Lonely Highway 50: California and Nevada

by cheri block

On our way out of California, up Highway 50 out of Sacramento, we stopped at an old lodge  that has seen better days. On the way to the counter (bar) for lunch, we passed several things that could be symbolic of this trip we are embarking on.

At the Strawberry Lodge, everything in sight–from the lobby to the dance hall and from the bar to the living room–is worn. Even the chairs, sofa-futon hybrids, have been loved and crushed during long winter fireside conversations.

We drive familiar roads up to the south shore of Lake Tahoe and over the mountain to the Carson Valley.

That night, we visit with friends–the Snows–who prepare an Alaskan salmon dinner that we will long remember. Their home overlooks the Sierra Nevada mountain range from the east; we enjoy some special Napa Valley wines and admire their view.

We head out across what Life Magazine called “The Loneliest Highway in America.”
Nevada’s high desert is made up of scruffy tufts anchoring the dry sandy earth, dappled and mottled by sage brush.

The expanse of this territory silences the voice and the mind.

The earlier desert scruffiness softens and the taller grassy carpet unrolls from the mountains, tacked down to the edge of the highway by cattle fences.

It’s time for lunch.

In Austin, Nevada, a little town whose origins go back to the Pony Express, we stop for an average lunch at the Toiyabe Cafe, a pleasant local dining room and are greeted by a ghoul ready for Halloween.

The highway is vacant now in September. Photo opportunities take on new risks in the middle of the road.

In Eureka, Nevada, home of the Eureka Opera House and also a courthouse built in 1879, we arrive just in time for  the Mennonite Farmer’s Market, where I buy 12 oatmeal raisin cookies.

Leaving Eureka on our way to Ely, where we are tonight, the high desert sparseness yields to the strong and affable personalities of tall sagebrush and pinon pines. They animate the Toiyabe National Forest, a stalwart place where granite pushes out of the dappled hillsides in outcroppings of strength and beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, My photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Lonely Highway 50: California and Nevada

  1. Richard says:

    My voice and mind are silenced too. Then i wake up with those oatmeal cookies and welcoming, friendly faces.

    I really feel as though I am travelling with you both. But I mustn’t intrude.

  2. bogard says:

    Wow, I am so jealous. Spectacular scenes from a part of the country few people have an opportunity to see or appreciate. Keep the pictures and comments coming. Bravo and thanks!!

    • Cheri says:

      Thanks Bogard. Trying to put together more pictures and commentary right now, but that Wente Riva Ranch has slowed me down, here in Green River, Utah. Next year, you and your butterfly might consider joining us on our long road trip through Tennessee and Kentucky; we need to find out about that 600-mile garage sale…Hizzoner wants to stop by that…

  3. Don says:

    Passing through Eureka in 2007, boy scouts sprawled dozing across the seats of our caravan, we encountered a large biker gang … with a support trailer … a tough-looking but friendly bunch who turned out to be motorcycle tourists from Sweden, slowly traveling from L.A. to Sturgis.

  4. The chocolate chip cookies did it for me! Beautiful photography!

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