It was a full flight, and sleeping was pretty uncomfortable. The seat didn’t recline very far, my bag was by my feet and in the way. So eventually I woke up. The scenery down below was great though. At first just miles and miles and miles of FLAT. At one point I saw a dust storm on the ground. At another I saw another airliner flying down and to the right of us. Then there were mountains. And all along, I’m looking at what look like little paths through the scenery that seem to go into nowhere. Those are the kinds of places I want to go! Hopefully I’ll find things like that where I’m going in Nevada, and hopefully they will actually be places I can GO and not places that are restricted and unpassable. Eventually though, we headed down into Phoenix where I was to change planes to Reno. We deplaned. The Reno gate was only about 1000 feet or less away, and was bording about five minutes after I got to the gate. Perfect timing. I was about the 3rd person to board. And the flight wasn’t too crowded. I actually had an empty seat next to me this time.
But then the pilot came on the intercom, and said that we were being held at the gate because there had been a security breach in the airport, and they were holding all flights until they straightened things out. The pilot sounded pretty exasperated. So we sat there for about 20 minutes. Then the pilot came on, and with a very audible sigh, said they had gotten the order that everyone had to deplane and go back through security. So everybody collected their stuff, and slowly but surely, we all got off, and started following the crowd. Out of the gate, down to the right, past a bunch of closed snack places, rest rooms and gift shops, then onto a moving walkway toward security. Then all of a sudden the people in front of us turned around, and started coming back toward us and motioning and yelling to go back. Whatever it was, it was over. Turning around and heading back, I noticed a Starbucks. I considered stopping and getting something. But I had been one of the last ones off the plane. If I hurried I could get back in my seat ahead of the crowd. So instead, I rushed back to the gate. I was the third person back on the plane. It took awhile for everyone to get reseated, but before long, we finally got underway.
The flight to Reno was fairly uneventful. I had more fun watching things out of the window, and read more of my book. I don’t think I slept any.
Once we landed in Reno, all the usual happened. Off the plane, to the baggage area, pick up the big suitcase; trudge over to the car rental place. Wait ten minutes for the rental agent to get to me. Then head over to my rental. I got a Silver Chevy Blazer. I spent awhile configuring the vehicle. I unpacked my GPS (a Garmin StreetPilot III I got for the trip) and got it all set on the dashboard. (I’d filled it with maps of the region before I left.) I grabbed my XM radio out of the bag too, and got it all set up. Soon, I was ready to go.
I was going to be staying at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino. It was clearly visible from the airport. But I called it up on the GPS anyway, and asked for it to route me there. I then proceeded to go in the opposite direction than it was telling me, basically wandering Reno for a little while, forcing the GPS to recalculate my route every minute or two. Eventually I decided it was time to just get there, and actually paid attention to what it was telling me, and drove to the hotel.
Once there, I checked in. My room was on a floor that was being renovated. So the floor and walls in the hallway were all coated in plastic. But my room itself was fine and dandy. I put my stuff in there, and then decided to check out the place for a while. I wandered around the casinos for maybe half an hour or a little more. I considered dumping a little cash in the slots, but was not feeling inspired, and was pretty tired. So after checking out most of the place, and not really being too interested by anything, I went back to my room.
I spent a short amount of time plugging in the computer, checking and answering a small amount of email, and writing a bit of this journal. But for the most part I was very tired. So before too long, I fell asleep.
In the morning I gradually woke up. They always make checkout way too early. 11 AM local time seems to be normal. I’d like to sleep a couple hours past that! But I guess it is the “kick” I need to get up and out at a reasonable time and still have some daylight hours to do stuff. In any case, I gathered my stuff. I checked out. I briefly thought about stopping at the slots again, but decided I just wanted to get on my way. So I collected my vehicle from the valet, and went out. But I didn’t head directly. I went first to a drug store. Picked up a supply of water, a bunch of batteries, a new video tape, some sunscreen, etc. All the basics one needs. And I spent a bunch of time reconfiguring my bags. Taking the things out that could just stay in the truck, like the sleeping bag and tent. Basically organizing things so it was easier to get at everything I might need. But then it was time to go. I played with my GPS p[references a bit to try to get a route I liked. I had sometimes set it to tell it I was a pedestrian to get smaller routes, but decided to let it know I was in a “Car”, but just tell it to avoid highways. And tell it to get the “shortest” route instead of the fastest. That was good enough. Off I went. Target, the random spot.
So at first I went on some fairly big roads, starting with I-80 for a few miles. But before too long, the roads got smaller and more isolated. And the scenery was incredible. I was happy. I passed some various military installations. At one point while going down the highway some mean looking military helicopters were buzzing the roads. For the majority of the trip the route was a paved two-lane highway. AUS highway, but smaller than they tend to be back east.
At one point we had to sit and wait for 20 minutes, because they had closed one lane for construction, and that left only one lane. So there was about a 20 mile stretch that they were letting people only go one way at a time.
Off to the side all the time I could see little dirt roads going off into the distance.
The entrances were sometimes hard to see, and the roads themselves often even harder to see. They were narrow and partially overgrown. And my GPS showed them as roads!
I really wanted to go on them. But that would wait. First I would get a bit closer to my random spot.
Eventually the time came where my route took me off the “main road” which by this time was a three digit state route with no traffic to be seen for many many miles. Not paved, but slightly bigger than the road I was to go on next which was a narrow one lane dirt road. Oh yes! Finally!
So off I went. Before too long the road went past some sort of habitated building, but my route took me off to the left in less worn areas. The roads got narrower. And they were dirt. But they were maintained dirt. Quite passible. As I continued along my way, I noticed Grantsville, the ghost town I had found when I first looked up my random spot. It was just a few miles away, and on my route!
Then I turned a corner, and behind the hills that had been there, suddenly I saw Grantsville. It looked just like the pictures on the web.
So this was Grantsville. I parked the Blazer along the side of the road. And I went exploring. I wandered around all of the old semi-collapsed buildings. There were a decent number of them. A little bit of modern graffiti here and there, but for the most part, just 80 or 90 year old remains of what was once a brick making factory, and the various buildings that supported it. I went into most of the buildings, taking pictures. If I get them all up on the web, I think my site will have more Grantsville Nevada pics than any of the ones I found when researching for this trip. So here goes…
I even went inside an abandoned hole in the ground, which led to an underground storage chamber. I was a bit nervous about that one. If the thing collapsed, I would be in big trouble. But hey, it had been fine for 80 odd years, so… I did crawl in there. It was fun.
I spent about an hour wandering around Grantsville and the immediate area.
But then I decided it was time to press on to try to find the random spot.