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Road Trip – The Final Installment

December 13, 2014

For those who might need a quick refresher, we left off last time with us getting to a hotel in Fallon, NV, Annabelle deciding that a cookie was absolutely her hill to die on (and I can so relate to this. I’ve had those days.) and me deciding that alcohol may not be the solution to life’s problems but who cares, give me some anyway. For the record, I did not actually consume alcohol. We didn’t have any and I was way too tired to try looking for an open store.

The next morning we left Fallon for our long trek east across Nevada on America’s Loneliest Road. We found this road to be a lot of fun. Sure, it’s remote but it just has so much history to it. It basically follows the old Pony Express Trail, which I think is just cool. There are also mining towns fairly regularly and really, I just have that much more respect for the people who made the journey west in covered wagons.

That said, the views were neat but didn’t change a whole lot. We’d go over a hill and the other side would look identical to the side we were just on. This led to some exciting conversations like this one:
Jake: I’m glad we did this trip now. We haven’t hit any snow and it’s always a gamble crossing the Sierras this late in the year.
Me: Well yeah. Just ask the Donner Party.

Then I started laughing because I find myself to be quite amusing. And no, we didn’t actually cross Donner Pass. We crossed at Lake Tahoe because I love Tahoe. That is what prompted the whole idea to take US-50 instead of I80. It should also be noted that we seemed to be the only people driving east. EVERYONE else was going west. Clearly the urge to go west is still alive and well.

We passed a park that advertised fossils. It wasn’t until after we’d passed the exit that I mentioned the fossils were of these crocodile dinosaur looking things. Apparently this area was once a warm water ocean. It’s probably a good thing that I was tardy in my research because if we’d actually stopped, we would have had to pry Jake away with a crow bar or, more likely, we would still be there.

Picture from the Nevada State Park website

We stopped for lunch in Eureka, NV. It’s a cute little mining town and just 2 miles down the road is the ghost town of Ruby Hill, NV. I have a couple ancestors that spent some time in Ruby Hill, Thomas H. Marks and his son, Thomas L. Marks. They were Cornish miners, so it makes sense that after spending a fair amount of time in Gold Country, they’d head for the silver mines. These two would eventually wind up in San Francisco and then ultimately in Colma. They are a couple of only a handful of Colma relatives who AREN’T at Holy Cross Cemetery. Jake got very tired of always going to Holy Cross to look for headstones.

Anyway, Tom Marks owned a saloon in Ruby Hill once upon a time and I was excited to get to see the town. The bummer is that we really didn’t get to see it. It’s on private property now, owned by the same corporation that currently owns the mine I would guess. We could only drive up to it and look through the fence. I understand why they have to do that, I’m sure it’s a huge liability but still. Sigh.

Out there on the Loneliest Road in America, we met someone that no one really wants to meet on the road: The Local Highway Patrol. Oops. He let us off with warning but had a question about our car registration. He wanted to know if our registration fees were really only $29 dollars. Yes, yes they are and that actually includes a $5 late fee. I can understand his shock. I was pretty surprised myself coming from CA where I routinely paid $200+ each year. The first time I went to the DMV to register the car, I was pretty sure they made a mistake and wanted to get out of there before they discovered the mistake and charged us the real amount.

We stopped for dinner at a Pizza Hut, which normally wouldn’t warrant mention except that before we left, we decided it would be wise to change the kids’ diapers. Jake took Grayson to change his diaper while I stayed at the table with Annabelle and shortly thereafter there was such loud, hysterical screaming coming from the bathroom that I was pretty sure that someone had killed Jake and was torturing my poor baby. They both reappeared safe and sound a few minutes later. According to Jake, everything was fine and then Grayson calmly turned his head, looked Jake right in the eyes, took a big breath in and started screaming as loud as he possibly could. Grayson was fine by the time they got back to our table, but Jake was definitely traumatized.

The next day our day started with a light dusting of snow. Annabelle wasn’t worried though. She was packed up and ready to go.

First rule of truck driving: Keep the roll-y side down.

The rest of the trip passed uneventfully. Wyoming had some very pretty scenery but again the road trip boredom set in. In fact, at one point Jake and I were discussing how big California is compared to some other states as evidenced by the fact that we lived in the middle of California and it was still a 9 hour drive to visit his parents and they were still about 2 and a half hours from Oregon. We weren’t sure that it was even possible to cross Missouri and have it take 9 hours. So we decided to look. There we were, using Google Maps to see if going from one corner of MO to the opposite corner would take 9 hours. It doesn’t. It takes about 8.5 hours to cross from the Northwest corner to the Southeast corner, unless you deliberately take a longer route.

Grayson was as happy as the rest of us to be home. And for anyone that’s keeping track, at 8 weeks old, Grayson had already been on his first cross-country road trip and visited 10 states. That even beats Annabelle’s record, who was the ripe old age of 14 weeks on her first cross-country road trip.

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