Day 5: Salina, Utah, to Sparks, Nevada

This post recounts our travels on July 7, the fifth day of our road trip adventure. I started posting these privately during our travels, so as not to tip off criminals about our house being empty all month. Now that we are home, I am switching the status to Public, editing, and adding photos.

July 7 was the fifth day of our road trip across the country. We started in Salina, Utah, that morning and had to make it to the Reno, Nevada, by night, a total of about 540 miles.

In many ways it was an unusual day of driving. My son had mapped out our route, and we spent a lot of the day on Highway 50 through Nevada, also known as the “Loneliest Road in America.” The nickname fits. Seriously, through much of the drive, there is just nothing there. In between the occasional small town, we’d go for long stretches without seeing a building or even another car.

We drove through a (quick) dust storm, saw a lot of flat fields covered with tumbleweed (mostly still rooted to the ground this time of year) and other prickly, brushy, arid-climate vegetation, with mountains in the distance. We stopped for gas in the fascinating little town of Eureka, Nevada, which plays up its Old West history. We didn’t stay there long, but I did have time to snap a few photographs while Bob was filling the gas tank.

Speaking of gas, we were watching gas prices all over the country. In Utah, we paid $4.899 per gallon. Nevada was higher: we bought gas twice there, for $5.599 and $5.699 per gallon. I guess that was to prepare us for California.

Our hotel in Sparks, just outside Reno, was near a small lake with a row of pretty vacation homes looking out over it. The sunset streaked the sky over the lake that evening with vivid sherbet hues. This was the last sunset of the first phase of our journey. The following day, we would cross the California border and reach the home of my father and stepmother.

Here are some photos:

Utah: We don’t see a lot of the old Sinclair gasoline dinosaur statues in the East, but there are still plenty of them out West.

This shy dinosaur, turning away from the camera, is not quite ready for a closeup.
Our route across west-central Utah and the middle of Nevada took us through a whole lot of mostly empty landscapes, but the mountainous backdrop was lovely.

This is one of those straight roads like you see in the movies, tapering into the distance.

At one point in Nevada, we noticed a dust storm way up ahead. We watched it come closer and closer….

….And then we drove through the dust storm, but we were out on the other side in just a few minutes.

U.S. Route 50 across Nevada is known as America’s Loneliest Highway. It was easy to see why.

This vast windmill farm had many long, straight rows of them. We did not play Don Quixote, but stayed in the car and watched them from a distance.

Eureka, Nevada: a small, friendly town that sometimes feels like an open-air museum of the Old West.

We had only a short stop for gas in Eureka, but we did take a few minutes to look around. The Opera House was built in 1880 and was recently renovated.

The road we were driving on curved around like the “ribbon of highway” from the song, and disappeared into the distance.

Even on America’s Loneliest Highway, we went through a few small Nevada towns. And sometimes, there was no town at all, but just a bar, casino, or gas station.

The road goes ever on and on….

We arrived in Sparks, Nevada, a suburb of Reno, in time for a beautiful sunset near our hotel, a delicious pizza dinner, and a much-needed rest, before moving on the next morning to my father’s house in California.

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