We have heard of Highway 50 being the loneliest road (from Fallon to Ely, NV) in the United States: the road runs parallel to the Pony Express Trail (used for 18 months from April 1860 to Oct 1861 to deliver mail in record time of 10 days from Missouri to California). Just that fact intrigued us: we wanted to see what the loneliest road is. We got our chance on this trip as we wanted to visit the Great Basin National Park and Highway 50 was the perfect route to get there. We fueled up in Lake Tahoe as we expected no gas station on this road for at least 300 miles (as it turned out there were a couple of dinky and expensive gas stations. I won’t count on them being opened forever) before we headed off on our adventure.
First thing we noticed the road was, although dubbed lonely, not boring. Not long after being on the road, we saw some sand dunes in the distance on the left; we made a turn toward it and discovered it is the Sand Mountain Recreation Area. The place is managed by BLM and is designated as a fee area for ATV riders and hikers. There were a lot of campers there with RVs and trailers. We saw one trailer with sophisticated hydraulic controls to load and unload ATVs, an expensive hobby to have. We saw some kids, as young as 10, were out riding ATVs on the sand dunes. Well, at least they had helmets on.
The road was mostly straight and flat except when it climbed over a few hills. Between two hills, it laid a vast barren land. There were many snow-capped mountains in the distance. The landscape was dotted with sagebrush. There weren’t many towns and when there was one, there wasn’t much in the town. The cell phone reception was almost non-existent. However, We found the road beautiful and compelling. We will travel it again in the future.