Monday, October 11, 2010
After traveling past the Deep Creek Falls pullout, past Adel, Oregon, and onward past marshes or reservoirs, past interesting but unknown volcanic geology, and over at least two summits...
...we finally came into Nevada...
...and shortly came to the turnoff that was one of the primary purposes for taking the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway back into Nevada, instead of another, much shorter route. That turnoff is the north end of Highway 8A as it still exists today. Highway Eight A, Yay!
The sign says, "Cedarville: 71 miles." There is pavement in Cedarville, CA, west to the Nevada border, but none beyond that, and none from this turnoff south to the Nevada border.
Will we see a sign proclaiming the road as S.R. 8A? We turned south near this mini-kiosk for the Sheldon Antelope Wildlife Refuge to find out.
Looking to the south, it became apparent that this fine-looking dirt road isn't signed 8A from the north end, though it may still be signed 8A from the southwest end, just east of Cedarville, CA, in Nevada where this portion of old Highway 8A starts. (Where does a road start or end? This one starts in CA, goes northeast to the former continuation of 8A and 8, which are now Highway 140 and Highway 95, not entirely respectively, also part of the Winnemuccca-to-the-Sea Highway.)
Current signs indicate that the road — the entire remaining portion of Highway 8A — is "Not Regularly Maintained" and is "Closed in Winter." I suspect that the road is actually open during the winter (not blocked) but that it isn't plowed, can drift shut or get completely buried during snowstorms, and may turn muddy. I also suspect that the sign is there to indicate that people without backcountry experience or who are unfamiliar with the area are not advised to enter, especially in winter. This signage may have something to do with a winter saga that turned out okay, but looked bleak for a while. The last time this road was marked 8A on Nevada road maps was in 1980-1981.
[Note: if the Stolpa's indeed headed due east from the place they abandonded their truck on Highway 8A some unknown miles east of the non-town of Vya, NV, as reported, they would have eventually hooked up with the north-south portion of Highway 140 where it is part of Highway 95 — after crossing 50 miles of rugged canyon country while going entirely against the grain of canyons and mountains. Possibly they could have veered northward toward Gridley Lake, where there may be some active ranches; had they continued due east, they would have either had to cross the Pine Forest Range or, if veering southward to avoid that range, they would have ended up in the northeast arm of the Black Rock Desert, where there might also be active ranches.]
Sidebar: The Kims
Highway 8A Cutoff: Point A, the NV-CA state line; Point B, near Vya, NV; Point C, random location on 8A, possibly a good truck-abandoning location (NOT!); Point D, 8A joins 140.
The earlier sign, before the turnoff, essentially indicates that it's 71 miles southwest from the junction of Highways 140 and 8A to the nearest services in Cedarville, CA, unless, of course, you happen to be going to Gerlach, NV, in which case services are a mite farther south. The longest interval of no services that I've noticed recently says 163 miles, leaving Tonopah to the east on Route 6, going toward Warm Springs and the so-called E.T. Highway.
We turned around, being entirely unprepared to drive so far out of our way and shortly running out of trip time...
...and continued our wayward journey toward Winnemucca on the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway.
To be continued...