Days 6-7. 1/16-17/2016. Starting Odometer: 143290. Final Odometer: 143731. Mileage: 441. Total Mileage 1559.
With Great Basin National Park effectively snowed in, there didn’t seem to be much benefit in staying for another two days, as I’d originally planned. I took my time with breakfast, enjoying the silence, the random sounds of wild turkeys gobbling in the distance, and filled out some postcards for the family.
Then, about noon, I packed up Caravan One, and headed for the next stop on my trip, Sin City. Getting there would require a long, lonely journey through the heart of Nowheresville.
Fortunately for me, Nowheresville is beautiful this time of year.
I got turned around a little heading out of Great Basin National Park. I didn’t have any GPS or maps, and ended up heading the wrong way, to the northwest, before I got my bearings and headed back to the 93, a state highway that cuts through Nevada from north-to-south like a knife wound.
It also took longer than I expected it would because the juxtaposition of encroaching desert, rugged foothills, and snowy peaks lent itself to amazing photos. I could have spent weeks just studying those vistas, praying for the perfect combination of sun, clouds, and landscape to take pictures.
That’s when I heard the smack, and sure enough, a little rock cracked the front window. Dang it! Not as traumatic as the blowout a few days past, but certainly an issue. It affected my ability to take certain good pictures, as evidenced above. I made a note to have the chip fixed while I was in Las Vegas.
As the sun set, it cast the world into a kaleidoscope of blues and whites that transitioned to reds and oranges, bringing breathtaking clarity to the desert as it asserted itself more fully and the mountains became scarcer and scarcer.
When night finally fell, I found a gas station, and thanked the designers of this road that they’d finally seen fit to include one or two in this desolate wilderness. I filled up, and kept hurrying. I wanted to be in bed by a reasonable hour. Six hours of driving can really wear a person out.
I stopped somewhere short of Vegas to mail the postcards when I suddenly passed a Post Office in a small suburb. I got dinner and enjoyed a leisurely hour at the slot machines. I didn’t want to spend too much money: I figured that’s what the next few days for. This was my trip, and my chance to sow any wild oats I still had in this battered old seedbag.
After a while, driving in the dark, scanning the radio constantly for a signal that wasn’t the scattered, broken signal from some Mormon station in southwest Utah, I got a Las Vegas station. And then the lights came into view. I had made it.
My wife asked me what this trip was for. What did I hope to accomplish? What could I possibly do on the road in the middle of nowhere that I couldn’t do at home, in the midst of family and friends who wanted me, loved me, and needed me to be there.
I couldn’t answer that. But I felt I was at a place in my life that was a little like lonely highway 93 itself. It’s a stupid, lonely, uninhabited road with very little purpose at all except to get you from point A to point B. When I left home, left my job, left my family, left everything behind me, I was at point A. I desperately needed to get to point B, and this trip, like the road I was on, was the only route there.
So I took it, hoping that just like with the lights of Vegas gleaming in the distance, that when I finally found the place in my life I was looking for, it would be visible for all to see for miles in every direction.