Dec 7 - A Mellow Nevada Day
On the road a little after 9am again, and this being Sunday traffic was on the light side. At Reno we got on I-80. Clearly, regulars on I-80 are NOT church-going people or there'd be a lot less of 'em on a Sunday morning.
At Fernley, a brief stop to top off the wing-tanks of the bushouse. Then US-50 to Fallon where we found US-95 aiming south-southeast. Some might say it's a boring drive but we, both of us, just love those vast expanses of space with minimal interference from homo-sapiens. Here, it's possible to top a "rise" and look down and ahead for 20 miles or more... the thin ribbon of a highway fades to a thread... and... and, once in a while, there's not a car or truck on that 20 mile stretch ahead... not one... and you think "wow... there are still places in this overcrowded world where you can have a solo experience like this". Cool.
This was planned to be a short day. About 220 miles. The highway hugs the shore of a sad dwindling Walker Lake for about 20 miles just north of Hawthorne NV. Once a bustling and popular destination lake for fishing and recreation, the level has declined over 150 feet in the last hundred years... in part due to agricultural irrigation upstream. There's no outlet for this lake. Water comes in and stays or evaporates or soaks into the land. This was somewhat manageable as long as there was an abundance of inflow. When that stops, the lake drops and it becomes a polluted saline sea. The fish are gone (too saline and loaded with dissolved solids) and so are the people who came for the fish.
We're at an RV park in Hawthorne tonight. With our early arrival we thought we'd pop for hook-ups, relax, warm up, and prepare a proper home cooked meal. We also got out for an hour or two this afternoon to explore the area. Besides the evaporating lake, the Hawthorne Army Depot (the area's largest employer) has been in decline for years too. This is a lovely area but so many economic factors seemed stacked against it. For all the negatives the town appears to have done a good job at keeping the wolf at bay. The downtown commercial area has clearly seen better days, but it remains neat and clean... not at all trashy. I hope they find a way to make it work.