After my initial posting, done in the parking lot of some steakhouse/casino on my phone, I filled up the tank and made my way East towards Austin. My first stop was the Grimes Archaeological Site where there are some petroglyphs. They are old and not very exciting… Moving on!
I continued on US50 (the “Loneliest Highway in the World”) and drove passed some salt lakes. Mirages are strange. The way that light refracts through rising air (heat waves) makes any flat surface reflect like it is water. I can imagine how frustrating that must be if you were really thirsty and hot and your horse died and life sucked.
I turned on to HWY722 which is the old route for US50 and got stuck at a flagger for 20 minutes where I had a conversation with the flag lady while we waited for the “pilot car”. Her first comment to me was, “Geez, you really scratched the shit out of truck. What the fuck were you doing?” I informed her that I was a badass geologist and liked ghost towns, thus the shit scratching.
She got excited and wanted me to check out her opal one of the old guys who lived down the road gave her. It was a beautiful white opal that was at one time a limb of a tree millions of years ago. She was excited when I explained to her that it was once a tree, but I don’t think she understood that the tree had been petrified with opal and not that there are some trees out there made of opal.
After I got through the road construction I turned South onto an unnamed dirt road and burly manned it through the desert. These roads are not always the best maintained. Every time I look in my rearview mirror I am surprised I am not seeing the Honey Badger kartwheeling behind me like it had been smashed by some Decepticon in yet another Michael Bay shitshow while all my gear yardsales into the dust cloud that remains.
After about 30 miles of washboard roads I climbed out of the basin and into the range to arrive at Ione. The claim to fame for Ione is that their population was so egomaniacal that they forced the state to make a new county by splitting up two others just so they could be the county seat of something. Then the gold ran out and everyone left; like 10 months later. Whoo!
South or Ione lies Berlin and the town’s Ichthyosaur. Since people marvel at the 100 million year old sea creature a state park was made. Since a state park was made, the ghost town of Berlin has been rebuilt. The stamp mill is awesome and probably full of mercury. I loved it! I didn’t get to see the Ichthyosaur since they put a building over it and locked the door. Lame.
I decided to hit up one more ghost town before heading back up to US50 and went down the road a ways to Grantsville. The road was a piece of cake and the Honey Badger was bouncing along when *BAM*! Well, more like a high pitched *Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee*! Uh oh.
I jumped out of the truck and ran to the sound. My rear passenger tire had a golfball-sized rock impaled through it. Neato. I reacted like the crisis manager I was trained to be by Mama Wade. I grabbed my can of fix flat and read the instructions: “If possible, remove object.” Check. “Shake can vigorously for 30 seconds.” Check. “Fill tire.” And the horns go *wuh wah*.
Fix a Flat doesn’t do what they claim, and I had to change a tire on a truck, attached to a trailer. What joy. It is really hard to use a jack under the rear axle of a truck that is lifting a gross weight of like 9000lbs. After about an hour of being manly some more I got my spare on and it is only 4 inches smaller in diameter than my $400 badass impenetrable tire that got penetrated.
I got back in the truck and GPSed the closest Les Schwab. The closest Les Schwab is in… duh dun Dah! Fallon 94 miles away. That’s 94 miles at 40mph down mostly dirt roads because you shouldn’t go fast when your drive wheels are different sizes.
On my way over a pass to connect with a different, paved highway (HWY 361) my breaks started to melt, yay! I low geared it to a crawl and managed to pull over to let the breaks cool. I got out to tour the truck and check my spare when I notice that yet another magnetic trailer light set was dragged to its death. Gar! $44 dollars a pop and you’d think they’d make better magnets.
All was not lost, after I get my tire fixed in the morning I plan on double backing to HWY361 and check out some promising quartz veins when I make my way out to meet Dave in Ely.
Now I am back in Fallon staying in a Holiday Inn Express because I deserve it… and I needed the shower