April 15, 2024


We stopped at a Rest Stop in Utah and were informed by the lovely lady that worked in the information booth that we would be driving by the Salt Flats on our way to Ely, NV. We decided quickly that we would make a pit stop there on our way to Ely. After driving around the Great Salt Lake and seeing Morton’s Salt factory, we made it to the Bonneville Salt Flats.

We were wrong to assume that there would be a building or something visible to indicate we had made it to the speedway. There was a stand, what I can imagine was once a welcome sign, but the sign was long missing, and the frame was covered with stickers randomly placed by the numerous visitors. You drive down a road, and then it ends, a culdesac with no houses, only salt for as far as the eye can see. There is only one paved road, and it only goes between the highway and the salt flats. I decided that we were not going to test MandDy’s speed on the salt flats, but we did talk about how Rob wished he still had the Subaru WRX STI. We walked on the salt flats and watched others partake in the need for speed. We then stopped at the only gas station on the exit and got Rob a T-Shirt for himself and a sticker for our refrigerator.

Following lunch at the gas station, we headed the rest of the way (210 miles) to our campground. We missed the Nevada state sign, but I got a picture of the 1st casinos, which are almost the same. The drive across the desert… was deserted. We experienced our 1st high winds in MandDy and were thankful we got gas because there was nothing for over 100 miles. Once we got to the campground, we got set up and relaxed. The dogs played with a 7-month-old Sheepdog who was headed to Glacier National Park from Upland, CA, which is near where I attended elementary school. The following day we ran a few errands that started with yummy bagel sandwiches at a local restaurant, “The Cup.”

Following the errands, we drove to the Great Basin National Park (GBNP, 63 miles). On the way, Rob and I talked about how we had been so amazed at the sights we had seen so far, and we hoped that the Great Basin was disappointing. Well, friends, it was. The trees did not compare to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Basin did not compare to the Flaming Gorge. The one good thing about GBNP is that we got to see the only glacier in Nevada and one of the southernmost glaciers. It was easiest to view the glacier with the telescope at the vista points. We chose not to hike to the glacier because there were no parking spots at the trailhead, and we didn’t want to run the risk of parking on the side of the road (even though many other people did). We enjoyed our lunch looking over the Basin and then headed back to MandDy and the animals.

Once back at the campground, we purchased some firewood and had a relaxing night. Rob played with the astrophotography option on our phones and ended up with some neat pictures of the stars. We also used the Sky Map app to identify the constellations.

The following day we packed up, filled up, and headed to our 1st casino spot in Tonopah, NV. We needed an overnight spot because the drive from Ely to Yosemite was too much for one day. The casino spots were first come, first serve, so we knew we needed to get there early to get full hookups. We were successful. To support the locals, we enjoyed a late lunch at the casino restaurant and then started the evening of laundry. Since the site in Ely did not have a sewer, we were a little backlogged. The adventure for the night came when the sink wasn’t draining well, and Rob opened the toilet and realized that the water in the bowl was coming up. Our tanks were getting full from so much laundry. After rushing outside to dump, we narrowly avoided a gross mess, finished the laundry, took showers, and slept well in the casino parking lot. I did not get a photo of our spot at the casino, but it wasn’t more than asphalt and dessert. After folding all the clean laundry and packing up, we set out for our drive to Groveland, CA (204 miles). I am excited to get MandDy back to California, where she was initially bought in 1998!

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