Sunday, April 29, 2018

Highway 50 - The Rest of the Trip

Show Tree just out side of Middlegate Nevada


After heading out of Austin, we continued westward.  Our ultimate destination was the Best Western in Fallon.

This stretch of road actually had a bit more traffic.  Not a lot more, but there were definitely a few more cars.  It was, however, still lonely territory.

We did get caught in a one lane area almost immediately upon exiting Austin.  They said to expect delays of about 20 - 30 minutes and we certainly did get caught for 30 minutes.  I think once the guy got back from escorting a set of cars, he wound up using the porta-john for 5 minutes.  Ugh.

Just outside of Middlegate we ran into a shoe tree.  There were literally hundreds of shoes thrown in a tree.  It sort of comes up on you and if you are expecting it, you can easily miss it.  I had to check it out.  I wound up turning around and just marveling and wondering how many shoes were on the tree.

Just outside of Fallon (which there seemed to be a TON of things to do) we stopped by a Sand Dune park.  I was already really tired and I wanted nothing more than to just stop driving.  If I had about an extra hour to kill I would've climbed the sand dune.  It also looked like a nice place to camp or take an ATV out.

I think I've driven through a bit of Fallon before.  It is a fairly large town and probably the biggest town if you driving west once you the start the Highway 50 Trip.  There were casinos and a bunch of restaurants as well.  We wound up eating at a Vietnamese place that was recommended to us.

I didn't gamble at all in Fallon as I hadn't had much luck so far in the trip.

In the morning we went to Fort Churchill, which was about a half hour out of town.  We also stopped at Lahonton Reservoir.  I just took some photos from a turn off and I think if I was into fishing, this would've been the place to be:

I finally got my final stamp at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce.  The lady there was extremely nice and got my a Highway 50 bandanna keepsake.

After getting my final stamp, I almost opted to get a stamp in Carson City's Chamber of Commerce. However, it was approaching lunch time and the Fandango Casino's lunch buffet was closing soon.  I already had my 5 though.  I wound up gambling for a while at Fandango as well.  It is our favorite casino in Carson City....

From there we made the 30 minute drive from Carson City to Reno, where I picked up my bib for the Reno Half Marathon.

All in all, if you like wide open roads, Highway 50 is a lot of fun.  This was a total bucket list item for me and I really loved it.

Me outside of Fort Churchill

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Highway 50 - Austin Nevada


The last visit for the day along Highway 50 was Austin, NV.  This town is quite similar to Eureka, but seemed even smaller.

I was starving so we wound up eating at Toiyabe Cafe which had great service and pretty good food.  Also, it was an easy stop to get my passport stamped (stamp #4)

The town is very much shaped liked Eureka.  A main drag that is surrounded by some thriving businesses, and some not so much.  You can easily walk the streets in under 20 minutes, which is about what I did.

The area is incredibly beautiful though.  You are at high elevation, so the temperature is definitely cooler but the area still has a Nevada feel to it.  Our waiter at the Toiyabe Cafe also said that the population was about 160, including cats and dogs (it is actually closer to 200).  However, the town did have a desolate feeling to it.  I did not see a grocery store of any kind, so it left me wondering where people get groceries from.

The town is definitely worth a visit, and be sure to swing by Stokes Castle at the west end of town.

Highway 50 - Stokes Castle - Austin Nevada


On my visit drive along Highway 50 one of my "must visits" was Stokes Castle.  This castle is on the outskirts of town behind the Chevron Station up an easy to navigate.

The Castle was built in the late 1800's, 1897 more specifically.  It is definitely a unique structure that you cannot access but simply walk around.  There is also an incredible view of the Austin valley from the hilltop.

Believe it or not, while I was there it was snowing.  Not a lot, but it definitely was snowing.  Austin sits at just under 7000 feet so just walking around will leave you a little winded.

Visiting Stokes Castle took about 15 - 20 minutes and is definitely worth a stop to complete your Highway 50 itinerary.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Fort Churchill State Historic Park - Silver Springs, NV


Fort Churchill (named after an army inspector) was a very short detour on my Highway 50 Tour.  I had just spent the night in Fallon and before continuing on my Highway 50 I make a quick jaunt down Alt-95 south of Silver Springs.  The detour took all of about 15 minutes and was a fairly short drive.

The fort is easy to find, well maintained and costs $5 to get in.  The area isn't near much and one can imagine the simplicity and remoteness of possibly living there in the 1800's.  I guess people with privileges made their way to Virginia City for entertainment -- which was at least a good hour away via car.

The fort is mostly ruins now, but many of the structures' shells remain.  You cannot (or aren't supposed) to access them but you can easily see how the people lived and what the conditions were like.  

There is also a museum area where you can learn about the history.

The main point of interest is about a half mile walk that circles the grounds.  You can peer into each of the buildings and many have historical information that tell you more about it.

All told, you can probably spend a good hour here.  There are bathrooms and drinking water here.  Definitely worth a stop.