We left San Francisco all loaded up in our shiny SUV headed for Lake Tahoe. We drove across the Bay Bridge with not a cloud in the sky and headed East. Unfortunately things started to go “south” pretty quickly. We think Steve had pushed on a bit too far with his cold. He had put it to the back of his mind as we were enjoying the cycling so much and were so focused on getting to San Francisco, but now with that behind us it really came to the fore and by the time we had made the four hour drive to Tahoe he was absolutely wasted.
The next couple of days were spent doing not much at all, a couple of hours sleep in the afternoons and a good 10 hours at night did start to improve things. Luckily we had anticipated needing some sort of recovery time and had consequently booked a lovely ski apartment in the mountain a few hundred feet above the town of South Lake Tahoe. It was a fabulous location and probably the best accommodation we will have on this trip. If you are going to be ill … this was the place to do it. Sarah was also appreciative of the relaxation and was more than ready. Lazing around, admiring the view and popping into town for a coffee was just what she needed. On our third and final day we ventured out of town and drove around the lake. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place, a view at every turn. Yes the town does have the obligatory Nevada casinos but not on the scale we expected. On the whole it’s a good town and we left feeling we had been cheated by Steve’s cold as there is so much to do there, but we were unable to take advantage. A return trip is a definite possibility in the future.
We left Tahoe and began
a journey further East, our destination was a small town in Utah called Moab, almost 800 miles away! We planned to do it in 2 or 3 days with our first stop being almost half way in a place called Ely. We knew nothing about Ely other than it was the place with
the biggest lettering on the map and bookings.com said it had 6 places to stay! Sounds great!
Thirty minutes out of Tahoe
we drove through Carson City, a decent sized town but it sounds a lot bigger than it is. Steve said “enough is enough”. His cold was not going away very quickly at all and so he decided to go to a “walk in clinic”. We found one in Walmart, of all places, and
off we went to book an appointment. After a couple of attempts with the computer saying “No” as we had ‘foreign address’ the receptionist resorted to pen and paper and soon Steve was sat in an office with the doctor while Sarah stocked up on a few supplies
in the store. All very convenient!
A few questions, a few
tests and a few more questions later and Steve was diagnosed with sinusitis! The doctor issued a prescription and emailed it straight to the pharmacist (also) in Walmart. Steve sat in line and 10 minutes later he collected his antibiotics and his bill and
almost needed a paramedic with the shock! $130 for less than 10 minutes with the doctor and 20 tablets.
We resumed our roadtrip
and drove out of Carson City with Steve still muttering something about Obamacare. We picked up Highway 50 which also has the title of “The Loneliest Road in America”. We have done a few roadtrips in the States and been on a few lonley roads so we thought
this should be interesting. We found it a fantastic drive, all at between 6000 and 8000 feet, through unbelievable desert scenery with long, long straight roads sometimes stretching 20 miles ahead of us. We drove through the mountains and hills and then down
into huge flat basins, which must have been 70 or 80 miles across, then back through the mountains and down into another basin. Each one was slightly different from the previous one as the light from the sun and the rock formations gradually changed. Every
so often a vehicle would pass in the opposite direction and remind you there was life out there. At one point we drove 210 miles and passed through two towns, that’s if you can call 20 buildings and a population of under a hundred a town. It really was desolate.
We later found out that the road got its title after a magazine in the 1980’s ran an article saying how desolate it was and had no points of interest and recommended people not to drive it unless they had good survival skills!! We didn’t think it was that
bad but thankfully cars have improved considerably. Steve said he wouldn’t fancy driving it in his Dad’s old Austin Maxi from the 80’s.
We arrived in Ely….now there is a place!! We still don’t really know what to make of it. We stayed in the Nevada Hotel and Gambling Hall, which was proud of the fact that at 6 stories high it was the tallest hotel in the State of Nevada for 10 years after it was built in 1929. It seemed even more proud of the fact the plumbing hasn’t been changed since, even to the extent there are plaques in the rooms explaining this and saying that hopefully the experience of the water swinging between hot and cold while showering enhances the authentic experience!! It was definitely one of the strangest hotels and towns we have stayed in. It was trying to maintain a feel of a late 19th century cowboy town with saloons and hotels and to some extent was succeeding, but with the addition of neon lights and the card tables replaced by gaming machines, it probably lost some authenticity. Did we like Ely and the hotel? I think we did. Our room was modern and clean with a great selection of movies on the TV which was a real treat. We also got a free frozen margarita each and on top of all that there was a free breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs and coffee all for just over £50. These days in the States thats a real bargain!
We left Ely to continue
along Highway 50 with full stomachs and a smiles on our faces. We crossed the State line into Utah and very quickly the scenery began to change. We had spent some time in Southern Utah a few years ago and it had been one of our most enjoyable trips. The scenery
had been like nothing we had seen before and now our drive through the centre of the state was not disappointing. In many ways the road was even lonelier than the previous day but with no one else on the road, the sun beating down, the dramatic red rock landscape
and imense canyons getting ever bigger and “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC belting out of the speakers, we were having a ball.
After another overnight
stop in a pretty non descript town we arrived on the outskirts of Moab. We have been trying to get here for years but it really is a long way from anywhere. It’s a small town, one street, and not very long but it sits close to two National Parks and one State
Park and they are in our opinion amazing.
Dead Horse Point State
Park is elevated above the Colorado River which continues on South to carve out the Grand Canyon. The Park is mainly about the views rather than hiking and anyone who has seen the end of the movie “Thelma and Louise” this is where they drive the car off the
Canyonlands National Park
is a huge expanse of jaw dropping views and hiking trails and a 100 mile dirt track loop which you can drive in a jeep, ride on a motorbike or even cycle. Steve wished we had more time here as the activities are endless!
Arches National Park is
in many ways the most impressive with strange red rock formations filling the park and natural rock arches have been formed by the weather. In this Park you get up close and personal with the features and the hiking is brilliant. On one of the days we did
an 8 mile route on a primitive trail. It was marked by cairns and dead branches and involved some hard going through sand and over some big old boulders. Hands and feet contact were required on many occasions but it was a fabulous walk, well worth the effort.
We could go on forever
about Moab and the Parks but we could not do them justice so we will post a selection of photos but even those go only a short way to showing the vastness of this incredible place.
We feel we should give
a quick mention to our campsite in Moab, located on the edge of town, it has great pitches, the most incredible setting and a huge pool with a hot tub!! A long way from some of the State campsites back in Washington…. No hole in the floor toilets here! We
are leaving Moab tomorrow and heading South towards Arizona and Monument Valley. Steve’s antibiotics have kicked in and we are both pretty much back to normal.
“Sarah, we really should
put the bikes together and go out to turn our legs over”…….”Sod that, I’m off to the hot tub again”…..Life is good!