August 21st and 22nd, 2014
I get up early and pack up, but try as I might it is nearly 9 a.m. before I leave the campground. This is a trend that has proven difficult for me to change. More on it in a future post.
And I make my way down the other side of the Toquima Range into the Monitor Valley where Pott’s Ranch Hot Springs is located a short distance to the south.
Some views of the ranch as you drive up:
The springs are found a bit further along the road behind the house. Once again I find a primitive hot spring that has nevertheless undergone some improvements by kind souls among the hot springs aficionados who pass this way. I’m alone here and so I fill the tank and soak at my leisure:
The view, while soaking:
Once again, Nevada, need I say more.
And in the immediate vicinity of the pool:
It’s so peaceful here that I’d like to stay longer, but I need to be on my way. Great Basin National Park is next on my agenda.
Time now for a bit of digression.
In his travel book on the US, Lost Continent, Bill Bryson begins his chapter on Nevada like this:
“Here’s a riddle for you. What is the difference between Nevada and a toilet? Answer: you can flush a toilet. Nevada has the highest crime rate of any state, the highest rape rate, the second highest violent crime rate (after New York), the highest highway fatality rate, the second highest rate of gonorrhea (Alaska is the trophy holder)… I crossed the border from Utah with a certain sense of disquiet.”
Well, I think Nevada deserves better than this shabby introduction from Bryson. Everywhere I find the people friendly and ready to help out. And I need it when Van gets a flat tire after we leave Pott’s Ranch. I’ve changed many a flat in my time, but the difficulty here is to find the spare where Dodge has so carefully hidden it. I finally find it and manage to get it out with the advice of some Nevada hunters who stop on this desert road to help. When I get into the town of Eureka, there too people are kind and helpful in directing me to a repair shop. I finally have to go on to the next sizeable town, Ely, to get a new tire. Enough said about the tire incident, but everyone I meet along the way is great.
We get into Ely too late to have the tire fixed that day. I need a bath and a beer and so does Van, so we go to a motel.
Moving right along…
The next day, both of us washed, rested and repaired, we head east from Ely, still on Highway 50–the lonliest road. I stop forsome coffee at a place called The Major’s–a restaurant, bar and RV park–where I take this picture of Mt. Wheeler:
Mt. Wheeler is in the national park, but the park’s entrance is on the other side of the mountain.
Mt. Wheeler and the open road…
…with some flowers along the way that I don’t think I’ve seen yet:
We arrive at the park and find a campsite, with a table and a fire pit…
…right along side this stream:
The view above the campground:
The altitude here is relatively high, more than 7,000 feet, and there is a lot of moisture thus the vegetation is lush, with many aspen trees and some serious webbing on some of the plants…
…these flowers along the stream…
…many wild rose bushes nearby…
…and thick grass on the opposite bank…
But notice the dry hills in the background, sagebrush and stubby pines. The desert is never far.
The bar tender at The Major’s said they’d had a lot of rain lately. Sure enough it begins to thunder and lightning, and it rains off and on all evening. I don’t have time to make dinner, so it’s crackers, cheese and fruit in the back of Van. I spend the evening with a book. I’m reading–or re-reading rather–Travels With Charlie. More on that in a later post.