Posted by: fringe62 | March 1, 2013

Maiden Voyage – August 7th

Saturday, August 7th – AM (story continues below pictures)

Donner Lake

Donner Lake

Crossing Donner Pass on Interstate 80

Crossing Donner Pass on Interstate 80

 

Heading down into Nevada near Soda Springs, CA

Heading down into Nevada near Soda Springs, CA

Fowler, CA at 3:30am. Heather starts the truck. I’m awake. She was going to drive last night but decided to stop about 11:00pm because she was tired. We use the bathroom, wash up and left, driving in the dark. Began to get light about 5:00 as we headed up into Sierra Mountains.  Trucks using left lane make things very slow going up.  50 miles up, 20 miles across the top and 50 miles down the east side. Really steep in some places. Heather uses the Jake brake a lot. Over Donnor Pass.  Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Donnor Lake… ten foot tall snow markers along the road. In Reno we can see snow on the mountains as we fuel. Heather adds oil to engine, air to tires and checks all of her tires (the heat across the Nevada desert is hard on tires and causes low tires to overheat and blow out). We also have an excellent shower.  Ate breakfast – eggs, pancakes, orange juice, $12.95. Put four quarters in the slots – no return.

Coming out of mountains (tree covered) and looking into Nevada it’s totally barren. Quite a contrast. Saw evidence of many fires along the highway. (During this time, due to a severe drought out west there were many wildfires over the last few months, that had burnt tens of thousands of acres). California and Nevada are both dirty around homes and farms. In San Joaquin valley all the farms are dirty, cars covered with dust from the dry soil.

5:00pm
Just passed Winnemucca, NV, about 1/3 of the way across. Heather wants to be in Wyoming sometime tonight. She is using handgrips and says her left hand fingers hurt.  (long driving days with my fingers wrapped around the steering wheel made my fingers very stiff and sore on occasion)   One large dairy on left in Winnemucca valley. Lots of irrigation on fields seeded with alfalfa. Why water in daytime – evaporation?

ON THE CB RADIO: Had a conversation with a trucker in NV that used to drive from Buffalo, NY to Williamsport, PA south over the mountain on Route 15 and down over to the rattlesnake farm. He and Heather talked for a long time. He knew Route 15 from Buffalo to North Carolina.  (My parents live, and I grew up on a town that Route 15 runs through)

FIRES – About 200 miles east of Reno, lots of smoke and fires on both sides of highway. We probably traveled over 100 miles with burnt landscape for as far as we could see on both sides of the highway. Near Carlin, NV, westbound traffic was stopped. About a mile ahead of the stopped traffic there were firetrucks on the highway and the fire was burning towards the highway. There were firemen out along the shoulder packing on their gear and walking down towards the fire.

(This is a picture memory that I will always remember and I wish I had an actual picture but there was no time as I knew our side of the highway was going to be shut down shortly. The smoke was so dense that it blotted out the sun and gave the landscape a sickly, yellow glow. The black smoke coming off of the fire, the emergency lights flashing and reflecting on the smoke and the red of the fire trucks against that black-grey background. The yellow fire suits that the firemen wore, were soot stained and dirty except where the reflective tape flashed with the turn of the emergency lights on the fire trucks. They looked extremely tired as we watched them shoulder into their air-packs, smack their helmets down on their heads and trudge down over the berm towards the fire.)

A lady(?) was inviting the truckers in to spend some time with her because she said they weren’t going to be moving for awhile.  (That is a whole other story – the prostitutes in NV)

Stopped at a rest area near the Bonneville Salt Flats. Heather got some salt for her trucker buddy class back home when she visits next spring.
We are now at a TA truckstop waiting for Jeff to pull in. He is a friend of Heather’s and on his way to CA. We will eat and then get 200 miles into Wyoming before we sleep. It’s 10:30 eastern time – 7:30 mountain (local) time.

Plaque at the Bonneville Salt Flats at the Utah - Nevada border

Plaque at the Bonneville Salt Flats at the Utah – Nevada border

Mountains seem to float because of the air around the salt flats

Mountains seem to float because of the air around the salt flats

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