2015 USA Road Trip Day 13: Tonopah NV to Sacramento CA

I got up early and wandered around Tonopah a little, taking a few photos as the sun came up. It sometimes gets called a ghost town - there's still about 2,000 people living here but it was once 20 times bigger, the mines no longer doing the business that they used to.

Tonopah NV

Tonopah NV Tonopah NV Tonopah NV Tonopah NV

I loved the look of this place - probably just as well that I didn't stay the night. AND it's next door to a cemetery.

Tonopah NV

Some beautiful clouds in the sky as I drove out of town - I'm sure some of them look like UFOs.

Tonopah NV driving out of Tonopah NV

About 40 miles down the road, I came across a real ghost town. The place used to be known as Coaldale and I'm not sure what happened to it. There was a restaurant with slots (not sluts), a motel and about 20 other buildings. I'd missed out on seeing the Two Guns ghost town in Arizona because I had to change my schedule after Monument Valley, so it was good to catch at least one.

Coaldale ghost town NV

Coaldale ghost town NV Coaldale ghost town NV Coaldale ghost town NV Coaldale ghost town NV driving out of Tonopah NV Coaldale ghost town NV

Went through a couple of small towns - there is a US army depot, hence the weird signs about not bringing explosives into towns. I stopped for a cup of tea at the McDonalds in Hawthorne - my first stop at McDs, and I had one of the best cups of tea since I got here too! I took a picture of it because I noticed they were using bombs or shell cases or something as a perimeter.

Mina NV Hawthorne NV Hawthorne NV Hawthorne NV

Past Walker Lake (some water at last, it's been a while) and through Smith Valley with the wonderfully random graffiti, and then over the border into California.

Walker Lake NV Walker Lake NV Smith Valley NV driving through NV California border California border

I took a photo of the last sign because there is apparently a big thing about not bringing fruit and veg into California. When I left Lake Havasu City to drive up towards Las Vegas, I crossed into California for a few miles. There was actually a set of tollbooths stretched across the interstate where I had to stop and declare I didn't have any fruit on me!

This time there was no tollbooths but I remembered I had a banana in my pocket so I hastily ate that.

After that I was on Highway 88 and straight up into the Sierra Nevada mountains towards Carson Pass. I went above 7,000 feet and as I neared the top I started to see compacted snow and ice by the side of the road, even though it was a good 10F or more above freezing.

driving to Carson Pass CA driving to Carson Pass CA driving to Carson Pass CA driving to Carson Pass CA

This is the highest I've ever been in a car.

Carson Pass CA

The top of the pass was a beautiful place but I did expect a bit more. I thought there was going to be a cabin or information centre at the top - I am sure I've seen pictures of that. There's a car park which can hold 60 cars, with a sign saying you need a permit or you'll be fined $94.50 if you park there, which seems a bit pointless as I was the only person around! It was very peaceful there, only broken by the occasional car going past - and strangely you couldn't really hear the cars from miles away, only when they were quite close to the top. Must be the thin air not allowing sound to travel, or something.

Carson Pass CA Carson Pass CA Carson Pass CA Carson Pass CA Carson Pass CA Carson Pass CA

Just after the top of Carson Pass was Caples Lake, which was quite weird. I was driving above it and there was no snow or ice on the road, but went down a few hundred feet and drove along it to find it had completely frozen over.

Caples Lake CA Caples Lake CA

Stopped at the Kirkwood Inn in Kirkwood on the way down. It was really dark inside and it took ages for my eyes to adjust. One of the guys inside there said there was a storm coming, and expected 1-2 feet of snow - not sure if that was accurate. I told the barman I was on my way to Sacramento and he wondered why I had come that way. I told him I wanted a nice drive around the mountains ...

Kirkwood CA Kirkwood CA

It seemed like I got to the top of Carson Pass quite quickly, but it seemed like I was driving down through the forest forever - probably because I'd started from a high altitude to start with and I was now heading down to sea level.

About 30 miles east of Sacramento and suddenly we're out of the forest and it seemed like I was driving through the English countryside. There was a lot of green pastures, meadows, hills - that kind of thing.

driving towards Sacramento CA driving towards Sacramento CA

Driving into Sacramento was another surprise. My hotel is 2 miles from the city centre, but my approach from the east was all countryside and it was really only the last mile or so where I felt I was in a city at all. Sacramento is the state capital of California with nearly half a million people!

And what better way to say hello to the city than with a 25-foot high statue of Kevin Costner, which I found in the Silverado nursery on the edge of town! (Apparently he was in a film of the same name).

Kevin Costner statue in Sacramento CA

Next:     2015 USA Road Trip Day 14: Sacramento CA to San Francisco CA
Previous:     2015 USA Road Trip Day 12: Henderson NV to Tonopah NV

Last updated 27 February 2015 16:01

A bird

I think I'm meant to do an "About" here but I think you'd be more interested in seeing a random seagull.

USA Road Trip 2015

  • Introduction
  • Day 1: Philadelphia PA to Atlantic City NJ
  • Day 2: Atlantic City NJ to Bedford PA
  • Day 3: Bedford PA to Richmond IN
  • Day 4: Richmond IN to St Louis MO
  • Day 5: St Louis MO to Joplin MO
  • Day 6: Joplin MO to Elk City OK
  • Day 7: Elk City OK to Tucumcari NM
  • Day 8: Tucumcari NM to Gallup NM
  • Day 9: Gallup NM to Monument Valley UT
  • Day 10: Monument Valley UT to Flagstaff AZ
  • Day 11: Flagstaff AZ to Henderson NV
  • Day 12: Henderson NV to Tonopah NV
  • Day 13: Tonopah NV to Sacramento CA
  • Day 14: Sacramento CA to San Francisco CA
  • Day 15: San Francisco CA

  • Gigs

  • 08.12.2015 Shed Seven, Hatfield
  • 27.11.2015 Vile Electrodes, Brentwood
  • 07.11.2015 Asylums, Southend
  • 30.10.2015 Baby Blues, Brentwood
  • 02.10.2015 Fireworks, Harringay
  • 25.09.2015 Lydia Lucy, Brentwood
  • 28.08.2015 Dani Clay, Brentwood
  • 24.07.2015 Indietracks
  • 17.07.2015 Latitude Festival
  • 11.07.2015 Brownstock Festival
  • 11.07.2015 Southend Village Green
  • 26.06.2015 The Who, Hyde Park
  • 20.06.2015 Blur, Hyde Park
  • 13.06.2015 British Sea Power, Camden
  • 06.06.2015 1000 Yard Stare, Charing Cross
  • 03.06.2015 Madness, Great Leights
  • 31.05.2015 Los Endos, Hornchurch
  • 29.05.2015 Juke, Brentwood
  • 28.05.2015 Pop Will Eat Itself, Shoreditch
  • 24.05.2015 Ride, Camden
  • 24.04.2015 Kaleidophone, Brentwood
  • 27.03.2015 Finding Miranda, Brentwood
  • 13.03.2015 Francesca Priest, Brentwood
  • 13.02.2015 Kaiser Chiefs, Greenwich
  • 06.02.2015 Ryan Green, Brentwood
  • 31.01.2015 Sulk - Hackney
  • 23.01.2015 Velvet Tree, Brentwood
  • 11.01.2015 Bis, Pentonville
  • 19.12.2014 High/Low, Southend
  • 12.12.2014 Break For Cover, Brentwood
  • 28.11.2014 For The Love Of Bob, Brentwood
  • 22.11.2014 Carter USM, Brixton
  • 31.10.2014 Band From Co Hell, Brentwood
  • 28.10.2014 Steve Hackett, Westcliff
  • 20.10.2014 Hafdis Huld, Charing Cross
  • 11.10.2014 Stillmarillion, Ruislip
  • 26.09.2014 D'Ukes, Brentwood
  • 13.09.2014 Flag Factory Festival, Brentwood
  • 03.09.2014 Kate Bush, Shepherd's Bush
  • 30.08.2014 Brownstock Festival
  • 08.08.2014 Killing Jimmy, Brentwood
  • 20.07.2014 Brentwood Festival
  • 19.07.2014 Latitude Festival
  • 18.07.2014 Juke, Brentwood
  • 20.06.2014 Pete Brame, Brentwood
  • 30.05.2014 Bow Flats, Brentwood
  • 25.05.2014 Pop Will Eat Itself, Islington
  • 23.05.2014 Arctic Monkeys, Finsbury Park
  • 14.05.2014 Wolf Alice, Cambridge
  • 30.04.2014 Yes, Westcliff
  • 25.04.2014 Ordinary Noise, Brentwood
  • 19.04.2014 Darling Buds, Charing Cross
  • 28.03.2014 Mannequins, Brentwood
  • 26.03.2014 Menswear, Shepherd's Bush
  • 23.03.2014 Republica, Islington
  • 14.03.2014 Franz Ferdinand, Camden
  • 28.02.2014 Ryan Green, Brentwood
  • 27.02.2014 Republica, Balham
  • 03.02.2014 Maximo Park, Bethnal Green
  • 31.01.2014 Scarlet Echo, Brentwood
  • 22.11.2013 Nedstock, Shepherd's Bush
  • 18.11.2013 Pub Serv Bcasting, Cambridge
  • 04.11.2013 Art Brut, Tunbridge Wells
  • 01.11.2013 Steve Hackett, Cambridge
  • 23.10.2013 Suede, Westcliff
  • 27.09.2013 Primitives, Southend
  • 21.09.2013 Duckworth Lewis Method, SB
  • 14.09.2013 The Flag Factory Festival
  • 06.09.2013 Jonny Cola/A Grades, Harlow
  • 25.07.2013 Bis, Pentonville
  • 19.07.2013 Latitude Festival
  • 17.07.2013 Taffy, Camden
  • 05.07.2013 Brentwood Festival
  • 26.06.2013 Bleech, Bethnal Green
  • 22.06.2013 Battle Stage Final
  • 09.06.2013 Tibetan Tea Company, Romford
  • 26.05.2013 Battle Stage 3
  • 25.05.2013 Muse, Highbury
  • 21.05.2013 Dirty Royals, Islington
  • 18.05.2013 Mika Bomb, Southend
  • 18.05.2013 Battle Stage 2
  • 27.04.2013 Battle Stage 1
  • 06.04.2013 Dingus Khan, Southend
  • 16.03.2013 Republica, Tunbridge Wells
  • 09.03.2013 Phoenix In The Foyer
  • 27.02.2013 Kaiser Chiefs, Cambridge
  • 26.02.2013 Bleech, Cambridge
  • 19.02.2013 History Of Apple Pie, Shoreditch
  • 12.02.2013 Sonic Boom Six, Southend
  • 06.02.2013 The 1975, Southend
  • 25.01.2013 Archetype, Brentwood
  • 02.12.2012 Lighting Up Shenfield
  • 01.12.2012 Lighting Up Brentwood
  • 24.11.2012 Lovely Eggs, Southend
  • 20.11.2012 Focus, Chislehurst
  • 10.11.2012 Carter USM, Brixton
  • 03.11.2012 Taffy, Clerkenwell
  • 02.11.2012 Bleech, Harlow
  • 27.10.2012 Phoenix In The Foyer 2
  • 15.09.2012 Phoenix In The Foyer 1
  • 01.08.2012 Blur, Margate
  • 08.07.2012 Brentwood Festival
  • 29.06.2012 Bis, Pentonville
  • 22.06.2012 Knifeworld, Pentonville
  • 08.06.2012 Jim Bob, Bedford
  • 02.06.2012 Coldplay, Highbury
  • 30.05.2012 Evans The Death, Chelmsford
  • 11.05.2012 The Others, Putney
  • 04.05.2012 BAS II, Basildon
  • 29.04.2012 Break For Cover, Ingatestone
  • 18.03.2012 The Brownies, Shoreditch
  • 24.02.2012 Neil Hannon, Felsted
  • 29.01.2012 Kaiser Chiefs, Westcliff

  • Interviews

  • 28.06.1996 Frank and Walters
  • 01.07.2006 Sultans of Ping

  • Random writings

  • Aris Salonica
  • Lake Margaretting

  • Essex Walks

  • 1. Goldhanger
  • 2. Downham