Travels in the American Southwest
Valley of the Moon
SR 305, ~40 miles south of Battle Mountain, ~49 miles north of Austin
Road factor/Accessability - two lane, paved
~372 miles from Las Vegas

This is a roadway rest area which doesn't appear on the Nevada D.O.T. list of state rest areas. I first found a reference to it on a topozone map at N 40° 07.788 W 117° 07.600. Other than a cryptic web page on the internet, I couldn't find anything about the strangely named area so naturally I had to go exploring! Some forty miles south of Battle Mountain where SR305 dead ends into I-80, we found Valley of the Moon.

Barrens, sprinkled with desert scrub stretched eastward all the way to the Shoshone mountain range. The view was essentially the same as John Fremont, Lt. Simpson or other early Nevada explorer would have beheld.

To the west was a comparative Garden of Eden. Irrigation utilizing the diminutive flow of the Reese River has made the desert bloom. Bales of hay were stacked high awaiting transport. In the distance, stalks of unharvested grain gently waved under the prevailing westerly wind.

The rest area is large and paved. Lighted rest room facilities are located at the north end of the rest area. A coin-free telephone, permitting only credit card and toll-free calls, is situated safely behind a couple of large, cement filled pipes. Protection from errant or inebriated drivers, I suspect.

Three shade-covered picnic tables are available for the traveler, but I couldn't help but wonder how frequently they're used. SR305 would qualify was the truly Loneliest Road in America. On our trip from Battle Mountain to Austin, some 85 miles, the cars we saw could be counted on one hand. Imagine our surprise, as we slipped the RV into drive, to see a car pull into the rest area. The driver pulled up to one of the shaded picnic tables, hopped out of her SUV, whipped out a book and began reading after she settled down at the table. Valley of the Moon proves the adage that if you build it, people will come.


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