Nevada, You Were Surprisingly Interesting

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After leaving Lake Tahoe, I headed east down the Sierras on US-50, intending to drive across Nevada in one afternoon. I ended up spending three days there.

The stretch of US-50 through Nevada is called “The Loneliest Road in America” because there are only 5 towns along the route and almost nothing in between. Actually, it wasn’t very lonely at all, because there were plenty of other cars traveling in both directions. However, there were a few times where I could no see no cars either ahead of me or behind me. And you can usually see quite far on this road.


The state tourism board (or whatever it’s called) has even come up with this little “passport” book that you can get stamped at all five towns and send in to get an “I Survived the Loneliest Road” certificate. I got my book stamped, so we’ll see when I get the certificate.

I saw more different kinds of “___ Crossing” signs during my transit across Nevada than I have ever seen: Bear (in Lake Tahoe), Deer, Horse, Cow, Antelope(?), Fire Truck, and Tractor.

One thing about this road is that if you’re at all unclear about what the term “Basin and Range” means, US-50 will straighten you right out.



I left my <3 in San Francisco, Part Three: Field Trips

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I took another field trip during my stay in the Bay Area: to Napa Valley. Unfortunately, I picked Labor Day weekend to do this, and everyone else in the Western Hemisphere was doing the same thing. Between the crowds and the fact that I was driving, I abstained from imbibing the local spirits.

But, like me, my day was not totally wasted, because I found a few geologically interesting places. The thing that most defines Napa Valley, besides the wine, is the volcanism. Back when there was subduction happening on the coast of California, there was a string of volcanoes along the continental margin, usually 50 to 200 miles from the subduction trench. This is always the case when you have subduction because that oceanic plate dives into the mantle, melts, and goes the only way it can go: up! This is still going on in the Cascades, as well as in Alaska, and Japan, and Chile…hey that’s pretty much the whole Ring of Fire thing, isn’t it?