Western Migration, Part 3, Great Salt Desert to the Sierra Nevada

IMG_4686Now the Donner Party had a hell of a time getting over the Wasatch, and once over it, they saw 80 miles of the Great Salt Desert. Back then, the salt formed a thin crust over the marsh and their wagon wheels broke through, slowing their advance to a crawl of only a couple of miles a day. Many of their livestock escaped.  It was a miserable time for them, and it only got worse in the winter of 1846.  We on the other hand, made it across the Great Salt Desert on Friday, Sept 18, via Interstate 80 in a little more than an hour. Our biggest complaint was the short playlist on XM Radio’s Yacht Rock channel.  We flipped between those soft rock favorites of the 8o’s and 90’s and Rush L., and Sean H., on the local AM station.  I forgot to mention in my last post that in mid-Utah we had to cut up from Interstate 70 to Interstate 15 via US Highway 60/191.  Provo is on Interstate 15.  We then took I-15 about 30 miles north to Interstate 80 and took I-80 out of Utah.  Once out of Utah, the road across Nevada to Reno was fairly desolate–a great place to locate nuclear weapons or waste.  We stopped a couple of times, maybe to eat or get gas, I don’t recall as the landscape was so boring, one tends to easily forget it all.  Anyway, hours upon hours of drifting out our lane (thanks Mobileye unit in the Calistoga,  for reminding me to get back over to the right) made for a brutally boring drive.  About 7 pm, we pulled into the Biggest Little City in the World, Reno NV.  We made camp at the former Terrible’s Gold Ranch RV Park (5/10). It is now just the Gold Ranch RV Park and it is located about 3 miles from the California border at the base of the Sierra Nevada.  We drove around Reno, a depressing gambling town with a 2 block area of nice restaurants, and ate slices of pizza at Pizano’s (8/10).  We had to park on the side of a city street in 2 spaces, so dutifully paid for 2 spots.  We later took our spot at the RV park, and were fortunate to finally get Dish TV satellite reception (southern exposure, mountains to the west).  The casino next to the RV Park was nasty, depressing and smoke filled.  Think of the “glamor” of Las Vegas as a 7 on a scale of 10, and this gambling spot was a -8. The only reason it does not get a -10 is that there is a Jack in the Box next door.  The next morning, before heading over to California and to Truckee to party with the Donner Party, we headed back to Reno to get Starbucks.


About winnebago70x

Between the two of us, we are proud parents, Texans, Texas Exes, long distance runners, cyclists, adventurers, a guitar player, a computer programmer, a great cook, a lawyer, an engineer, a physicist, etc. etc.
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