From along the drive toward Wheeler Peak, our campground looked like a tiny white spot in a the wide open space that is the Great Basin.
Distances are hard to judge but we were staying about ten miles from Baker, Nevada, the town at the base of the road to Great Basin National Park, so the drive to and from the park and the town of Baker was an easy, relatively quick ride.
Border RV isn’t so much of an RV park or campground as it is a full-hook-up parking space, which is all we really needed.
The RV lot is part of a small casino, gas station, restaurant, and motel complex that straddles the Utah-Nevada state borders.
But here’s the thing: despite the casino, gas station and restaurant being in the same building, the casino is still in Nevada — where, obviously, gambling is legal– and the gas station is in Utah — where prices are lower for fuel. Now that’s a good example of an entrepreneur taking advantage of all the angles, don’t you think?
We were attracted to Great Basin primarly because fewer people visit here than places like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Glacier, and other “major” national parks. But Memorial Day Weekend was approaching, so we wondered just how busy it might get. “This is our busiest weekend of the year,” one of the park rangers told us.
But the streets of Baker looked just as quiet that weekend as they had in the days before the holiday.
Which is too bad, as it seemed businesses were struggling to stay afloat anyway. The Silver Jack Motel and Electrolux Cafe did a steady business (otherwise we wouldn’t have had to get there early to get their awesome scones before others bought them up). Still, we couldn’t help but notice the “For Sale” sign in the front window.
Across the street a gift shop was closed and the server at T&D’s restaurant said it had been open the year before. The restaurant itself, despite great food and wonderfully friendly service, rarely had more diners than the two of us (though we do tend to eat at lunch toward mid-afternoon).
In tough economic times, little communities like this one that rely primarily on out-of-town visitors to keep it going, suffer quite a bit. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first village that seemed to be bowing under the weight of lost tourism revenue.
We did what we could in the week we were there to pump some money into the local economy, mostly with those scones at the Electrolux and the pasta at T&D’s Country Store and Restaurant.
Besides, where else can you look out your window to see this view of the Snake Mountains…
… or these sunsets?