We are on the road again headed from Oregon to Nevada on back roads. We were planning on leaving about January 6th or 7th, but a big storm was forecast for our area of Central Oregon so we pack up very quickly on December 28th and headed south. We had a big storm on December 15 and while shoveling out the driveway we had put a big pile of snow in front of our trailer. For the past 5 years in Redmond any snow we got melted in several days so we did not worry about the snow in front of the rig. This year was different. After the first storm the weather turned very cold and the pile did not melt.
So while I was packing in a big hurry, Dick dug into the snow pile and cleared it enough for us to get out. We said goodbye to our local Sisters Mountains in the Cascade Mountain Range and headed out.
We decided to head east and go through eastern California and Nevada rather than try to get over the Cascade Mountains. We like the back roads anyway so this route suited us just fine. We headed south into Bend, on to La Pine then headed south-east on Hwy 31 to US 395 south.
Highway 31 was a bit dicey at first as we went over the first mountain range, but improved as we dropped down into the lower desert.
We drove until an hour after dark in order to reach Alturas, CA where we knew there would be Sully’s RV Park that is open all year. We knew we had to plugin for the night since the forecast was for the temperature to drop to 15 degrees that night. We have mentioned this campground before. Unfortunately, their electrical post only had a voltage of 108 so we were afraid to plug our little electrical heater in. We had to use our gas furnace which used a lot of propane for the night. It did indeed hit 15 degrees by morning, but we were cozy in our little Lance trailer.
We headed out bright and early the next morning, intending to reach warmer weather by nightfall. Since the elevation is between 4500 and 5600 feet the whole way down we knew we had to stay ahead of the coming storm.
We had to slow down as we went over a pass near Madeline, CA. We could see the fog and hoar-frost coming and the roads were a bit icy.
Finally, sun! We stopped at a rest stop overlooking Litchfield and Honey Lake covered with fog. This was 5000 feet, but at least the sun was out and the temperature had risen to 18 degrees.
We soon came to Walker Lake. There are numerous campsites along Walker Lake at the State Recreation Area and we would loved to have stayed, but again it was too cold us. There were a few brave campers in one of the campgrounds. We decided to head to the southern end of the lake at Hawthorne, where there is an Elks club.
Our campsite behind the Elks Club was convenient. It had a good electrical plugin and the Elks in the bar that night were friendly and inviting. Unfortunately, there was no food, but we enjoyed a drink before heading back to the rig for a simple dinner and a good nights sleep after a long day.
Hawthorne, NV is the home of the largest munitions storage area in the world. According to wikipedia Hawthorne Army Depot (HWAD) is a U.S. Army ammunition storage depot covering 147,000 acres (59,000 ha) or 226 sq. mi. and has 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) storage space in 2,427 bunkers. HWAD is the “Worlds Largest Depot” and is divided into three ammunition storage and production areas, plus an industrial area housing command headquarters, facilities engineering shops, etc.
Hawthorne Army Depot stores reserve ammunitions to be used after the first 30 days of a major conflict. As such, it is only partially staffed during peacetime, but provision has been made to rapidly expand staffing as necessary. The depot is run by an independent contractor under an agreement with the government.
Capabilities of the center include: demilitarization, desert training for military units, ammunition renovation, quality assurance, ISO intermodal container maintenance/repair, and range scrap processing.
Leaving Hawthorne behind, we continued south on US 95 early the next morning. We we wanted to get to Pahrump, NV by early afternoon so we could celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary on New Years Eve at Lakeside RV Park. We were hoping the casino would have a party.
The following pictures are some of the views that we saw on our drive from Hawthorne to Tonopah, NV.
A closed tourist trading post in Luning, NV.
At Tonopah we were back up at 6000 feet and snow, but at least the roads were clear in spite of being 15 degrees outside.
We were glad to leave Tonopah behind. 160 miles to go!
Beautiful view of the Amargosa Range of mountains to the west. Death Valley in on the other side of these mountains.
Entering Beatty, NV. This is a nice little town with shopping and several RV parks. We have not stayed here, but it is a good place to get gas if needed.
Beautiful mountains surrounding Amargosa Valley just north of Pahrump. We are getting closer.
We left US 95 and headed south on US 140. We saw several small herd of wild burros just north of Pahrump.
Finally here! Pahrump was a small sleepy town the first time we were here in 2001, but is now a booming tourist town and home to many snowbirds and other retirees who have settled here. It is only 55 miles from Las Vegas and 6o miles from Death Valley.
Pahrump was originally inhabited by the Southern Paiute. It was slowly inhabited by settlers in the late 19th century. They reportedly chose the name for Pahrump after the original indigenous name Pah-Rimpi, or “Water Rock,” so named because of the abundant artesian wells in the valley.
We arrived at Lakeside RV Resort in the early afternoon, checked in and did some major housekeeping. After 3 days on the road in cold weather and a rushed job of packing in the first place, it felt good to get organized.
And we did get to the casino for our anniversary! Don’t forget to watch the video at the end of this post.