From Reno I headed East to Great Basin National Park. The drive took me through some of the most desolate- yet most peaceful – wide open spaces I’d seen yet.
Nevada had a very limited color palette at first glance. Brown and a bit of green with a pale blue sky. But driving along, mile after mile, I began to see the depths in these colors. The brown dirt and cliffs were actually shades from off-white-beach-sand-tans to rich red-tinged browns with a rainbow of browns, tans, whites and reds in between. The dull-colored sage covering the land as far out as I could see was bordered by the nearly sea-foam green of younger sage and their bright yellow flowers rounding them off on top like mums. From time to time enough water was present for scrappy little trees to grow in curving lines as they trailed along the edges of creeks and gullies. If I looked out far enough, the land became a wavering mirage that shifted in hues of green and blue and tan.
The road itself alternated from a long straight line through flat lands to winding and narrow through what seemed to me suddenly appearing canyons. Every hour or so I would come to a small town, the speed limit would drop from 70/75mph to 25mph and I would roll slowly through, taking in the old buildings, tiny shops and vintage diners. I would often spot something that put me in mind of family and friends back home. A hole in the wall diner along the highway named Sloppy Joe’s? Bet my dad would love it. Antique stores set in weathered clapboard buildings overflowing with tea cups and mason jars and happy cloth dolls- browsing delight for my mom.
The day passed slowly, but did not seem to drag on, rather amble quietly. By the time I arrived at Great Basin National Park, it was growing dark and the sky had been swallowed by a murky haze. It seemed as if, upon reaching my destination, the bright enjoyment of day had gone, replaced by dust and twilight.
Still, I had only to sleep, wake early and carry on to find more wonderful views. Though Great Basin hadnt suited me, the next location might. And, as evidenced by my drive through Nevada, sometimes the drive and the experience is enough.