We took Route 50 from Lake Tahoe and drove through the Nevada desert. The road is – justifiably – called The World’s Loneliest Road as it went on for hours and hours without a soul to be seen. I’m not *too* sure about the “world’s loneliest” claim but I’ve realised America is a “world in its own”. The views are amazing, though I think driving it once is enough.
And, on the ‘Loneliest Road’ we passed through Eureka, which was labelled ‘The Friendliest Town’. It was an interesting little place where everyone stared at us as we refuelled. For a change I didn’t mind this too much as I was staring right back. A native American walked into the shop and bought chewing tobacco, I was very tempted to ask for a photo but I didn’t – too shy. Another guy, called Rolando (awesome name) filled up his bike and had a random conversation with me for about half an hour.
I find that American people are really talkactive and very friendly, especially towards fellow travellers on the road (even foreign). We received a lot of advice on where to stay, or about a place we shouldn’t miss. I liked most of the people on the road. Once a couple in a camper van waved at us as we past them, later when we had a picnic on the side of the road, they waved and honked at us. I guess we were part of the ‘Loneliest Road Club’.
Eight hours (or so) after leaving Lake Tahoe, we arrived in Ely. It’s small town, though bigger then Eureka. We choose Ely simply because a good friend of ours, Scott, comes from Ely in the UK (near Cambridge) so we were keen on comparing the two. Plus, it was only to stay overnight. We checked into our motel – intriguingly called The Jailhouse Motel, and of course, it had a casino. I know what you’re thinking – two motels in one trip! Triin really spoils me 🙂
Ely, Nevada is a funny little place. I mean, there’s nothing there, or so it seems to an eye of commoners, like us. The town consists of motels and casinos – no visible sign of any industry that might, you know, feed the locals. Triin thought it’s a government fuelled town as the vast empty desert/landscape around us gave ample way to the army and/or government to do whatever they wanted. Well, all I have to say is that the motels were pretty full and we overheard the motel receptionist on the phone giving a quote for five rooms on ‘government rate’.
We parked our SUV by our room, unpacked our things and headed to the bar for a drink. The barman working there looked like he had came out of a Western movie and to my amusement also spoke like it, I almost called him Clint. He stood stoically behind the bar, measuring us up, and handed us the beers. No excess words were exchanged, as the cigarette smoke hung in the air between us. It’s legal to smoke indoors there, by the way. Not something I love.
The receptionist had recommended the Chinese restaurant close by (‘It’s the best Chinese he’d ever tasted!’), and we weren’t really spoilt for choice, so we had dinner there (not really ‘the best’ if you know what I mean. More like ‘the only’), and later walked back to the bar and spent a few hours there. It had wifi, a TV and nice beer. Clint had obviously decided we’re safe and stoked up a conversation, asking us if we’d driven all the way from New Mexico. (our rental car had New Mexico licence plates). If freaked me out a bit because the licence plate was only on the back of the car, which was pointed towards our room door, meaning you would have had to walk around our car to know that as could not have seen it from across the road. I assumed he was either really interested after seeing a new car in the parking lot or he spoke to the receptionist. Or the government had done a thorough background check on us whilst we were chowing down on noodles.
Having lived in London amongst millions of people who all (mostly) mind their own business, this level of familiarity is a bit unusual to us. In London once I saw the same woman on the same train for three days in a row and wondered if that meant that we’re friends now and I should introduce myself.
We stayed at the bar for a while, had some beers and blogged. The bar seemed more like the type of place to have swinging saloon doors rather than the metal and glass doors that I had, and that people would get off a horse before entering the bar whilst perhaps smoking a small cigar.
In the morning we packed up and headed to the motel for breakfast. The options for food were starting to get to me. Most places had these cubed fried potatoes that usually accompanied everything, the portions are enormous anyway and then you get half a plate of potato on top. I asked the waitress if I could have two slices of toast with an egg and no potato, I think that she had never been asked this before because she seemed totally confused. I was told that there was no such option. I pointed out that one of the meals on the menu would be exactly what I was ordering, just if they could *kindly* leave the potato off the plate. #firstworldproblems. Still confused, I tried explain that I would pay the full price but did not want to waste the food. Half an hour later I received 2 toasts with egg on them and, yes you guessed it, half a plate of cubed fried potatoes. Triin just laughed.
We missed salad so much it hurt. I reckoned by the time we get to Amy’s house in Fort Collins, we’d just take over her kitchen and I knew she wouldn’t mind one bit.
After a mini photo shoot of the town it was time to be on the road again.
Next stop – Salt Lake City!