roadhound Posted August 27, 2007 Report Share Posted August 27, 2007 Part 4; Callao to Ely on the Lincoln (mostly) In July my father, son, and I embarked on a journey across the deserts of Utah and Nevada following old trails, railroads, and highways. On the third day of the trip we followed the Lincoln through the Great Salt Lake Desert from Valley City, Utah to Ely, Nevada. This is the third installment of that day on the Lincoln Highway and Pony Express Trail. We passed through the oasis of Callao at approximately 4:00 in the afternoon and headed north. Our flight plan was going to divert us off of the original route of the Lincoln and rejoin the Lincoln at the Goodyear cutoff. With the Army grounds on our right shoulder we drove past the surreal sight of buses, tractors, and military vehicles spread across the desert in the distance. Targets? The Goodyear Cutoff is marked by a large sign on the north side with faded letters letting you know that it was a dead end road and government property as well as a small marker on the south side with the Lincoln Highway symbol. Other than those two items it looks like any other dirt road heading into the desert. Gooyear Cutoff. The sign on the left says "Dead End Road,No Trespassing, Government Property." The little marker on the right has the Lincoln symbol with "Lincoln Highway" spelled out down its length. After we passed the Goodyear Cutoff and headed further on to Gold Hill my father, who had by now been fully briefed on the story of the Goodyear, and I began to hypothesize about what might have been. What if the Lincoln's route had been funded instead of the one to Wendover? Why wasn't this section of the Lincoln made part of US 50 when it was missing a route through Utah? After the discussion we came to the conclusion that the Lincoln's loss was our gain as we now had an opportunity to drive this road affected little by time. Gold Hill was not what I expected it to be. I was expecting an abandoned town with but a few buildings left standing. What we found in addition to the General Store ruins were shacks, trailers, and pickup trucks that had seen recent use. Our assumption was that the recent surge in metal prices had made it profitable to re-open the nearby mines and Gold Hill once again had a population. Up until Gold Hill our GPS had attempted to lead us astray a couple of times but nothing to the degree that we couldn't quickly recover. In Gold Hill it had us make a number of turns that ran us in a couple of circles. After half a dozen attempts to make us turn down deer paths and long forgotten wagon trails I muted the damn thing and we headed west out of town on the best road we could find. The road dropped us off about 20 miles north Ibapah near White Sage Flat and had added approximately an extra 40 minutes to our trip. It was now after 6:30 when we reached Ibapah and the clouds were getting much thicker. We could see the rain falling off towards the west but didn't know if it was where we were headed or not. After Ibapah, once we crossed into Nevada, the Lincoln Highway markers became much more prevelent. Every few miles there was a Lincoln logo tacked to a fence post. Lincoln Highway between Ibapah and Eightmile When we reached the site of Eightmile the GPS again ran us in circles. I had forgiven it when we reached Ibapah and took it off of mute as I typed in the coordinates for Tippets. At Eightmile it told us to turn left at a Y in the road. Looking at the two roads the one to the left looked like it was in better condition and therefore I assumed that it was the correct path to take. When we ended up in the driveway of a ranch and had no choice but to turn around I began to suspect something was wrong. When I saw the Nevada\Utah state line show up on the GPS with us heading toward Utah I knew for sure that we were headed the wrong way. Turning around we went back to the Y in the road and took the road to the right this time, which turned out to be correct. We were heading towards Tippets but also into a cloudburst. On one hand a drenching rain might help to get some of the dust off of the vehicle that had accumulated over the last three days of desert driving but on the other hand I had been advised by a fellow traveler that the roads got slippery in that area when they got wet. As it turned out there was just enough rain to turn the dust on the car into a nice coating of streaked mud. My father, who was driving at the time, compared the roads to driving in Saskatchewan in the springtime, meaning that knowing how to ice skate was a plus. Engaging the 4 wheel drive helped to keep the truck in a straight line. Tippets Ranch We stopped briefly at Tippets Ranch but the light was fading fast and we still had to get over the Schell Creek Range. Pushing on we passed by the Stonehouse Pony Express station, crested the Schellbourne Pass, and reached US 93 and Schellbourne just as the sun was dropping behind the hills to the west. I often use the saying "gives me a reason to come back" when talking about something that I have missed out on during a trip and our late arrival at Stonehouse and the Schellbourne area gives me a reason to come back in the future. Schellbourne Pass Last light of the day on the Schell Creek Range We rolled into Ely after dark and found a room for the night. We had considered going a little further to the east to find a campground but the threat of rain helped make up our minds to find a room for the night. Once we had eaten dinner and settled in our room I left my father and son at the Motel while I went to find a car wash where I could blast the mud that was caked on the underside and covering the outside of my truck. I don't mind a little bit of dirt but the situation had now become extreme. The experience of traveling the particular section of the Lincoln that we had just traveled was one that I will always remember. In a single day we had what felt like a weeks worth of experiences, yet there are parts that I will need to go back and revisit again someday. It was extremely easy to feel the isolation that early travelers must have felt. With nobody else on the road you were alone and should something break it was up to you to fix it. I wasn't to worried as we were packed with tools, camping gear, and enough food for a week but it was easy to imagine just the same. Next up: (After a short break to catch up on a few other things) Beehives, Bristlecones, Lonely Roads, and more dirt roads. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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