The next stretch is Tonopah to Hawthorne. You will drive for awhile before anything significant pops up, besides the never ending views of land, mountains and rolling hills. Just past the intersection with Hwy. 6 is a humongous dry lake bed. What is interesting here, is that the mirage effect happens there whether it is summer or winter, dry or snow. The tumbleweeds or whatever grows out there reflects, giving the impression of posts sticking up. At the north end of the dry lake bed is another one of those puzzling businesses that I would like to check out sometime. The road is private, so I probably shouldn’t. By now you are traveling north along the Sierras on the border of California and Nevada. Did I say I love mountains? I can drive along or through mountains all day long and be peaceful. The views are fabulous, and the only reason I don’t have a ton of pictures is I would have to stop the car repeatedly to take them. Then I would have to pass the same vehicles I had already passed.
In one 15 mile stretch you trip upon two busy spots and two small towns. Sodaville is truly nothing but a bump in the road, but its biggest claim to fame is a sign saying Lobster Crossing. I know the story about it exists, but it eludes me right now. Sodaville used to be the place between north and south when the narrow gauge railroad existed. Up the road a few more miles is Mina. Mina became the new place between the north and south when the larger gauge railroad came in and it became the transfer station. Also within a few miles is the little town of Luning. Each of the little towns have their “places” including an ice cream stand, a bar, some sellers of rocks, and perpetual yard sales. Yet, a bit farther up the road is an area that has “high wind area” signage. Yes, the wind does blow strongly through there at times. Of course, one can watch for dust devils all along the whole trip. So this is what breaks up the drive between Tonopah and Hawthorne. Hawthorne is full of landmarks to look for. Once, you start heading down the small incline heading into Hawthorne, you start seeing the hundreds and hundreds of bunkers from what was once a truly active army depot. It is hardly inactive currently, but now has multiple different operations going on-without a lot of visible activity. Now the lack of activity did result in the deaths of seven marines a little more than a year ago. The Naval Underwater Warfare Center is located there also. Doesn’t a title like that make one wonder. Now if you are an enquiring mind, then Google that and read what is there. I did! Wow! Those kind of stories bring to mind James Bond and aliens. I have thought of taking a picture of that sign, but another blogger already tried and almost lost his camera. Maybe I will pass, just so I can save my pictures. At any rate, Hawthorne has a casino, some hotels, antique stores, thrift stores, a grocery store, quick stops and of course, MacDonalds. It is not the booming metropolis it once was, but I understand that it could boom at any time based on the need for ammunitions after the first 30 days of a war.