|Tour of Nevada
My son is in 5th grade and has an assignment to do a report on one of the United States. Well, he picked Nevada, and we concocted a plan to do a tour of Nevada and bring along one of our UTVs to help us explore all that the Silver State has to offer. We spent ten days off-roading, visiting nationals and state parks, touring museums and wandering around old ghost towns.
Our route took us through the state capitol, Carson City, then east on US 50 “The Loneliest Highway”. Along US 50, we stopped at Sand Mountain Recreation Area, several Pony Express Stations and over nine mountain passes before reaching Highway 93 just east of Ely. From there we will swing into the Great Basin National Park before heading south on Highway 93 which is also known as the Great Basin Highway. We visited Cathedral George State Park and Delamar Ghost Town on our way south. After an overnight in Mesquite, we visited Logandale, Valley of Fire State Park and Nellis Dunes before stopping in Las Vegas. We made a trip over to the Hoover Dam for a tour, then did some tourist stuff in Las Vegas for a few days.
Heading back north, we visited the Amargosa Sand Dunes, Beatty, Rhyolite, Clayton Valley Dunes, Tonopah, Crescent Dunes, Hawthorne and Yerington. Near Yerington we headed off-road to see the ghost town of Pine Grove before looping back up towards Carson City.
We stopped at just about every Historic Marker along the way and visited local museums and visitor bureaus as well to make sure we soaked up all the rich history that the Silver State has to offer.
We received a lot of comments on ourFacebook page, questions via email and a ton of people asking questions every time we stop about our UTV truck rack. I snapped a few pictures along the way that really illustrate how the UTV sits as compared to a cab over camper. The top of the roll cage is slightly higher that the camper, but it feels more stable.
The truck is a 2011 F350 Superduty crew cab shortbed. The rack was built byRoggy Enterprises, and the truck features frame mounted camper tie-downs up front, air bags and a 2.5″ICON Vehicle Dynamics leveling kit. Air bags are a necessity and the ICON shocks really made the ride super plush.
We thought quite a bit about what to take on this trip (motorhome+trailer, truck+trailer or truck+rack) and this setup was absolutely the perfect solution for this trip. We drove about 200 miles on dirt roads and in some tight parking lots that would have been a challenge with a trailer and impossible with a motorhome. The biggest downside is the cost of the motels (I do like shower and a bed though….).
I feel that we were much more flexible to pull over quickly at Historic markers and random things that interested us.
Our UTV of choice for this adventure was our2011 Polaris RZR XP 900. Our RZR XP features Pro Armor doors and harnesses, STI Tires & Wheels, DragonFire Racing bumpers, spare tire carrier, flying v brace, a-arms and high clearance radius links, Fox shocks, Beard seats, Lowrance GPS, PURE Polaris rock skids and trailing arm guards, Unisteer power steering, Muzzys exhaust and Rugged Radios. Our XP continues to exceed our expectations in a wide variety of terrain and we even raced it atKing of the Hammers in February. It also fits nicely on our truck rack!
Carson City to Sand Mountain
Tour of Nevada – Day 1 – Photo gallery on Facebook
Racing against time, the Pony had to overcome vast distances, hostile Indians and a harsh climate. But it could not overcome progress. When the transcontinental telegraph was completed on October 24, 1861, messages could be sent from coast to coast in just minutes. The Pony was doomed and it died only twenty-seven days later.
Nevada Tour Day 2 – Photo gallery on Facebook
Sand Mountain to Ely – One of the best ways to experience Nevada is to travel Highway 50 — the so-called “Loneliest Road in America.” Highway 50 roughly parallels the Pony Express Trail, which goes from Silver Springs through Fallon and along the towns across Highway 50. Remnants of the Pony Express Route are visible for much of the way. Stretching the width of Nevada, Highway 50 is a fascinating scenic and historic corridor through a land seemingly untouched by man.
Traveling Highway 50 is also a great way to see how Nevada is the most mountainous state. The Basin and Range region (of the Great Basin in the State of Nevada) is the product of geological forces stretching the earth’s crust, creating many north-south trending mountain ranges. These ranges are separated by flat valleys or basins. These hundreds of ranges make Nevada the most mountainous state in the country. We crossed over nine summits from Sand Mountain to Ely.
Nevada Tour Day 3 – Photo gallery on Facebook
In 1889, prospectors John Ferguson and Joseph Sharp discovered gold around Monkeywrench Wash. A mining camp was then born west of the Monkeywrench Mine. It was called Ferguson.
In April 1894, Captain Joseph Raphael De Lamar bought most of the important mines in the area and renamed the Ferguson camp as Delamar. In the same year, a newspaper called theDelamar Lode began publication and a post office was opened.
Soon, the new settlement boasted more than 1,500 residents, a hospital, an opera house, churches, a school, several businesses and saloons. Most buildings were made of native rock.
By 1896, the Delamar mill was handling up to 260 tons of ore daily. Water for the camp was pumped from a well in Meadow Valley Wash, some twelve miles away. Supplies and materials traveled even further, by mule team over mountainous terrain from the railroad head at Milford, Utah, which was 150 miles from Delamar.
Nevada Tour Day 4 – Photo gallery on Facebook
Nevada Tour Day 5 – Photo gallery on Facebook
Las Vegas – Hoover Dam tour
Nevada Tour Day 6 – Photo gallery on Facebook
Las Vegas to Tonopah along Highway 95
Nevada Tour Day 8– Photo gallery on Facebook
Nevada Tour Day Nine – Photo gallery on Facebook
In the early 1870s, the population reached it’s peak of 600. The tri-sectioned camp straggled for a mile of the canyon and contained five saloons, three hotels, a variety store, a hardware store, a Wells Fargo agent, a dance hall, blacksmith shops, general merchandise, barbershops, a shoeshine shop, a school, oxen yards, livery stables, and two doctor’s offices.
Towards the end of the decade, the mines began to decline and by 1893, the mines were worked only intermittently. Today, only a few individuals work the mines from time to time.
Most of the buildings in Pine Grove were destroyed some years ago when a severe storm sent a mudslide down the canyon destroying almost everything in its path. Today, only a few buildings still remain. Most notably the old boarding house which has about two feet of dirt covering the first floor.
Pine Grove also served as a regional supply center for local ranchers until the later part of the decade, when the mines began to decline.
Pine Grove is reachable by OHV from a few directions on Forest Service roads. It is best to have a GPS with topo.
Nevada Tour Day 10 – Photo gallery on Facebook