|Leaving Winnemucca, NV (that is a fun word to say… WINNEMUCCA)! Destination Ely, NV.
If you have ever flown over Nevada and look out the airplane window you see a lot of nothing… guess what? That is pretty much what you see in Nevada as you travel on the highway too. Still enjoyed the sights as we crossed the desert with the mountain ranges around us.
We took I-80 east and turned south on Hwy. 305 toward Austin, NV. and over the Toiyabe mountain range.
We turned east on hwy. 50 at Austin, NV and headed to Ely.
Here is some information about Austin that was in Wickipedia:
Austin was founded in 1862, as part of a silver rush reputedly triggered by a Pony Express horse who kicked over a rock. Gold and silver mining has continued in the area sporadically and at generally low levels of production. High quality turquoise is still mined in the area in small quantities. This active turquoise mining, together with several shops that manufacture jewelry from local turquoise have made Austin a sort of Nevada Turquoise mecca.
Along the way the mountain ranges had been frosted with snow, and the clouds over the mountain ranges were really beautiful. We did climb some mountain passes, which of course meant we also got to go down the other side with most of them a 7 percent downhill grade. Those are always just a bit exciting when you have your 5th wheel behind you! At least the mountain summits of Golonda at 5139 feet and Austin Summit at 7484, the Hickison Summit was 6594 feet, Pancake Summit 6521 feet, Little Antelope Summit 7438 feet broke up the monotony of an otherwise uneventful day.
Highway 50 is known as “The Loneliest Road in America”. It was 71 miles across the desert valley floor before we reached the quaint little community of Eureka.
We were impressed with the flags hanging from the light poles all the way through Eureka. They were honoring individual members of the military who are serving our country. The name of the individual, their branch of service, and “Thank You for Serving Our Country” is on each flag.
Eureka was first settled in 1864 by a group of silver prospectors from nearby Austin, who discovered rock containing a silver-lead ore on nearby Prospect Peak.
There is another 77 miles on this “Lonely Road” before Ely, NV.
A bit of Ely History & Trivia:
Ely is a mining town, suffering through the boom-and-bust cycles so common in the West. Originally, Ely was home to a number of copper mining companies, Kennecott being the most famous. With a crash in the copper market in the mid 1970s, Kennecott shut down and copper mining disappeared (temporarily).
With the advent of cyanide heap leaching—a method of extracting gold from what was previously considered very low-grade ore—the next boom was on. Many companies processed the massive piles of "overburden" that had been removed from copper mines, or expanded the existing open-pit mines to extract the gold ore. Gold mines as widespread as the Robinson project near Ruth, and AmSelco's Alligator Ridge mine 65 miles (104 km) from Ely, kept the town alive during the 1980s and 1990s, until the recent revival of copper mining.
As Kennecott's smelter was demolished, copper concentrate from the mine is now shipped by rail to Seattle where it is transported to Japan for smelting. The dramatic increase in demand for copper in 2005 has once again made Ely a copper boom town.
Pat Nixon, the wife of Richard M. Nixon and the former First Lady of the United States, was born in Ely on March 16, 1912.
The climactic scene to the 2001 movie Rat Race was filmed in Ely, in and around the restored train depot of the railway museum.
Our friends Bill & Susan met us in Ely on Tuesday afternoon. We are both pulling out of Ely early Wednesday morning on our way to Hurricane, UT.