After leaving GBNP the plan was to go to Lone Pine, Ca so I could singlespeed up Horseshoe Meadows Road on my birthday. It’s a solid 8 hours from Great Basin, longer than we like to drive, so we decided to stop half way and spend the night in Tonopah. To be honest I can’t remember if I’ve ever even driven through Tonopah? I’ve definitely never spent the night. I knew it was a mining town. Tom Russell sings a song about a Tonopah whore. The weather guy in Mammoth often mentions a Tonopah low, an atmospheric condition that creates heavy percipitation on the east facing slopes of the sierras. And Tonopah Brewing Company is supposedly pouring quality beers. Why not stop?
From GBNP you take US-50, the so called loneliest highway in America, then US-6. You only drive through two towns in 240 miles to Tonopah, Ely and Warm Springs. A whole bunch of nothing is out there, that and every single road sign was shot full of holes.
Let me forewarn you, the town of Tonopah is a speed trap. The county line goes through the middle of town so there are two Sheriff Departments handing out tickets. If you are going one mile over the posted 25mph speed limit expect a ticket. I’ve never seen a short stretch of road being worked so hard in my life. We were not ticketed because we didn’t speed, but we sure saw a whole lot of folks getting written up.
We spent the night in the back parking lot of Tonopah Station Casino. They called it their RV Park. Yes, it was full hook up, but it was definitely the back parking lot.
My mom always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” So I have nothing to say about Tonopah.
After all of that we ended up driving nine hours the next day to San Diego. We scrapped Lone Pine because of temps above 100 and poor air quality. Smoke from the big fire in Kern County was drifting into the Owens Valley. Horseshoe Meadows Road will have to be for another day.