Travels in the America!
US 50 - The Loneliest Road in America
Runs from GPS - N38° 57' 33", W119° 56' 31" to  N39° 03' 26", W114° 02' 56" (west to east)
Road factor/Accessibility - Paved road, two lane

The July 1986 issue of Life Magazine sampled the country's extremes. It contained a collection of America's superlatives entitled "America, the Most". Among the entries:  The Cutest (baby model Jessica Peyton), The Oldest (113 year old Mamie Keith), The Most Sparsely Populated (Borough, Alaska) and The Loneliest Road (US 50 from Ely to Fallon, Nevada). Quoting that issue: "It's totally empty," says an AAA counselor. "There are no points of interest. We don't recommend it."  The 287 mile stretch of US 50, running from Ely to Fernly [sic], Nev., passes nine towns, two abandoned mining camps, a few gas pumps and an occasional coyote. "We warn all motorists not to drive there," says the AAA rep, "unless they're confident in their survival skills."

Life Magazine Logo *

A couple of decades after that article appeared, the Loneliest Road in America really isn't anymore. In Nevada, there are many other roads that have a valid and perhaps better claim on that designation (305 from Austin up to Battle Mountain comes to mind). Roughly following the Pony Express route across Nevada, US 50 is most desolate between Ely and Fallon passing few signs of human habitation. But contrary to AAA's then description of its containing no "points of interest", it's on or near this stretch of the roadway that you'll find ancient petroglyphs (Hickison & Grimes Point) and pictographs (Toquima Cave), hot springs, the historic mining towns of Austin and Eureka as well as a business unique to the Silver State in Salt Wells, a wonderful slot machine-free restaurant and gift shop in Middlegate, the 600 foot tall Sand Mountain and adjacent solar-powered "Loneliest Phone in America", the poignant graves of Jennie and Louise LeBeau, the offbeat and wacky Shoetree, easy access to the geographic Center of Nevada and scores of miles of stark desolation. The traveler passes through high mountain passes and flat narrow valleys. I've traveled portions of US 50 in 2000, 2001 (here, too!) and 2003 (here, too!).

This is what The Loneliest Highway looks like much of the time. This view was heading towards Utah , east of SR376  in 2003.

This web page has a wonderful report detailing points of interest along the entire 410 mile length of US 50. - From Stateline, NV on the California border to Great  Basin National Park and the "Border Inn, a cafe/gas station/motel, open 24 hours a day. From here, {on the Utah/Nevada border} the only other reliable services are in Ely, 70 miles west, or in Delta, 85 miles to the east, so pass by at your peril."!

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