I’ve had three completely different experiences driving from Denver to Davis, each one really special in its own way. Mike escorted me this time and we had such a wonderful time. There are certain things that I would only ever do with him, and I love that. We decided to make the trek to Elko, NV for our first leg because Elko is special to us for certain reasons, even though neither of us had ever been there. So we took I-25 up into Wyoming and then hopped onto I-80 in Laramie.
[map at the fort bridger museum]
M drove while I took photos of the wind farms.
And then we made a special stop in Fort Bridger. M has read a lot about Jim Bridger and really wanted to visit the fort. We thought it would be a nice lunch and leg-stretch break. But first we stopped at this greasy spoon cafe, which was definitely the only restaurant in town. Everyone called us sweetie and honey and didn’t look at us weird. It was great.
Then we walked across the street to the fort, and took pictures in front of this statue.
The fort is now a walking museum of different preserved and/or replicated buildings. It was used by three different groups at three different times: first as a military base, then a rallying point for traveling mormons, and finally as Jim Bridger’s trading post. The above building was the cantina during the military days. It had so much old crap in it, I drooled a little bit.
At a certain point the fort was a stop on the pony express, and this is where they kept the horses. We also saw the carriages with the US postal service insignia on them.
This is a burial for a dog that was taken in by some of the soldiers. It was the only burial on the property. I couldn’t stop imagining a 150-year-old dog skeleton in the ground.
The trading post! Unfortunately just a replica, but cool nonetheless. I’m always really awed by places where specific things happened a long time ago.
He was so excited.
Various pretty things at the fort.
We spent longer at the fort than we thought, so we ended up driving directly into the sun setting for the last leg to Elko.
Elko is a tiny, quiet casino town. Everyone was really nice, we walked everywhere we went, and our motel was my favorite kind of 70s aesthetic. M and I really love having small town culture experiences together. We have so much fun exploring new places like this.
We stayed here, at the Thunderbird Motor Inn. Right across the street were three casinos including Stockman’s, where we had dinner.
We had the best waitress, and she told us about how Elko is a gold rush town and gold is still the one thing keeping it together. She said the town has not felt the effects of the recession at all because their gold protects them from fluctuations in the market. But she said the gold is expected to run out in the next 50 years, and people are predicting that Elko will then become a ghost town. Different from the ghost towns you’d normally think of, because Elko is completely modernized. I can’t really think of anything scarier than a ghost casino town. We talked about the kindness of strangers as we ate this really delicious [disgusting] dessert.
Our little motel room.
In the morning, before heading West.
On our way over the Sierra Nevadas we hit a snowstorm. Luckily the pass doesn’t really have tight switchbacks, but it does have a lot of big steep hills. I drove through most of it, and it was kind of crazy. But once we emerged back down at sea level, passed Sacramento and began the last tiny stretch of highway to Davis, the heavy hanging clouds parted a little to show blue sky. And it was that quiet, wet feeling after a big downpour, and it was absolutely so beautiful.
M drawing a picture on our chalkboard, because he’s absolutely the cutest. I was so happy he got to see my house and sleep in my bed. Calypso was happy to get home too, and we all cuddled up that night and looked at the milky way in my dark neighborhood.
M left the next morning. I’ve since been settling in, reuniting with friends and generally feeling very gleeful and grateful. Update on rearranging my bedroom, first week of classes and IAD camping trip #2 forthcoming.