A Lonely Highway and National Park

Leaving Truckee also meant leaving California, again. It signaled that we were really back on the road and (unless we have another major reason to change course) this travel life will be our lives for at least another year. And now we get to navigate this whole thing during a pandemic.

And really, what better way to really kick off Covid-19 travel than trekking down the Loneliest Road in America? Not only are there a couple of adorable (albeit slightly run down) towns along Hwy 50, but there is also the Shoe Tree. Katie randomly stumbled upon this magnificent roadside attraction while researching our journey and obviously just had to stop and see it. It also gave us all a chance to stretch our legs, walk the pups, and eat some lunch.

We stopped for the night at Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area, a free campground courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management. Pulling off Hwy 50, we were immediately met with thousands of large brown bugs crawling all over the ground, much to the delight of the five-year-old. But as we traveled down the road, the masses of jumping creatures thinned out and there were surprisingly none at our site. After parking, Doug took the boys down to explore the creatures, and discovered they were Mormon Crickets (thus named because at one point in time they destroyed Mormon crops). They were huge.

Aside from the cricket genocide we carried out with our truck while driving to our home for the night, the campground was quiet and nice. Windy, but nice.

We explored the short hiking trail, too, and were rewarded with beautiful views of Nevada.

We were up and on the road much earlier than usual, which meant we had some time to kill before check-in at our home for the week. So we stopped in Ely, Nevada, for gas and a snack treat. This stop just happened to be right next to a grocery store, but we didn’t even think twice because prior research indicated that the tiny town of Baker, Nevada, where we would live for a week, had a grocery store. So, we left the town of Ely and drove an hour to our campground right outside Great Basin National Park. After parking and settling in a bit, Katie set out to get groceries. Much to her surprise, the local grocery store had closed way back in September 2019. The closest grocery store? You guessed it, all the way back in Ely. Live and learn.

Aside from an adorable coffee cart (Baker’s Bean – which was awesome and you should for sure check it out), there was nothing else open in the tiny town of Baker. So Katie and the boys spent the entire week exploring Great Basin National Park trails.

Doug joined in one beautiful afternoon and our whole family experienced an absolutely gorgeous lake. The trail is .75 miles one way to the lake, the weather was mid 50s and sunny, and we brought homemade hot chocolate to drink by the lake. It was really wonderful.

Also, pretty much every afternoon Doug took the kids to go play across the street from our parking spot at the closed Great Basin National Park visitor center. It was always pretty windy too, but they found ways to entertain themselves.

Katie also ventured out to the Baker Archaeological Site with the kids and was a bit disappointed in the actual site, but the self-tour books were full of fun information to share with the kids.

Oh and the internet was pretty awful in our trailer. Not sure why, but Doug was able to get much higher download speeds outside, so this was his office all week.

And that is pretty much it. Great Basin National Park is gorgeous, but there is literally nothing else around. Much to our disappointment, the Lehman Caves, which are a big visiting point for the park, were closed because of Covid-19.

Stay tuned for our adventures in Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks. Yup, we hit all three in one week.

Current Adventure Stats:

On the road: 10 1/2 months
Miles towing our home: 6,878
Campgrounds visited: 48
Breweries visited: 31
National Parks visited: 11/62
National Monuments/Seashores/Historic Sites/etc.: 5
State Parks visited: 4

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