Yesterday's dry rain turned into wet snow overnight. It would be over 100 miles before I broke out of the pristine expanses of white Nevada highlands. No bother, it's a day for movement. Get some miles in. 350, to be exact.
I still had the desire to stop at some small town eatery. Eureka was no good, just as desolate as Austin although with shinier buildings. The decay and abandon started more recently there. Ely was a bit better, a sprawling agriculture town at a major intersection. I drove through town twice to find the only place open, Nardis Home Style Restaurant, a diner with a menu freshly printed and stapled together. The varied staff felt like a band of itinerant carnival workers who had been recently stranded in town and were trying to earn their keep. Nobody knew what was going on, but they were certainly giving it a go.
"You look like somebody famous" a waitress said as she walked by my seat at the counter."Hah, do you know who?" I replied, self aware that I was now on day six without a shower, toothpaste stains down my shirt, missing a tooth, profuse dandruff where the Hawaiian sun had zapped my bald spot."Nah, you just look like somebody important."
The bar is set low in Nevada.
I ate my savagely overcooked burger and got back to pushing hours on the road. The basins between ranges grew larger and flatter, the mountains taller, everything magnified and stretched and dilated. The transition into Utah brought more rough terrain, jutting cliffs and sharp boulders.
On a whim I ventured far off road to visit a lonely outcropping, climbing to the top in the blasting wind and absorbing the scale of distance around me. Then back in the van, pushing onward, gaining ground. The wind kicked up the dust until a thick gray haze shrank that massive scale and brought everything in close, just me and the endlessly straight road right ahead of me. Snow covered peaks would emerge above the dusty mist and disappear again, shifting unknown geology out there on the edge.
I feel rushed now, many hundreds of miles until Texas and only 5 days to do it. I could spend years out here exploring and be satisfied even only covering a square mile. Maybe someday I will.
P.S. Oh look, I made a map!