A couple nights were spent near the National Wildlife Refuge, debating where to go next. As it happened, I was across the valley looking around when a couple of Nevada Fish & Game guys showed up while on an antelope survey. We got to talking, and I was surprised to hear that they had just recently released some Canadian Bighorn sheep in the area. The sheep had been captured in the Cadomin, Alberta area on the boundary of Jasper National park, where I used to patrol. In fact, I had been involved in a previous sheep trapping event there years ago, though I cannot recall where the sheep were headed that time.
We also started to look at maps and a discussion of roads in the area. Their opinion of the road to the south was not as bad as I had previously heard, so I started to reconsider my options yet again.
To make a long story (!), the next morning extra care was made to insure everything was tied down solidly, the route was downloaded in Google Earth and Maps on my tablet, cat food supply adequate, and we were off at the crack of dawn. It must have been dawn somewhere – at 11AM. It could have been 10 depending on which time zone we were aligned with at the time.
Expecting a rough road with potholes, washboard, sharp rocks, we wondered it roadside assistance could find us, if we had a flat – like the Bayfield Bunch. Of course, my gps insisted we were lost for the first half of the trip – ‘turn around NOW’.
Well, we took our time, just puttering along. Traffic was heavy – saw 2 vehicles in the first couple hours.
There was an abandoned mine site, and an active Barrick gold (copper?) mine along the way, but the traffic stayed about the same.
You could see vehicles approaching from about 20 miles away on the straight parts, so you could park in the middle of the road and walk around a bit without worrying.
OMG, here comes one now!
Overall, the road was not nearly as bad as I had expected, and much to my surprise, there was a couple of paved sections in the middle of nowhere.
Eventually, we emerged on Nv highway 50 (Lincoln Hwy), and after another mountain pass or two, we rolled on down into Ely, Nevada.
We ate, fueled up (Diesel @$3.99), groceried up, propaned up, visited a bank machine, and then had to decide which direction to head.
East would take us over to I-15 in Utah, and all that southern Utah has to offer. West would bring Reno, Carson City and eastern California into view, while south would take us towards Vegas, Death Valley, and all points south.
The closest exit was to the SW, which Google Earth had hinted might hold some boondocking potential, so off we went, squinting into the sunset. Just over the pass we found Ward Mountain FS campground, which was open, but apparently not charging fees! It is in a beautiful open pine forest, about 7400’, with views of Ward Mountain and valleys to the south and west. The campground is very new looking, and extremely clean, and we managed to find a spot as there was only one other rig present.
Where we are next is anyone’s guess …