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Author Topic: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)  (Read 3596 times)

brianreynolds

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The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« on: June 16, 2013, 11:32:50 PM »

Ah, the stars are lining up favorably.  At this point, there is a better-than-90% chance that I will make the trip West to attend the annual meeting of the Extra Milers Club in Reno.

I have already done all of I-80, so one way will be almost entirely north of the Main Street of America, the other will be almost entirely south.  As I depart, I will let the weather forecast determine my westward choice.  Then Iíll be locked into the ďroute not takenĒ when traveling eastward, regardless of weather.

The meeting in Reno is Saturday, June 29th.  This is nearly ideal for travel.  Being so close to the summer solstice, the daylight hours will be near maximum.  I plan to use this to advantage, traveling many hours, covering many miles and visiting many counties each day.

The southern route could go something like this.  From Hastings, M-179, US-131, I-94, I-80, I-55, US-136 to Havana IL.   I still have Schulyer, Brown and Adams counties to visit in west-central IL.  All can be had via US-24 to Quincy.

Across the Big River, MO-6 and MO-126 to La Plata via Lewis and Knox counties.  US-63, US-36, I-29, US-136, NE-50, and NE-4 to Beatrice NE via Johnson, Pawnee and Gage counties.  For the day, 5 states, 8 new counties, and (according to Google Maps) 800 miles in 13h38m on the road.

From Beatrice, NE-4, NE-15, NE-74, US-81, NE-4, NE-14, NE-74, US-281, NE-4, NE-44 and a local road to Holdrege, then NE-23 all the way to the Colorado line.  Jefferson, Saline, Fillmore, Thayer, Nuckolls, Clay, Adams, Webster, Franklin, Kearney, Phelps, Gosner, Frontier, and Perkins, all new NE counties.  In Colorado, CO-23, US-358, I-70 through Denver, US-40 to Steamboat Springs, and an overnight.  Phillips, Yuma, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Elbert, Grand, Jackson and Routt, all new CO counties.  For the day, only 2 states, but 23 new counties, 775 miles, 12h42m on the road.

From Steamboat Springs, US-40 west to Blue Mountain, a local road toward Rangely, CO-64 back to US-40, west into Utah, US-291, then US-6 all the way to Tonopah NV.  Moffat and Rio Blanco counties in CO, Uintah, Duchesne, Carbon, Wasatch, Utah, Juab and Millard in UT, White Pine and Nye counties in NV.  For the day, 3 states, merely 11 new counties, 740 miles and an easy 12h58m on the road.

From Tonopah, US-95, NV-208 and US-395 to Reno via Esmeralda, Mineral, Douglas and Carson City counties.  One state, four new counties, 268 miles in 4h45m.  If I leave Tonopah by 7AM, Iíll be in Reno just before noon. 

Totals for the trip west: 8 states, 46 new counties, 2583 miles, 44h3m on the road.  If I take the southern route west, I will leave Reno early enough to get to Winnemucca by sundown, 166 miles, less than 2.5 hours driving, overnight there for the first leg of the trip back.

If, on the other hand, I take the northern route west, the route might be a bit simpler.  From Hastings, M-179, US-131, I-94, I-80, I-680, I-29 and US-30 to Fremont NE, US-77 south across the Platte River, NE-109 and a local road west to NE-79, north across the river back to US-30, west to NE-15 at Schulyer, south across the river, west on NE-64, north across the river on US-81 to US-30 west to Central City NE and an overnight.  5 states, Saunders, Butler, Polk, Platte, Merrick Ė 5 new Nebraska counties, 771 miles, 12h14m travel.

From Central City, NE-14 north to NE-92 west to Arthur (least populous county in the conterminous 48 that isnít in Texas).  NE-61 and NE-92 to US-26 west to Bridgeport.  NE-88 ad NE-71 to Scottsbluff, US-26 into Wyoming.  Howard, Sherman, Custer, Logan, McPherson, Arthur, Garden, Morrill, Banner, Scotts Bluff Ė 10 new Nebraska counties.

US-26 west to Riverton, WY-379 and WY-28 southwest, WY-372 west to US-189, then southwest to Kemmerer, and an overnight stop.  Goshen, Platte, Converse, Natrona, Fremont, Sublette, Lincoln Ė 7 new counties in Wyoming.  For the day, 2 states, 17 new counties, 819 miles, 14h3m travel.

From Kemmerer, US-30 west, then a short diversion down WY-89 and UT-30 into Rich County UT.  A local road NNE back to US-30 in Wyoming.  US-30 NW into Idaho (new state!) through Montpelier to ID-34, then south to Preston.  ID-36 west to I-15 north of Malad City.  I-15 north to Pocatello, I-86 west to I-84 to Burley.  US-30 west from Burley to Kimberly, then a local road north back to I-84.  A short hop west on I-84 to US-93, north to US-26.  Then west back to I-84, west through Boise to ID-55, and west to US-95.  Southwest on US-95 into Oregon (new state!), and on to Winnemucca NV, and an overnight.

For the day - five states (two new!), one new county each in UT (Rich), OR (Malheur) and Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida, Bannock, Power, Cassia, Minidoka, Jerome, Twin Falls, Lincoln, Gooding, Elmore, Ada, Canyon, Owyhee - 16 counties in Idaho, 18 total for the day, 768 miles, 13h19m travel.

From Winnemucca, 166 miles, 2h24m to Reno in the morning.  Totals for this segment Ė 10 states, 40 new counties, 2524 miles, 42 hours zero minutes travel.

Grand total for the whole trip, 5107 miles, 86 hours of travel, 86 new counties, two new states.

That is, if everything goes as planned.  However, as everyone already knows, nothing ever goes as planned.
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hbelkins

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2013, 12:27:15 PM »

Check Illinois DOT's site to see if any roads are closed due to flooding. I had to make some changes to my routing when I went to Dubuque, clinching Illinois' counties on the trip, because of high water. I know US 67 was closed in a few places. Not sure about US 24 or US 136.
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brianreynolds

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2013, 11:10:24 PM »

Good advice, H.B.  I checked, and it appears that the high water has receded.  For now anyway.  Thanks for the tip.
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gonealookin

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2013, 12:42:16 AM »

From Tonopah, US-95, NV-208 and US-395 to Reno via Esmeralda, Mineral, Douglas and Carson City counties.  One state, four new counties, 268 miles in 4h45m.  If I leave Tonopah by 7AM, Iíll be in Reno just before noon.

That would include Lyon County as well (on Alt. US-95 and NV-208).

As a more scenic route at about the same time and distance I'd suggest US-6 to CA-120 to US-395.  That passes Mono Lake and then runs along the eastern Sierra all the way up to Reno.  You'd lose Lyon County but would add Mono County, CA.
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brianreynolds

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2013, 08:28:17 PM »

From Tonopah, US-95, NV-208 and US-395 to Reno via Esmeralda, Mineral, Douglas and Carson City counties.  One state, four new counties, 268 miles in 4h45m.  If I leave Tonopah by 7AM, Iíll be in Reno just before noon.

That would include Lyon County as well (on Alt. US-95 and NV-208).

As a more scenic route at about the same time and distance I'd suggest US-6 to CA-120 to US-395.  That passes Mono Lake and then runs along the eastern Sierra all the way up to Reno.  You'd lose Lyon County but would add Mono County, CA.

Your observation about Lyon County is correct.  I had omitted mention of Lyon because I have visited there twice before, at Fernley.  Once was traveling I-80, the other was on an eastbound express freight train from Reno to Ogden.  Both visits were a very long time ago, in another lifetime.

The alternative route you suggest is a big improvement.  Better scenery, more new counties, a double bonus.  I will almost certainly incorporate this into my plan.  Thanks.
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oscar

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 10:05:22 PM »

Brian, sorry I won't see you at the EMC meet.  Too far away, too soon after a county-snagging trip in the Canadian Maritimes (just got back home yesterday night).

I've made all those meets since I joined EMC in 2003, except a broken ankle kept me from the meet in Ontario CA in 2006. 

Tonopah NV is a good place to call ahead for lodging reservations, if you haven't already.  Local mining operations can squeeze the few available motels, as I found the hard way in February.

The possible alternate route to Reno, from Tonopah to Reno, is quite scenic, but it takes you through some of the highest-price gas in the lower 48 (Tonopah is pricey too).  Fortunately, gas prices return to reasonable once you hit Carson City. 
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 10:23:02 PM by oscar »
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brianreynolds

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2013, 07:43:53 PM »

Oscar:

I'm sorry you won't be able to attned, but I certainly understand, under the circumstances.  That means it will probably be sometime in 2014 when next we meet.  The Reno trip will exhaust all of my discretionary travel for this year, and then some.

I have one more trip to Texas in the works, probably mid-September.  There is only one silver lining to having a grandchild a thousand miles away.  It makes it very easy to justify yet another long road trip.

If I venture into California on the way to/from Reno, I'll be sure to fuel up on the Nevada side.  But I doubt that there is a gasoline sticker shock there for me.  Michigan has had the highest prices in the 48 in recent weeks, the result of production problems at the Marathon refinery in Detroit.  RUNL was as high as $4.30/g, but is back down to $3.68/g today. 

BTW Oscar, thanks for the tip (many months ago) about the Michelin road atlas.  I was enjoying my copy just a few minutes ago.  I could not find one locally, but was able to procure a copy from Schuler's Books in Grand Rapids. 

I really like the layout, the ease of use.  This is very close to the design I had imagined.  It would be nice to have a bit more overlap between adjoining panels, but that is a minor complaint.

Take care Oscar, see you in Rochester next year, if not sooner.
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brianreynolds

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2013, 03:03:18 PM »

My trip to and from Reno is now an accomplished fact.  I arrived back in Hastings early in the afternoon on July 3rd, actually finished the workday at the office, in auto-pilot-zombie mode.

I chose the northern route for the westward portion.  The route went very nearly as planned with one big bump (quite literally) in the road.  The location of overnight stops was scrapped completely, as was my time of departure.  I left Tuesday after work (about 7 PM), took the planned freeways to Iowa, stopped for a snooze in a rest area, back on the road two hours or so before first light of day.

Somewhere not far east of Des Moines, I was in the left lane behind a small car (Ford Focus sized, but may have been another model).  We were both traveling 75-80 MPH, cresting a small rise on I-80.  In the road, squarely in the center of the westbound lane, was the carcass of a deer. 

The car ahead hit it at full speed, with no chance to slow or evade.  With no option, I did the same.  The best I could to was to try to pass over the top with the car symmetrically centered, which I did.  The impact was quite a jolt.  The other car was apparently disabled, as they pulled over immediately.  I carefully studied the gauges and lights, and steering and ride characteristics, and it appeared to not disable my Prius. 

From there, I took my wounded car into Omaha.  Between my Android and my Garmin, I was able to locate and navigate to a Toyota dealership on the north side of town, arriving there a bit before 6:30 AM local time.  The service department didn't open 'til 7 AM, but the service desk guy took a look, and determined that the damage was more than they could fix.  He referred me to a body shop a few miles away, and I was there by about 7 AM. 

The body shop (Dave's) was great, as was my insurer (Auto Owner's) and my insurance agent (Coleman Agency, in Hastings).  By 9:30 AM I was back on the road in a replacement rental from Enterprise.  The loaner was a Kia Sedona mini-van, not nearly as fuel efficient as my Prius.  Consequently, my fuel budget for this trip went through the roof.

A half-hour later, on US-30 between Blair and Fremont, I got pulled over by a sheriff's deputy.  It took a few minutes for him to get out of his car, and approach mine.  The conversation went almost exactly like this.

ME:  Good morning officer.  How are you today?

HIM:  It's a fine morning.  And how are you?

ME: Well, since you asked, thus far I'm having a very bad day.

HIM:  How can that be?  The sun is shining, it's a beautiful day!

ME:  Well, sir, a few hours ago, I hit a deer in Iowa.  I was able to limp into Omaha, but I had to leave my car at the shop for repairs.  This is a rental loaner.

HIM:  Where are you headed?

ME:  I need to be in Reno by Saturday morning.

HIM:  Well, US-30 is hardly the direct route to Reno.

ME:  True enough.  I built some extra travel time into my itinerary, to visit some places I've never been.  My immediate goal is the Sand Hills.

HIM:  Oh, you're gonna love it there.  I take my kids there camping.  It's one of the most peaceful places on Earth.

ME:  Yeah, I can imagine.  From what I have read, it's so sparsely populated that its nearly impossible to find a radio station there.

HIM:  Oh, you can find one or two, but they are usually the Indian Reservation stations, broadcasting mostly Public Service Announcements.

Up to this point, neither of us had even hinted at why we were there.  After a short pause in the conversation, I asked:

ME: So ... did I do something wrong?

HIM:  Yeah, you did.  It was your speed.  I had you at 70 in a 60 zone.  All rural two-lane undivided highways in Nebraska are 60 MPH maximum.

ME:  Probably so.  I wasn't paying close attention.  I still haven't figured out the cruise control on this vehicle.

HIM:  Well, I'll need to see your license and vehicle papers.  I'll try not to make your day any worse than it's already been.

He was gone for what seemed to be a long time, but when he returned, it was with a warning "ticket".  In that time, I became very familiar with the various controls, including the cruise control.  He told me to keep it down, and enjoy my time in Nebraska.  I followed his instructions on both counts.

More trip details in another post.
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hbelkins

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 12:56:38 AM »

Was there an issue with the Prius that would have rendered it undriveable for the rest of your trip, such that it needed immediate repairs?

Incidents like this are why I so intensely dislike driving on high-speed highways such as interstates in non-daylight hours, and thus try to avoid doing so as much as possible.
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brianreynolds

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 07:18:45 AM »

Yeah, it pretty well shredded the lower part of the front end.  There was some fiberglass hanging down that would drag occasionally.

Functionally, it took out the air conditioner and the left front turn signal.  The air conditioner was the big deal for me.  The weather forecast accurately called for blazing hot in the west for all my time there.  It would have been miserable without AC.

Final tally for parts and labor was about $3500.  It's a happy car now.

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hbelkins

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 01:02:06 PM »

So I guess this altered your travel plans and caused you to have to return via Omaha (isn't that a line from an old Charlie Daniels song?) to pick up your car.
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brianreynolds

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2013, 10:39:03 PM »

H. B.:

Yes (on both counts).  For the record, my trip west was as planned, after the hiccup in Iowa/Omaha.  I traveled the roads, visited the counties I had planned for the route north of I-80. 

I only altered the route back (south of I-80) a little bit.  I had originally planned to get a few hours of travel in late Saturday after the EMC meeting, but stayed overnight in Reno instead.  Late on Saturday, I did one lap around Lake Tahoe, picking up two counties in CA, two more in NV.

With fewer hours available for travel, and a (somewhat self-imposed) deadline to be in Omaha Tuesday, I had to pare back my expectations for the return trip.  Rather than the route through south-central NV and UT, I took what is promoted as the "Loneliest Road" missing out on Esmeralda and Mineral counties in NV, and Millard County in UT.

The setback of these three was exactly offset by three others.   The two counties in CA (Placer and El Dorado) were unplanned, and (after checking in at my motel in Vernal) I included an otherwise unplanned side trip to Daggett County UT.  The counties and routes in NE, MO and IL went as planned, allowing for a side visit to Omaha.

Thus, I picked up the 86 counties, 83 as planned, 3 otherwise.

One observation:  The "Loneliest Road" as boosted by the Nevada tourism folks is US-50 from Fallon to Ely.  I will not dispute that the the designated stretch of highway is plenty lonesome, especially on an early summer Sunday.  But I thought that US-6/US-50 in UT west of Delta was even lonelier yet.

One more observation (there will be more later):  I saw plenty of amazing instances of natural beauty on this trip, but the Great State of Utah had the highest concentration of it.  I didn't even get into the south one-half of the state, so the best of it is yet to come.  I could easily spend a week or more exploring Utah.

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brianreynolds

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2013, 08:44:29 AM »

Here is a classic moment of mis-communication.  I was on the phone from the body shop describing to my wife the extent of damage to the Prius.  Linda wondered if I could complete the trip, get the car fixed back in Michigan.  I said, "No, not really.  There are some body parts hanging and dragging."

I was referring to fiberglass and metal, but her imagination went in a completely different direction.
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oscar

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2013, 05:30:46 PM »

Somewhere not far east of Des Moines, I was in the left lane behind a small car (Ford Focus sized, but may have been another model).  We were both traveling 75-80 MPH, cresting a small rise on I-80.  In the road, squarely in the center of the westbound lane, was the carcass of a deer.

Quite by coincidence, I had a daytime incident in my Prius in early October 2011 heading west on I-80 in Iowa just east of Grinell, around the same place as yours.  Mine wasn't as bad, just some construction debris shredded one of my tires.  I was able to limp into Grinell on my spare, to get a replacement for the deceased tire before continuing west (also to the Lake Tahoe area, then onward to Oregon, and central Colorado on the way back home), losing only a few hours in the process. 

One observation:  The "Loneliest Road" as boosted by the Nevada tourism folks is US-50 from Fallon to Ely.  I will not dispute that the the designated stretch of highway is plenty lonesome, especially on an early summer Sunday.  But I thought that US-6/US-50 in UT west of Delta was even lonelier yet.

Did you cover US 6 from Ely to Tonopah?  That is lonelier still, and also might have the lower 48's longest gap between gas stations (167 miles, per the sign on US 6 west of Ely).

Hope you stopped at the Border Inn, at the NV/UT border (gambling in NV, gas in Utah), to get "Loneliest Road" souvenirs.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 05:52:36 PM by oscar »
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brianreynolds

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2013, 11:33:15 PM »

I had originally planned to hit the road right after the meeting to get in a few hours of travel during daylight.  Instead, I stayed in Reno Saturday night.  As a result, I had to reconfigure my route to shave off some time, some miles, and necessarily some counties.  My trip down the "Loneliest Road" was a shorter substitute for the original planned route through Tonopah (and a bit of California).  Part of the loss was compensated by the spin around Lake Tahoe.

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Re: The Road to Reno (not a Bob Hope movie)
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2013, 11:43:03 PM »

Quote
But I thought that US-6/US-50 in UT west of Delta was even lonelier yet.

I haven't done 50 west of the 6 split, but I'll echo that 6/50 from Delta to the Nevada line is one of the most eerie drives I've ever been on, especially westbound. Because of the slow, straight downhill you can see the Border Inn from 20+ miles away from the border on a clear day. It definitely feels like if you break down out there it'll be a while before you get help.

 


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