A week from today, we’ll be on vacation! Seems like our life is a vacation, doesn’t it? But, yes, we are taking an out-of-the-RV vacation in Yosemite National Park next weekend. Consequently, we have a time commitment, so are on a tear to cross Utah and Nevada within a few days time.
Our plan is to take Interstate 70 to Interstate 15, transition to US Highway 50, and follow it west to Reno, then take I-80 into the Sacramento area. We don’t plan to do much sightseeing, so we can easily travel the distance in 4 days. We’ve given ourselves a three day window of time to cross Donner Pass through the Sierra in case the weather doesn’t cooperate (we don’t want to end up like the Donner party!).
Besides rolling away the miles, we hope to do our usual hike/walk each day, and it was very easy to do so on Friday. We pulled out of our campsite at OK RV Park a little after 9 am, drove 10 miles to a convenient pullout, and walked several miles along the wonderful paved bike trail that runs along Hwy 191 from Moab to Arches National Park and beyond. By 11 am, we were pulling out once again, heading north to I-70.
As we passed the entrance to Arches National Park, we both did a double-take: the lineup waiting to pass through the entrance booths was probably 40+ vehicles long! It had been obvious to us that Moab was filled to capacity, but… WOW! I’m glad we weren’t in that long line. Those trails are gonna be crowded.
Thus began a 336 mile day, very unusual for us. After a couple of hours of scenic I-70, we pulled over at a view point, ate lunch, stretched our legs, and set off once again. We had pinpointed several boondocking spots along Hwy 50 (“The Loneliest Road in America”) short of the Nevada border that would work for an overnight campsite, so figured we’d find an appealing one and stop around 6 pm, as twilight approached.
Of course, the farther west we traveled, the longer it stayed light… and the last 50 miles of Utah before we crossed into Nevada near Great Basin National Park were some of least attractive, most desolate miles we traveled all day. Since we have visited Great Basin N.P. a few times before, we knew there was an appealing rest area just a few miles past the turnoff to the national park that would make an excellent overnight spot. We decided to push on another 50 or so miles.
We gained an hour as soon as we crossed the state line into Nevada, and pulled into pretty Sacramento Pass Recreation Area Scenic Pullout (click here to read our review and see photos) at 5:30 pm, just as the sun dropped behind a mountain top. That’s a mighty long day of driving for us, and it is so unusual for us to be on the road that late in the day (our typical travel hours are 10 am to 2 or maybe 3 pm); heading into the setting sun, we actually lowered our automatic sun visors. It worked out well, though, and shaved a few miles of Saturday’s drive. California, here we come!