June 26, 2017
Checked into the Atomic Motel. We are sandwiched between Area 51 and Death Valley. It is 104 but the room AC is doing it’s job. The concierge also rescued us with a cork screw. Yes we brought one but lost it in the car last night because of the Bears. Anyway, all is well but I better start over.
We left yesterday directly from church. A last minute blessing on this crazy trip couldn’t hurt. We managed to reprovision our wine supply in Murphys before heading over the Sierras using Highway 88. We reached our immediate destination of Grover Hot Springs a little after 4. After looking at our camp space, we decided to join the Eastern Europeans in the well run hot springs pool. My Croation is pretty shaky but unnecessary since everybody does the same thing. You sit and slowly par boil. Cute Korean family with infant/toddlers. Peggy couldn’t avoid evaluating how Barrett and Robert would have done.
After being well done, we headed into Markleevile for groceries and dinner. The town is cuter than I remember. Obtained our breakfast at the well provisioned general store that included a well stocked wine room. Impressive. Enjoyed a light dinner at a very busy eatery. Returned and set up camp. 8 minutes. Tried to enjoy a glass of wine but the local knats love Zinfandel. We did remember to keep the place bear clean. No snakes spotted. Peaceful night with no bear moments. Plenty of Steller Jays with their Mohawk head dress.
Took a picture of the Alpine County Courthouse and Post Office. A pen entrepreneur named Marklee decided in 1861 to build a toll road over Monitor Pass to get ready access to the Nevada Silver mines. Unfortunately for Marklee, he was less resistant to gunfire that the contemporaneous Ironclad named the Monitor and died in a gun fight. The named the town after him anyway.
Up and over Monitor Pass. More people on bikes than cars. There is still plenty of snow in the Sierras. The Caltrans crews were out in force and the there were plenty of delays on 395 that wanders down the eastern side of the Sierras. I was quite happy to head towards Nevada on 120 shortly after Lee Vining and the still closed Tioga Pass. Once we passed Mono Lake, we were in new territory. The region is still green and surprisingly lush. I usually figure that area should be rocks and rattlesnakes. Before we left California, we drove through Benton Hot Springs that was founded in 1852. Didn’t stop long as we sprung from yesterday. I am still trying to figure if the 1/2 in the population was the gas station attendant. I was afraid to ask.
We reached Tonopah and the middle of Nevada by early afternoon. The town was founded after a guy was going hurl a rock at a poor mule. He noticed that the rock was silver and decided to dig the Lost Burro Mine. The region spawned the largest silver mine after the Virginia City Comstock Lode. The deeper and richest mine was the Mizpah. That is Hebrew for “lord watch over me”. Not sure why miners would want the watchful eye of the Lord but the name stuck. It is also the name of the historic hotel.
Tonopah is also famous for its ultra modern, sci-fy looking solar farm.
After a walk around the mining displays and relics, we were in the home stretch. We just were glad they were not testing Atomic bombs and equally glad that the Aliens were in another part of the Galaxy.
The Atomic Inn is our home for the night aliens or not.