Return to Battle Mountain

Driving is damn tiring work.  You wouldn’t think so since it involves so much sitting.  But I’m exhausted.

We’re in the middle of nowhere again: Battle Mountain, Nevada.  It is really freaking hot–as hot as it was cold in Truckee.  In fact, I can’t wait to get to Truckee tomorrow for the cold (then I will complain about how cold it is). I decided today that if there is a hell it looks like the stretch of Nevada that lines 80 Westbound.

Anyway, enough bitching.  When I stopped writing last night to go sit in the hot tub, I had just mentioned taking Ralphie out to play with his new toy.  He’s been seeming a little bored lately (I guess he’s just not into “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me”), so we stopped at a pet store in Salt Lake City yesterday and got him two new toys.  Here’s Ralphie playing fetch near the lake; see if you can resist the cuteness:

It’s a combination chew, fetch, and tug toy made by Kong.  We can only get him super durable toys because he’s a destruction machine.  (Luckily for us he only destroys his toys; he doesn’t chew on our stuff.)  Here he’s shaking the crap out of it–probably to make sure it’s dead.

We had another mostly uneventful night in the Holiday Inn Express (thank God for the ocean sounds coming from the Android) and woke up at a leisurely 7:20 when Ralphie decided it was time to get up.  He’s generally the first one up; once he’s done sleeping, he’s not interested in lounging around.  So Dave, being the best husband in the world, got up and took him for a longish walk.  We were in no hurry to return to Battle Mountain, so after breakfast we took another walk.  Soon enough, however, we had to face the inevitable.  Besides if we want to get home within the next two days, we have to go through Nevada.

But we still had a lot of Utah to cross, including the Bonneville Salt Flats. There’s a convenient rest stop where we got out and wandered around a little.  The area is beautiful. If you saw the movie The World’s Fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins you know that the World of Speed happens there every year.  If you didn’t see that movie, you know it now.

I looked up the salt flat’s history on the Google, which told me that it used to be part of a massive lake the size of Lake Michigan.  The Great Salt Lake is all that is left of it.  Dave took some great pictures; here’s another one:

We next stopped in Wells, Nevada (former home of our new tires) to eat lunch.  The Google told Dave that Wells has a park where we could eat the lunch we bought at Whole Foods the day before (we thought ahead this time!).  The Google was right.  It was a nice little park with a picnic table under a shady tree.  A strong wind kept us from getting hot, which was nice.

Once back on the road, we listened to several more Wait Waits while Ralphie slept in the back seat.  We made a little nest for him that you can’t really see, but it includes his favorite pillow.  Why he’s sprawled on our computer bags, I don’t know.

Because sometimes he won’t sit down in the car, he has a harness to keep him from flying through the windshield.  He seems to have learned to relax in the car on this trip, though, so maybe he won’t need it so much in the future.

Wait Wait makes a great road trip soundtrack.  We’ve learned a lot about the news from the past six months and started a list of books to read and movies to see based on their celebrity guests playing “Not My Job.”  In case you are interested, Paula Poundstone is our favorite Wait Wait panel member, but there weren’t many episodes featuring her.  There should be more Wait Waits with Paula Poundstone.  I’m just saying.

And then we got here, where it is currently 97 degrees.  It’s cooled off a bit since we arrived.  Tonight we’re going to take advantage of the tv in our room to watch the NBA finals.  The last time I watched tv in our room we were in Green River on the way to Denver and I saw “Dance Moms” for the first and last time.  I still shudder at the thought.

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Maybe once we get out of the desert heat and into the mountain cool I’ll have more energy and more to say.


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