Missing Elko, Nevada

Day 1

“Hey! My ears just popped,” exclaimed Rose. “We must be over 4000 feet. They always pop at 4000 feet.”

“We passed 4000 feet a while ago and still have more than another 3000 feet to go, but when have you ever been at 4000 feet above sea level?” I asked.

“She probably heard me say my years pop at 3000 feet,” Fran said to me.

We had originally planned on staying our first night on the road in Elko, but Google Maps said we would be there mid afternoon, which was too early to stop, so we decided to push on to Salt Lake City. I thought we did pretty good with our proposed schedule. We were 2 hours into the trip before we changed it. It’s for the better, though. Pushing on put us nearer the Grand Tetons for our first adventure, making Day 2 a bit easier.

I was a little disappointed to miss Elko. It is a trail head town for the gold mining industry founded in 1869. Lowell Thomas once called it “the last real cowtown in the American West.” While the gold mining is waning the town is waxing. Elko’s population has soared in the past 20 years and downtown has gentrified, (meaning espresso is available in more than one establishment now.) I expected a real “old west” town with the required modern amenities, i.e. good coffee and dark beer. It also has, or had, a large Basque population and I wanted to explore that further.

“I love to bask, Dad. Especially when you are working in your garden and I can lay in the dirt and soak up some rays. Just like home.”

I wondered if she mean home as in Sacramento, or home as in Havana. I decided to not pursue it. Rosalita likes to fantasizes that since she is Havanese, she is from, and at least once was in, Havana, Cuba .

“Rose, that is bask, not Basque. This Basque is a region in part of northern Spain and southern France. It’s also the name of the people who live there and their language.”

“Dad….? What do you call a sunbathing Basque?”

“Stop it!”

Rosie slept for a couple of hours and missed driving through Elko. Maybe that was a good thing. She woke up when we were about 2 hours from Salt Lake City.

“Look, Dad! Snow!” she yelped.

“No, Rose. That’s salt. These are the Bonneville Salt Flats. The white is salt. All that remains of an ancient salt sea that filled this basin”

“Well, it looks like white shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

“Stop quoting LOTRs to me. You never read the books.”

“The movies were pretty good, Dad.”

We were just rounding the south end of the Great Salt Lake where we found our first hotel. Choice Hotels have a special this summer: stay 2 nights, get a $50 gift card. We figure we should have a handful of gift cards by August. Plus they have free breakfast.

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 7, should find us in the Grand Tetons, according to our schedule.

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