Lincoln Highway, Sand Pass, Nevada – New and Old

Dear Reader,

It may seem I’ve forgotten you but I haven’t. Work on the book has been postponed until I finish my final trip in the Great Basin when I visit Utah in June of this year.

In the meantime I was working with some photos I submitted to Nevada Magazine a year ago. This one appeared on their website as a tease to the Lincoln Highway article. Click on the image to see the original size.

Sand Pass new-old composite

Sand Pass Road LHW   39°15’58.83″N 118°23’24.67″W

This is a composite of the new and the old. My truck is on the deteriorating paving of the section that was first paved in the early 30′s. The car on the right is on the original LHW coincidentally in the same location. The passenger has her had pulled her hat sideways to protect from the brutal sun and the driver is out studying something with great interest. This would be ca. 1916.  Note: early cars in the USA were not standardized to left-hand drive for many years.

The line on the far left, level with my truck’s hood, is the current Highway 50; in the background is the Fallon flats that gave motorists such grief until the road was improved in 1922 (or thereabouts).

Older photograph courtesy University of Michigan Special Collections

Cheers to you all,

Grover

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The Lincoln Highway in the Great Basin – Steptoe Valley

The Lincoln Highway ran up the Steptoe Valley for about forty miles and then turned to cross over Schellbourne Pass into Spring Valley. There is little habitation north of Ely. Currie is one small community at the north end of the valley.

The Nevada Northern Station at Currie.

The Nevada Northern Station at Currie.

McGill, a few miles north of Ely, sadly has the appearance of a dying town, although I’m sure the local CofC will have something to say about that. Very few stores are open there and many buildings are boarded up.

Here is a link to McGill history. 

McGill Nevada
McGill, Nevada

The expanse of the Steptoe can be appreciated in this shot below I made from near the site of Schellbourne Station. Please click to enlarge. It is a great location for me as I love the solitude of the high desert. It is easy to access today since Nevada Highway 93 runs up the valley from Ely to Wendover

Steptoe Valley at Sunset.

Steptoe Valley at Sunset.

Mr. Beasley and I camped here for a couple of nights when the nighttime temperature dropped to 17F. Then the cabin heater in the van failed, but that is another story.

Safe travels to you all,

Grover

 

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The Great Basin and the Lincoln Highway – Ruth, New Ruth, and Big Mining

This is not an editorial piece about mining. I just found/shot some great photos and discovered some interesting history in this area.

The large mining operations here near Ruth, Nevada, just west of Ely, have been going on for a century.  The Lincoln Highway passed through Ruth in the early days and then over Jake’s Summit, but expanded mining means that the east side of the pass is now mostly inaccessible ( and seriously not recommended).

Ruth 1903

Ruth 1912

Ruth was a company town for Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, the successor to the White Pine Copper Company. The place boomed with the arrival of the Nevada Northern Railway in 1906 and by the late 1920′s had 2,300 inhabitants.

In the mid-fifties the town was closed by the present owner Kennecott Copper Corporation and many of the houses were moved. The site was then covered up by expanded deep-pit mining and New Ruth Came into being, about three miles north of the old location.

New Ruth Store, 2013

New Ruth Store, 2013

Sadly the fluctuation in the price of copper caused repeating bust and boom cycles, and mining in Nevada is often hit hard. New Ruth has not recovered from the last downturn although mining has resumed. The store closed back when gasoline was $1.69 (just when was that?). There are two bars and a post office, but many of the residences are vacant.

Hauling from the Big Pit

Hauling from the Big Pit

Everything about modern mining is big. This is the haulage road near Ruth from a pit somewhere just out of view. Trucks rumble up and down the road at all hours.

Liberty Pit 2012

Liberty Pit 2012

You may visit the Liberty Pit where there is a nice overlook. It will amaze you. Take the road over the bridge just south of Hwy. 50.

Waiting for the Green Light

Waiting for the Green Light

You will be waiting at the crossing on the way to the pit while the big haul trucks pass, but then you will have an opportunity to really appreciate the size of the equipment.

Here is a short video of the dumping operations.

http://youtu.be/mkN5GF-lnbk

Finally one “art piece” taken just behind where I took the video.

A Survivor

A Survivor

As always, travel wisely.

Grover

Posted in Desert, Ghost Towns, Gold Mines, Great Basin, Lincoln Highway, Loneliest, Nevada, Travel | 4 Comments

The Lincoln Highway in the Great Basin – The Shoe Tree at Middlegate

I’m sure that you will all be pleased to hear that the new shoetree is becoming well populated. (The old one was cut down in a lovers’ spat.)

The New Shoetree is doing Well

The New Shoetree is Doing Well

Well Populated

Well Populated

And while we are on the subject – This location is the site of the old Middlegate Station for the Pony Express and Overland Stage. Because it was in a dangerous location, it was washed away, twice, and the facility was moved to the site of the current Middlegate Station.

Across from the tree you can see the old Lincoln Highway, hugging the rim of the wash whereas Hwy. 50 boldly goes down the center of the gap.

Old Middlegate and the Lincoln Highway

Old Middlegate and the Lincoln Highway

You may drive on the old road here if you will close the gate once inside.

The shoetree is at  39°17’39.17″N 117°59’11.20″W for the GPS  inclined.

Until next time, travel wisely.

Grover

Posted in Desert, Ghost Towns, Great Basin, Landscapes, Lincoln Highway, Loneliest, Loneliest Highway in America, Lonliest Highway, Nevada, Photography, Pony Express, Travel | 1 Comment

Out in the Nevada Desert

I’m back from the trip, which turned out to be great (thanks for asking). I covered 1500 miles in nearly two weeks, camping most of the time.

Let me begin with a photo from the Steptoe Valley, north of Ely, Nevada. This is a sparsely populated area as is most of the state. Old businesses, now out of business, are found here and there – this one at the bottom of the Schellbourne Pass. Originally this was a Pony Express and Overland Stage station. The original 1913 Lincoln Highway was just a mile away. Debris everywhere inside and the abandoned truck outside, together with the framing of the mountains, made this a delightful photo to compose.

Schellville Nevada

Schellbourne, Nevada

(Technical note: my Nikon D600 has a rated fourteen stops of dynamic range. This single shot, not bracketed, was processed with  Lightroom 5 and Photomatix Pro.)

Posted in Desert, Ghost Towns, Great Basin, Landscapes, Lincoln Highway, Nevada, Photography, Pony Express, Travel | Leave a comment

The Lincoln Highway in Basin and Range – On The Road Again

I actually did get back on the old road again, perhaps a little later than I thought I would. As a result it has been a very cold trip with lows in the 20′s. I’ll have a chance to post in detail once I get back home and can wade through the photos.Austin at Sunset

This is one of my favorite towns on the Lincoln Highway and I did look at some property for sale. I spent two days doing research and taking some back roads I had never visited before, including the Overland Stage route and Emigrant Pass.

Travel wisely,

Grover and Beasley

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Heading Out Again – LHW Here We Come

I’m packing the van, ready to head out on the Lincoln Highway again. Mr. Beasley will accompany me of course. Actually the van is named “The Beasleymobile” in his honor.

Beasley Pleads "Don't Go In There Dad"

Beasley the Traveler

This time I’m out for a month attempting to finish the “Lincoln Highway in the Great Basin” book so that it will be ready by the Lincoln Highway Association 2014 annual meeting next year in Tooele, Utah next Spring.
In the meantime I discovered a great resource for those who would like to explore the backroads of the state available from Nevada D.O.T.
First of all request a catalog here http://www.nevadadot.com/Traveler_Info/Maps/Free_Catalog.aspx
What you are looking for is the Nevada State Atlas, all of $12 postpaid. It is a worthy companion to your gps. and as you know your gps is not to be trusted out in the wildlands.

I’ll be in touch. Travel safely,

Grover

Posted in Great Basin | 1 Comment