I’m leaving Las Vegas, saying goodbye to my wonderful friends Lillian and Bruce. Lillian has been a dear friend, mentor and surrogate mother for me over the last 25 years. I could write an entire book on Lillian alone. She is one amazing human, bold as brass, who will go toe-to-toe with anyone, and has a heart as big as the universe.

Lillian and Bruce

There is a cold front planning to come through, so I’ll have to continually check the weather so I don’t get stuck on a mountain pass as I make my way back to Oregon. I’m giving myself 5-full days just in case I need to bunk down somewhere along the way to wait out a storm.

U.S. Route 95

From Las Vegas to Carson City and on to Reno runs U.S. Route 95 and let me tell you, this has some long stretches of nothin’ which is why I tend to jet off in random directions on a whim and wander. However, I’m a sucker for ghost towns and cool graffiti peppering the concrete slabs and abandoned buildings from this route. I was thinking of camping in one of the building for the night but decided to push on for a couple more hours.


11/18/16 @ 3pm
Goldfield, NV

Goldfield was once a booming Gold Mining town, with a population of 30,000 between 1903 and 1940, Goldfield’s mines produced more than $86 million dollars Whoa! Now it is essentially a ghost town. The 2010 census shows a population of 236. There is such beauty in decay.

11/19/16 @ 6:00am
Hawthorne, NV
Miles 1643

I stopped at the El Captain Casino to car camp. Casinos are awesome since they are open 24/7, are toasty warm and have nice spacious bathrooms. A great place to stretch your legs during the night. Added bonus is that this is a local’s casino so there weren’t too many people out past 11pm.

The temperature last night was 42 degrees. I knew a cold spell was coming through so I broke out the emergency thermal blankets and charcoal heating packs to add to my current blanket situation for the car. I was truly amazed at how much heat those thermal blankets kept in. I used them as a center layer between the blanket and my coat, which I used as top layer. I threw the charcoal heating packs in my socks and stuck my feet in. The packs can easily burn your feet so I wrapped the packs in an extra sock for a barrier. I didn’t get cold until this morning. I slept for a whopping 8 hours! Absolutely beauty!

11/19/2016 @ noonish
Mono Lake, CA

I ducked back into California to check out Yosemite National Park before continuing my trek north. Once I saw Mono Lake I just had to stop! Absolutely breathtaking! I felt like I was on another planet.

The desert lake is filled with salt, calcium and minerals that covers the rocks and sand looking like snow. It also has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp that live in the water. The shrimp feed the millions of migratory birds that come. Mono Lake is listed as one of the oldest lakes in North America (760,000 years old).

While I was there I found out the mountain pass leading Yosemite was closed due to snow and the detour was 6-hours long! So back to the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe and on to Reno where I’ll sleep for the night.

Next Blog: #TheNaturalist

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