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July 30, 2021

Road Trip 2021 - America’s Loneliest Road

In July 1986 LIFE Magazine called Nevada’s Highway 50 as the “Loneliest Road in America”.  The article stated that there were no attractions or points of interest along the 287-mile length of road.  It further stated not to take the risk of driving the road without “significant survival skills”.    

Long before there were numbered roads, the Lincoln Highway connected the nation east (New Jersey) and west (California).  Named for the President who connected the nation north and south.

The original route is marked with the concrete posts with the blue L, the emblem and direction.

Since it’s beginning in 1913, the Lincoln Highway has been realigned and numbered by the states it passes through.  In California it is Historic Route 40, in Wyoming US30, but in Nevada it’s known as ‘The Loneliest Road in America”, US50.

I ordered our Survival Guide online HERE.  It certainly helps in laying out the journey.


We picked up our first passport stamp at the Carson Museum before meeting the family at Lake Tahoe.

After our time in Nevada City and Grass Valley we returned to Carson City to begin the cross-state journey.


Originally called China Town, the name was changed after the first discovery of gold in Nevada was made here and the town boomed. 

We have stayed at the Dayton RV Park in the past with only a couple other units.  But this time it was full and they do pack them in.  Our last time was in 2014, when a detour on 395 led this way.

We’d stay there again for the location, great internet, clean free showers.  And they provide a passport stamp.

There are quite a few original buildings along what's left of their section of the Lincoln Highway, now named Pike Street.


There is no stamp for Silver Springs, but it is worth a mention, as it is on the way.  With 395 closed due to fires, a lot of traffic is being routed through Silver Springs.

The traffic circle entering town has fun pioneer sculptures.



Fallon is the largest town on the route and home to the Fallon Naval Air Station, where the Top Gun training takes place.  In Fallon we received our third passport stamp at the very awesome Churchill County Museum.

There is a voluntary donation box for entry.  For $5 we found this to be an excellent value.

In addition to the expected early history,

shoes are displayed from the original Shoe Tree.


A detailed description and photos of the Lincoln Highway is also on display.



The rock art at Grimes Point indicate native Americans were established in this area for 3000 years.

It was a short but hot walk, Fran decided to bring her own shade with her.


The retreating glaciers left crushed quartz behind.  The Walker River distributed the sand, which the winds carried, a grain at a time, to form Sand Mountain. 

As the picture shows we are still in the smoke from the Tamarack and Dixie fires.  Sand Mountain is the large lighter colored hill at the end of the road.  If the wind is blowing the sand sings.  But there was no wind on this hot/smoke filled day.


From first appearances Middlegate Station looks like it is about to collapse. 

But inside is a functioning bar and restaurant, and home to the Monster Burger.

No, we did not try to even split that massive burger! but enjoyed a cold soda and the thousands of $1 bills pinned to the ceiling.


The original Shoe Tree was a victim of vandalism, but a new location 2 mile east of Middle Gate Station provides the current fun.

You can bring a pair of shoes to add, or simply pick up a pair from the ground as we did.


Cold Springs Station was stop on the Pony Express route.  The ruins of the old station can be found at the end of a 1.5 mile hike.  Too hot to even consider!

Just past the historic site is a ‘new’ Cold Springs Station Resort with an RV park.  In hindsight I'd consider staying here vice in Austin.


Although born in Nevada City CA, Emma (Wixom) Nevada grew up in Austin NV.  I had my heart set on finding the Opera House where she would have sung.  No luck, on her return from Europe she sang in her childhood church, Austin has no opera house … a world class singer, but nothing to really honor her.

The Austin Museum and their Visitor Center were both closed, but we did collect another passport stamp at the courthouse. 


Austin is 110 miles from Fallon in the center of the Nevada on the Loneliest Highway.  Impossible to miss, the only road through town is the Lincoln Highway, Austin’s Main Street.

US50 is more heavily traveled than we expected.  But it is still a lonely road.  Heavy smoke continued in the morning as we moved on.


Eureka Nevada prides itself as “The Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road” … and it has an opera house!

but it was closed during our visit …  a large number of historic buildings are located along US50.  It also has by far the best walking tour! 

Hands down.

A colorful map with descriptions can be obtained from most any merchant in town.  The points of interest are numbered.  This old caboose is #36.

The white stones are locally quarried tuft.

The original Lincoln Highway through Eureka is well marked.


We obtained our fifth passport stamp at the courthouse.


Ely is a copper mining town and the tailings we saw coming in from the west are massive indications of the strip mining taking place.

We knew the town was noted for its murals.  The murals are numbered, which can be entered into an interactive audio recording. 


Pretty well done; call the phone number; enter the mural number and get all the info.

The White Pine County Museum is noted for its Short Faced Cave Bear.

Not much else there…

Ely had very good WiFi, cell and antenna TV.  We were finally able to watch some of the Olympics!


Finally some break in the smoke!  A brief overnight thunderstorm helped clear the air making the drive to Baker very pleasant.

We collected our seventh and final passport stamp at Baker Border Inn, before leaving Nevada.

Want to make the drive?  Order the survival guide, the passport stamps provide proof of completion, and are fun to collect.  Also download the audio tour, it’s divided into sections that provide information on the sites along the way.  Research the options at each town and the sites along the way.  Go in the late spring when the fields are green and there is the snow in the mountains.  Although the road is a ‘Defense Highway’ and plowed during the winter,  there are numerous passes where chains might be required in winter.


The biggest surprise – Eureka.
So welcoming to visitors, with a well done walking tour and ample parking.  But it’s not a tourist trap, the century old buildings are the real thing and still in use today.

Most disappointing – Austin.      
like Bodie the entire town of Austin appears to be in arrested decay.

For us this is likely a One-and-Done trip.

Rufus, the RV, will claim the Certificate of Completion.  Fran and I will have to be satisfied with T-Shirts.

We wanted to continue on US50 until Salina, UT where we could pickup I-70 east.

But short of Salina we were detoured by a flash flood.


We are now in Arches National Park for a couple days.  Then we will continue our eastward journey.  

Next stop is Palisade CO for western slope peaches and to replenish our wine :)



  1. Hey you are just north of us as we just pulled into Monticello UT for a week. We drove the loneliest highway once and although we enjoyed we also won't likely do it again.

    1. Thanks John, we have been to Monticello on a previous trip. Dang will not hook up on this trip as we move east
      In the morning
      I’m behind on my reading list, but ‘On the Road …’ is not showing up. I’ll need to fix that tomorrow when we have WiFi

  2. Very nice piece of history seldom seen by most Americans...

    1. Thanks Jeff, it was one of your tips that led to our interest in following the Lincoln Highway.

  3. OK…this is just the best ever! What a fun and interesting trip to make. Congratulations to Rufus for earning his “badge of honor”. And kudos to you and Fran for gathering all the info and writing such a great post! Wish we had been in Moab to have a visit! I’m way jealous you get Palisade peaches and don’t forget the Olathe sweet corn. 👍

    1. Thanks Gay, it was fun doing it once. Thee is so much we did not include we might do it again.
      PEACHES! They were just bringing the morning harvest in when we stopped. A half flat of straight for the tree peaches. OH so yummy and juicy.

  4. You always find interesting things to see in unexpected places! Sorry you had to view things through such smoke though. It seems the entire west is burning! or flooding.

    1. Flooding for sure! US 50 closed in UT, and now I-70 closed at Glenwood Springs!!! Arg! Detour is the north route, but we plan on taking 50 via Montrose. At least we are out of the smoke and safely tucked away, with our peaches, for the night in Palisade

  5. Thanks for the important information that we can work into one of our future trips.
    Nice Pictures.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. It'll be great to have you and Kathy back on the road and sharing your adventures.

  6. Thanks for taking me along Jeff. All new to me and something I would love to do.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the ride, Doug. I think you and Yuma would find the history interesting and with your Jeep you can really expand the area you can explore.

  7. Seems like a lot to see on the Loneliest Highway.

    1. Yes there is! We did not take the RV off the paved roads to view any of the Pony Express station remains. Something for the next trip ...


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