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GoF West 2007

July 2-6, 2007, Park City, Utah

Page Five of Five

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Day Ten

Starting early, the weather was beautiful and it stayed that way for much of the day. Eureka was a cute town and a perfect stopping point for us. Heading along Highway 50, we were soon following the route of the Pony Express, which was marked with signs over the next 200 miles. Not long after leaving Eureka we spotted a sign pointing down a dirt road, telling of Petroglyphs. Not leaving any challenge unanswered, we turned off the pavement and headed into the hills. Shortly after, we found a trailhead and took a great hike through a rocky area filled with Native American carvings, and some from early American explorers.

Back on highway 50, we continued across scenic grasslands and then up and over more mountains on beautiful twisty roads. Once through Austin we began to drop out of the mountains into a low valley. As we went down, the temperature went up. Our next planned stop was the famed “shoe tree” which I would have missed had Linda not spotted it and yelled out. For some strange reason I have always had a fascination with this tree and wanted to see it in person. All I can say is that it’s even more bizarre in person, and better viewed in photographs. Farther down the road we stopped at “the loneliest phone” which is something else I’ve always had a ridiculous fascination with. It was equally disappointing if not more so than the shoe tree.

We continued along the last stretch of the loneliest road and finally after 260 miles reached Fallon, Nevada where the “official” loneliest section ended. Here we fueled up and headed west to Reno. Arriving there in rather hot and humid weather, we remembered some of our friends had taken I-80 all the way here and would be staying somewhere in town for the night. Despite our much longer route, we had caught up with them. After a few tries we got one person in the group on the phone, and pulled into their hotel just as they arrived!

After getting settled in the hotel, we walked to the National Automobile Museum and enjoyed a guided tour of the hundreds of cars on display. One highlight for me was the Thomas Flyer. It was the winner of the first Around The World Race in 1908 and is preserved exactly as it finished the race. The museum is well worth a visit if in the Reno area. Later that evening we had dinner with the other group, and soon realized we were all TCMG members so this was like a remote club meeting. Afterwards we enjoyed a concert on the river followed by fireworks.

Day Eleven

Leaving Reno we headed south on Highway 395, which is one of my favorite roads. We drove past meadows, over mountain passes and through numerous small towns before crossing into California and along Mono Lake. The mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains were in full view, and they beckoned us. We decided to take a short side trip to Mammoth Lakes for breakfast before heading south to Lone Pine. Once in town we stopped at ‘The Stove”, a popular breakfast spot. While there we made the decision to stay and enjoy the splendor of the mountains for a day, despite the resulting long travel day home.

Once checked into a motel, we went for a drive to the Twin Lakes area, stopping at every lake and scenic overlook to enjoy the views. Later in the day we took a trip to Devil’s Postpile and enjoyed a 5-mile hike past this geological wonder and on to Rainbow Falls. We also discovered a way to keep a lightweight car cover in place on a windy mountainside. Necessity is the mother of invention! A nice dinner topped off our last night of the trip.

Day Twelve

We headed out of Mammoth early in the 45-degree weather. What a difference from the 100+ degree temperatures we had seen for the past two weeks! Our jackets stayed on for most of the day, only coming off once we reached Mojave. We thoroughly enjoyed the drive along the Sierras and through the small towns in their shadow. A stop in Lone Pine for breakfast offered us one last chance to enjoy our trip before heading home. We stopped for a photo with Mount Whitney in the background, and then it was time to leave.

As we entered the Mojave Desert, the terrain gradually changed from high desert and 14,000-foot mountains to low desert and scrub brush. It was disappointing, and I’ve always hated this particular part of this road, but we knew it would only last a couple of hours. Eventually we reached the town of Mojave where we fueled the TC one last time before the final leg home.

The last 100 miles was unremarkable and we made it home without incident. But thinking back on everywhere we had been and of all the sights we had seen from the cockpit of our little red car was enough to dispatch any poor feelings that resulted from our trip coming to an end. We had traveled 2,223 miles through some of the most desolate and also beautiful terrain in North America.

We survived temperatures that soared over 110-degrees in the Valley of Fire. We conquered high mountain passes where no paved roads existed. We had driven solo for hundreds of miles across the loneliest road in America. All of this in a 58-year-old British sports car which was never designed for this type of use, let alone to still exist so many years later.

During the course of our journey we had countless experiences both delightful and awesome which will stay with us for the rest of our days. From our old MG TC we were able to see the country in ways most never will, and we will remember it always. The ruggedness and reliability of this car is a testament to those who designed her, and despite its basic sports car design, it was quite comfortable to journey across the country in.

Not even for a second would we hesitate to do it again.

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