Friday, August 05, 2011
Back in 1986, Life magazine deemed the section of US-50 that runs
through Nevada as the Loneliest Road in America. It wasn't necessarily
meant as a good thing, but Nevadans being good Americans took the
billing and turned it into a positive. They marketed the highway as a
scenic thoroughfare to hopefully attract more visitors to this very empty
part of the country. There are some pretty empty stretches of US-50
through this neck of the woods, but because it's summer, there are
more tourists on the road and it didn't seem to be as forlorn as it
could be. I'm guessing in the winter, this road is very lonely indeed
Much of the route parallels the historic Pony Express Trail, although
now it's just pretty standard asphalt. Because most mountain ranges
in Nevada follow a north-south line, much of US-50 is spent driving
through a long stretch of flat, open desert, followed by a climb and a
descent of mountain ranges. If this wasn't the case and the mountains
went the opposite direction, I could visualize setting the cruise control
at 100 mph and having it seem like you were doing 50 mph.
I have to say that the road is very well maintained. Not a pothole
to be found and everything is very well marked. Colorado could take
a lesson from the Nevada Highway Department.
I agree that this is a scenic highway. It's not a road I need or would
want to drive frequently. There are enough desert vistas near our house.
However, I think that everyone (especially folks from the urban east coast
should make this drive at least once in their life. They would get a true
appreciation of what it's like to live in the West. The West isn't just
the beaches of California or the ski resorts of Aspen. It's the wide open
spaces such as this that make the West such a beautiful place. Wait...
maybe they shouldn't come. We'll keep the wide-open West our own