Ely NV to Arches NP

Great_basinIt was a long day, but not longer than yesterday.  Eighty mile mistakes are no fun.  Today we employed both GPS’s and had written notes besides.  The View has a huge windshield with a significant shaded section at the top .  I’ve found myself asking Louise at critical junctures “Which way do we go?” when one GPS says drive through the economically depressed section of town, and the other thinks that we should continue on into the sunset with the butterflies.

Louise is good, but it’s locate the notebook, locate the page, read the page, decipher the information, and let me know where we should be going.  At 88 feet per second, or more, do the math, and it’s not an ideal situation, especially out west, when the next exit may be 50 miles or more away. So, because of all that, I’ve taken to writing the directions on the shaded upper portion of the windshield in dry marker.  The information doesn’t impair my vision, I can still see things above me through the letters, and it’s there at the flick of an eye.  Today’s directions started out Rt 6 -> Rt 50 -> Rt 15 -> Exit 188, etc.

We stopped at the only large supermarket in Ely, NV, Anderson’s IGA.  We on the east coast don’t know how easy we have it.  Anderson’s was a wonderful place to shop.  The store was clean, had a good selection of basic foods, the prices were great.  The store wasn’t as brightly lit as I’m used to, but considering this was the store that everyone from the middle of nowhere, and outside of the middle of nowhere shopped, the prices and selection were terrific.  Considering that St George, Utah, Provo Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada are all + 50 Miles of the 220 mile mark (one way)  from Ely, I think that the store was exceptional.  St George is the closest large community, about 220 miles away.

We had our list of perishables; milk, butter, half and half, bananas, bread, and toilet paper.  I added a package of sausages that were real sausage and the bill came to $20 including tax.  Some noticeable specials at the store that proved we were far from New Jersey.  They were selling beef back ribs for 1.99 a pound.  Just beef bones in NJ  cost upwards of three dollars.  Try to find beef back ribs in NJ. They had a 50 pound meat special for 1.49 a pound.  Ten pounds of beef steak, ten pounds of beef roasts, ten pounds of ground beef, ten pounds of pork and ten pounds of chicken, all for $75.  Our freezer was too full to even make an inquiry.

When we asked for bread, we were directed to the attached bakery.  The lady behind the counter said that they were all out of bread.  When I did my “Oh, OK”, surprised look another woman behind the counter said that they did have some fresh baked bread that she would slice for me.  Being a wise guy I said that that would be as good as sliced bread and canned beer.  The first lady thought it amusing, the second gave me a stern look.  This bakery was all business, and I straightened all up, and apologized and said that I was a wise guy from back east and that I would behave from here on out.

Louise noticed a sign that said they reserved the right to refuse service to anyone, and pointed it out to me in jest to me after I ran my mouth.  I told the second lady that I liked her sign.  She said that she had only had to use it once, and I volunteered that I would do my best to make sure that there wasn’t a second.  Everyone suddenly got it, and I was perceived as OK, perhaps a little slow, but OK, and they started treating me like a favorite slow cousin.  The bread was still warm, I made a comment about kids thinking bread was baked sliced and the conversation grew positively zippy.  Some very nice ladies, with some very nice bakery products.  I don’t think there is a Wonder Bread route out inEly, Nevada, and they are better off for it, because there, you can get your bread sliced, or not, and the ladies that make the bread are sweethearts.

wind_farmWe packed everything into its proper place in the RV and took off.  Our route doubled back over territory that we had covered when we went to Great Basin NP, and we didn’t do as much gaping and gawking.  As a matter of fact, some of the scenery that we thought was eye bugging out, OH WOW! scenery, was just ordinary compared to some of the basins and valleys that we had seen.  Before getting near to Great Bain National Park we spotted a pronghorn antelope near the side of the road.  I stopped and took some pictures.

We knew from the start that the day would be long, and that we would arrive at Arches late in the day, and the chance for a campground would be slim, so I didn’t want to do too much sightseeing.  It was made easier in the fact that ¼ of the route was a repeat.  Local towns have been very successful in convincing their legislators that the speed limit through a town with a population over 50 should be 25 MPH.  As a resident of NJ, with a vehicle you can’t miss, I did not want to be the funding source for the majority of the year.  We saw only one policeman during the 400 odd miles we put on today, and he was on the Interstate.

Coming off Interstate 15 in Scipio, Utah, after crossing a cattle guard that was off on the pavement offset, I lost the front drivers side hubcap.  I was ambivalent about replacing all the hub caps, since we lost one rear cap and I took off the other rear cap before we lost it, and since we had both front caps, but now I’ll have to think about it.  We were stuck in some strange road work traffic.  There were tarring and chipping the road and had a 30 mile section of road restricted for speed and passing.  When we finally got to the section they were working on, they has plenty of tar, but there wasn’t a stone chip truck in sight.  Very strange.

hot_spotI was hungry by the time we got to Salina, Utah.  I was looking for a Dairy Queen for a hamburger when I spotted the ‘Hot Spot’, a hamburger and ice cream drive in, straight from the 50’s, in downtown.  The place was as up to date and clean as when it was new, and although it was a little retro, it fit in, and really wasn’t retro.  It was, and always had been, itself, since it was opened.  It’s like looking at Rockefeller Center and saying ‘How 1930’s, Art Deco”.  Well, yes, and it’s beautiful and there would be a void in NY City without it.

The food was great.  The french-fries were home made and were sitting for a little bit and got steamed in the bag, so they weren’t perfect, but we ate them all.  They came with a homemade dipping sauce that resembled Thousand Island dressing, except without any pickles and with a little extra something.  Worchester sauce? The cheeseburgers  were phenomenal.  Not as good as Wimpy’s from Vernal Utah, but great.  They were wrapped so that you could eat them without all the juice running down your arm to your elbow.  I would really like to explore their menu.

A day or two before I was reading about a program to deal with the growing problem of car/pedestrian accidents.  The article named a number of large American cities where the municipality was placing flags for the pedestrians to carry across the street when they crossed in the crosswalk so their visibility would be improved.  One of the cities named was Berkeley, California.  So here I am in Salinas Utah, and all the intersections are fitted out with flags, holders, and all the kids, from my observation, have taken to the program like ducks to water.  Just because you’re two hundred miles from the bright lights, doesn’t mean in todays world that you are a hick.  My home town, and as far as I know none of the municipalities in Morris County, NJ, have a similar program.

west_utahThe scenery became stupendous when we hit Interstate 70.  The landscape was a combination of Zion National Park, Las Vegas or Sonoma Red Rocks, except bigger and more impressive, the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon wannabees.   Louise was snapping pictures like a paparazzi, and between keeping the RV under 100 MPH going down the hills and between the lanes, I managed to snap off a few shots too.  We have seen incredible scenery, vast spaces, and impressive formations, yet the stuff we saw on Interstate 70 was the equal to most of what we have seen, and it’s on the roadside.

archesWe arrived at Arches at 5:30 PM.  The ranger told me that the campgrounds were a 8 or 12 mile drive one-way drive, and they were full for the next week, but I was free to take a drive out and check it out.  She handed me a piece of paper detailing a number of campgrounds in the vicinity.  Gamesmanship at it’s best.  I opted for the dead end canyon to look for a place to stay, and we got a campsite, #5, at Drinks Canyon, which is ironic, since the first thing I did after getting all set up, was to have a drink.

I planned out the latest iteration of getting home, since we will be traveling through the Fourth of July weekend, and getting a new place to stay on every night of the weekend has me concerned, so I came up with a new plan.  Sometimes sightseeing and visiting new places in the western portion of the country is easier than getting back home.arches_night _1We had a nice spaghetti and sausage dinner with NJ bread and a little red wine and watched the Colorado River run by outside the RV and the sun play on the red rock all around us.  Life is good.  We have some plans on getting a better campground tomorrow and seeing Arches, so tomorrow should be great.  Just no Pucker Pass for us this time.  Contact me, I’ll tell you the story.