Tuesday, December 8, 2009

snowy southern NEVADA...

oh wow... today encapsulates the word Monday. I must say that the little things weren't much as I flew into Las Vegas from Denver. The guy got me safely from home to DIA without any incident... but you know the airport is getting ready for a bad morning when you see at least 3-5 tow trucks staging on Pena Blvd.

I was very excited to venture over to my favorite burger In-N-Out... for all those not from the true western states (CA, NV, UT)it is a burger joint with a cult following and "secret" menu. But as a total bonus today the random In-N-Out that I choose happened to be next door to the corporate offices and included a store.

Then I headed out from the urban center out to rural Nevada of Tonopah. Now this is the first time I've explored the area from Las Vegas up to the Highway 50 corridor. Now there really is not a significant amount of infrastructure as you head north on 95. There was a traffic jam for a bit near Indian Wells (overturned SUV) but it cleared out quickly for our northbound side (luckily).

There is something about the vast emptiness of the wide open desert that I find soothing though I have heard some feel it is unnerving (I can empathize but not relate on that one). So I am relatively used to the wide open desert and have driven across California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah at times by myself and at times with a companion. I've driven through most of the weather I've encountered when I've been in more populated areas so today brought a bit of tension as I had the opportunity to drive through the open unpopulated desert with rain, hail, AND snow! At times visibility dropped down to a half mile or so.

The sights were stunning as for most of the time the tops of the mountains were shrouded in clouds and where the clouds met the ground was a dusting of white on the dark mountains. As I rose higher in elevation the snow became thicker and dusted the Joshua trees. Joshua trees always remind me of Dr. Seuss books and to see dark shadows of Joshua trees framed against graying mountains with a dusting of white on the ground... it was like a surreal painting suspended between serenity and melancholy (not in a bad way but in the kind of way where you can sit next to your grief and feel it but not have it be overwhelming). Then the clouds started lifting a bit off in the distance and the sunbeams came down from the clouds and caressed the earth lifting the mood of the landscape.

So after a bit I made it through the weather and into the little towns. I stopped at a neat little spot in Beatty to stretch my legs a moment and pick up some nuts- pistachios and raw pine nuts. Now I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with the raw pine nuts but I just couldn't resist ;-) The prettiest town I drove through was Goldfield- the architecture was old west but unfortunately as I drove through quickly a number appeared to be vacant buildings. I made it to Tonopah as night descended so I haven't seen the town in daylight yet.

So far my impression has been wonderfully nice people, cold cold air, a few inches of snow (which at around 6030' elevation is not that out of the box), and wanting to just rest. So I shall explore and observe more tomorrow.

Till then... adios from the snowy desert

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