In the mid-1980s, Life magazine called the stretch of blacktop highway from the Utah/NV border to Reno along HWY 50 “The Loneliest Road in America.” The author of the article advised readers to not take this road in their travels.
Well, if you don’t enjoy high mountains, open vistas, accessible and often free camping, and find ~70 miles (or an hour’s drive) to be a long stretch between towns and have Los Angeles or NYC as a baseline, then this stretch is indeed lonely.
But for the right person, the lonely stretches in between the one-hour gaps in towns are a scenic delight with plenty of sites along the way.
The local towns took up this seemingly insulting moniker and have embraced it and turned it into a bit of tourist path. But the road is no lonelier than places on the High Plains in the tri-state region of Wyoming, Colorado, and the Nebraska Pan Handle or many parts of Utah.
What it is (at least from Baker to about Austin; after that, you feel the gravitational pull of California! ) is a low population base, lots of free camping, and much history.
We traveled along where people thousands of years ago left their mark, where stagecoaches dropped of freight or passengers, where the American legend of the short-lived Pony Express went, and where the telegraph delivered messages.
A soak in some natural hot springs did not hurt, either.
I don’t know if Hwy 50 is the “Loneliest Road in America.”’
But it sure proved to be an exciting and more preferable way to get across the state of Nevada than I80.
And when you have the gift of time, it is the joy of the journey that matters.