Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Trip Awards

Best terrible ideas: Lucy
Best car farts: Kelly
Most likely to stop in the middle of something to stare at a plant: Erin
Best motel: The Atomic Inn, Beatty
Worst motel: The Clown Motel, Tonopah
Best near-death experience: The road to Belmont
Best gambling win: Lucy
Best first-time blackjack player: Julian
Worst car: 2012 GMC Terrain
Worst Mexican food: Tonopah
Best chili: The Happy Burro, Beatty
Best wild burro: Beatty
Best at offering free margaritas: Ely 
Worst margaritas: Ely
Best car conversation: Primordial dwarf (played by Lucy) with Chewbacca (played by Kelly)
Best planner: Lucy
Best snow driver: Erin
Best motel negotiation: Julian and the Tonopah Motel guy who didn't want to give us extra toilet paper
Best at running way ahead and climbing up mountains at full speed alone: Lucy
Worst cologne: Kelly Carroll, park ranger 
Friendliest museum proprietor: the woman at the Eureka museum
Weirdest store proprietor: the man at the junk/souvenir shop in Goldfield
Scariest locals: Ione
Best locals: Beatty
Hardest to kill in theoretical attack: Kelly
Best gear head: Erin
Best weird addiction: Kelly to Zzzzquil
Best museum: Museum of the Future (Coming Soon)

Monday, December 31, 2012

End II

Well, we've all parted ways, said our goodbyes, and shared hugs (except for Lucy, she apparently doesn't do the soppy goodbye hug thing) and i guess I'm the only one willing to write a conclusion, really, I just need this for closure. For me, this trip had a much more comfortable ending than the previous one. My life is much less up in the air and I have some truly solid goals that I'm in the middle of fulfilling. I'm sure it's similar for Julian. Lucy sounds like she is happily returning to her chaotic life refreshed after a western adventure, and Erin seems like she might just need some help coming up with a business name.
I return to normal life with possibly a more exploratory spirit and a solid hatred of GMC vehicles. With this trip under my belt I really feel that I've seen a good portion of our country. Well, at least I've hit some major sections.
Over and out.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wilbert the Burro

So today we drove south and west, to the edge of death valley, exploring some ghost towns on the way - goldfield, lida, palmetto, gold point, rhyolite - and ended up at beatty, nevada. Me and ada dumped Eva and Di at the Atomic Inn (sweetest motel ever) since Eva has the plague and Di is a pussy, and drove straight into the wilderness up titus canyon road. Titus canyon is not for pussies or the sick, only for the stupid (me) or the fearless (ada). After 12 miles, we made it to the peak of the canyon and agreed that driving down INTO the canyon in the dark and trying to get back out was too stupid and scary even for us. Which turned out to be smart, since once we got back to town, the locals said - "oh no, you can't drive BACK the way in. That's impossible. You have to drive out through california." Oh. Well FUCK YOU NEVADA, WE COULD HAVE DIED. WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL US THAT EARLIER? We saw a wild burro on the way, which I love. His name is Wilbert.

Then we picked up puss face (di) and went to the bar in Beatty. The very first person we met was a old dude (cowbody jim) who did cowbody shootout "renactments" who I bonded with after he told me about his dad shooting rats in the house after I mentioned picking up shells from my kitchen floor. (Arman does the same). THEN some dude came over to join him and  we got to talking about Ada's desire to take pictures of the brothels scattered all over. He (chris) goes "oh, you can come on over and take pictures at the pink lady right here" - which he is authorized to do, since he works security there and his SISTER manages it. Though the thought of hiring your brother to do security in your brothel is super creeptastic in all sorts of ways, it didn't stop me from quizzing him about how brothels work (it's very disapointing). Also, Jim, Chris and another Jim who Ada met, told us that Wilbert the burro LOVES doritos and will run up to you if he sees the bag, so I have some doritos now to feed him in the morning.

We decided we were hungry and I needed to see some dogs, so we went to the chili place next door to the bar and sat down at a table with some strangers. The resident dog didn't like me, so I turned my attention to the strangers. They are hot air balloon operators. For serious. I saw their website. And we have their card. They also told us that every year, the state rounds up the wild burros and adopts them out and shoots the rest, so I am going to adopt Wilbert and ride him home.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Being in the middle of nowhere: guest post by Julian

As a very strongly-identified city person, this trip is blowing my mind every day. We drove for about 2 1/2 hours each way to get from Tonopah, NV to Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, where they had both a ghost mining town AND the fossilized skeleton of an icthyosaur. We had podcasts on, but I was unable to focus on them at all because all I could do was stare at the mountains. Nevada is full of different mountain ranges. They each have different characters - some are full of trees, and some are desolate. Some are snow-covered, some are mostly brown dirt. Some are huge and have sharp peaks, some look more curved. Some have obviously been mined, with huge slices cut out of them. The roads run straight and lonely between them and twist through them. They are not all the same kind of lonely. Route 50 is called "The Loneliest Road in America" and it was on this road that we passed through my favorite non-ghost town so far, Eureka NV. However, the state routes leading to Berlin-Ichthyosaur were far lonielier. Except for one person coming from the semi-ghost town of Ione, we didn't see anyone else.

I don't know if any of my photos of the desolation or the mountains even come close to doing justice to what it feels like to be there.

Last night we visited the ghost town of Belmont by moonlight (as described by Kelly a few posts back). The moon was so huge and bright, we didn't even need our flashlights. No photo could capture the moon either.

The photos can, however, capture some of the structures we've seen so far. Here are some from Berlin and Candelaria.

I love you, icthyosaur

I overdid it yesterday running down a mountain in thigh-high snow at 4 degrees and 7000 ft, enough with the bone-dry air already. But we persevere. Cough syrup haze, beautiful day, actual ghost towns, debates over gastrointestinal ettiquette, snowy snow, icthyosaur fossils - prehistoric reptilian whale, rocks, caves, lichens, the most amazing mountain road views, pb&j assembly line, in bed by 8 with the zquil stuff. Berlin, Icthysaur SP, Ione, Calandaria and again in Tonopah, where if you barter for a lower room rate, you pay in towels and tp. Sleeeepy sleep.

Sleeping in a bed.

I'll let you know how it goes.

The loneliest highway

I'm feeling pretty euphoric. We survived the evening. You don't understand, this was quite a feat. We drove from Ely to Tonopah today and did a fairly amazing hike to try to find a ghost town called Newark which, as it turned out, was covered in snow. being 6000 feet above sea level and thigh deep in snow eventually took it's toll and we turned around and headed back, facing an amazing view of a really beautiful valley all the way to the car. We then drove to the next town to eat lunch and plan. We museumed it up and ate mining town sized sandwiches. Deciding to make Tonopah our home base for the night we headed out just as it was getting dark. Now, getting to the harrowing part: We decided one of the really great ghost towns circled on our map (that happen to be on the way) would be way more rad at night. Roughly 30 minutes later we found ourselves 12 miles down a poorly plowed gravel road. There was no way to turn around, even if we were able to get going the other direction there would have been no way to get back up the mountain we just drove down. We had to keep going. I feel the need to mention my lack of confidence in our rented GMC good for nothing, front wheel drive, piece of shit. Erin did a terrific job of not letting it go off a cliff and for that I'm grateful. When it was realized no one was breathing, we decided to stop at a fork in the road and reassess our directions and consult the compass. It was at this time that I saw, arguably, the most beautiful scene I've ever seen. The moon lit up the entire valley, words can not describe. I did have a small chat with the cosmos on our current predicament and when I shook off the awe of the scene and reconvened with the group they had a promising direction and a new way out. Belmont (ghost town of the evening) was amazing and we made it out alive without having to seriously debate weather if we got stuck in the snow to stay in the car or walk back to keep from freezing to death in single digit temperatures. Tonight we chose the least rapey motel, though, the bathroom does looks like a future murder scene and the artwork is adhered to the wall with a screw going through the velvet canvas.