After a few more nights in Death Valley, we moved on to new adventures. We meandered up Highway 395 visiting the Japanese Internment Camp at Manzanar then stayed at various campsites along the base of the Sierra Mountains. Each of these campsites afforded spectacular views of the snow covered eastern slopes and each camp had an icy cold trout laden stream running through it. Best of all the weather was ideal, sunny with very dry air during the day and the nighttime temperatures never became bad at all. Yet days later when we arrived at Mono Lake there was snow on the ground and I knew this would not do. I had planned on staying a couple days around the lake but now that was out of the question. Not only that, but Tioga pass through Yosemite was still closed so an alternate plan had to be devised. After lunch at the lake, we turned east for Nevada and lower elevations. This was a good decision as we spent a very pleasant evening at Walker Lake some 3000’ lower than Mono Lake.
The next day we blew on down the Highway 50, “Loneliest Highway in America”, another one of my favorites. This was a bad decision. I say we blew down the road for the strong tailwinds out of the west made for great travelling. Yet our intended camp for the evening, Sand Mountain, was infested with off-roaders and their ATV’s. Being the middle of the week, I thought we would be okay there. Doesn’t anybody work anymore? So after lunch I turned around and fought 30 mph winds all the way back to Fallon and beyond to Lahontan Reservoir, the nearest available camp area. The last 10 miles were the worst being buffeted all about on a two-lane road with sand blasting us head on. The camps were situated on the beaches at the lake. Fortunately a site was located behind a large dense ground-hugging tree and this afforded us protection from the now 40 mph winds coming in off the lake. The following morning was quiet and still.
Oh, and the brothel? On the way out Hwy 50, I was surprised to see the Salt Wells House of Sensual Pleasures had burned to the ground. Located about 10 miles out from Fallon it had always been a landmark to look forward in seeing. Not only did I wonder under what circumstances did this fire begin, but no doubt the disappointment of returning customers who had driven all the way out there to have their pencil sharpened only to discover their little secret place in ashes. Hmm…now I will have to come up with some other way to celebrate my upcoming 60th birthday.
Oh the stories these mattress springs could tell.
Now our month long road trip chasing desert flowers draws to a close and we work our way back home. I will take a month to re-group and take care of business at home and hopefully will be back on the road come May.