Into the Desert, Quick, Before the Sun Goes Down!

     The picture below shows part of the valley where Carson City, Nevada lies. Carson City's only an hour east of Tahoe. I was getting hungry, and definitely planned to eat there. In my pre-trip planning, I also thought that this would be a good place to stay my first night — less expensive, certainly, than Lake Tahoe. As I came down toward town, though, another plan was hatching in my mind: spending the night in a town fifty or a hundred miles still further east, away from "civilization" altogether. That would surely be even more economical.
     I saw that I'd have to get there fast, though. Dusk hues were already starting to darken the sky. I didn't want my first real encounter with Highway 50 in Nevada, which bears the nickname "the loneliest road in America," to be in the black of night. I also wanted to see this terrain my eyes had never before glimpsed!

carson city valley

carson city courthouse state legislature (I think)
Carson City's a pleasant town, with a few tree-shaded streets, some old, gilded buildings, a nice neighborhood or two, and of course, downtown, all the casinos you could want (I didn't want any). To the left is the Nevada State Capitol building, and above, the Nevada State Legislature.

     I found a Sizzler. No photo, they all look alike. Before I filled my plate from the salad bar, I asked the workers, "Any towns with motels out in the desert to the east on highway 50?"
     "Nothing," they said. I imagined a lonesome trail with cow skulls of cows, and possibly a few human ones, lying alonside it. But as I carried my tray to the booth where I'd left my shoulder bag, I saw the people in the next booth gesticulating at me.
     "There's a town with an Air Base — Fallon — seventy miles away!" they whispered. "Plenty of places to stay there." Their names were Dale and Sharon, a brother and sister, originally from Sacramento. They'd come here to take care of their mother, who had since died. I'm grateful to them. Here they are, below:

sharon and dale, at Sizzler

     After dinner, I drove straight to a gas station to fill up and get directions out of town on 50 East. I didn't want to drive 100 miles in the desert, then see a sign and realize I'd gone the wrong way. Been there, done that. There at the gas station, something rather significant took place.

athena maita, dedicated to "witnessing" to end drunk driving

     Driving in, I'd seen this young woman, who faced the main drag of Carson City with her sign at this strategic intersection where Highway 50 made its turn. After filling up, I approached her and asked what had happened, to lead her to do what she was doing. She was happy to tell me, and began narrating the story of a terrible accident she'd been in. I didn't have time to hear all the details, so she pulled some xeroxed papers out of her pocket and gave them to me. You can read her harrowing, cautionary tale. ( Athena's story)

     After talking with Athena, I continued on, toward Fallon — and SLEEP!

sunset on 50 east of Carson City fallon lodge

Next: "Listening To Baseball in the Nevada Desert"

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back to the Sierras
back to Placerville
Setting Out
Title Page

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