Destination Wednesday: Tonopah, Nevada

destination wednesday by fallenpeach

Tonopah Station in Tonopah Nevada photograph by fallenpeach

Oh, Tonopah Nevada. Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. We hadn’t either until we started plotting our first cross country road trip. We knew we wanted to go to Carhenge and we knew we wanted to go to Yosemite National Park, so we decided to find a location in between the two for a stay over. The ONLY town in between those two places that had a hotel was a town called Tonopah Nevada. There were two choices for hotels and one was a Clown themed Motel, so obviously we picked the other one.

After our wonderful day of driving through many different landscapes, we finally hit desert. Driving in the pitch dark through the middle of nowhere at midnight was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. We were supposedly driving through a “national forest”, but it was so dark that we couldn’t see five feet in any direction – let alone any trees that might have existed. There were also a lot of cattle gates that kept popping up, and I was scared one was just going to be closed and we would crash into it. We stayed awake singing along with showtunes and finally made it to our hotel around 1 am.

We stumble into this long Casino Hotel and check in. I remember thinking that we would have time to re-pack, so we brought in all of our luggage. The woman at the desk asked us if we minded being in a room at the end of the hall and we were so tired we said yes. Then we realized why she asked. We walked to a long hallway … which had sets of about 5 stairs every 40 feet into what seemed like infinity. In reality it was probably 3 or 4 sets of stairs, but to us after a long night of scary driving and carrying all of our luggage, it was enough to make us completely crack up laughing.

From the Hello America blog (circa 2009):

“Driving through the Nevada desert is intimidating and humbling. There is absolutely nothing for miles and then random little ghosty type towns that look abandoned but aren’t. We just passed through one called Luning and let me attempt to describe this to you. You’re driving for 50 miles or so through absolutely nothing – desert and mountains and flatness as far as the eye can see. All of a sudden in your path on the sides of the road you see broken down wooden buildings and old faded signs. A few trailer homes, an RV park. Everything looks abandoned until you see a shiny new truck parked outside one of the structures and three people in hats walking casually down the road. Literally 1 minute later the “town” is behind you and there is again nothing for miles and miles.

It’s a good idea we’re being pretty vigilant about filling up the gas tank.

Today has been a little slow going. Tonopah is everything we could ever wish of it, however we discovered today that we didn’t even have to go to Tonopah because the road from there to Yosemite National Park is still closed for Winter.” – Lindsey, April 12, 2009

And after all of that. We couldn’t even go to Yosemite (that trip, anyway). But it’s a great story, and a town I will never ever forget. The horse statue featured on the bookmark below was posted in front of our hotel.

Horse of Tonopah Laminated Photo Bookmark by fallenpeach on etsy

What’s the most random place you’ve ever been? Tell us your story in the comments, we’d love to hear it!


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