Winnemucca to Brenda, Arizona…

While parked in Winnemucca, spent a couple hours on Wifi trying to mesh my trip plans with shipping the oscilloscope to the buyer I’d sold to on eBay. I had rejected an offer, actually two offers, for the o’scope previously because they didn’t offer enough and I was happy they didn’t because they lived so far away, back east both of them. The shipping cost would have been brutal. And there’s the worry of such long trips ending up damaging the o’scope and I’d have to take it back. But the offer I accepted ended up being for exactly the money I was asking for (after some negotiating), and the guy lived in a suburb of Las Vegas, just an hour from the route I was already on as I headed south! Lucky coincidence for me.

So my plans had me stopping in Pahrump to ship the o’scope because they had several retail shippers plus those mini shipper facilities for UPS and FedEx…oh, and USPS of course, if I chose that route. The problem with heavy, bulky, or oddly shaped packages is that online calculators for shipping costs are often non-intuitive and I’m never certain if what I find is the lowest shipping price for my package…often it isn’t. So I planned on getting early to Pahrump so I could dance around and maybe go to 2-3 different stores to get the best price…if I needed to. The package was 28 pounds and fairly large. After I got it shipped, the plan was to head on to Brenda, Arizona (west of Phoenix around 120 miles) to spend a month in warm weather while waiting for San Felipe, Baja to cool down from the 90’s to the 80’s.

Sunday morning, I head off towards Brenda with planned stops in Beatty, and Pahrump. I thought I’d arrive in Pahrump early afternoon on Sunday, and be able to do my shipping stuff at a retail shipper there. If that went well, that same day I’d continue on to Brenda, Arizona and to a small RV park there I’ve stayed at before that is fairly nice with nice people. Or if I couldn’t hack that long drive, stop somewhere between Pahrump and Brenda. If that didn’t go well, or if I arrived late at Pahrump there were several RV parks there where I could stay. One is a PPA park and the website showed it to be pretty nice. As an aside, I did have trouble Saturday afternoon getting the slides to work, but when they finally started moving, I pulled them both in so I could leave early Sunday morning.

There’s two routes I could take as I leave Winnemucca, I decided on the easterly route. The first 4 hour leg gets me to Tonopah and starts by heading north east out of Winnemucca on I-80, then turns due south at Battle Mountain. The entire trip is 11 hours all the way to Brenda so I anticipated perhaps stopping for the night in Pahrump when I arrived there late that afternoon. I assumed I’d get there around 4:30. Giving me an hour to get to a shipper. Than off to Brenda if it was still early and I felt like driving more, or settle for the night if I’d been delayed. I was pretty sure I’d have to stop somewhere short of Brenda for the night. Didn’t know where exactly. Nice solid plan. Didn’t work out that way.

Here’s the desert just outside and east of Winnemucca.

And soon I’ve turned off the freeway onto a lonely 2-lane highway. This is called Copper Basin so you know why people ended up being here at all. Mining.

Not much out here. Did see a large volcanic tuft field. Tossed here by a volcano I couldn’t spot, sometime in the far distant past.

And not long after, an even larger volcanic debris field. Still no sign of a cone. A couple hours later, pass through Austin. They have a Chevron and a RV park and that’s pretty much it for open businesses. Mostly it’s a ghost town. Looking back at Austin towards one of the RV parks in town as I headed up into the surrounding hills. Lot’s of hills around here. Got some really nice strawberries in Winnemucca so they were my lunch time snack.  And four hours after leaving Winnemucca, enter an old mining town with casinos. There’s a RV park I pass by. Gah, I’m tired. This must be Pahrump I think. My brain struggled to recall the map I’d viewed the night before, but failed. Didn’t make the connection that too few hours had passed either. And I figured that somehow I took the wrong GPS path and didn’t notice that I’d bypassed the route to Beatty. Well, my previous internet searching told me there were several UPS retail outlets here so no problem. So I stopped at the casino RV park, went in and paid for a night. The gurl at the sign in counter was more confused than helpful when I asked her a couple questions about the area. Well, whatever, I’ll search online.

Not the world’s best RV park, but the services were OK. The parking spots were not very level though.  I sort of thought Pahrump would be bigger…well, maybe the town center is off in the distance yet. Some old mining setup off in the distance. To go with the antiques out front of the casino I’d spotted on the way in. Kinda obvious this is an old mining town.

After hooking up the RV, get online trying to get answers to the questions I’d asked at the desk, and discover I’m not in Pahrump, I’m in Tonopah! GAH! How the hell did that happen? I’m still 1.5 hours away from Beatty, and 2.5 hours from Pahrump. Ok, ok, not to panic, it’s still early Sunday, around 3 pm so I’ll stay here the night and on Monday I’ll drive to Pahrump and get the package shipped Monday afternoon. No problem. Probably wouldn’t have found an open shipper I’d want to use in Pahrump on a Sunday afternoon anyway. Also, I’ll have more time to stop in Beatty at the candy and nut store and get some goodies instead of being hurried. And then head on to my ultimate destination this leg of the trip, Brenda, where I’ve stayed before.

[Author’s message: It’s OK to change plans on the fly when you’re traveling in a big rig. Suggested even. It’s too dangerous to rush in these huge machines.]

Since I’d resigned myself to staying the night here in Tonopah and not trying to get my money back for the site and rushing off to Pahrump, I played away $20 at the video machines, quaffed a beer at the bar while watching a NFL game, and enjoyed browsing around the mini museum the owners had built up here over the decades. I’d already started enjoying the balmy 74F weather without wind here. Nice.

And here are a few photos of the inside of the hotel anteroom. The owners were long time antique scroungers and had a love of old west artifacts so collected from all around the area, brought them here for display. This is the hallway outside of the actual casino floor. Which isn’t very big mind you. It’s got maybe 20 video machines in the main room and then two three other side rooms where poker or blackjack is played.

Look at the miniature trailer with awning. Cool. Some gold rush artifacts.  Some really old radio/electrical equipment. There’s a nice restaurant and a big bar with several giant TVs for watching games. Also – Big bear.

And here is where I am…Tonopah Station, and yes, though I saw the sign as I drove in, it didn’t register that the name might indicate the town name as well. Heh.There’s more antiques out front. Bigger. Won’t fit inside. Derp derp. The actual town center is down that road around 1 mile away.

So nice and warm here. I think I’d like to come back someday and spend more time here. And no annoying wind, at least today. Just wandered around for an hour soaking up sunshine and snapping a few pictures. There’s a strip mall right next to the casino that has a big grocery store in it too, though today I didn’t need anything. I should have walked downtown to the museum and historic area of town…it’s only a 6 minute walk they said. But I got hungry and went into the cafe for dinner instead. Later that evening, I decided that I would not pull in my slides in anticipation of them not working the next morning. The reasoning? I thought that since it was so warm, they’d have fixed themselves by 8 am – 9 am when I wanted to leave. But you know what assuming does I’m sure.

Next time…it’s off to Beatty and Pahrump, then to Brenda to settle down. See you then.


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3 Responses to Winnemucca to Brenda, Arizona…

  1. SamG says:

    Thanks for the posting. Wild wild west there. Shoney Big Boy statue? How was the casino decorated? Glitzy or spartan? ANd the food? Free alcoholic drinks? Or is that a thing of the past? I haven’t been through that area since the middle 1980s. And I hope it’s not much longer. Happy New Year!

    Yeah, that was a Big Boy plastic statue. Didn’t find any history about it. The casino looked much like the pictures I posted in the blog of the main hallway, early 1880’s style. It’s not a huge casino. Fairly small main video game room and some smaller side rooms for poker. Don’t recall seeing any BJ tables. Still allow smoking so I stayed in the rather large bar with it’s numerous large TVs and superior air filtration. And there’s a nice cafe to complete the casino.

    They do provide free drinks to gamblers. It was too early for alcohol when I gambled though and the crowd was thin, plus there wasn’t a waitress circulating that early. Later that evening I did see two gals working at serving drinks.

    The town is at 7,600 feet so it’s got to have great weather right around the middle of summer. Not too hot, but warm nights. Think I’ll go back and check soon.

  2. Hafcanadian says:

    Not sure you’d intended to but I’d reconsider any plans to go further south like you oft do…
    Excerpt from Fox News:

    “The State Department unveiled a revamped travel warning system Wednesday, giving five Mexican states the sternest “do not travel” advisory alongside war-torn nations like Syria, Yemen and Somalia.
    All five states — Tamaulipas on the U.S. border and Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero on the Pacific coast — are hotspots of drug cartel activity, either hosting trafficking routes or extensive drug-crop cultivation.
    The new warning system designates the states as a “level 4” risk, the highest level of potential danger. Mexico as a whole has a level 2 rating, meaning Americans should “exercise increased caution” because of concerns about crime. But an additional 11 Mexican states got a level 3 warning Wednesday, which urges people to “reconsider travel” there. Mexico has 31 states in all.
    Those states where Americans are urged to reconsider travel include the State of Mexico – Mexico’s most populous state, which includes most suburbs of Mexico City – and Jalisco, home to the city of Guadalajara, the Puerto Vallarta resorts and the lakeside expat community of Chapala and Ajijic. But the travel advisory said there are “no restrictions on U.S. government employees for stays in … Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala, and Ajijic.”
    Most of northern Mexico, including the border states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Sonora as well as Durango, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi, are under level 3 warnings.”

    Too late Joel, I’ve been down here in San Felipe for a month now. Enjoying the mostly balmy weather. The Travel advisory is for further south of here, over westward on the Baja Pacific coast, and over on the west coast of the Sea of Cortez. Pretty calm here in this town.

  3. Hafcanadian says:

    Okay… your posts don’t always say precisely when you were there, and I can’t tell where you are when you’re writing them. So it can be hard to make some connectionsn. often we can only guess. Wasn’t sure if you were staying in Nevada this time, or headed to your usual Mexican haunts. Not being that familiar with Mexico, and seeing the latest reports, we harbor no desires to head anywhere down there. It’s bad enough they bring the lawlessness up here. Maybe the rain around here, that we Beavers and Ducks grew up with, helps dampen their activities a bit this time of year.

    I sort of do that obscure time line thing by design. Because a writer is suppose to ‘know yourself’ when you are creating. And my style is of writing is to write in spurts. I can’t force myself to sit down and write a blog entry on a fixed schedule. I’ve tried. Just doesn’t work with me. I have to feel the urge to write. Sometimes I’m just so busy having fun, that even considering sitting at the computer for a couple hours creating a posting is anathema to me. The first few years I apologized for the long delays between posts to my readers in the following post but I figured after 14 years most would be aware and accepting.

    As far as travel to Mexico, it’s just as safe here as anywhere. Maybe even safer than the US. The troubles are between drug cartels and their minions and tourists are rarely bothered. There’s more petty crime because it is a 2 & 1/2 world country, but keeping your things locked up and stored, and not being flashy with money or possessions is the way to avoid that sort of thing. If you’re looking for trouble though, it will find you.

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