Sunday, May 14, 2017

Listening to the wind

The wind was strong out of the southwest as I drove from Rachel, Nevada, to Tonopah. Ug, sidewinds. It’s another reason I wouldn’t want to tow anything. The Rolling Steel Tent swayed left and right, swerved toward the shoulder and back. No relaxing. Constantly vigilant.

In Tonopah (what a sad looking place) I gassed up, used the restroom, and turned south for Goldfield. Straight into the wind. Swimming upstream in a raging river of air. Not good for the gas mileage. But it was only thirty miles.

A grilled ham & cheese at the Dinky Diner (it was exactly what you want a grilled ham & cheese to be) then off to the International Car Forest of the Last Church. That made the drive worth it.

But where to spend the night? At the car forest? Mmmmm, maybe. But it’s private property and no one was there to ask (or to chase me away, for that matter). I checked my resources. The lot behind the Texaco in Tonopah where big rigs park? Eh, sure. Even though it was backtracking I’d have a tailwind. Ah, like riding a magic carpet.

A sad town like Tonopah is one thing when when the sky is clear, but it dips to another level of sadness when it’s overcast. With cold howling wind. And little splatters of rain. I hunkered down, rode it out and contemplated where to go in the morning.

I want to be in Colorado the last part of June for a friend’s wedding. I was sort of headed that way when I was in southwest Utah. But I figured I could fit in some more time on the West Coast first. From Tonopah that means crossing the Sierras. Most years the passes don’t open until late May or June. With the tremendous snow pack this year it will be even later. However, I-80 is kept open all winter. That would mean driving about four hours north to Reno. Then another three hours to San Francisco. Hmmm.

Or I could drive around the south end of the Sierras and go to Southern California. Again. Also hmmm.

Or, you know, I could head back the way I’d just come and wander around Utah for a month. In the parts where the nights aren’t freezing. Y-y-y-e-e-e-a-a-h, but that would feel like the consolation prize.

But there was the matter of the wind. It would play a large part in the decision. I checked the forecast. Strong winds out of the north-northwest for the next couple of days. Well, that settled things. Southward it is.


  1. Another country, perhaps!

  2. The entire town of Tonopah is a speed trap at 25mph with cops waiting to catch you at the bottom of the biggest hills. We can't understand how there are so many hotels there.

    1. Perhaps there are so many hotels (including the spooky Clown Motel) because people are totally beat after driving there.