There is a strip of blacktop known as U.S. Route 50 that crosses the U.S. from California to the Atlantic Ocean. Where this highway runs through Nevada -- between South Lake Tahoe on the California border, and the Utah border, it is
known as "the loneliest road in America."
We have driven this lonely stretch of road starting at Great Basin National Park near the Utah boarder several times. We usually drive up from Las Vegas and stay in Ely, Nevada. It is best to come in mid-summer, when all of the roads to the top of 10,000-foot level of Wheeler Peek are open. In fact, Route 50 is open year round and it is considered high desert so the summers are not bad.
Ely is the best large town to stay overnight and loose a few bucks at the slot machines as well. You will find good hotels and some interesting places to dine.
Driving along Route 50 is Hickison Summit, which you cross just before you reach the town of Austin.
Stop on the way at the petroglyphs.
It is a dog friendly area and an easy hike.
You can see the ancient and rare Indian art that dates back to 1,000 B.C.
Another fun stop on the way is Sand Mountain.
The tiny white speck at the bottom of Sand Mountain in this photo, is our car... so you can see how large this one single dune is.
Part of this is a preserved area, but the rest of the mountain is a recreation area where off-road "duners" play. It is usually breezy here, and when the winds whip up, it cleans and moves sand into new formations.
The dune was created from Quartz particles deposited into the river delta during the Ice Age and blown 30 miles to the barrier of Stillwater Mountains. The sand was trapped in this area and over the centuries, Sand Mountain was formed.
This mountain is home to jack rabbits, lizards and albino scorpions (yuck). It is also home to the Sand Mountain Blue butterfly, found no where else. This fact is posted at the site, by the perserve organaization.
The end of the drive in Nevada is the State Line which is in South Lake Tahoe. It is fun to have your picture taken straddling the state line.
Lots to do and see in this area, but if your time is short, don't waste it on
gambling. Take the drive around Lake Tahoe; it is about three hours of stunning