Friday, October 19, 2012

2012-36 Hawthorne to Pahrump Nevada


Hawthorne Nevada

Campground:  Scotty's rv park, Hawthorne Nv 775-945-2079 $19 regular rate.  Basic in-town campground.  Mainly pull-thru’s.  Restrooms, laundry and wifi available.  Concrete island with all utilities and long narrow concrete pad for stepping out onto.

Campground:  Joy Land RV Park, 1260 Ketten Rd.  Tonopah NV, 89049, Local: (775) 482-9444
PA rate: $9.00 - $10.00 Normal Price: $18.00 - $20.00 Three dirt lots on a side street.  The 3rd one has pull-thrus.  Real basic but doable, though surrounded by shacks and MH‘s in disrepair, this is a poor town.  No tv reception.  Minimal cell phone.  Wifi available in town.

Beatty Hot Baths
Campground:  Beatty Hot Baths Rv.  $21 water/elect. 30 amp.  No dump station.  Hot springs are include in the RV camping rate making for a great value.  Only about 14 campsites but they also permit dry camping for a small fee.  No wifi, no over air tv, 2 bar Verizon cell service. But who needs it with a hot springs out your back door.  Note: Road traffic/noise is heavy in the evening.

Campground:  Preferred RV Resort, 1801 E. Crawford Way, Pahrump NV, 89048 (800) 445-7840 Local: (775) 727-4414 PA rate: $16.50, Normal Price: $33.00 for the PA rate one gets a gravel site with a concrete pad and picnic table.  Full hookups w/wifi and over air tv stations available.  Good cell phone service.

I headed out of the Carson City area after waiting well over a week for my mail to arrive and it never did.  At least I had a great time visiting with Elaine and John along the way.  I decided to head on south into California to Mono Lake, just to see what it looks like, then east back into Nevada.  What a wonderful drive along hwy 395 along the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range which recently got a dusting of snow on all the top peaks.  What an awesome site to see along with the fall change of colors.  Around the Mono Lake area it becomes a most desolate desert valley surrounded by those mountains and even though there were a few things to see in the area like a scenic drive, the eastern or back side of Yosemite and a ghost town, I continued on back into Nevada.  Fortunately I didn’t have to buy any fuel while in California as the cost for diesel was over $5.00 a gallon.  there are numerous electronic signs indicating which mountain passes are open or closed.  Only one was closed when I went through the area.

I liked this route not only for the new vista’s I’d never seen before, but also because they had numerous areas one could pull over to take some pictures and get a drink out of the camper.  There was even some construction on one of those overpasses.  We all had to stop and wait for the one way traffic to reverse and I got an extra chance to take a few more pictures and visit with fellow travelers along the route.

Distance traveled: 151 miles

I arrived in Hawthorne Nevada a dusty little town of about 3,000.  The large Hawthorne Army Depot is here consisting of over 2,400 bunkers storing ammunition, mercury and things of that sort.  My campground, Scotty’s Rv, is right in town so it’s close to one casino a few restaurants and two discount stores.  A military museum called the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum is in town and even though it was closed when I stopped by, it has large windows and a number of displays outside so I was able to get an idea of what’s stored in all those bunkers.  A local resident told me that the military special ops group that took down Osama Bin Laudin had their final training here before going over to take him down.  The local paper had a big to-do about it after the fact and this particular local I spoke to was not happy that it was out that their small town was involved.
Calif. heading back into Nevada

Hawthorne Nevada, Army Depot bldgs

Distance traveled: 104 miles

There are some really awesome colored mountain ranges along route between Hawthorne and Tonopah Nv.  Looking like someone splashed yellows, reds, oranges, browns and tans across the mountains.  It’s a lonely road to travel even with the occasional bunches of cars, trucks and Rv’s passing on by.

I arrived at the Joy Land Rv Park which is more or less three sand lots surrounded by chain link fences on three sides.  The pull thru sites are on the 3rd lot and at the end of a desolate road.  Old shacks, mobile homes with debris stacked out front and on the sides looking as if the inhabitants have given up on life itself.

Tonopah, mining museum

abandoned mining housing

Tonopah is an old mining town and I’ve passed this way before a couple of years past.  Half the stores are closed, a few old casinos line the main street.  I stopped into a deli in the heart of town, one of the few shops that looked well kept.  The food was good and as the locals came in, it was clear that everyone in town knew each other and easy casual conversations took place.  A young couple in their mid 20’s came in with a small baby and a child about 4 or 5 years old.  I was impressed with how easy going the parents were and relished hearing the dad telling the baby that she was just too precious and cute for words.  Gives one a warm feeling to see children being raised with such love.

Can’t imagine how they make a living around here.  I drove through some of the back streets and folks were living in houses that had no paint on them and in many cases looked as if they’d been patched together with what ever was available.  I’m only spending two days here and even with that it seems too much.

Distance Traveled:  93 miles

Hwy 95 looks like it’s been paved recently and is just as smooth as can be.  The road is straight as an arrow for most of the way on this two lane highway with bare mountains on either side and I even saw my first Joshua Trees in the desert.  Still no cactus.  Beatty is a good stopping point for anyone wanting to visit Death Valley, the Ghost Town of Rhyolite and Scotty’s Castle.  I’ve been to all of those areas and have reported on them in the past.  This time I’ll once again enjoy the hot baths at the park.  They’re actually hot springs enclosed in three buildings.  Each with temperatures from mild to hot depending on which building you choose.  The floor of each building has rock and gravel as the base where the hot springs percolate up through the floor.  A wide sturdy staircase leads to the waters edge.  A shallow 3-4 feet deep.  Just right for sitting on the bottom of the gravel floor or floating on the heated mineral spring water.  You can bet I enjoyed my time in the baths today and will again tomorrow.

downtown Beatty NV

The small town of Beatty, approx. 1,000, are the most friendly of folks.  I’ve had easy conversations with so many in the short time I’ve been here.  And what a perfect day.  77 degrees and sunny.  Having such a short time in the area I had to see a few of the sites once again.  I took off early in the morning and headed just outside of Beatty to the ghost town of Rhyolite and the Goldwell Open Air Museum which has some of the most wonderful sculptures.  Just perfect for any budding artist/photographer to enjoy.  I think I got some hauntingly beautiful shots and can’t wait to share them with you.

heading into Death Valley

I learned more about the ghost town of Rhyolite as well.  It is considered the last of the gold rush era boom towns built on the hopes and dreams of finding gold.  Only one mine produced gold, taking out a total of about two million dollars worth and went broke doing so.  At it’s height in 1907 it had between 3,500 to 5,000 people.  With concrete and brick buildings.  Some three stories high.  All had water and electric.  This was a town that was determined to make it.  And yet less than 13 years later it was all over. The final end to the gold rush era.

Then it was off into Death Valley and when I say into, it really is like going down deep into this barren hot valley.  The descent is through a series of mountain ranges as bare and weathered as one would imagine.  But oddly they have had quite a bit of rain recently, washing out a more direct route to Scotty’s castle.  That rain revived the scrubby plants that grow in death valley and much of it was as green as can be and washed of all the dusty sand that usually covered everything.  My destination was Scotty’s castle, about a 35 mile drive through Death Valley.  The castle was built by the wealthy Albert and Bessie Johnson of Chicago.  How it ended being built in this oasis of a canyon is most fascinating.  It all started when Scotty, who was working for the Buffalo Bill Cody show, began selling shares of his “gold mine” out in death valley on the side.  Albert Johnson was one of those who invested in Scotty’s mine to the tune of $30,000.  Johnson decided to visit the mine and took a trip out to Death Valley.  Realizing that Scotty had no mine but enjoying the west and Scotty’s stories, Albert decide to buy up any land that had water in the area.  Eventually building a couple cabins around the natural spring.  Bessie came out and said if he wanted her to ever join him again, he’d better build a proper house.  And that was the beginning of the adventure that led to the building of Scotty’s Castle.  The place was able to produce it’s own electricity and had solar water heating.  Indoor waterfalls helped add humidity to the dry desert air.

Distance traveled:  73 miles.

My next stop is in Pahrump Nevada.  A desert valley community approx 50 miles west of Las Vegas.  Preferred RV Resort is one of those resorts that has a large swimming pool craft rooms, club house, Laundromats etc.  Nice place to land at a good Passport America rate.  I understand many Vegas workers live out here due to the cheaper housing prices.  I'll be here for 10 days.

So there you have it.  Another week on the road as I continue heading south towards my winter destination.  I’ve committed myself (ok you can stop the jokes right there) to head a new camping club at Desert Trails this winter.  It will be called “The RV travel Club”  and we’ll be sharing places to go, things to see and travel routes to use and avoid along the way.  Hopefully we’ll cover a few states each week.  Looking forward to sharing what ever I’ve learned along the way.

more pictures on PICASA

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