Monday, July 28, 2008

What else there is to do in Nevada besides gamble

Because we're cheap but apparently not very smart.

There are some holidays I like (Thanksgiving! Christmas!) and some I don't (New Years, Fourth of July). Holidays that involve food are good, but ones that involve mass highway travel, crowds of yahoos, and unreasonable expectations of merriment and hilarity are ones I can easily leave behind. For New Years, I'd rather hunker down in a mountain cabin with a few friends and pray for snow. For the Fourth, a group of us have often gone camping to places generally devoid of humanity, like the eastern Sierras. In my mind, best to ignore certain holidays other than to take advantage of the time off work they offer.

Along this line of thinking, we decided to make this July 4th a driving day. We would leave early in the morning, drive our asses off all day, and camp at a wild hot spring if we could find it. And we did just that, landing ourselves in Elko, Nevada about dinner time and realizing with a car sick kid who had eaten too much dried fruit with too little water that we were too late to make it to the hot spring to camp for dinner. We would eat in town. Have you ever tried to find an open restaurant in a small town on a national holiday? Not easy, but we did. The streets were mostly empty, but we found out where all the locals were hanging out having their dinner before the fireworks: the Nevada Dinner House, a local Basque restaurant, where Husband could enjoy a steak Fred Flintstone would have appreciated and I could have an entire dinner of side dishes (seriously, that was what it was called: Just the Sides). The barfy kid was revived by Basque soup (a sort of chicken noodle vegetable) and the kindness of various waitresses would brought her 7Up and saltines.

After dinner we stood on the sidewalk and watched the fireworks with the waitresses until they had to go back inside to finish off their tables and we had to search for a remote hot spring in the dark ten miles outside the next town up the highway.

It was veeeerrryyyy late by the time we plopped down our bags beside the truck and fell asleep under the most amazing starry sky I have seen in years. I fell asleep with my glasses on my face so I could see it.

The next morning after breakfast, we set out up the road for the spring. So far, so good. Until Husband got cross with me for gasping and clutching the dash as we crashed through mud holes. And until WE GOT STUCK.

That's me behind him with my best "I told you so" smirk on my face. Not that I was happy about it. (If you're wondering how we ended up in this position, we got stuck in the mud, and then Genius Driver gunned the truck in reverse, hanging up the rear axle and differential on this rock.)

Fast forward after SEVERAL HOURS of trying to jack up the back of the truck, cram pieces of wood under the back tire, etc. I ordered Husband to take his bike off and ride back to the ranch we passed to get help.

He did, and a very helpful man who runs a slick little side business pulling stupid people like us out of the mud appeared with a very big truck and a lot of chains. He got us out, but not before I was able to snap this lovely shot, where I honestly thought the truck was going to go over on its side in the mud.

We then decided to LEAVE THE TRUCK WHERE IT WAS and WALK TO THE HOT SPRING, where we all enjoyed a lovely soak.

This natural spring is in the ruins of an old swimming pool, not far from the ghost town of Metropolis, which was once home to a large Mormon agricultural community. Legend is that they used this pool for full-immersion baptisms. And that's all I'm going to say about that because the last time I blogged about Mormons (bottom of post, please) I got all kinds of hits from Google searches and at least one person was not at all amused by the humor I found in the resemblance between a certain temple and a certain cake.

Tomorrow: The Tetons!

p.s. Many thanks for the kind words and virtual hugs in response to my last post. I've gone through cycles of being mad, confused, insulted, and sad . . . finally settling, I think, on just plain sad. Oh well.


More, More, More said...

I can't believe you slept under the stars - I am jealous not only because you did but that you CAN...!

KatieGirlBlue said...

Oh my god, you make me laugh. So happy you're home and blogging again!

I missed you in the Bay; we were in the city way less than planned anyway, due to the recent heat wave. Home in the Wasatch now....we'll just have to get together on the slopes this winter!

Life is what you make it said...

Sounds like you are glad to be home. I just posted about the joy of being the mother to an only girl on my blog and thought you might be interested!

Jennifer H said...

I haven't seen a really starry sky for way too long.

Those pictures are priceless! (Isn't it fun to be right?)

Polo Mama to Girls said...

I'm sitting here behind my computer, looking at the pictures from your trip and just DYING to plan a trip out west for myself now. What beautiful photos! Being a lover of all things wet and wonderful, the hot spring photo was especially tantalizing to me.

Jen Yu said...

Wow! That is impressive. I think you did the right thing. Good that you have sense :)

If you ever want nice starry skies sans getting stuck in the mud, come out to our place. We get those skies every night (as long as the ghetto neighbors don't leave their lights on all night in their stoned state). We don't have hot springs nearby, but one of our good neighbors has a hot tub right next to our garage ;) tee hee.

Carl said...

Beautiful pictures!
We are going to Angel Creek in Eastern Nevada (near Elko) in about 10 days, as well as the Tetons later.
I really enjoy these remote areas of Nevada and Utah such as Great Basin National Park.
The sky is awesome at night in these areas!
My Endeavors; Great Basin National Park, Nevada

BTW, I have the same model T100 truck (except silver) and it has 240,000 and still going!!

cindy* said...

the night sky in rural nevada is amazing, i used to love to sit on our deck and loo out at it. i lived not far from elko during high school. glad you got your truck unstuck!