year made Austin the seat of Lander County and in two years grew the population of the town to 7,500.  Neek, Sar and I were curious to see this old mining town that at one point was the second largest city in Nevada.

Austin’s history is filled with unique memorable characters.  There was Reuel Colt Gridley, who operated the general store built in 1863, which was restored in 1984 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  Continue reading

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Historic 1881 Eureka Opera House in Nevada, Road Trip Day 8 Ep.17

Neek sez:

Eureka is nicknamed “The Friendliest Town” on the Loneliest Road in America. With that kind of reputation, how could we not visit? This would also be the 3rd stamp in our Hwy 50 book. Only 5 more to go!

Eureka was settled by some silver prospectors from Austin, Nevada in 1864 when they found silver/lead ore in nearby Prospect Peak. By 1873, Eureka was Nevada’s second ranking mineral producer next to the Comstock Lode. In 5 years, the population of Eureka would swell to 9,000 people. Their economic mainstay would be in operating the smelters that would separate silver from lead. With all of the black smoke and soot coming from 16 smelters, Eureka would be known as the “Pittsburgh of the East”. Continue reading

Abandoned Mystery Cabin on Highway 50, Road Trip Day 8 Ep.16

Lex sez:

Whenever we go on a road trip, there is always an agenda we have in mind, but it’s never rigidly set.  Part of the wonder and excitement of the road is that you never know what you’re going to see along the way; the journey is just as important as the destination.  So we always try to allow time for the unexpected.  That certainly paid off for us in this episode of our trek through “The Loneliest Road in America.”

Neek, Sar and I left Ely, Nevada after having breakfast in our hotel room that morning.  We headed out on Route 50 with our first planned destination that day being the Old West town of Eureka, Nevada.  But on our way there, we came across one of those unexpected sights we just had to check out. Continue reading

The Best Food in Jail – The Cellblock Steakhouse in Ely, Nevada, Road Trip Day 7 Ep.15

Neek sez:

Lex was delighted to see an old cigarette vending machine at the entrance of the Jailhouse Motel and Casino in Ely, Nevada. He and his older sister used to pull the levers pretending it was a game when they were children. Sar and I used to buy chocolate cigarettes and bubblegum shaped like cigars when we were kids. The good old days!

We walked into a cacophony of electronic bells, fake clanking coins, and real people yelling in glee. Continuing on, we passed through a short corridor and till we were seated at our very own jail cell. The Cellblock Steakhouse is a themed restaurant where you can sit and have your (possibly last) meal. Continue reading

Great Basin National Park in Nevada – Road Trip Day 7 Ep.14

Lex sez:

Just a short drive away from Route 50 within the town of Baker, Nevada is the entrance to Great Basin National Park.  It is filled with ancient natural beauty, such as the iconic Bristlecone Pine trees throughout the park, as well as spectacular scenic views.  Neek, Sar and I decided to start our exploration by checking out the Great Basin Visitor Center for information and advice.

Before we ventured inside the Visitor Center, we noticed when we parked our car outside of it that there was already a spectacular view to see.  The horizon was filled with beautiful mountain peaks!  Continue reading

The Loneliest Road in America – Hwy 50 in Nevada, First Stop – Road Trip Day 7 Ep.13

Neek sez:

In the distance, we saw a lonely little motel with a lonely gas station and a lonely casino. We were at the start of Highway 50 – The Loneliest Road in America! The motel, The Border Inn (aptly named since it stood right on the state border of Utah and Nevada) was our first stop on a challenge that would take us approximately 287 miles through lonely roads, living ghost towns, roadside attractions and a quirky steakhouse.

In 1986, a Life Magazine writer declared Highway 50 from Ely to Carson City, Nevada as one of the most remote areas that he had ever driven and declared it to be “The Loneliest Road in America”. Truthfully, there are probably more deserted roads around but this one has a guidebook and challenges you to take it. Continue reading

Driving Through a Snowstorm in Wyoming – Road Trip, Day 6 Ep.12

Lex and Neek sez:

When we left Gillette, Wyoming on our way back to Midvale, Utah, there was already a heavy amount of rain coming down, worse than the day before when rain prevented us from seeing Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.  We had seen a TV news report that morning in our motel that a heavy snowstorm was coming to Wyoming and that the roads in and out of Casper, Wyoming would be closed starting at 3pm.  Our hope was that if we could make it past Casper by noon, we would miss the snowstorm.

It was nowhere near winter as far as the calendar was concerned, but this late May storm was about to rock our world, and not in a good way!  We did drive through the pouring rain fast enough to reach Casper by 11am.  We stopped at a local gas station and as we pulled in, we saw a temperature reading of 35 degrees Fahrenheit.  The rain had let up a little bit, so we thought since we were heading south that things might warm up.

Continue reading