Monday, February 28, 2011

Onward to Winnemucca!

Nevada S.R. 140, part of the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway, leaves Denio Junction for Winnemucca by turning southward, where it almost immediately cuts across a flat area — apparently known as "Antelope" — to head straight for Denio Summit. During our 2010 Oregon roadtrip, I forgot to schedule a stop just before the summit to see Lockwood's graphic granite locality, so MOH and I just breezed on through (darn!).
After crossing the Pine Forest Range at Denio Summit, the road shoots southeast across the northeast arm of the Black Rock Desert, coming within about a mile of Quinn River Crossing (MSRMaps location). Along this entire stretch of 140, you can look south to southwest into the the Black Rock Desert across the ranch lands and alfalfa fields of several historic and active ranches. That's part of the Pine Forest Range on the right side of the photo, and that's the Jackson Mountains on the left.

View Quinn River Crossing in a larger map
NE arm of the Black Rock Desert.
The shadows were impressive as we drove by the east side of the Jackson Mountains: Black Butte, a small cuesta in the foreground, is just eclipsing the rounded, more distant Bottle Hill. (MSRMaps location.)

The Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway, by the time it crosses the Quinn River north of the Jackson Mountains (a crossing I somehow missed), has turned east-southeast to head for its junction with Highway 95.
Nevada S.R. 140 officially ends at the junction of U.S. 95, but the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway continues south, joining 95. This sign, honoring two rodeo cowgirls, is located just south of the junction; it's one of Winnemucca's many advertising billboards.

The city of Winnemucca has had quite a self-advertising campaign over the years, with odd to funny signs. Here's one from the Wisconsin Community Development Photo Archive. Other signs said things like:
Winnemucca. Where Life Begins!
Winnemucca. 5 Billion People Haven't Been There. [or "Here"??]
Winnemucca. The City by Battle Mountain.
I don't know how many of these signs, and others from that earlier era known as the eighties, are still extant.
About 15 miles north of Winnemucca, the road crosses a field of parabolic dunes coming from Lahontan lake beds or deltas near or around the alkali flats of Desert Valley at least 40 miles to the west. In fact, the entire length of the dune field is at least 55 miles, depending on where exactly in Desert Valley the field actually begins.

Our arrival in Winnemucca, after driving past the junction commemorating the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway, was unremarkable and unrecorded; after checking in, we immediately went to one of the Basque watering holes restaurants for wine and vittles.

Read a little more about the Nevada portion of Highway 140 here, including some history about Quinn River Crossing and where to find some opal.


Gaelyn said...

Looks like pretty country. Good road trip.

The Bobs said...

If you take the dirt road the goes west off 95 just north of the dines, you can get a great view of the much more extensive dunefield in the next valley to the west.

Further north on 95 State Hwy 290 to Paradise Valley, take the road past the town and continue north to Hinkey Summit in the Santa Rosa Range. A spectacular drive that I recommend to anyone. Good gravel road. Do this in the spring when the wildflowers are out.

Silver Fox said...

Gaelyn, the end of our Oregon trip last year, we went through some great countryside, but mostly quite quickly. Hardly stopped anywhere!

Silver Fox said...

@The Bobs, Hinkey Summit looks like a great trip! Thanks for all the road and travel tips (so many places to go, so little time).

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Great signs!

Silver Fox said...