When temperatures in Southern California soared past 100 degrees, we figured it was time to venture northward. The day we passed through Baker, California, the huge thermometer showed 108 degrees — and this was the coolest day in a ten-day span!
Made us glad the temperature gauge had two empty spots above the one that was lit — talk about getting toasty!
Once inside the Nevada border, we started spotting wild burros. Though Bob is always willing to stop the rig, I love the challenge of trying to get a decent shot from the passenger seat, flying past at fifty miles and hour or more:
Some people think there’s nothing in the desert, but I see amazing things when we drive through stretches of seemingly abandoned no man’s land. Evidence of high hopes and broken dreams always make me grateful we’re living out one of our dreams.
Finding good food on the road is always a game of experience versus chance, especially in the gambling state of Nevada, where we’ve found only a few decent restaurants — mostly because so many restaurants are inside casinos, swathed in heavy plumes of cigarette smoke. KC’s Outpost in Beatty looked promising (no casino) and we were able to park the rig nearby and walk. Nothing fancy at KC’s, but the T-Bird sandwich was something we hadn’t seen in quite this form before:
Here’s the description from the special board: “Shredded oven-roasted turkey, cranberry and stuffing layered on our homemade french bread.” A turkey dinner in a sandwich — what’s not to love? But our on-the-road meal adventures were just beginning….
We boondocked in Tonopah, Nevada, an old mining town where we were tickled to spot this sculpture of an old couple, nestled against the side of a casino:
Did I say I don’t get tired of driving through the desert where we see things invisible to others?
We rolled through Nevada, stopping for the night in the tiny border town of McDermitt. It was July 3. We pulled into the Say When casino parking lot and found a spot among some semi-tractor trailers and several pickup trucks towing horse trailers. The restaurant, one of the few we’ll brave the smokey casino to eat in, was packed. Literally. Not only were the tables filled, but every stool at the counter was taken. I’ve never seen so many cowboy hats in one restaurant in my life (okay, maybe a 2-acre steakhouse in Amarillo, Texas, had a few more….). So we contented ourselves with a lighter meal in our rig.
That night we watched too many cowgirls hoist too-drunk cowboys into horse trailers or roll them into the back seats of their crew cab trucks, pulling off boots and shucking hats in the process. Some of the women headed right back into the casino-bar, determined their night wasn’t going to end even if *his* did; others crawled into the driver’s seat of the trucks, started engines, and pulled their rigs out onto the two-lane highway. I learned that night, watching those women, why so many of them knew how to drive trailers — designated drivers!
Firecrackers went off in the parking lot somewhere behind our rig — a couple of local kids who attracted the attention of the sheriff’s deputies patrolling the tiny town. We had entertainment well into the night.
The next morning we went back into the restaurant for breakfast — we’d just missed the rush. Every table needed bussing and at least one empty beer bottle sat on every table (hair of the dog is my guess). We had a great breakfast, got back into our rig, and headed out of town.
And there, on the outskirts of town, was a sight that explained everything:
Rodeo! Though not a big rodeo, the event was a big deal in this pretty isolated area bordering Nevada and Oregon — a chance for the area ranchers to — literally! — kick up their heels 🙂
We ended up spending the Fourth of July in what had to have been the quietest spot in all of the country. This tiny rest area in Brothers, Oregon (not far from Sisters!) was dark and silent except for the occasional truck making its way along the highway.