Saturday, July 18 - Tonopah, NV
After a final sticky, sleepless night in Zion, I was awakened before sunrise by the sound of a puking dog. Heidi is a delicate creature, and I think the heat and excitement got to her. I took her outside to finish her little doggy cleansing, and magically, unexpectedly, there it was, the most beautiful morning I think I've ever seen. The sliver-moon was just coming up over the rock cliffs, tailed by a super bright star - or planet - maybe Venus. The sky was turning that impossible Maxfield Parrish blue, and the sun, still not visible, but following the moon in its path, was beginning to light up the opposite rock wall, 1,000 feet high. I looked around me, and said to myself, this is the best part of this day.
We spent most of the day driving through Nevada, and as much as I want to show you the beauty of this country as we travel through it, I have to be honest. It isn't always pretty, folks. In contrast to the areas we've just been in, much of Nevada is, well, gray. Gray and dry and rocky, with the exception of our brief side trip to the Valley of Fire state park. It's a rather small, but beautiful park, the oldest state part in Nevada, filled with deep red swirling piles of rock. Nothing like the Grand Canyon or Zion, but it was worth the stop. It's about 40 miles from Las Vegas, and seems to be a popular wedding site. There was a wedding there today, in fact, cozied up alongside a big bus full of Chinese tourists, all sharing the blistering Nevada heat.
We skirted Las Vegas, and caught a glimpse of the strip through the heavy smog. Nothing about Vegas appeals to us, unless we were to find ourselves with tickets to Cirque de Soleil. We'd probably go to that. But today we were intent on getting closer to Reno, so we aimed ourselves at the small town of Beatty, since there was a decent sounding RV park listed there in "the Woodall's" guide. We got to Beatty without any trouble, and found the RV park. It was basically a wide spot in the road with RV hook-ups, gray dirt, no trees... We said in unison, "We're not staying here", and drove on.
The next town listing RV sites was Tonopah. We've been through Tonopah before, and weren't very impressed, but we figured it would have an OK place to spend the night, even if it was in the local casino parking lot. We glanced at that option as we drove through, but decided to go to the Joy-Land RV Park at the other end of town, five minutes away. Remember when I said the morning was the best part of the day? Well, yes, it certainly was...
As we pulled into Joy-Land, a huge dust storm blew in, flinging dirt in our teeth and making me feel like Dorothy in the approaching tornado. Our camp host, Larry, showed up after a few minutes of ringing the buzzer on the office door, and told us that the place used to be called the Twister Inn. Mm Hmm... Funny. We looked arond the place, and even though it's way beyond funky, we decided to stay. It's only one night, and they offer 50 amp electric hook-ups, which we thought we needed for our air conditioner. We paid our $18 (by check - Larry doesn't take credit cards) for a pull-through site, and were then sent down to the end of the road, to Lot 3. Home sweet home for the night is, yep, grey dirt, hunks of old concrete, and a neighborhood of falling-down mobile homes, trash, barking dogs, and noisy local four-wheelers. Larry, with his deep blue eyes, twitchy manner, and toothless smile, informed us that he would not drink the water here, that the Mexican place in town is expensive at $5 for two tacos, but it'll fill you up, the electric is only 30 amp, but it's all we need, and the cable TV works, probably. If we can get channel three, we're good to go. It feels like we're stuck in a David Lynch movie.
We didn't want to leave the trailer, or the dogs, unattended, so Rick drove in to town to pick up some supplies. Drinking water, beer, wine, lettuce, cheese. Always start with the liquids and go from there. I stayed behind with the dogs and the Myotron, but wasn't bothered by anything worse than flies. There are horses nearby too, so flies are also part of the deal at Joy-Land.
I can't begin to imagine a worse place to stay, but here we are, too tired to drive any farther, and trying to make the best of it. No doubt we'll stay in as bad or worse places as we go, and you can be sure I'll tell you about them. This is so awful it's funny. And yes, those few minutes before sunrise this morning were indeed the best part of the day... so far. But hey, as I write this, off line, because there's no internet unless I want to sit on Larry's front porch (I do not), it's not over yet.