Friday, June 27, 2014

More Dust, More Devils

After lunch, I resumed my dusty, devilish trip and drove south-southwest on what used to be old U.S. 40, going under the overpass that I-80 now uses to bypass Lovelock.
As I leave town, a large dust storm looms in the distance beyond the overpass.
Old highway 40 continues on past Lovelock, as I gradually — at the speed limit of 55 mph! — approach the storm.
I always enjoy driving by this lone cottonwood (Google Maps location).
In the picture, you can now clearly see how closely this remanent section of 40 is paralleled by I-80, over there on the right→ (signs are on I-80, as is the semi).
I've now turned more to the southwest, and I have a better view of the dust storm. The dust is blowing along and rising from the Humboldt Sink, end point to the 310-mile long Humboldt River.
Old highway 40 and I-80, side by side, heading southwest toward Toulon.
Granite Point, a smallish ridge of granite on the west flank of the Trinity Range, is just beyond the dark exposure to the right (north) of I-80, which might be basalt. Straight down the road, we're looking more or less toward the center (or south of center?) of the Ragged Top caldera, which was featured somewhat here and here (earlier posts) and in these comments.
Another view of the dust storm on the Humboldt Sink, with sand dunes of Lake Lahontan (Fallon or Turupah Formation? — Geolex does not include all the references about these two formations) and the railroad in the foreground. 
The old tungsten mill at Toulon, with the dust storm raging in the background. 
According to the most recent GSN field trip guide, the mill at Toulon was used over the years (since before World War I) to process tungsten from nearby mining districts including those at Nightingale, Ragged Top, Mill City, and Oreana (Nightingale is off to the west, and Oreana and Mill City are quite a ways to the northeast). It was also used to process arsenic during World War I, and was later used for antimony and gold ores (not sure from where).
A dust devil at the leading edge of the storm, with the West Humboldt Range finally visible across the playa. 
I leave old highway 40 to return to I-80 at the Toulon exit. The old highway can be followed farther on toward the Humboldt Dike gravel bar (location), where at least one trace of the old road gets wiped out or overprinted by 80.
Another view of the Humboldt Sink and West Humboldt Range from I-80.
Looking back. 
I've now passed the gravel bar and Highway 95 exit for the Carson Sink and Fallon. The storm can be seen behind me; the Forty Mile Desert is just south of me beyond I-80.
A dust devil, leaning in the still roaring wind, on the Forty Mile Desert. 
Tumbleweeds roll out to try to block my path. 
Dust blowing wildly just east of Nightingale Hot Springs (interesting write-up about Nightingale, Toulon, and Oreana here at Backyard Traveler by Rich Moreno — a blog well worth reading if you want to learn more about Nevada). 
A distant devil off across the salt flats near Fernley. 
My journey continued onward past Fernley and Wadsworth, into the canyon of the Truckee River, where I was too busy fighting the gusty winds to grab any shots of dust or devils.

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