October 15, 2016

dont fence me in

Lisa had the GBAC conference to go to this year in Reno. Thankfully she's always a good sport about taking backroad adventures in the '77. I suggested we leave a mere 5 days early and spend the time crossing Nevada on the backroads. So we did. We hurried to the Nevada border then south to near Ely where we turned west at Cherry Creek.



camp 1: Butte Valley

bed time reading about adventures yet unseen

No Shoes Nation

Tailgate dinner - Nevada style

...to the coyotes

Day 2:

We planned on spending the night at Potts hotsprings, but the land owner had a no camping sign there. It was early so we headed to Toquima Cave pictographs, then Spencer hotsprings for the night. Spencer has sure turned into a shit sow of people camping and driving all over the place. I hope BLM does something to manage this place a bit better in the near future.

Potts Ranch Hotsprings

Toquima Cave

Day 3:

Today was a test for the '77. During pre-trip online research I only found two accounts of people crossing Ophir Pass. One was some motorcyclists going east to west, and one was a guy with a camper who came the other way. I knew the east slope was the worst, but thought we'd be ok because if a stock truck with a camper in the back can do it??? I mean...
Before the trip I knew the one thing that would make things way more difficult was a bit of snow. The two days previous were pretty overcast, but the sky looked a little better the morning we woke at Spencer and the day just continued to get better. Before we left Spencer the High Toiyabes were cleared off.
The route up was steep, and narrow between the trees, especially near the tree line. Ruts were deep in places too. The newly fallen aspen leaves combined with a skiff of snow made for some challenging 4x4 low range adventure. We stopped at the last creek crossing and topped off a water jug to use later for cooking and dishes. Then stopped for lunch at the pass, with a view to the west clear to the HIgh Sierra in California. It was too damn cold to do any exploring. I mean it was damn cold! Mostly because the wind was fixin to rip somebodys face off.

the warning

Ophir ghost town

grinding away - above the tree line

wind ripped it in half

Ophir summit looking west

Ophir summit looking east

the loyal steed

Day 4

We made it down from Ophir and next stop was the ghost town of Beryl, and to see the Icky dinosaur. Beryl was cool and it was interesting to think about the profound desire that must have motivated those people back in the day to come here to try to pound a living out of this hill, or any hill next to an old mining camp. The Icky site was closed, but we peered in the windows, which still gave a pretty good view.  The campground was one of the nicest I've seen in Nevada, but we didn't have the cash so we headed for Smith Valley Hotsprings.

the Icky, but not the real one

another '77?

Beryl, Nevada





cocktail hour - out of the wind

Not sure what was going on with the hotsprings, but it was running super slow. Slow enough that it was cooling off faster than it was running into the tub. Maybe has a dead mouse stuck in the pipe or something. We didn't mess with, but got to higher ground to camp in case it rained good during the night we wouldn't be mudded in. The road near the springs was littered with boards, and a shredded tire chain; somebody's hardship having been stuck in the mud. A chilling reminder to stay diligent while traveling alone in the great expanses.

near Smith Creek Valley Hotsprings

good coffee drinking country

Day 5:

Today we'd cover some pavement miles towards Reno so we could be there on day 6. We planned on going through Virginia City, but weren't sure where we'd stay that night. Maybe a room in Virginia City, maybe another piece of dirt, we didn't know. We passed by Grimes Point Archaeological Site, which neither of us had heard of. Between Grimes Point and Fallon some lady in a Ford Humongous, or whatever, pulled out in front of us, which gave my new brake system a good test. We made Virginia City in time for some sight seeing and beverages. It's always more fun to watch the tourists in tourist places that anything.

Middlegate, Nevada for gas







Before leaving Virginia City we took a closer look at the map and decided on a route over the mountains and down into Carson City, on what we came to know as The Jumbo Grade, figuring we'd find a spot along the way to camp. We found a place right on top of the pass near some antennas. Also, right under the flight path of airliners leaving Reno. We fixed up an order of tailgate mexi-slop, but had to scoot inside a bit to escape the cold of the wind at 7,000'. As we ate the airliners passed over, turning east to points unknown. I thought about the alternative way to get from SLC to Reno, but to gaze from the window of an airliner at the immensity of Nevada would fill me with an unbearable sense of wonder. I was glad we did not make that choice.

mexi-slop, big view, whiskey

Day 6:

Down into Carson City in time for a tour of the Nevada State Museum. We also stopped by the Nevada Travel Council where I got the window sticker that this blog post is named after, and signed up for a subscription to Nevada Magazine.
Later on we drove into Reno to the Silver Legacy where Lisa's conference was being held. As we circled the block the '77 got a compliment from an African-American man on the curb.  


big wheel well to fit a 35!


Lisa's job at work

my job by the pool

just in case you didn't know

Italian festival the day we left

even the map is weary
...until the next time.

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