July 12, 2011 Tonopah, NV to St. George, UT

We get up early hoping to beat the Extraterrestrial Highway rush hour. But before I discuss the ET highway (NV375), I have some amends to make. In the bright light of morning, it is obvious that Tonopah is actually trying to improve. There is some public sculpture and according to the internet (where everything is true), the Clines of Cline Cellars are renovating the Mizpah Hotel and are planning on opening at the end of August. It is supposedly being renovated to its former glory circa 1905. We will definitely stay there the next time we are through Tonopah.

Statue of Big Bill Murphy, hero, who died saving miners in the Tonopah Belmont Mine fire that killed seventeen men, Feb. 23, 1911.

VFW post statue, Tonopah, NV

The Mizpah Hotel, downtown Tonopah

Last night while poking around the internet I found a reference to Lunar Crater near Tonopah. It’s a National Natural Landmark and set in a landscape of cinder cones. The crater itself was made by a subterranean explosion of water. It’s 470 feet deep. The info says that it is located down a dirt road well-marked by a BLM sign and about 75 miles east of Tonopah. Well, that’s sort of in the direction we are going so we decide to make the detour to see the site. After what seems like driving way too far east on US 6, we opt for a dirt road running off to the south. There’s no BLM sign but it appears that there was some sort of sign and we decide that someone must have ripped it off. As it turns out, this is not the correct road but we do actually find the Lunar Crater by chance. The wind is really blowing, there is not another soul in sight, and the whole landscape is rather other-worldly.
The road more traveled than the one we took

At the lunar crater with Clark and Lewis

The Lunar Crater outside of Tonopah, NV

Cinder cone near the Lunar Crater

Now that we’ve made this big detour, we attempt to find the Extra Terrestrial Highway by cutting across the barren landscape on dirt roads. After a few attempts down different dirt roads that dead end, in a moment of lucid thought, we turn around and go back to US 6, head west and get back on course. Now we head south on NV 375. It’s always fun to drive the ET Highway. You can go really fast except if a cow happens to wander across the road.
How now brown cow?

Our next stop is at the Little Al-e-inn in Rachel, NV. The theme here is all about aliens as Rachel borders Area 51. We stop for a soda and enjoy the right-wing memorabilia.
Clark and Lewis at the Little Al-e-inn

Mary and Area 51 mural

Dollar ceiling at the Little Al-e-inn

Apparently not liberals

The rest of our journey is pretty uneventful. We stop for a picnic in Caliente, NV and arrive in St. George late in the afternoon. We are chilling here a few days. We need to check on the house, eat some of our minimum at the club and play tennis. It is unseasonably cool here, only in the upper 90’s. Nonetheless, if we are going to do anything outside we need to get it done by 10 AM.

We leave Friday for Bryce Canyon National Park and all points east.

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