Lonely Highway 50: Southern Nevada through Utah

by cheri block

The dry and endless desolation that I had expected in Nevada never materialized and this morning, as we headed southeast from Ely, Nevada (birthplace of Patricia Nixon) on a sparsely traveled road, we feasted on some of the most stunning scenery I have seen in many a harvest moon.

This strong shoulder of a mountain and that gravel road below it invite me to fantasize about my days as a horsewoman. Oh! To be walking along aboard a young and sturdy quarter horse, hearing the rock crack under the rhythmic plodding of those enormous hooves, on my way out to the ridge where, after a considerable period of time, I will dismount, tether my horse to a tree, and have a beer. But, I digress!

We travel to Delta, Utah, a characterless place, mainly agricultural, and decide it will be a perfect place to have lunch. The Rancher’s Cafe, a popular local eatery, serves up a BLT for me and a breakfast for the Judge.



On to Scipio, Utah, where the Judge finds a sweet antique store, supervised by Gary, a former gold miner from the Yukon Territory.

I am busy charting our route (and eating one of those killer oatmeal raisin cookies) when the SUV comes to a grinding halt and is whirled around in a U-turn that would curl the hair of the best NASCAR driver. The Judge has seen the photo-op of the day, which I admit, I missed.

South central Utah is a series of  diagonal lines of mountain muscle with ripples, tendons, and ligaments that flex their way out from the Underworld, as if Hephaestus himself has  been hammering his iron over the fires with such weight and power that his earthen ceiling has given way to His pressures of heat, fire, and industry.

I will leave you with a few parting photographs taken on our way down the ridge, on our way to Green River, Utah, where we are resting tonight. ( I should be honest here. The Judge is resting because he drove the entire way, while I entertained myself taking pictures, eating cookies, and reading Guidebooks.)

Looking at this last photo, I am struck by the other-worldliness of this red-rock castle, an edifice that rivals any European castle I’ve ever visited. Here’s to that Clay Sculptor who insists that we pay attention to Its handiwork, works of Natural Art that defy description.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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15 Responses to Lonely Highway 50: Southern Nevada through Utah

  1. Rosemary says:

    Beautiful photos!! Jeff and I spent the night in Green River in 1977 on our way to Boulder for our 3rd year of college. We found a trickle of a stream… And laughed at how we expected a large river right there… And miles away finally saw the river. Hwy 70 wasn’t built at the time… Your writing makes it appear as though time STILL stands still…
    (Does 50 turn into 70?!)

    • Cheri says:

      HI Rosemary,
      I didn’t know that you went to U of Colorado. The Green River is more than a trickle this year. Yes, Highway 50 and US 70 are the same road for a short distance. We are off 70 and back on 50 now, feeling much better.

  2. Richard says:

    Oh dear! I fret with envy. :mrgreen: These pictures represent all that is so seductive, wild and unattainable to Englishmen about the land of America. You even have castles. It’s just not fair. 🙂

    • Cheri says:

      Met some Swiss travelers today who expressed the same sentiment, Richard. They are “blown away” by the Romantic expanse of the West…an ideal that I think stood for many Americans during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Now, Ron and I wonder.

      More “castles” to come if I can write my text tonight. It has been a long day on the road.

  3. Sara Marek says:

    The pictures and writing are gorgeous. It makes me wonder what your blog would have looked and sounded like 24 years ago on our trip around the country.

    • Cheri says:

      It would rival Chevy Chace’s Vacation, don’t you think, Sara? Especially that part where you refused to get out of the motor home at Niagara Falls, remember? Oh, I wish I were blogging at that time. It would have been a healthy outlet instead of drinking all those vodka tonics every night. Miss you!

  4. Don says:

    Your writing is too good for me not to have been reading regularly. You invoke the power of that desert landscape beautifully, articulating what I see but cannot convey.

    I canoed a hundred miles of the Green River with a couple dozen boy scouts in June of 2007, the entire week spent under the eyes and shoulders of hundred foot cliffs carved by the peculiar phenomenon of water coursing across a flat and arid tableland. The rules of stewardship meant we could pee in the river but on the land, and had to haul our own human waste out in a watertight aluminum box. Stories tell of a woman who failed to land before running into the Colorado’s rapids, and survived only by hanging onto the shitbox.

    • Cheri says:

      Gosh, Don, thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. I never really know if my words connect…Your description above is very well done. The last line is a riot. The Judge has many Boy Scout excursions about which he can tell many a tall tale.

  5. Beautiful post! Now you are runnng into the mashed potato clouds of the West! Brady would agree with your description of Southern Utah, but not so charmingly.

  6. Christopher says:

    These pictures bring back memories of my own youthful travels through the south-west. Even the prosaic Ranchers Cafe and the abandoned service station have a romantic aura about them. But, I suspect, only in the eyes of a beguiled traveller seeing everything through (forgive the cliche) a roseate hue.

    Anyway, wonderful pictures. Keep ’em coming.

    • Cheri says:

      I have always had a super-sized pair of rose-colored glasses on, as you well know from some of my writing. I am enjoying every minute of this trip. More pictures on the way, but I am not sure if I can write the copy to go with them…they are breathtaking.

  7. Just above Hoover Dam, there is one of those castle formation. Turned out to be an army bunker during world war II. You can not tell just by looking though.

  8. Pingback: Was I in a vortex? | Notes from Around the Block

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